Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, and Francine York
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 3/15/1967
Production #: 9526
Niolani (Francine York)—the man-hating, sadistic leader of a female warrior race—forces Will, Major West, and Professor Robinson to erect a giant arch for the colonists of Condor. Meanwhile, Dr. Smith earns a position of authority by ingratiating himself with Niolani.
“The Colonists” can be summarized as an oversimplified commentary on the feminist movement. Especially disappointing is that the beliefs, opinions, and attitudes of Maureen—a loving housewife who honors her husband unconditionally—are poorly contrasted with those of Niolani, whose animosity toward men is never explained from a thoughtful or sympathetic framework.
By brutalizing and humiliating the male members of the Robinson family, Niolani will evoke contempt from the audience—a reaction that no other Lost in Space character, with the possible exception of Dr. Smith from the early episodes of season one, manages to achieve. Viewers will thus have no difficulty rooting for Niolani’s downfall, the workings of which are set in motion when Will—hoping to free his father and Major West from the cruel, tyrannical reign of Dr. Smith and Niolani—hides an explosive device in the Purification Arch, thereby proving his ingenuity once again.
Having been elevated to an honorable status by Niolani, Penny behaves arrogantly toward her own brother. In addition to being highly uncharacteristic, Penny’s obnoxious treatment of an enslaved family member will likely annoy those of a sensitive nature.
At one point, Maureen indicates that when men and women set aside petty competition and decide to complement each other, the outcome can be quite rewarding—a worthwhile, albeit surface-level, critique of feminism.
For adopting a relatively serious and camp-free tone, “The Colonists” may evoke praise from science fiction fans. That being said, this episode fails to explore feminism in a non-superficial manner.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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