Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 1 Episode 19

Doomsday

0
Aired Monday 7:30 PM Jan 18, 1965 on ABC
9.5
out of 10
User Rating
9 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
The Seaview's missile officer balks at doing his job when the sub goes into fail-safe mode.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Hypocritical

    9.6
    I find it really odd that when a commander goes against orders and handles the missle situation his way, Admiral Nelson acknowledges that although his actions saved everyone's lives, he was still going to have him court-marshalled for disobeying orders.



    Yet when Lee does the same thing and MUTINIES a couple episodes back, no one suggests court marshalling him for not following the chain of command. And he held a gun on the Admiral! Now it's true that Admiral Nelson was not of sound mind and body at the time, but the visiting admiral was and Crane would still have been subordinate to him.moreless
  • This is a very tense, nail-biter of a show, but because of its content, I'm not sure that it dates very well.

    9.0
    I really don't know how this show would have gone over when it was first presented, but nowadays, you can't help thinking that Corbett had a point.



    It starts out well, the opening teaser showing missiles going up and the military and the President getting antsy. Returning from the opening credits, Crane and Co. seem to be fully aware of the situation, looking tense and even grim as they count off the seconds to their destination. Then suddenly the tension breaks, and we realize that it's something else entirely.



    My Dad was in the Coast Guard, and long, long ago, I watched a home movie that he took aboard his ship of a King Neptune ceremony for the crossing of the equator. Apparently a strict protocol is observed, because my Dad's film looked remarkably like the one on the Seaview--but his was spread out over the whole forward deck of the ship.



    The silliness comes to a crashing halt when the alarm is sounded, and they quickly realize that it is not a drill--they are actually preparing for a nuclear war. The unexpected accident with Kowalski just piles on more tension. The episode yanks the tension to the breaking point, loosens it, tightens it again (and adds even more) before coming to its conclusion. The interactions between the characters are wonderfully done, and it is an exciting episode.



    However....



    It does raise a lot of questions. Why is a visiting officer involved with Failsafe, instead of one of Crane's permanent officers, like O'Brien? Failsafe appears to be a first-strike weapon, yet everybody on board seems to assume that setting it off is literally going to mean the end of everything. No one seems to think that they, under the sea, might possibly survive the ensuing situation.



    Corbett freezes up when he considers the consequences of his actions (and can we really blame him?) Crane can see things from his point of view, and asks Nelson to give him a second chance. Nelson has another conversation with Corbett, and it is very clear that Corbett is still of the same mind about the situation--and yet Nelson still gives him that second chance. Why?



    The initial emergency over, the Seaview is in enemy waters with a bunch of destroyers wanting to know what the heck they are doing there. Because the fourth missile is stuck, and due to explode at the surface (and what's the point of exploding a missile out in open water?) the Seaview cannot rise to the surface to explain what was going on. Well, why can't they just radio them and explain? (And I'd love to hear that explanation: "Well, we're here in your territory because we were planning to blow you up if necessary....")



    The whole situation with Corbett and that last missile was very confusing. At the end, Corbett indicated that he had left the missile rigged to explode at the surface, in order to force the world to see what nearly happened. Yet, prior to that, we see him working frantically with the crew to try and stop the missile. His expressions and behavior show him just as concerned about the situation as anyone else. When he is about to push the button that will safely fire the missile, the usual lurching of the ship throws him away from the button. Nelson yells down to the missile room, and Corbett yells back in an anguished tone that he didn't have time to hit the button. Nelson sees that they are still deep enough to safely fire it--but Corbett says, "Negative!" He offers no explanation why--and Nelson doesn't ask for one. In the last frantic moments, Nelson is tossing out suggestions, and mentions the missile's fuel. Corbett pounces on that, yanks open a fuel valve, and releases a quantity of fuel. He says that hopefully this will cause the missile to fizzle out before reaching the surface, and simply fall back to the bottom. And in spite of everything that he says to Nelson afterwards--that is precisely what does happen--exactly as Corbett said it would.



    Nelson states to Crane that if Corbett had followed orders, the Seaview would have been destroyed. By disoybeying them, he saved them. Yet, when Nelson was talking with the President about opening Failsafe for a few moments, the President stated that he was taking a big risk in order to SAVE the Seaview.



    I did like the ending, with Crane taking readings with an old-fashioned sextant. There's no explanation why. Had some of their high-tech equipment failed, or did Crane simply want to hark back to an earlier time, when they had no worries about Doomsday?moreless
Paul Carr

Paul Carr

Clark

Guest Star

Ford Rainey

Ford Rainey

President

Guest Star

Paul Genge

Paul Genge

General Ashton

Guest Star

Del Monroe

Del Monroe

Kowalski

Recurring Role

Paul Trinka

Paul Trinka

Patterson

Recurring Role

Robert Dowdell

Robert Dowdell

Chip Morton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Uncredited roles:

      Sy Prescott (Corporal), Patrick Culliton (Radarman)

    • When the officers are inserting their keys for the failsafe system the first time, we don't actually see Crane insert his--it is already in. This is because David Hedison had some problems getting the key to work, as can be seen in the blooper reel that is part of the Season One DVD set.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Nelson: ...if plans made during periods of calm are not followed through to the letter in times of stress, we can only face chaos. Our survival as a nation, and as individuals requires that we rely upon reason and not emotions.

  • NOTES (1)

    • According to the book Science Fiction Television Series, both Richard Basehart and David Hedison asked to meet with William Read Woodfield after reading the script. They told him, "This is the best script we've ever had. Please stay and write more."

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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