The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 4 Episode 6

The Night of the Kraken

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Nov 01, 1968 on CBS

Episode Recap

Jim arrives at the Crown Point docks in San Francisco and finds the fishermen sitting on the docks while shops refuse them credit. The agent goes to the Mermaid Tavern and orders a drink, and bearded zealot named Daniel comes up and preaches about the coming of Leviathan. Jim makes a donation to the man out of pity as Artie arrives, posing as a crippled Portuguese fisherman. He dismisses Daniel as a demented evangelist and explains that the naval authorities have banned Portuguese fisherman at Crown Point from going out on the water since several of them have been killed. The agents are there to meet Lt. Dave Bartlett, an old friend, who contacted them and asked for a private meeting because he's learned of something that he can't report to even his superior, Admiral Charles Hammond.

Bartlett arrives and apologies for the secret, admitting he doesn't know who he can trust. Before he can explain, several men come in and Dave tells the agents that they've been following him. He asks Jim and Artie to meet him in back in five minutes and Jim walks to the back hallway with him. When the men comes after him, Jim attacks them while Artie leans against a wall and watches. As he does so, he hears the sound of machinery coming through the wall. After Artie helps knock the last man out, the agents run to the back only to see a giant tentacle descending into the water. They also find Dave's crushed body on the dock and the empty folder he was holding.

The next morning, Jim and Artie go to the San Francisco naval base and end up talking to Hammond's aide, Commander Beech. Beech is more concerned with Dave going outside of channels than his death, but Hammond comes in and interrupts him. The agents admits that Dave was killed before they could find out what he learned, and Hammond suggests that the party responsible for the deaths is the kraken, a mythical giant squid that has been forced to the surface by some cataclysm. The admiral has formed an oceanographic commission to find a way to track and kill the kraken. Hammond's wife Dolores comes in and reminds Beech about his offer to take her riding. She reminds her husband about his staff meeting and invites Jim and Artie to stay, but they decline.

Portuguese fisherman Jose Aguila barges into Hammond's office and demands that he lift the ban before they starve due to lack of work. Hammond refuses, saying that it's better to starve than to die, but Aguila insists that he will fish no matter what. He leaves and Hammond tells his aide, Lt. Barclay, to arrest Aguila for his own safety. Once the agents are alone, Jim follows Aguila to talk to the fisherman while Artie searches Dave's quarters for clues.

Jim tracks Aguila to a different tavern and orders him a drink. The fisherman is skeptical of the government agent and warns that Navy officers aren't popular since the fishing ban. Six uniformed sailors come in and Jim warns Aguila that they're imposters, wearing outdated Civil War uniforms. Aguila cuts an overhead net down, tangling the thugs up, and the two men take on the rest. After they take out the imposters, Jim warns Aguila that he's a wanted man and they leave via the window before the real Navy can arrive.

Artie searches Dave's room and lights a lamp. He hears something rattling inside and finds a key marked "Neptune 7" hidden in the base. Three thugs come in and tell Artie to give them the key. He seemingly tosses it on the floor but when they go for it, the smoke grenade explodes in their face and Artie walks out.

As Aguila and Jim walk down the street, Daniel comes by again, recognizing Jim from earlier. As he rants about Leviathan again, he hints that another "donation" would be appreciated. Jim pays him and asks when Leviathan is coming, but Daniel simply says that it will be soon and walks away. The agent realizes that Aguila has boarded his fishing boat and leaps aboard before Aguila can pull away from the dock.

Artie tracks down the Neptune Storage Warehouse and gets inside using Dave's key. Looking around, he finds a state-of-the-art self-contained diving helmet.

As Aguila prepares to fish despite the ban, the two men see something rising out of the deeps. The kraken attacks the boat, knocking Jim overboard. As it pulls Aguila underwater, Jim grabs the fisherman's machete and manages to cut one of its tentacles. He's unable to save Aguila but gets back to the boat with the piece of tentacle.

