The reason that I'm writing this article is as a tribute to Guy Williams. This is one of the few episodes where Williams has the opportunity to shine, without Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) stealing the limelight (sorry Dr. Smith, but I love you too.)
The episode begins with Will and Dr. Smith. Will is reading a book aloud to Dr. Smith. The book is about alternate dimensions, universes, and realities. The book also mentions a dark parallel world called the antimatter world. In this world everyone has an opposite duplicate of himself or herself
Next is shown John Robinson and the Robot. They have taken out the atomic motors from the Jupiter 2 and are working on them outside. The motors are huge… and John is standing in between them. John orders the Robot to turn the nuclear motors on. As the Robot does this, a duplicate of John Robinson suddenly appears. The duplicate is John’s antimatter evil-self. The duplicate is wearing chains, one around his neck and others about his arms. He is dressed in a black and white uniform.
A lightning storm begins when the duplicate appears. The Robot becomes alarmed and shuts down the atomic motors. When he does this, both John Robinson and his antimatter self disappear.
Don and Will rush to the Robot to find out what’s going on. The Robot tells them that when he turned on the nuclear motors, John disappeared. Frantic, Will wants to go after his father immediately. However, Don thinks it would be safer to wait until the electric storm passes through.
Maureen, Penny and Judy are all upset that John is missing. Don convinces them all to go to bed, and that they would find John the next morning when the electrical storm had passed. Will, however, cannot sleep. He goes back outside to where the nuclear motors are sitting. The Robot is also outside by the nuclear motors. Will and the Robot decide that they will recreate the accident in which John disappear. Will and the Robot turn on the nuclear motors and get between them. After a few seconds they both disappear.
Meanwhile, the evil antimatter John Robinson and John Robinson are in the antimatter universe. Huge white boulders are everywhere. The evil antimatter John begins to drag matter john with a chain down a pathway of small white trees with no leaves.
Evil antimatter John pulls the chain and good matter John falls upon his face on the pathway. When good matter John looks up, there is also an evil antimatter duplicate of Don. Evil antimatter Don looks scruffy and dirty.
Evil antimatter John tells good matter John that he’s taking his place in the matter world and commands him to trade clothes. Evil antimatter John takes the chain from around his neck and places it around good matter John’s neck. Evil antimatter John then unzips his uniform and we see a deep scar around his neck from the shackles. Evil antimatterJohn leaves good matter John with evil antimatter Don so that he can imprison John.
Will and the Robot appear on a pathway between time and space. The pathway appears to be floating and a foggy mist seems to emanate from it. They finally reach the door to the antimatter universe. The door is outlined by fire for a few seconds then the fire dies down. Will and the Robot walk through and discover that they cannot move. There are huge white boulders everywhere. Suddenly the boulders move and leave the scene. After the boulders are gone, Will and the Robot can move and they find a pathway of small white leafless trees and begin to walk down it.
Suddenly Will and the Robot come across John on the pathway. Will is overjoyed to see his father and runs into antimatter John's arms and hugs him. Will and John walk down the pathway hand-in-hand, but Will does not realize that it is evil antimatter John and that his real matter father has been imprisoned.
When antimatter John, Will, and the Robot all return to the matter universe everything seems happy and back to normal. However the Robot seems to distrust John. The family wants to have a party to celebrate John’s return, but antimatter John becomes oddly serious and says that there’s no time for it… they need to get the Jupiter 2 ready and have it space-worthy immediately. Don and Maureen try to convince John to allow the children to have the party. John thinks for a moment and decides to go ahead and let the children have the celebration. At the party strange things happen to people who get too close to the antimatter John Robinson. Both Will's and Don's watches start working backwards and Penny's tape machine plays songs backwards.
