Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, and Arthur Batanides
Composer: Fred Steiner
Air Date: 10/4/1967
Production #: 1503
Planning to cap a volcano, Dr. Smith and Major West take the Chariot to the source of a dangerous lava flow. Complications arise when both men are captured by an alien tribe, forcing Dr. Smith and Major West to set aside their differences and depend on each other for survival.
For highlighting themes of friendship, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice in a disaster-themed setting, “The Space Primevals” should be commended by fans of Lost in Space. The antics of Rongah (Arthur Batanides) and his fellow savages may, however, try the patience of those with a low tolerance for camp.
Dangling from the edge of a cliff, Major West calls out to Dr. Smith who—much to the surprise of longtime viewers—risks his life to save that of his longtime nemesis. Thereafter, Dr. Smith and Major West (still trapped in a cave and running low on oxygen) shake hands and express a heartfelt admiration for each other—a touching display that will appeal to those of a sensitive nature.
Attempting to distract the alien primitives, the Robot—now fashioned in prehistoric attire—participates in a tribal dance with Rangah and the other natives. Despite allowing Professor Robinson to locate and communicate with Protineus, the antics of the Robot—perceived as a god by the planetary inhabitants—will likely induce groaning from the audience.
Also worth criticizing is the fact that Dr. Smith and Major West resume their bickering in the final scene, which undermines the reconciliation angle between both characters.
Similar to “The Return of the Archons” from Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Space Primevals” features a scenario about an omnipotent computer (known as Protineus) preventing a race of aliens from recognizing its true potential. As opposed to the Beta III civilization enslaved by Landru, however, Rangah and his people lack the intelligence to erect a flourishing society independent of Protineus’ guidance—an ethical consideration that Professor Robinson, who wishes to help the space primevals by eliminating their mechanical deity, fails to address.
“The Space Primevals” makes underwhelming use of a worthwhile science fiction concept. Nevertheless, the poignant interactions between Major West and Dr. Smith redeem this episode from its middling subject matter.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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