Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 2 Episode 3

... And Five Of Us Are Left

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Oct 03, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A remarkable story of survival, courage, and friendship.

    The teaser for this episode occurs one month before the end of World War II. The U.S. Naval submarine Tetra had stopped to pull a Japanese survivor out of the water (presumably the Tetra was responsible for sinking his ship, although it's not mentioned.) As a result, the Tetra itself had come under attack by another Japanese ship.

    One of the crew panics under the barrage and insists that they come to the surface and surrender. Lt. Ryan, commanding the sub, orders him back to his post. Ryan's reaction hints that he's had trouble with this crewman before. Their attempt to fool the surface ship by becoming silent and releasing some oil is a failure. During the ensuing pandemonium, it can be noted that the fearful crewman is no longer at his position.

    The time jumps forward 28 years. A fisherman had found an old bottle with a recent message in it from the Tetra. It's a little confusing, because the news broadcast that tells the story implies that the Seaview has come to Hawaii specifically to confer with the Navy about mounting a possible rescue expedition--yet only Nelson and Chip Morton seem to know anything about it. All the men are hauled in from shore leave, including Captain Crane, who is interrupted at a most inauspicious moment. Crane's romantic little interlude (his only one in four seasons, apparently) seems rather gratuitous to the storyline, but it does provide a touch of humor. Sharkey's embarrassed reaction to interrupting his captain is priceless.

    The ship's officers (and the audience) are all brought up to date on the situation. We're told that there was one survivor of the Tetra, a man who accused Lt. Ryan of panicking and causing the loss of the ship. We're also introduced to a new crewman, Werden, who has an interesting reaction to the news that some of the Tetra's crew may be alive.

    The underground camp of the Tetra's survivors is beautifully set up. It's very rough and makeshift, yet as comfortable as they could make it. The five survivors are quickly whittled down to four, with one of them dying in a tunnel collapse--just as two other men had died 8 years previously.

    The characters of the survivors are well drawn. Lt. Ryan has held his steadily dwindling band together for 28 years. He has the hope to send out bottled messages at intervals, and to attempt to escape their underground cave by tunnelling out. However, when faced with a possibility of being found, he clamps down on his reactions, and tries to damp down the others' enthusiasm, because he doesn't want them to be hurt if it's not true. Nakamura is indomitable, his will to go on supporting all the others, fueled by his serene conviction that his people have won the war. Wilson is bitter and pessimistic, but that doesn't stop him from doing his fair share of the work, including looking after Johnson, who has been very ill and much weakened as a result. It will be seen that his character, however, is still very strong.

    Nelson and Werden (operating a special gadget that shows the underwater terrain) manage to find the tunnel that leads to the underwater cave, but the Flying Sub is damaged in the process. Nakamura, who was certain that it was his own people who were coming to the rescue, is stunned to find that they are Americans, and horrified to learn that Japan lost the war. This scene, by the way, is rather chilling, as Nakamura is crouching by some rocks with writing scrawled on it. We see that the writing is a list of names...and nearly all the names have been crossed off.

    Werden confronts Lt. Ryan and reveals that he is his son. Apparently, with the war on, Mrs. Ryan had been unable to send her husband the news of her pregnancy. Werden also reveals that, with the news of her husband's alleged cowardice, she had changed her name and moved away, eventually to die from the shame (but not before informing her son of what had happened). Werden had never considered the possibility that the story might not be true. Ryan, for his part, reacts rather oddly. He makes no attempt to deny the accusations--he doesn't even make any reaction to the news. He does, however, quickly guess how the story must have come about, and tells Nelson of his deserting crew member.

    Finding that his twenty-eight years of faith has crumbled, Nakamura takes temporary leave of his senses and sinks the Flying Sub, somehow seeing this as a gesture of victory. Wilson reacts as you might expect, but the dying Johnson intervenes, refusing to throw away almost 3 decades of friendship for a moment of madness. Nakamura is brought back to himself by this moving gesture.

    In the meantime, the volcano that has been rumbling on and off throughout the episode kicks into high gear. Captain Crane has somehow managed to manuver Seaview far enough into the tunnel to launch a rescue boat, and they all manage to get out--including Nakamura, who tried to make amends for his actions by remaining with Johnson's body, only to be hauled out by Ryan.

    Inexplicably, Wilson is not present at the ending scene on board the Seaview. Actually, there is a reason--Werden and Ryan moved off to begin their reconciliation, while Nelson tried to help Nakamura become reconciled to his situation. Wilson would have been in the way, but I wish they had tossed in a line of explanation--maybe he was still down in Sickbay getting checked over.

    The final lines with Nakamura and Nelson are quite lovely. A marvelous episode.
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