‘Lost in Space’ Changing Trajectory: Huge Moments in Episode 8


“Trajectory,” the title of “Lost in Space’s” 8th episode, obviously refers to space flight. 

It also refers to huge moments that change the show’s direction entirely.

The Need to Escape

In the previous episode, Victor Dhar (Raza Jaffrey) was hellbent on fleeing the planet, after his son, Vijay (Ajay Friese), told him about their black hole/sun problem. While his desire to flee is understandable, it’s revealed to be reckless and doomed to failure.

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Maureen Robinson (Molly Parker) warns them that the Jupiter 4 lacks sufficient fuel to leave the planet’s atmosphere. Undaunted, and surely panicked, Victor does not abort the flight procedure.

However, John Robinson (Toby Stephens) isn’t having it. In a few quick maneuvers, John boards their craft, aiming to abort their launch for them. Though he’s welcomed with a crowbar to the head, it isn’t good enough, and John makes it to the emergency shut down lever.

It was a pretty exciting moment for the show, with all of the character’s motives being clear. I like action moments that are organic to the plot. Plus, this creates some additional tension between Victor, John, and whoever Mr. Crowbar was.

The Truth Comes Out

Once things cool down, John gathers Jupiter folks around, informing them of the planetary crisis. Rather than saying, “Oh my god, we’re all gonna’ die!,” he does his level best to be calm and rational. While their situation is unique, it’s an instructive moment for viewers at home, regarding how to handle a crisis.

I also liked clarification of what the crisis is. Specifically, the planet is drawing too close to the sun. This means everything will die even before technically getting sucked into a black hole.

While this was glossed over in previous episodes, this group chat helps solidify the issue for the fictional survivors, as well as people watching the show. In little time at all, plans are created to launch John Robinson into space.  Go, team!

A Necessary Nod to NASA

Astronaut Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) holds his lucky chicken’s feather. (Lost in Space, Netflix)

One strength of this episode? It’s sort of a tribute to NASA’s early space missions, which (at least we are told) were relatively primitive in nature. Similarly, the Jupiter crew has its own limitations.

Fortunately, Maureen has sufficient NASA knowledge to give impromptu astronauts a fighting chance. Specifically, between her and Don West (Ignacio Serricchio), it’s decided how much on board weight must be shed for proper takeoff (quite a lot, actually).

It doesn’t take a NASA nerd to appreciate space ingenuity, and Lost in Space reminds us that, should our planet face a crisis, it may be up to science to come up with an answer. Granted, I don’t know exactly how accurate the episode is (and others are), but things seem decently explained enough for a layman to understand.

Things Ramp Up Regarding “Dr. Smith”

Thus far, plenty of online comments have criticized the character Dr. Smith (AKA June Harris, played by Parker Posey). Some say she’s too evil and one-dimensional. Others say she’s not quite evil enough, just being a petty manipulator rather than a true villain. Well, here we get the best of both worlds.

When Judy (Taylor Russell) rats her out about her identity, June is locked in a storage room facility by Maureen. A steady stream of lies and half-truths then pour out. She admits that she stole the real Dr. Smith’s identity, but claims it was because he was near death aboard the Resolute mother ship.

She didn’t see the sense in both of them dying (or so she claimed). She also claims she is a physicist named Jessica Harris — knowing that the name exists on a registry somewhere.

When Maureen makes her distrust (and dislike) clearer, June goes deeper into super villain mode, suggesting she may have sabotaged the Jupiter 4. It’s a huge moment for the character, and for Lost in Space.

Basically, “Dr. Smith” has lost her mask, and doesn’t even pretend to be good anymore. It’s hard to imagine her de-escalating anything from this point forward, or manipulating things with her usual casual aplomb.

John’s Prep Test

To complicate things, the Resolute sends a transmission that, due to space radiation, they must leave the solar system in 24 hours. Now, Maureen may be many things, but she’s not multi-tasker enough to monitor June and train her husband for space flight simultaneously.

So, while June is left alone to scheme, viewers gain insight into just how much strain astronauts may be under. As John repeatedly fails the test — which includes simulated chest pressure and momentary loss of consciousness — it is decided that he needs a co-pilot.

After initially rejecting the offer, Don West is given the role, due largely to his hands-on engineering knowledge. After all, if things go haywire on the ship, why not have someone whose expertise is equipment maintenance (or something like that)?

When Don and John successfully complete the test, it’s a feel-good moment for the Jupiter gang. Of course, this is a drama, so you know the good vibes won’t go unchallenged for long.

Things Take a Decisive Turn

The last moments of the episode were pretty momentous, thanks overwhelmingly to June’s proactive evil. Knowing how Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins) feels about it, June uses the alien robot’s remnants to hoodwink Will into setting her free.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t just leave it at that. She could have worked with Will to reassemble the ‘bot, having a nice bonding moment and redeeming herself in some way.

Instead, she leaves Will bound and gagged, heads over to Maureen’s mission control station and knocks Maureen out, before she can give her husband crucial course change direction.

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As a result, Don and John miss their mark and their spaceship explodes! It is a defining moment for Lost in Space, and the episode literally has an explosive finish.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Let us know in the comments!