Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 2 Episode 5

Escape From Venice

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Oct 24, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
13 votes
  • Another fun romp. Spies, secret codes, girls, exotic locale....

    This is another episode that could have transferred straight over to "The Man From Uncle"--right down to the innocent civilian caught up in the intrigue. Seaview again is merely a means of transportation. Of course, Crane does spend a lot of time in the water, so that makes it a sea-worthy episode.

    The plot kicks into high gear almost instantly, as what appears to be a casual shore-leave turns out to be a meeting between agents. Crane still needs a little work at this spy business. Even if the gondolier hadn't turned out to be a bad guy, it surely is not a good idea to exchange secret information while trapped on a boat with a stranger just a few feet from you. The glamorous agent has just enough time to pass Crane a translation code in the form of a tune before she ends up dead and Crane ends up in the canal. The Venice police must have a pretty high standard for shooting. In the dark, at a fair distance and moving in the water, Crane gets himself shot. And accused of murder.

    Learning of the situation, Nelson immediately plans to head to Venice. He contacts the Nelson Institute. Lola, secretary of the week (Nelson goes through them fast!) so far forgets herself as to ask after Captain Crane by his first name. (Well...can't blame her, I guess.) Nelson brings Stu Riley along, as he has a background in music. Chief Sharkey is initially brought along to pilot the Flying Sub, only to sit in the co-pilot's seat while Nelson does the flying. Sharkey does, however, have other talents which will prove handy.

    Meanwhile, on the other side, the bad guys are mobilizing to track Crane down. I rather suspect that at least one police officer is in Count Staglione's pocket. Consider: while removing Alicia's body and investigating the murder site, the police somehow missed picking up the pendant Crane dropped as he went over the side, even though it's lying out in plain sight. The police officer who confronts Crane makes no attempt whatsoever to call for assistance, throughout the remarkably long chase sequence in the water. And finally--how many police officers carry switchblades?

    One thing that I really admired about this episode is that Crane is presented as an ordinary human, with human reactions. Wounded, he doesn't put on a stiff upper lip and ignore it for the rest of the show. He's in pain, and he weakens steadily. He has to visibly gather himself for the effort of reaching into the gondola to retrieve the pendant. Adrenalin probably kept him going throughout the chase and fight with the police officer, but it took its toll on him afterward, as he goes staggering (and falling) through the dark streets in search of the safe house. When the reluctant Bellini grabs him by the arm to try and make him leave, Crane bellows in pain, and shortly afterwards passes out. He does perk up after a rest, although I found it unbelievable that neither he nor Bellini thought to wrap on a bandage.

    Stu Riley needs a little work on the spy business, as well. Rather than running to get some paper to write the notes down when the street musician began playing outside his window, he should have concentrated on memorizing the tune first. As it was, there's another victim of intrigue before Riley could get all the information.

    The scene between Crane and the hapless schoolteacher from Ohio was excellent. Dirty and bleeding and on the run from a murder charge, he managed to get her to believe him. (No wonder the secretaries keep falling for him.) The scene between Betty and Nelson, on the other hand, was a trifle heavy-handed, although it's fun to watch Nelson. Exasperated and impatient with this silly schoolteacher intruding on him, he manages to remain fairly civil--although sitting turned away from her as she spoke was rather rude. He snaps to full attention, however, as she proudly shows off her purchase--a damaged--but genuine--crane.

    Considering that Nelson came openly to Venice and was fully aware that the bad guys were on to him, you'd think that he would have been more cautious about speaking with Betty in public, not to mention seeing that she was taken someplace safe. He discovers his mistake fairly quickly, as the bugging device he hid in the Count's casino picks up the sound of Betty spilling her guts after being injected with truth serum. He sends Riley to retrieve the Captain, rather than Sharkey, as was the original plan. Sharkey, who seems to have had a very interesting childhood, goes along with Nelson to help rescue the schoolteacher--plus Riley and Crane, as it turns out. Riley and Crane fought the good fight (or at least Hedison's stuntman did--it was a bit obvious) but ended up overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

    Like any good television bad guy, the Count can't resist Nelson's stall, and allows him one spin at the roulette wheel before giving Crane the truth serum. Sharkey's rigging of the wheel goes off as planned, and they all get away in the ensuing pandemonium--while the Count gets himself accidently killed by his own henchman.

    The schoolteacher presumably returns to Ohio with some interesting memories of Venice, and Crane gets his chance to sing out the code--although Lola probably was wishing he would serenade her with some other music. He's got a nice voice.