Review: 'Lost In Space' Thrills with Third and Final Season

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday December 1, 2021

Ignacio Serricchio as Don West in episode 308 of Lost In Space
Ignacio Serricchio as Don West in episode 308 of Lost In Space  (Source:Diyah Pera/Netflix)

It's more danger, more adventure, and more humor as the Space Family Robinson — now separated and in desperate circumstances — struggle to survive and reunite.

The Netflix reboot of "Lost in Space" returns for a third, and final, season, smiling lovingly at the original 1960s series' campy theatrics with plenty of CGI-enhanced, visually stunning space opera thrills.

That said, the series also makes time for poignant moments and touches on deeper, more serious topics: Friendship, family, meaningful personal change, and sacrifice.

As Season Three blasts off, Judy (Taylor Russell), Penny (Mina Sundwall), and Will (Maxwell Jenkins) have become leaders among the colony mission's group of 97 children, now refugees on a devastated world. Luckily for them, the valley they occupy retains a "puddle of atmosphere," unlike the rest of the planet. Personal tensions run high among the siblings — almost as high as the two-mile cliffs that enclose the valley, and which they will, naturally, have to scale in a daring mission — as Judy works herself into the ground trying to be a good captain, Will labors to repair their ship, and Penny wrestles with feelings of rage over what she feels to be Judy's betrayal — feelings triggered by the discovery of the deserted ship La Fortuna, launched from Earth decades ago and led by Judy's biological father.

The adults of the colony group, meantime, have managed to construct an orbiting habitat that orbits close to a far-flung star, using its high amounts of stellar radiation to shield their location from the alien robots who (as we learned last season) are plenty ticked at humanity over the theft of advanced technology (and the kidnapping and torture of one of the alien robots, a fellow named Scarecrow).

Speaking of robots, Robot (Brian Steele)... the alien mechanism Will Robinson repaired and befriended in Season One... seems to have an agenda of his own. So does the ever-diabolical Dr. Smith (Parker Posey), who has stowed away with the children and now serves as a school teacher and scheming gadfly. But are they working strictly to their own ends? Or will they, too, serve the greater good?

On a show as fast-moving and filled with dangerous dilemmas as this one, it's a safe bet that where we find ourselves in the season's first episode is only the beginning of a galaxy-spanning new arc. (The new series is much more peripatetic than the original, which spent whole seasons with the Jupiter 2 stuck on a single planet.) Over the course of the season's eight episodes, our heroes... and villains, including the ruthless SAR, the leader of the alien robots... will visit strange new (and old) worlds, with hidden histories and revelatory backstories coming to light.

The results can be mixed: One episode delves into Maureen Robinson's (Molly Parker) earlier life and illuminates her special bond with daughter Judy, a highlight in an otherwise silly segment filled with weary sci-fi tropes — yes, the new series, for all its storytelling ambition and gorgeous production work, still falls prey here and there to hackneyed ideas. But why not? This wouldn't be "Lost in Space" without the occasional drooling bog monster.

At least there's no vegetable rebellion in this iteration. Still, the show does suffer from a handful of risible tendencies; Don West's (Ignacio Serricchio) obsession with his pet chicken, for instance, grows sadder and creepier with each minute of screen time it commands, and let's not even get into Penny's romantic triangle, a trope so deeply etched into YA fantasy and sci-fi that its inclusion here feels like a disservice to the way the show otherwise allows its younger characters to shine with smarts and maturity that often put the adults to shame. (You can't help but wince along with John Robinson [Toby Stephens] when Judy feels the need to ask her dad for relationship advice regarding which of the two boys she likes she ought to choose.)

But overall, the watchwords here are fast-paced fun and thrill-ride adventure. Three seasons of this epic jaunt feels just right, even though — I'll admit it — we're gonna miss these characters when the story gallops to a close.

"Lost in Space," Season Three, premieres on Netflix on Dec. 1.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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