Lost in Space Episode 42: Wreck of the Robot

General Information

Director: Nathan Juran

Writer: Barney Slater

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 12/14/1966

Production #: 9514

 

Overview

lost-in-space-wreck-of-the-robotWhile exploring a cave, Will and Dr. Smith encounter a trio of Saticons—ominous, malevolent aliens who kidnap and dismantle the Robot. Despite recovering and restoring the Robot, the Robinsons learn a disturbing secret about the Saticons’ true motive.

“Wreck of the Robot” operates on a captivating, albeit oft-used, science fiction premise (i.e., one or more enemies manufacturing a device for conquering the universe). Also worth noting is the relatively serious tone of this episode, which serves to establish the Saticons as a credible threat to the Robinson family.

 

Pros

By dressing in cloaked attire and swaying their bodies from side to side, the Saticons exemplify a subtle creepiness that will appeal to fans of the sci-fi/horrorlost-in-space-wreck-of-the-robot crossover genre. Complementing the spooky vibes generated by the Saticons, the stock music played in “Wreck of the Robot” accentuates the sense of dread, helplessness, and apprehension underlying the Robinsons’ every interaction with the enigmatic aliens—an effective use of Bernard Herrmann’s composition from The Day the Earth Stood Still, which gives the Saticons a distinct edge over other antagonists featured in season two of Lost in Space.

 

Cons

Fearing that the Saticons will remove him from the Jupiter 2, the Robot audibly moans while lamenting his situation to Will—a campy moment that downplays the grave, existential threat facing the Robot, the Robinson family, and potentially the entire universe.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-wreck-of-the-robotSimilar to “War of the Robots” from season one, “Wreck of the Robot” deserves praise for highlighting how greatly the Robinsons cherish their mechanical companion. Specifically, Professor Robinson and Major West go to extraordinary lengths in order to protect, retrieve, and reassemble the Robot following his ordeal with the Saticons—a poignant gesture which indicates that each character (with the possible exception of Dr. Smith) cares deeply for the Robot on a personal level.

 

Concluding Comments

For emphasizing Robinson family values in a compelling sci-fi narrative, this episode should be requisite viewing for fans of Lost in Space. In addition to its heartwarming subject matter, “Wreck of the Robot” provides a chilling introduction to the Saticons—arguably the most menacing villains that appear in season two.

 

Overall Quality: 8/10

 

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5 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 42: Wreck of the Robot

  1. This is my number five ranked episode for the classic down home, cozy and fun, colored mid season..my second favorite season of the series, despite its much maligned and unwarranted status.. :-]

  2. After running off a short string of four more light-hearted wittier type stories, the season suddenly settles in for a trio of the some of the most impressive and best episodes of the season. This long time classic favorite begins those three mid-season more serious storylines.

    I just love this one and I always have. This would be one of the overall spookiest colored episodes of the series. The three ‘mean old aliens’ in the cave are utterly creepy. This one, of course, is one of the top five episodes on the season..

  3. Love the Saticons here. That music, even if “borrowed”, just fits them so well. I think this is the case of how music, vocal tenor, body movement, and sinister motives can countermand the camp of Robot “human woe”. I guess we just had to stomach that the kids were the aim and Robot was often visualized as a character they wanted to exploit for comic foil purposes or reaction to situations as humans of a certain personality would.

    • Yeah, I can overlook the camp factor of stories that incorporate the atmosphere, creepy music, and threatening situations that made the early black-and-white episodes so compelling. “Wreck of the Robot” and “The Anti-Matter Man” are both good examples of LIS entries that, despite appealing to children, maintain a solid balance between character antics and serious narrative conflict.

  4. I love me some Saticons—“Attack Of The Bob Fosse Aliens”! Just creepy enough to leave a lasting impression after 50 years.