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- "I will hate you for giving up. I will hate you for taking another away from me. I will hate you for not loving me enough to try harder, because I need you. I'm always gonna need you. And I'm not gonna hate you, and I'm not letting you go."
- -Judy Robinson, pleading with John to stay alive, "Run"
John is a seasoned combat veteran and has the strength of a born leader. He and his family's spacecraft crash on an unknown planet and they struggle to survive. Previously estranged from his wife, the two are drawn back together in this fight for survival. He is faced with many challenges and disasters, often being forced to choose the lesser evil.
His military deployment meant that he was often separated from his family. ("Impact")
The fact that he was often not around is a source of much resentment from his children and wife. He is determined to make things right between them and be a more active presence in their lives. He is highly suspicious of the Robot, but nevertheless would like to find a way to use it to the family's advantage. ("Infestation")
By reading a letter by mistake, his wife learned that he voluntarily chose to spend more time serving overseas when he could have chosen to stay with his family, which made her very upset. ("The Robinsons Were Here")
He was sent to the amber planet to investigate a malfunctioning well and got trapped within it after falling due to deterioration of the support holding him from the rust virus. Judy Robinson rushed nearly fifteen miles on foot to save him after he discovered that he had been impaled by a spike during the fall. As his vitals started to fail, he told her that he had taught her everything that she needed to survive and she no longer needed him, that no matter what happened to her in life, she would do great. In response, she told him that if he died, his wife would throw herself into work, growing cold and distant. Her sister Penny's snark would turn bitter and she would act out. Her brother Will would retreat into himself, the light and hope inside him going out. Finally, she would do what she always did - try and keep the family together, but she would hate him for giving up and taking another father away from her. She then redoubled her efforts and managed to rescue him from the well. ("Run")
When he and his wife learned that the command crew of the Resolute planned to abandon those stranded on the amber planet, he agreed to aid her in a mutiny so that she could put into motion a plan to rescue them all. ("Unknown") He was captured and placed on electronic monitoring, but used his skills as a Navy SEAL to escape. He was troubled by his adoptive daughter Judy's plan to place 97 children within a Jupiter spacecraft to save them when it became clear that the Resolute would not survive an attack by the robots, but agreed to it as the only viable option. ("Ninety-Seven")
Skills and abilities
"I thought you were dead."
- John Robinson and a Resolute security officer, "Ninety-Seven"
He had a cognitive recovery time of 19 seconds when losing consciousness from G-forces, which was far greater than any of the other members of the 24th Mission. ("Trajectory") As a trained Navy SEAL, he possesses incredible strength and skill. When mounting an escape on the Resolute, he was able to take down several security officers who attempted to contain him. ("Ninety-Seven")
Behind the scenes
John is not Judy's biological father, but is the only father she has ever known, though she does have knowledge of her birth father, Grant Kelly.
John fell deeply in love with astrophysicist Maureen. A few years later, they were married. John happily adopted Maureen's daughter, Judy and they formed an extremely close bond despite the fact that they weren't related. Judy took after her adoptive father more than she ever took after her mother, even adopting the last name Robinson instead of her biological father's name, Kelly (Hence the name Judy Robinson).
Despite how close Maureen was with John, she eventually tired of his job. He kept going on missions for the military, and those trips got longer and longer until he was absent for months and even years. Eventually Maureen found a letter from the military on accident, showing that John voluntarily chose to spend more time overseas when he could have been spending more time with his family. This angered Maureen, and basically led to their split. When all three of their children were in there teenage years, John and Maureen broke up, and even considered filing for divorce.
John travelled with them on the 24th colonist group, though, to spend more time with the family and be a larger presence in their lives. The two ex-lovers got closer again, even if slowly. By the time of their escape from the unknown planet, they were in a stable relationship once again.
- John claims that he was a U.S. Navy SEAL but when he is on a military camp a jeep depicts ''USMC'' which means United States Marine Corps.
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