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First Season Episodes - The Derelict (episode 2)

The lost space family is drawn into a cavernous spaceship where they discover the wonders of an advanced civilization and the strange creatures who run it.

Will, Penny and Judy watch helplessly as their father drifts through space beyond the reach of the Jupiter 2. John forbids Don to attempt a rescue - he must man the ship - and Dr. Smith, asked by Don to suit up, declines on the grounds he is too old. 

In the end it is Maureen who volunteers to save her husband, but before the couple can reach the safety of the ship, a fiery comet threatens to incinerate them. By the time John has completed the antenna repair, the heat has jammed the air-lock door, and he and Maureen face a blistering death outside. Don and Will utilize foam from a fire-extinguisher to cool the door. Maureen is prostrate by the time Don gets the portal open, but she soon recovers and Don maneuvers the spaceship away from the vicinity of the burning comet. 

During the rescue, stowaway Smith has been programming the Robot to obey commands from him alone. The Jupiter 2 receives a strange signal from a spaceship of prodigious size, apparently adrift in space. The Robinson's ship is drawn into an opening in the side of the vast craft. Leaving Maureen and the youngsters in the security of the Jupiter 2, John takes Don and Smith to reconnoiter. While John and Don admire the workings of a central instrument control panel, Smith wanders off. At the same time, Will has found a way of getting out of the spaceship, and is off to explore the strange new environment. He finds a cauldron of bubbles that assemble themselves into moving creatures. 

Just as he begins to think he can communicate with them, Smith arrives and draws a gun, demanding the creatures transport him back to Earth. Smith ultimately fires a shot, whereupon the creatures buzz menacingly and begin to move toward the two. Will cries out for his father and all four explorers are soon racing for the spaceship. John cuts a hole in the derelict ship, then boards the Jupiter 2 as Don blasts off. Guided by the information on the alien's instrument panel, Don heads for a nearby planet, where the vehicle must land for repairs -without knowing whether it is a friendly or hostile world.

A Review by Robert Herzog

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"One of my very favorites".

I admit, though, that when fans speak of the classic first five episodes of season one, the "Derelict" often (but not always) gets slotted at number five. For me, however, it is almost as good as "Reluctant Stowaway"... close enough to also be considered "elite". 

Yeah, I know... comets aren't blazing hot, sun-like objects. In the LIS Universe they are, though. I didn't know this as a kid, so I guess I've chosen, as an adult, to give Irwin & Co. a free pass. It was still exciting stuff, scientific inaccuracies aside. The special effects work involving the J2 approaching and eventually being pulled into the Derelict ship was wonderful, and still looks good even today. The scenes of the Jupiter entering and then landing inside the huge ship still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up straight. (Sorry if that's too much information!) 

As a music lover, the incidental music for this episode, not heard nearly as often in subsequent episodes as the music from "Stowaway", "Island in the Sky", and "The Hungry Sea", is some of the best ever, in my humble opinion. Each piece seems to perfectly match the action. 

Besides the comet business I already mentioned, the only other big head-scratcher would be in the scene where the Jupiter leaves... how was John able to cause the Derelict's cargo bay or landing area (or whatever you want to call it) to open up and release the Jupiter by simply firing his laser rifle at it? Further, it has been argued that breaching the hull of the ship should have caused immediate decompression, asphyxiation, and instant death to John (and the bubble creatures, for that matter), but I don't have a problem with that. My theory has always been that a powerful force field of some kind was active in the landing area. 

I really liked how the Robinson's first encounter with aliens did not result in the aliens speaking English and looking like humans. The difficulties in communication seemed realistically portrayed. Smith is still somewhat brave, at least until the very end of the episode, which I think is another plus for this story. 

Detractors of "The Derelict" find it slow in spots, but I find even those areas of the episode to be interesting. The Judy/Don dialogue early in the episode, John's walk-thru on the lower deck as checks in on Penny, Will, and finally Smith (relationship scenes, for lack of a better description), and the exploration scenes involving John, Don, Smith, and (later) Will all held my interest. 

No need to expound further, then.."The Derelict" gets a 9.5 from me. 

So far, what a start... 

"The Reluctant Stowaway"... 10 

"The Derelict"... 9.5 



Professor John RobinsonGuy Williams
Maureen RobinsonJune Lockhart
Major Don WestMark Goddard
Judy RobinsonMarta Kristen
Penny RobinsonAngela Cartwright
Will RobinsonBilly Mumy
Dr. Zachary SmithJonathan Harris
RobotBob May
Voice of the RobotDick Tufeld
Executive ProducerIrwin Allen
DirectorAlex Singer
WriterPeter Packer
Story byShimon Wincelberg
Guest Cast
TV CommentatorDon Forbes
GiantDawson Palmer
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