Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 4 Episode 7

Fatal Cargo

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Nov 05, 1967 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

Write A Review
out of 10
11 votes
  • The seaview hears the call of the wild, Crane goes missing and the Admiral gets given a dodgy pen.

    Not one of my favourite episodes at all. As soon as you see the infamous "white Gorilla" you know it's only a matter of time before its running wild on Seaview.

    That coupled with some totally ridiculous plot holes (even by voyage standards) makes you yearn for a series two classic.

    Here's a very brief rundown.

    A doctor friend of Nelson's is working on a device that seems to be really good at sending a "white" gorilla of its head. Quite why he decided to use this monster and extremely rare gorilla as a test subject is hard to fathom.

    Unfortunately he has picked up a scheming assistant along the way named Brock. He's a sly cunning selfish man who wants all the glory of the new device for just one

    As Nelson and Sharkey make their way to the Doctor's jungle camp in the flying sub, Brock decides to make his move. He plants a homing device on the Doctor and then activates the device so the gorilla will attack him.

    The gorilla wastes no time in being alerted and the doctor is helpless but just to make sure Brock tips him over in his chair. (He's a real beauty)

    In a nut shell Brock thinks Nelson will let the experiment die with the Doctor leaving him free to "rediscover" it and claim all the credit and cash.

    Unfortunately the Doctor was a friend of Nelson's and he's determined to carry on his work and make sure he gets the credit awarded posthumously.

    This leaves Brock secretly fuming and almost like in an episode of Columbo he ends up committing more crimes to hide the first. These include kidnap, murder, attempted murder and almost destroying Seaview by letting the Gorilla run wild on-board.

    A scene of total farce comes when they have the gorilla tied down in a cage in the missile room. (Some very obvious lines from Patterson so we are all aware how powerful the gorilla is)

    Brock skulks into the missile room looking guilty as hell and tells the guard he's just checking.

    The guard obligingly turns his back on Brock who then lands him a truly monumental blow with a wrench.

    Then we learn that Brock is "apparently" fully trained on the procedures of firing torpedoes aboard nuclear submarines.

    He stuffs the guards body into a torpedo tube operates the controls perfectly and shoots the body out into the ocean.

    The biggest gripe is to do with poor Captain Crane!

    Crane is absent from the bulk of this episode.

    It transpires that he knew Brock at some point in his past and would of told the Admiral what a toe rag he was. Brock ambushes him in the corridor (there always empty) and somehow gets the better of him in a fight! I doubt Brock could of achieved this especially with all the experience Crane has of punch ups!

    The result is Crane being trussed up like a turkey and his unconscious body being hidden so well by Brock (a total stranger to Seaview) that not even the rest of the crew could find it!

    I supposed the gorilla is done as well as possible but still looks fake.

    The one true star of this episode is Woodrow Parfrey who was ironically a decorated world war two hero. He makes the scheming cowardly Brock really come to life.

  • The central character bears a striking resemblance to the Mugatu of Star Trek's "A Private Little War", but Janos Prohaska plays him quite creditably, even sympathetically, helping to make this episode tense and exciting.

    The Flying Sub, piloted by Nelson and Sharkey, is zipping off to an unnamed jungle to meet up with Dr. Blanchard, who is preparing to give Nelson a demonstration of a special device he has created. As Blanchard speaks over the radio with Nelson, his assistant lurks furtively in the background, making some adjustments to what looks like a pen. Blanchard has created a device to control one of the most powerful creatures in existance. The assistant, Brock, points out that the man who presents this device to the world will gain recognition and honor. Brock is obviously hungry for that recognition (he's practically salivating) but Blanchard, like a certain other scientist we know, is far more interested in the knowledge to be gained and given to the world than in the honors that will accrue. (It's not surprising that we will learn that Nelson and Blanchard are good friends.) Brock hands Blanchard the item he was messing around with, which indeed turns out to be a pen. It's the one Blanchard had been using to make his notes, which will make it of historical interest. Blanchard is touched; he didn't think Brock was so sentimental. There is something aggravating about a thing we KNOW must be dangerous being presented in the guise of fellowship and goodwill. Our suspicions about that pen reach boiling point when Blanchard lays it aside and Brock instantly snatches it up and personally puts it in Blanchard's pocket. He then, very casually, picks up Blanchard's device from the table, steps away, and activates it. A white gorilla immediately appears, acting somewhat peeved. (The face is a little too plastic looking, but it behaves realistically--or at least the way we expect big, nasty gorillas to behave.) Blanchard is horrified; the gorilla has somehow gotten out of its cage (and we know just how). Brock knocks Blanchard down (not that he would have had much chance anyway) and runs, taking the device with him, leaving Blanchard to the mercies of the angry gorilla.

    Nelson, who had only been ten minutes away when Blanchard called in, arrives to find Blanchard dead. Brock claims that the subject went mad and broke loose. Blanchard's control device was a complete failure, and he, himself, barely escaped with his life. I was hoping that Nelson would note that Brock didn't seem to have a mark on him, and perhaps he did, even if he didn't say anything; he had a vaguely skeptical look on his face. