Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lost In Space S1 E6: Eulogy

We once again enter the strange new, colorful world of Lost In Space with Season One, Episode 6, Eulogy, the very antithesis of the once dramatic, black and white, first season of the original series, but certainly not out of step with the kind of vibrant, exciting, color palette of the classic series' third season then influenced by the likes of arriving competitor Batman (1966-1968). [Beware of Visual Spoilers Ahead.]

As a fan of the original Lost In Space (1965-1968) series the show centered almost exclusively around the Robinson family.

Last episode, Transmission, saw the Robinsons reunited with the many survivors of downed Jupiters across an alien planet following the events aboard the station Resolute entangled by the mysterious events connected to the alien Robot.

Lost In Space is certainly evolving and viewers are attempting to find their footing on where this series' writers will take them. We can hope there is a plan and that inevitably the focus will turn to the Robinsons, Don West, Robot and one wayward Dr. Smith and not get lost in the crowd of the many other nameless players and faces. Personally, The 100 style approach to this episode and the episode preceding it, Transmission, has altered the intended Lost In Space vibe.

One thing is certain, and now may be a good point to mention it having presented you now with six entries, Lost In Space is providing us with a great use of color in the series. Beautiful blues, reds, pinks and purples just to mention a few as the spectrum populates and radiates from the frames of the experience in watching this bursting, vibrant series. It is indeed generating a certain look and style and on these terms seems singular in its vision visually of which I'm embracing.

Expectations continue to be strong as Eulogy sees director Vincenzo Natali step behind the camera. Director Natali has an exquisite visual eye having delivered the film Splice (2009), but also working on high standards for television with the series Hannibal (2013-2015), Westworld (2016-present) and American Gods (2017-present).

Eulogy focuses on loss and the loss of 27 people as a result of the execution aboard the Resolute at the hands of Robot. There's a mournful tone and a slower pace to the drama.

Meanwhile Judy, Don and various others take the Chariots to his Jupiter crash site where the fuel tanks are untouched. Eels like moisture (as noted in E3 Infestation) and he crashed in a desert area where the fuel systems remain intact. Okay then. Good to go.

Smith continues to sow seeds of discontent and distrust and does so seditiously across the encampment of survivors.

As of this writing I expected to be a bigger advocate of Posey's interpretation of Dr. Smith, but the verdict is still out for me and I remain skeptical about her for the role.

Additionally, Don West, a typically traditional, heroic figure, feels vacant of some of these essential, important qualities in this version. The hot-headed West has been replaced by a more self-serving character with a goofball sense of humor. Quite frankly, at times it's weird.

Speaking of swashbuckling heroes, it's ironic that original lead for Professor John Robinson, Guy Williams, once played sword-wielding Zorro for two seasons in Walt Disney's Zorro (1957-1959), while the latest iteration of John Robinson is portrayed by Toby Stephens. Stephens played swashbuckling, sword-wielding pirate Captain Flint in the exceptional Treasure Island (1883; by Robert Louis Stevenson) prequel Black Sails for four seasons (2014-2017).

At the moment it's hard to pick a favorite character from the series actually. The casting has been good, but not particularly exceptional for the parts and no one is emerging as a personal favorite.

Finally, for the story, what drives the narrative to vacate this planet is that it is in an orbit to a nearby black hole and the planet is doomed as it moves closer to the singularity.

Eulogy ends on an appropriately moving note given the title. I was a little surprised by the end. I could see it coming before it happened, but I was surprised the writers went the route they did. I was saddened by the decision made by the character, but there was a maturity to it, yet we were just getting going.

How exactly the Robinsons could overlook serious questions about Robot is another matter entirely and arguably a lapse in judgment on the family's part with regard to the family's safety. Though at times an asset, Robot is entirely unpredictable and a far less measurable resource then the original Robot from 1965. Having alien components will do that. Will shows a great deal of courage putting his family first and at the center where it should be.

Large alternating ensembles of crashed survivors swirling around post apocalyptic drama a la LOST aside, Lost In Space is about space family Robinson, John, Maureen, Judy, Penny and Will Robinson along with Don West, Dr. Smith (June Harris) and Robot. That's Lost In Space not LOST. This first season needs to get there and perhaps the story in play is working a bit like a prequel to where it's going a la the original show's concept or maybe something wholly different.

There's a show for the events that comprise Eulogy and Transmission but that's a different series in my book. It's premature to get too excited by where the writers are taking this family, but I expect we'll get to the place where the show centers on the core of the original Irwin Allen concept--- the Robinson family.

With Eulogy I found myself indeed in mourning by the final shot of the installment and how the show is proceeding along in general, but can't help wondering what's in store for this reimagined series. It looks good but some of it just doesn't feel right. Warning, Warning signs indeed.

Writer: Ed McCardie.
Director: Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Hannibal, American Gods, Westworld).

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