After the party, antimatter John wants everyone working to get the Jupiter 2 back in space. John has an angry confrontation with Dr. Smith. Maureen attempts to calm him down, but John angrily turns on Maureen and tells her if he wants her opinion, he will ask her for it. Hurt, Maureen turns away and follows the girls inside the Jupiter 2 to prepare for work. Don tells John that he was way out of line with Maureen. John admits he was wrong, but the only reason that he wants the Jupiter 2 up and running is because he is worried about his family. Don seems convinced with John’s story. However, Will eyes John strangely and doesn’t seem to trust his father as he used to do.
That night Will has a strange dream of his father screaming out for his help. Will goes to the main deck of the Jupiter 2 where the Robot is waiting. Will tells the Robot about his dream and his doubts about his father. The Robot says that the John they have is Will's father, but at the same time, he is not. The Robot explains that the John that they have with them is the antimatter John and that he is evil. Will and the Robot decide that they will both return to the antimatter world to find the real John. However, Will and the Robot are unaware that the evil antimatter John had secretly listened to their entire conversation.
The Robot activates the nuclear motors while Will stands between the two machines. Before the Robot can join Will, antimatter John strikes the Robot with a steel pipe and he falls down. Will disappears to the antimatter world. Antimatter John runs between the two atomic motors and also disappears to the antimatter world. Since there are two Johns in one world, lightning storms are brewing in both.
Due to all the commotion, Don and Dr. Smith rush outside and find the fallen Robot lying next to the nuclear motors. They right the Robot and he explains everything that has happened. The Robot moves to stand between the motors and tells Don to turn them on. Dr. Smith dashes to the Robot to argue, and when Don turns on the motors, both Dr. Smith and the Robot disappear. Dr. Smith and the Robot are both now in the antimatter world. They began to follow the pathway of leafless white trees.
Will is already far ahead upon the leafless white tree pathway. Will hears the antimatter John coming after him and begins to run. As Will runs down the pathway he is stopped by antimatter Don who is blocking the path. Will turns around and antimatter John is right behind him. Both antimatter John and antimatter Don take Will to a cave that is guarded by a red alien monster. Inside the cave are the antimatter Robot and the matter John. Will sees that they have his father imprisoned inside a cage hanging from the ceiling.
John tells them to leave Will alone and allow him to go back to the matter world. Antimatter John says that he is planning to take Will back with him. Will refuses saying he will not leave his true matter father. Antimatter Don wants to know when he will trade places with matter Don. Antimatter John tells him to be patient. then antimatter John leaves, forcing Will to go with him. It is also quite obvous that antimatter John never plans to exchange antimatter Don with matter Don.
The Robot and Dr. Smith are moving up the pathway of leafless white trees. Antimatter John hears them coming from the oppisite direction, covers Will’s mouth with his hand, and hides them both until the Robot and Dr. Smith have walked by. Antimatter John and Will continue to the misty pathway that lies between the two worlds.
Inside his cage in the cave, matter John starts a fight with antimatter Don and eventually knocks him out and escapes from his cage. Dr. Smith and the Robot show up and the Robot knocks out the red alien monster guard. John leaves to confront his doppelgänger. The Robot confronts his antimatter self. The antimatter Robot is encaged because of his horrible ways. He calls the Robot a ‘punk’ and tells him to go away. The Robot leaves and the antimatter Robot sings “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
Will tries to tell the antimatter John that he cannot get away with what he is doing. Antimatter John says that there is nothing Will can do about it. Will tells the antimatter John that he is not his father. However, the antimatter John insists that he is. Antimatter John basically tells Will that he’s a only a little boy and that there is really nothing he can do about it. Antimatter John then continues to force Will along the pathway.
Matter John eventually finds the misty pathway in between worlds and begins to run after antimatter John and Will. Matter John finally catches up to them and yells Will’s name. Antimatter John pushes Will behind him and confronts the matter John. They begin fighting a knock 'em - sock 'em fight-out. However, matter John wins when he throws antimatter John off the pathway between universes. The real John and Will are reunited and they hug-it-out. Now all the family is reunited at the Jupiter 2. The real John is busy hugging-it-out with his entire family. The episode ends with Dr. Smith claiming to have saved the day (as usual).