When Jim meets Artie back at the Wanderer, he shows his partner what the tentacle really is: a piece of galvanized rubber with a hollow tube in the center. They go to see Hammond and Beech and show them the evidence that the creature is a fake. Beech isn't convinced but Hammond orders him out. When the agents wonder why someone would fake a monster, Hammond explains that Admiral Farragut is coming to San Francisco aboard the Missouri, the Navy's newest ironclad. The admiral has Barclay deliver a message to Farragut to avoid Crown Point. Dolores comes in with a bottle of port for her husband and asks Jim to join her in the garden to see her prize daisies.

Jim accepts Dolores' offer while Hammond tells Artie that he has something that is the key to the murders. However, the wine bottle begins emitting smoke and Artie tries to warn Hammond. The bomb goes off, alerting Jim outside. He runs in and finds Artie, protected by furniture, and Hammond's corpse. Beech and his men arrive to put out the fire while Dolores sob over her dead husband. The agents try to work out what Hammond was going to show Artie and notice that an aquarium case was jarred loose in the blast. Behind it they find a hidden compartment holding a model of an underwater fortress.

Artie takes the model back to the train while Jim escorts Dolores to the hospital. When he returns, Artie shows him the model and explains that it relies on air from a conduit attached to a fixed shore installation. He figures that the installation is at the Mermaid Tavern where he heard the compressor sounds and prepares to head back. Jim calculates the position of the fortress' submarine airlock and realizes that it's at the spot where Aguila was killed, and takes Dave's diving helmet to swim down to it.

Jim and Artie row out to the spot in the harbor and they agree to meet later at the fortress. Using the helmet, Jim dives down and finds the submarine airlock just in time. Going in, he finds Beech... dead at a desk. Dolores and her henchmen come in and she explains that Beech ultimately was loyal to Hammond, not her. She explains that her husband built the fortress but was too unambitious to put it to use. Her partner steps out: Daniel, now clean-shaven and wearing a military-uniform. He explains that they stole Hammond's plans for both the fortress and an underwater self-propelled missile with a magnetic tracker. Daniel and Dolores have built both and plan to sell them to a foreign power, but they want a demonstration of the missile and Farragut's ironclad will make the perfect target. When Jim points out that Farragut isn't coming, Daniel tells him that he intercepted Hammond's warning and has his men tie Jim up.

After returning to shore, Artie disguises himself as a Swedish mechanic and goes to the Mermaid Tavern claiming he was hired to repair the compressor. The bartender falls for it and Artie goes through a private door downstairs. When he runs into the real mechanic, Artie knocks him out with a gas-filled balloon and disguises himself as the man.

Dolores tells Jim, tied to a pipe, that he damaged the hydraulic kraken during his struggle, and Jim realizes they used it to scare away the fishermen and shut down the area so they could build the base in peace. Daniel comes back and tells Dolores that it's time. They watch through a periscope as the Missouri arrives in the harbor and the technicians arm the missile. Artie sneaks in, disguised as the mechanic, and hooks a chain to Jim's pipe and the compressor wheel. The engine pulls the pipe loose and the thugs attack the two agents. They stun Artie but then run to put out the fire caused by the broken wheel. Jim goes to the launch panel but discovers he's too late to stop the launch. Dolores slips out and the agents run after her, closing the main door behind them. Artie chases Dolores while Jim swims up through the submarine airlock and catches up to the slow-moving missile. He reverses the polarity and swims clear just in time as the missile moves back to the base and destroys it, killing Daniel and his men.

Later, Artie and Jim are aboard the Wanderer and Artie notices that his partner is reading a book he doesn't recognize. Jim reluctantly explains that it is a gift from a friend they helped, playboy Irving Moore. Since he's getting married, Moore sent them his little black book of available women. Artie offers Jim any of his books in return for Moore's book, and Jim refuses. The two banter back and forth and Artie finally jokingly threatens Jim to get him to turn it over.