“I think he’s all alone, or else he wouldn’t have needed me to help him.”
Episode 2 of Lost in Space opens with Dr. Smith and Ignacio Serricchio’s Don West trapped in their crashed ship and attempting escape. Meanwhile, the Robinsons are trying to learn more about Will’s robot when it begins digging their ship out of the thick ice. West takes the boots off of his dead friend’s body, to the apparent disgust of Dr. Smith, though she lights up like a Christmas tree upon spotting a Saint Christopher necklace she says reminds her of her brother. Throughout the episode, Maureen urges Penny to clean the air filters but John finds various other chores for her; one of the subplots has the two of them fighting for authority over the children. West and Dr. Smith come across a woman named Angela, and West decides to take her with them. Penny and Judy are left in charge of melting the Jupiter out of the ice while the rest of the family head out to investigate an explosion at the nearby camp of another group who evidently also crashed.
Trouble comes for the Robinsons, and Don and Smith, as a snowstorm looms over the horizon. Penny takes off in a vehicle called the chariot to find the rest of the Robinsons, leaving Judy – a ball of nerves – in the family’s ship. Will realizes that his robot attacked the humans on the space station, causing the initial ship crashes. He attempts to question it, but the robot doesn’t remember it happening. Penny finds her brother and parents in time, and they head home. Dr. Smith tricks Don into going back for her necklace, steals his flare gun and uses it to attract the attention of the Robinsons, who stop to rescue her. She tells them she is alone, leaving Angela and Don to die in the cold. She also tells Penny that she always wanted a brother, revealing that she lied to Don about everything. Once they arrive back at their camp, Dr. Smith is alarmed to see the robot, recognizing it from the space station.
A lot happens in ”Diamonds in the Sky,” and I really like that they cut back and forth between both groups of people; it builds tension very well. I really enjoyed Don’s characterization and how Dr. Smith kept emphasizing that he was really a good person. She obviously intended to exploit his good will all along and has no interest in Angela. I’m also intrigued with how the robot’s story is playing out. It seems to favor the Robinson family, but there has been no explanation regarding the attack on the space station. It doesn’t remember doing it, but if the robot is sentient that doesn’t absolve the blame. I can’t wait to see what they do with these two characters.
With Judy, Lost in Space seems to be exploring a mild form of PTSD. Throughout the episode she experiences flashbacks to being frozen in the ice, she is distant and she’s too anxious to go with Penny in the chariot. She’s still cool towards her father, and they haven’t said why yet. I really hope future episodes further explain the familial dysfunction. Even Will remarks that he missed his father, but having him back is strange because they don’t really know what a father IS. It’s even more evident with Maureen, who goes into mega-bitch mode significantly more than in episode one. She’s constantly bickering with everything John says and at one point she tells him she wants the children to hear one united voice from them, and it needs to be her voice. Where does this woman get off? It’s understandable to want respect and obedience from your kids, but she wants her husband to respect and obey all of her wishes as well. He’s not a dog. One wonders if Maureen went a little nuts when John was away in the military; her expectations and attitude are completely unreasonable, and she can’t seem to have a single civil conversation with him. What are the kids supposed to think, hearing their father say one thing only for him to be immediately shot down? In the end she apologizes to John for not listening to his expertise, but not for overriding and humiliating him in front of their own family. She’s sorry for being wrong, but not for being nasty to her husband.
Hopefully this changes as the season goes on, but so far I’m noticing Will is the least interesting character. He doesn’t seem to have a personality, or any traits outside of being a kid. This is only the second episode but the other family members and Dr. Smith are already pretty well established. We know what Will means to his family, particularly his mom, but what’s he like? What does he enjoy? What is he afraid of? Unfortunately, this seems to happen a lot in stories: all of the supporting cast have quirks and special skills, leaving the lead character, who should be the coolest, to play straight man. His character may be improved in later episodes, and I really hope it will. Even the straight man doesn’t have to be a total stiff with no personality.
The visuals are spectacular once again. The production value on Lost in Space is absolutely show-stopping. The elements that really stood out this time are the storm and the explosion at Jupiter 17’s crash-site. All of it looks fantastic. The music isn’t as great as it was in “Impact,” but it serves the story and mood well enough.
I liked “Diamonds in the Sky” a lot and found it less confusing than episode one. Some of the relationships are a little odd, so I assume they’re saving that for future episodes. Most of the characters are fun, and they legitimately have me on the edge of my seat. I’m genuinely invested in where some of these story threads are going. Having not seen any of the previous incarnations of Lost in Space, I’m really enjoying this version so far and would definitely recommend it for a rainy-day watch.