Director: Don Richardson
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: Alexander Courage
Air Date: 2/22/1967
Production #: 9525
While Professor Robinson and Major West prepare the Jupiter 2 for spaceflight, Dr. Smith encounters the only surviving remnants of the Dranconian race—powerful cyborgs who desire a new leader. Volunteering for the job, Dr. Smith chooses to remain on the planet with the Robot. Only an appeal from Will can persuade Dr. Smith, who now resembles a cross between Count Dracula and a Vulcan from Star Trek, to abandon the Dranconians and rejoin the Robinson family.
An atmospheric episode, “The Cave of the Wizards” will intrigue those who enjoy the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Certain campy elements do, however, detract from the ominous material contained in Peter Packer’s narrative.
When the Dranconians lure Dr. Smith into an alien cave for the first time, a number of spooky tropes (e.g., cobwebs, rock monsters, and a living mummy wrapped in green-tinted bandages) are employed in conjunction with the harpsichord music of Alexander Courage, thereby producing an effect that may remind the audience of a black-and-white creature feature (the 1932 version of The Mummy comes to mind for obvious reasons). Also haunting are the scenes where Will and Dr. Smith return to the Jupiter 2 (later revealed to be a lifelike replica), the decrepit condition of which implies a terrible fate for the Robinson family.
Having received a makeover from the Dranconians, the Robot sings a groan-worthy rendition of “Pick a Bale of Cotton” and makes clear his desire to be addressed as “Golden Boy.” Though briefly amusing, the Robot’s behavior tends to clash with the subtle, creepy tension of prior sequences.
By going out of his way to rescue Dr. Smith from the Dranconian chamber, Will proves himself to be a terrific and self-sacrificing friend—an aspect that will surely tug the heartstrings of sensitive viewers. (That being said, many Lost in Space fans may find irritating the fact that John, Major West, and the others must again alter their plans to accommodate a thoughtless, ungrateful stowaway.)
“The Cave of the Wizards” is a delightful homage to the classic monster movies of the 1930s. Nevertheless, the uneven tone of this episode may evoke criticism.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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