Will Robinson has some very interesting relationships with adult women throughout the three year run of Lost in Space. Fortunately for him, both the character and direction of his mother, Maureen Robinson, have given him a good basis for having good interactions with the women he meets during his adventures. Regrettably, though, very few of the women Will meets are like his mother. In fact, Will’s contacts among adult women can be divided into three groups: women like Maureen, women very unlike Maureen, and one woman way out in left field.
Aunt Clara in season one’s “Return from Outer Space” falls into the first category; like Maureen, she is caring and loving to Will, and also like Maureen (quite often), she doesn’t necessarily believe his tall tales about his experiences in outer space. Verda, who appears in “The Android Machine” and “Revolt of the Androids” in season two also falls into the category of warm and supportive adult women in Will’s life.
Two other women, Effra (“The Space Croppers,” season one) and Athena (The Girl from the Green Dimension,” season two) are very unlike Maureen. Neither behaves responsibly towards Will; both treat him almost as a pet, objectifying him for his cuteness rather than valuing him for his qualities of character. There is a sinister, manipulative undertone to Effra’s conduct towards Will, and when she orders him to fetch a lock of Don’s hair, she is downright menacing. Athena never goes beyond treating Will as a pet, almost like a stray dog; there are a few moments in “The Girl from the Green Dimension” when the viewer is almost convinced that she plans to take him back to wherever she came from simply because she finds him so cute and green.
Niolani, the expedition leader in “The Colonists” (season two), by way of contrast, shows no interest in Will whatsoever beyond his gender-determined rôle of labourer; she can’t even be bothered remembering his name. Once or twice she might be seen as acting in a menacing manner towards him, but I think it is a mistake to interpret it thus. Niolani is so confident of herself and aware of her own rank and power, the “menace” she presents is not unlike the menace one might present towards a fly or mosquito one brushes away. Of course, this failure to actually enter into any relationship with Will and the other males among the crew of the Jupiter 2 (other than Dr. Smith) is the key to her downfall.
The best and most balanced relationships Will has with women are those with women who love and support him. Those relationships where he is undervalued and objectified, not accepted for who he really is, can barely be termed relationships at all.