Evil Dr. Smith and the Fuel-Ingesting Eels: Lost in Space’s ‘Infestation’


In “Infestation,” episode 3 of Netflix’s “Lost in Space,” we learn Dr. Smith’s real identity, and that she may indeed be a villain. Also, it has eels!

A Rose By Any Other Name

In a world obsessed with security, ID cards and rigmarole, it can be refreshing to see someone come along and subvert the rules. In this case, that someone happens to be an ex-con named June Harris. In my view, the audience at home — bless their hearts — sometimes wants to live vicariously through villains, miscreants, liars and thieves. Sure, most of us are dishonest at times, but we usually don’t go as far as fictional villains.

So, when June steals her sister Jess’s identity in order to flee the planet, it’s humorous for me — especially when Jess is affluent and June is not. There’s definitely a turn-the-tables dynamic going on in the flashback scene. Also, June’s behavior is rational.

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Sure, Jess had offered June her estate, but what good is that when the “Christmas Star” is threatening earth’s survival? Yes, June cheated her own sister to get on the Resolute — so what?! It may be evil, but it’s a subdued evil, right?

Well, the evil does ramp up a bit. Jess’s lover threatens to foil June’s scheme aboard the shift, which wouldn’t be good for business. So, as anyone might do, June blasts him out of an airlock, right into the vacuum of space. My only problem with this development? She never shouted, “Don’t forget to write!” (Maybe she was pressed for time?)

While June — or “Dr. Smith” — is certainly a bad apple, who wants a cart full of only good apples? Where’s the fun in that? Here we have a plausible villain, with realistic motives. Some might remark about her lack of redeeming qualities, but guess what? There are people just like her in real life! Seriously, watch Forensic Files some time.

Saved By a Robot Attack

Right as June is to be punished for her behavior, the ship was attacked mercilessly by an alien robot — which we will later know as Will Robinson’s pet alien robot. This allows June to escape and further become Dr. Smith. Although the robot-attack theme seems a bit robophobic (“Hey, some of my best friends are robots!”), it definitely thickens the plot. Smith’s inside knowledge of the Robinson’s new pet will surely come up again.

Dr. Smith and the Robot

The robot has been pretty instrumental to the Robinsons this far. It saved both Will Robinson and Judy, rescued the Jupiter 2 ship, and it looks kind of cool. In fact, without it, the Robinsons probably would have died by now. This all being true, the robot may be key to their return back to human civilization — if such a return is even possible. There’s reason to think June has seen this, too, and it may be why she hesitates to leave the ship (and the Robinsons) behind.

Losing Fuel, But Not Losing Steam

To ramp things up, the Jupiter 2 is losing its fuel, and we learn that it’s being consumed by eel-like creatures (hence the episode title, “Infestation”). The little buggers also clog the engines! Gah! While not the grossest creatures in TV/film history, they are definitely a memorable moment, and they tie in pretty well with the other tensions in the story.

As I’ve suggested before, Lost in Space carries itself in a fairly plausible manner, for a science fiction show. For whatever reason, I totally believed that such creatures could exist — just as I want to believe a boy could psychically link with a robot.

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I also like how Will Robinson’s fears are becoming a plot point, which may allow for some psychological horror aspects later down the road. That Will Robinson is afraid of his protector, and that the robot knows this, is a neat idea.

In short: This episode of Lost in Space was good, and I look forward to the rest.