NOTES: This is said to be a favorite of both Guy Williams and Mark Goddard due to their dual roles. The antimatter John Robinson is supposed to be evil. Whatever he had done in his world, he was punished by being chained and imprisoned. However, everyone is supposed to have an antimatter duplicate, but we don't see this with Will, Penny, Judy, Maureen, or even Dr. Smith. Perhaps their alternate selves weren't bad enough to warrent imprisonment so they're not seen. Certainly, Dr. Smith's opposite self had to have been good. We do see two other examples....antimatter Don and antimatter Robot. Don's opposite truly seems sinister and evil...almost nasty in appearance. The Robot's opposite just seems like he's fallen upon hard times rather than being truly evil. However, it is antimatter John who is most baffling. He might have been evil, but he was just as smart at the matter John Robinson. The same can't be said of antimatter Don. Although antimatter John has a temper and is at times short with his family, he often appeared to care about them. This is seen when antimatter John first sees Will and wraps his arms around Will and embraces him. Also antimatter father and matter son walk hand-in-hand down the pathway in the antimatter world. Antimatter John is also seen embracing wife, Maureen and daughers, Judy and Penny. While it's true that antimatter John could have been pretending....one does not know this for sure. He seems sincere when he embraces Will...then holds hands with him. He also appears sincere when he embraces his wife and daughtes. One can only guess that antimatter John had an antimatter wife and children of his own....and truly cared for his matter family as well. Antimatter John had several chances to destroy Will, who kept threatening that he would tell the family that he was the wrong John Robinson. However, antimatter John NEVER even considers this. Also, Will tells the antimatter John that he is NOT his father...however, antimatter John insists that he IS Will's father. Later when matter John confronts antimatter John on the pathway between worlds...we see antimatter John push Will behind him in an effort to profect Will. Could this evil antimatter man actually feel a type of love towards his matter family? It would appear so.
There really is a such thing as antimatter. Scientist have been able to produce antimatter in VERY small quantities, and it doesn't last long in the our matter world. However, if a large portion of matter coincided with a large portion of antimattter...this would cause an enormous explosion. IF antimatter John had really come to the matter world, he wouldn't last long...for he'd explode in our matter world. It would also have been impossible for Will to hold hands with his antimatter father, for one was matter and the othe antimatter. This would have also produced a huge explosion. As of current scientific facts, matter and antimatter cannot coexist together.
- Mark Goddard and Bill Mumy have cited this as among their favorite episodes.
- When Don and Will head back to the ship during the storm at the end of the first scene in Act One, they walk towards the camera with the camera centering on the Robot, the take ending with a close-up of the Robot's panel. The shot is not in focus but the lettering on the buttons can be seen.
- At the end of the climactic fight scene, when the stunt man falls off the bridge, you can see the dust from the mattress that he falls on.
- Anti-matter and matter annihilate each other upon contact. What would be more plausible is that this involves an alternate universe as posited by the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics,
- The prop book that is supposed to contains description of weird, unexplained legends of the past is a religious work, as evidenced by this image of the page that appears before the one with the Shadow World graphic.
- When Will and the robot enter the Anti-Matter world, the shadows of stage hands can be seen moving the large rocks.
- Why does the Robot develop a stutter when he enters the Shadow World?
- When trying to block out the sound of the moving rocks, Robot puts his hooks up to his bubble as a person would put hands up to their ears. Does this actually block out the noise?
- Why does Anti-Robot say “this is opposite world” when speaking of his own dimension? If he’s lived there all his life, one would think that from his point of view, his world would be the real one and our world would be opposite.
- Why didn’t we get a glimpse of the Anti-Smith? If he was a proper opposite, he would have been a great guy! Honest, loyal, brave, hard-working, kind, generous... of course, with qualities like that he most likely got killed off rather quickly in the nasty Shadow World.
- Shadows are visible on the backdrop during several of the lightning flashes.