Episode 18

The Time Merchant

During a storm, Will conducts an experiment to try to trap some ‘cosmic particles’. In the process he accidentally ensnares CHRONOS THE TIME MERCHANT. Chronos claims that while he is trapped in Will’s apparatus, “There is no one running the factory. The time tapes have gone amok! They’re running backwards and sideways and upside down”.

Will agrees to disentangle Chronos from the magnetic poles he has become attached to. No sooner has he done this then the Time Merchant hypnotizes Will and then leads him back to the time factory. John and the robot go in pursuit of Will using the inter-dimensional pathway created by Will’s ‘cosmic particles’ equipment.

John confronts Chronos and demands he release Will. Chronos says he can’t do that. He says Will wasted his time and now he must be paid back. As a demonstration of his powers, he shows John and Will a video screen depicting a small planet from the Omega Galaxy.

“Fine people but shameful time wasters”, declares Chronos. “Now they’ve used it all up. This is the only part of my business I don’t enjoy, but… it must done”. With the push of a button he then detonates the planet.

Professor Robinson is incensed: “You’ve just destroyed an entire civilization. Don’t you feel any remorse for that?” Chronos replies – “They did it to themselves. Everybody has a time tape. But if they run hither and zither, too and fro, back and forth, never slowing down for a moment then they use their time tapes up all the faster. And that’s all there is too it! But, here is something you might want to remember. I always do what I have to do. And I never, never let sentiment interfer with business.”

Meanwhile, Dr Smith enters Thanos’s time machine and returns himself to October 16, 1997, the exact date the Jupiter 2 first launched from Earth with him on board as a stowaway. Knowing what he now knows however about the Jupiter 2 getting off course and becoming ‘Lost in Space’ for many years, Smith is determined this time NOT get on board the ship.

“History doesn’t repeat. But it does rhyme” – Mark Twain

Will asks Chronos what will happen if Dr Smith doesn’t get on board the Jupiter 2. Professor Robinson replies, saying “Dr Smith’s added weight caused us to drift off course in the first place son. With him not aboard, we may wind up in Alpha Centauri.”

Chronos corrects this however, stating “The ship will be destroyed by an uncharted asteroid and when it is, all of you will cease to exist just like that.” John reminds him this is only true IF Smith doesn’t stow aboard the Jupiter 2 like he originally did.

John takes control of Chronos’s time travel equipment. He sends the robot back to October 16, 1997. The plan is for the robot to FORCE Smith to board the Jupiter 2, just like he did originally. At first reluctant, the robot tells Smith that without his extra weight forcing the Jupiter 2 off-course, the ship will be destroyed within four months by ploughing head-long into a meteor shower.

Finally, Smith gets lonely enough remembering the family he came to know so well. He and the robot climb aboard the departing Jupiter 2 at the very last moment. Professor Robinson then forces Chronos to transport Smith and the Robot back to the present. Chronos’s time machine ends up being destroyed by a power overload.

Actor John Crawford (1920 – 2010) played the role of the mad timelord Dr Chronos. As well as being a prolific tv actor, he also appeared in over 100 films. Looking very different just three years after he filmed the Lost In Space episode, he played the part of the kidnapped mayor in the Clint Eastwood movie THE ENFORCER (1971).

Wanna have some fun? Listen for the line at the two minute, two second mark – “Dave, get me out of this.”