A one-eyed cyclops creature delivers a strange looking electrical box to the Robinson’s spaceship. It broadcasts a sternly-worded message –
“Attention! Attention! By order of the Galaxy Tribunal of Justice you are hereby notified that charges have been brought against you for crimes committed in space”.
Everyone is indicted except Dr Smith. An energized fence surrounds the Jupiter 2 effectively placing all members of the Robinson’s under house arrest until they have testified. The family believe they have done nothing wrong and if they have contravened any of the laws of space then it was inadvertently.
Professor Robinson is summoned first to appear before the tribunal. He steps forward into the ‘molecular transfer beam’ that transports him to a mist-shrouded alien courtroom. He is cautioned to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’. A ‘memory machine’ is then activated. John Robinson is forced to watch on a B & W screen scenes from their first days in space after lift-off from Earth. He is cross-examined as to why he veered off-course.
Major West is next to testify. He is questioned as to why he negligently left a wrench floating in space on one of his early spacewalks. Meanwhile Smith is increasingly worried that any wrongdoings will eventually be traced back to him.
Will then takes his turn on the stand. He is accused of shortening the life span of ‘bubble creatures’ (Season One) by entering their freezing chamber. Will pleads –
“Maybe we HAVE made some mistakes in the past Sir and we’re sorry about them. But couldn’t you just forget them and let us start over?”
The head of the tribunal – Judge ‘Ico‘- responds –
“You ask for the impossible. The wheels of justice have been put into motion. They must travel their course.”
Realizing his worst fears, the next day Dr Smith is informed he too must testify. So overcome with worry is he he misses breakfast. The robot then hatches a plan to assist Dr Smith to escape the enclosed camp at night so he won’t have to testify the next morning. Smith and Will dig under the electric fence and escape into the night.
The next day Smith is summoned but he is unable to be found. Will admits to the aliens he and the robot aided Dr Smith‘s escape. Smith eventually returns to the Robinson’s camp and reluctantly agrees to appear before the tribunal.
The memory machine flashes back to (Season One) scenes of Dr Smith reprogramming the robot to kill the Robinsons. It also shows scenes of him using a lazer pistol to inflict torture on an alien creature who refused to answer his questions (presumably because it could not understand or reply in English).
The Robinsons are eventually found not guilty by the tribunal who recommends their case be dismissed. They do however conclude Dr Smith is responsible for all the space crimes the Robinsons were accused of. They recommend Dr Smith be punished ‘to the limit of the law’.
The Robinsons, meanwhile, sign a petition to the aliens requesting Dr Smith be granted clemency based on his ‘unsoundness of mind’. Smith protests but eventually accepts the Robinsons’ gesture.
The tribunal finds that an individual who is deemed mentally incompetent cannot be held responsible for his actions and therefore the case against Dr Smith is
dismissed dis-smithed. The alien court’s final decree is that, being of unsound mind, Smith must have someone make his decisions for him.
Accordingly, Judge Ico places Dr Smith in the custody of the robot. The episode ends with Smith protesting he is not insane and that he knew exactly what he was doing all along.
PS. Since a sizable portion of this episode of LOST IN SPACE is comprised of flashbacks to Season One scenes, I can’t rightly label THE PRISONERS OF SPACE a classic episode as such. It is definitely however one of my FAVOURITE episodes of season two.
PSS. To conclude, a timely message from the cast…