The Great Vegetable Rebellion
Will, Penny and Judy are celebrating the robot’s birthday. In an uncharacteristic selfless act, Dr Smith decides to head down in the space pod to the planet the Jupiter 2 is orbiting to souvenir some local exotic flora to bring back for the occasion.
Dr Smith commences snipping some local plants down on the planet. Every time he does this he hears a faint groan. Next he is confronted by a talking carrot who tells him it has just witnessed his crime. “You murdered them”, announces the carrot. “You shouldn’t have done that”.
Don and John head the ship down to the Planet in pursuit of Smith. They use machetes to hack through thick jungle to reach the point they believe the space pod may have landed. With each cut of a vine or branch, they too begin to hear muffled screams of pain.
The giant carrot, who is really a rogue alien botanist named Tybo, captures Don, John and Maureen and imprisons them. However they discover a trapdoor which leads to an underground room and their eventual escape.
Tybo‘s plans to turn the Robinsons into plants are thwarted. Dr Smith however does a pretty fair impersonation of a celery stick for most of the episode. Tybo begins to lose energy through dehydration. The Robinsons take this as their cue and make a hasty lift-off in the Jupiter 2 from the planet.
This penultimate episode of LOST IN SPACE is the series ‘Jump the Shark’ moment – before that term had even been invented.
It happens to all tv shows – eventually. When the well has long ago run dry in the storyline department and there appears just no more, what could reasonably be termed ‘organically conceived’ scenarios the writers can come up with to place the characters in; yet finances and signed contracts dictate that more episodes need be made,
What’s to do? If you’re a television executive you don’t need to go searching far for the answer. Introduce a gimmick, of course! The cheesier the better. In fact, preferably one that shouts from the rooftops “This series is creatively spent” and then adds as an afterthought “and the sound you hear is the bottom of the barrel being well and truly scraped.”
LOST IN SPACE had featured a number of entertaining, botanically themed episodes over it’s three seasons prior to this misshapen mistroke. But with THE GREAT VEGETABLE REBELLION, things just got too redonkulous and numbatish to take seriously- even as (camp) comedy.
I wouldn’t even say it was my least favorite episode. That dishonor probably goes to any number of Season Two stories – most notably MUTINY IN SPACE – THE QUESTING BEAST – and possibly THE PHANTOM FAMILY.
But when you hear interviews with members of the show’s cast pointing out that this episode did indeed mark a low point in the series, you think back to your own instincts as a child and that voice that whispered in your ear, something along the lines of “These babytown frolics are just absurd!” Ok, that’s my adult voice talking, but you get the idea.
Thankfully there’s still one more episode of LOST IN SPACE to look back on. Then it will be time to bring down the curtain on the series, and with it this blog. That’s good news, ’cause I wouldn’t want to go out like this, such as it has been – not-so-great-rotting-veggie rebellion and all. Tee hee.