Fleeing plummeting temperatures plunging, the Robinsons have abandoned the crashed Jupiter 2 spacecraft and head south in the chariot in a desperate bid for survival. Dr. Smith refuses to accompany the family and Major West, and remains behind with the Robot on the ship.
On their journey southward, the Robinsons encounter a ferocious electrical storm and take shelter in a nearby cave. When they explore the cave, they discover that it contains the ruins of a long-abandoned alien city. Will, Penny, Don, and Judy become trapped in a stone chamber just as a planet-quake threatens to bring heavy stones crashing down upon them. John Robinson rescues them by cutting through the wall with his laser gun.
The Robinsons resume their journey south while back at the Jupiter 2 Dr. Smith attempts to keep warm with only the Robot for company. Smith assumes that the Robinsons had by that point met some terrible fate, and speaks of preparing a eulogy for the family. The robot consults a tracking system and discovers that the chariot is still in motion traveling southward. Smith is disappointed that he has lost the opportunity to deliver a beautiful eulogy. Meanwhile, the Robinsons cross a frozen sea. Temperatures at the Jupiter 2 continue to plummet, and Dr. Smith begins to fear freezing to death. The next morning though, all notice that the sun has risen hours earlier than usual and that the temperature has ceased to fall.
Smith is initially relieved by this turn of events, and has the Robot analyze data on the orbit of their planet in order to find an explanation. At first he disbelieves the results, but when he realizes there is no other explanation, he commands the Robot to delete his earlier orders to eliminate the Robinsons since he is now sure they face certain death. But when he discovers that the Robot cannot pilot the Jupiter 2, he radios the Robinsons to warn them of the impending peril. Don, mistrustful of Smith, cut off the communication before Smith can give them any warning. Smith then despatches the Robot after the chariot to deliver his message.
John begins to postulate that the increasingly rapidly rising temperature they are experiencing are the results of the planet's eccentric orbit. They are taking measures to shield themselves and the chariot from the heat when the Robot arrives, but Don disables the Robot before it can speak. The family survive the worst of the heat under reflective blankets and awnings, but still emerge weakened from the ordeal. They begin their return journey to the Jupiter 2 where they hope to find a more equitable climate, but must now recross the sea, now melting and storm tossed. Don is almost lost overboard when he attempts to effect repairs on the outside of the chariot when it is transiting the sea, but is saved at the last minute.
Arriving back at the Jupiter 2, the Robinsons and Smith find they had both reached the same explanation for the planet's extreme temperature swings, but with the worst over, they are able to resume their work in establishing themselves on their new home.
- Many of the actors can be seen sweating profusely in their parkas. They are, after all, on a soundstage under hot arc lights.
- The last segments of the original pilot, No Place to Hide are used here. Don disassembling the Robot explains the Robot's absence in the chariot ride back north, and the pilot episode's southward crossing of the sea in liquid form becomes the northward crossing for the return home, while the lush vegetation "of the tropics" becomes the renewed vegetation after they cross the sea on the way home. The Robinsons still stop for prayer, but the pilot episode's image of two aliens is not used.
- This is the first episode to show conflict between John Robinson and Don West.
- The Robot demonstrates the ability to play the guitar while Smith sings "There's No Place Like Home".
- Smith cancels his previous orders to the Robot to kill the Robinsons off in this episode.
- The "Robinson alive? Impossible!" line from Dr. Smith is re-used footage from Island In the Sky. When this line is spoken, Dr. Smith is back in the coveralls he was wearing in that episode.
- An extreme elliptical orbit alone could not explain the seasonal variations seen in this episode. Presuming the freezing cold takes place at aphelion and the burning heat takes place at perihelion, the timespan indicated in the script for the planet to go between these extreme points in its orbit is only a few days, which means the whole cycle will repeat itself rapidly. Axial precession could be ruled out as the planet's has two good sized moons which tend to reduce this effect. The planet must be in some wild oscillatory orbit about its sun. This might lead to variations in the sun's gravity pulling on the planet's surface, in turn cracking the crust. This would explain why Mr. Nerim overestimates the amount of explosive to use in 'Blast off into Space'.
- Near the end of the episode, Major West appears to fall off the Chariot into the sea. And the Robinsons react with sorrow. But, all they had to do was look through the windows of the Chariot to see him hanging on to the ladder rung.
- Dr. Smith sends the Robot after the Robinsons after the temperature has risen above freezing, but when the Robot crosses the inland sea, it is still completely frozen. This discrepancy is small when compared to the rate at which the ice on the sea melts. Ice takes 80 calories of heat to melt one gram and has a relatively high albedo so that sunlight reflects off it. Volcanic activity - possibly related to the ground quakes - releasing heat into the water would be more effective in melting the water on the timescale given.
- When rescuing Penny and Will from the cave, why aren’t Judy and Don more careful not to let the door shut?
- Why is the planet’s strange orbit and waves of heat and cold never a factor again in later episodes?
- Why doesn’t the heat wave cause any damage to the unprotected Robot?
- Just as a note, Don’s scream when he falls off the Chariot into the water is pretty funny.
- In this episode, Colonel Smith makes his transformation into Doctor Smith. He stops trying to kill the Robinsons. He begins his long strain of Robot Insults. He becomes cowardly and foolish. And most noticeably, he drops his stylish military clothes and permanently dons his turtleneck and sweater combo.
- Why would the Jupiter 2 not provide adequate protection from the cold snap on the planet if the crew is perfectly safe while in deep space?
- When the Robinson's pause to give thanks for their safe return, this scene is the pilot's cliff-hanger ending. The pilot’s ending has the camera pulling back to show the Robinson's being watched by alien creatures.
- When the Robot attempts to re-heat Dr Smith’s coffee, the sound effect of the electrical charge does not synchronise with the animated bolts.
- In the scene after the Chariot has crossed the inland sea, the Robot’s elliptical sensors have stopped rotating. Later, when it informs Dr Smith that the temperature inside the spaceship is rising, they are turning once more. Later, when the Robot arrives at the Robinson camp with the “matter of life and death” pronouncement, they have stopped again.
- In the scene after Don zaps the Robot, Will rushes over to the now bent over tin man. John arrives as well, but in the next shot notice how the Robot is now in an upright (but still de-activated) posture). In later scenes, the Robot is bent over again.
- When John removes the data tape from the Robot, its height has shrunk dramatically. The treads appear to have been compressed, to the extent that it’s now hardly taller than Will! This is because Bob May isn’t in the Robot suit – it is being held upright by wooden stakes inside the costume.
Dr Smith's Robot AlliterativesEdit
Dedicated to Jonathan Harris, and his clever and relentless verbal bullying of the Robot which would become an iconic feature of the series.
Here is the first instance of the Dr Smith Robot Alliterative appearing in the series: Pusillanimous Puppet
Next: Welcome Stranger