Lost in Space: Season 1, Episode 22

The Challenge (2 Mar. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Comedy | Family
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 52 users  
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John and Will fight a battle with an alien father and son that is to the death.



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Title: The Challenge (02 Mar 1966)

The Challenge (02 Mar 1966) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Will Robinson (as Billy Mumy)
The Ruler


The Robinson party meets Quano, a stoic twelve-year-old alien boy from a warrior race who's on the planet for a survival challenge. Since Will is near his age, a fight-challenge is offered. Will has no interest in fighting without reason, but Quano wants the challenge, in part to prove his superiority but also to prove his worthiness as heir apparent to his often-absent father, ruler of their male-dominated race. Quano finally goads Will into accepting, but Will doesn't know that, if he wins, Quano's family with have to destroy him and all witnesses. Dr. Smith surreptitiously learns of this and, threatened into silence, works to wear Will down with over-training before the contest, to save their lives. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

2 March 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Features the first occurrence of the Robot's laughter, that which he says is "only [his] computers being cleared" when Dr Smith asks what else "do we have to do" for work. See more »


During Professor Robinson's "Volta Blade" duel with the Leader, he splits a tree in half with his sword. One half of the large tree falls on the cord of his electronic sword, completely trapping it. In the next shot, the cord has come "untrapped" from the tree and is again swinging freely. See more »


Quano: I truly feel sorry for you, wasting your time in idle pursuits. It is unmanly.
Will Robinson: Now, let's not start THAT again.
Quano: But it is true! You are my age and still you act like a small boy.
Will Robinson: Well, whadda you expect me to do - go around stickin' my chest out, tellin' everyone what a tough guy I am?
See more »

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User Reviews

The Challenge
19 November 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I must admit that I had reservations going into "The Challenge", as I don't remember liking it much as a kid, but, surprisingly enough, I came away enjoying this far more than expected. Maybe it is the fact that seeing Kurt Russell, prior to his Disney years, as a firm, stolid, silent-type (similar to the Snake Plisskin character, with a certain honor and aggression fit for more the character that he portrays in this episode than what the later anti-hero possessed, having lost his faith in humanity or care for honorable intentions), having been raised to be strong, courageous, and tough-minded by his ruler father, or perhaps it's the "intergalactic fencing match" between Guy Williams (harkening back to his Zorro days, and boy is it awesome to see him go!) and Michael Ansara where their swords have over 50,000 volts that chop trees apart and blast rock. The plot is ever so simple: Kurt's Quano is to be ruler over his planet someday and he must prove to his warrior, prideful father that he is capable enough, with courage and skill fit to be a leader. Will, an earth boy considered quite a suitable match by Ansara's Ruler, is to be challenged by Quano, with the two boys competing in a series of duals, where they test each other's capabilities, their courage, mind-power, and strength (both mentally and physically). Ansara is a celebrated heavy, but seemed to often portray men-of-few-words, who had a commanding voice/presence. He's no different here, possessing his Ruler with an authority figure valor—he seems like a man able to command a people/nation/world. Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) wants to see what Quano and Ruler are talking about, so he has Robot eavesdrop, where it is learnt that if the alien boys loses to Will, the Robinson party are to be destroyed (no witnesses can be allowed to live if such a great prince loses to an insignificant earth boy—right away we realize father doesn't quite believe in his son, no matter how unimposing Will looks). Smith, always known to try everything he can to save his own hide, will attempt to "weaken" Will, by overexercise(!) or persuade him otherwise to lose to Quano (Don West (Mark Goddard) sees what he is doing and will question his underhanded efforts to do so, knowing there is a reason but unable to get this snake to reveal such a secret). This episode absurdly builds Will up as a worthy adversary to Quano, even having the little tyke take his "foe" down on the ground (this couldn't look more preposterous), and during the contests we see that he actually successfully competes against the alien boy. The two are tied and to get out of the plot contrivance that the Robinson party could perish if Quano were to lose, the "get out of jail free card" has John and Ruler engaging in a fencing duel(or Ansara calls it "Volta Blade" duel)—good for us, as it is quite entertaining. The "creature in the cave" that Quano wants to vanquish is an often used costume with a fly head attached (it seems that the Lost in Space crew would often attach any monster head to the same "rags" alien body costume). It is amusing seeing Ansara and Russell, their "neanderthal" treatment of the Robinson women, ordering Maureen and Penny to be silent and do as their told, as is the ways of their male people on their alien world.

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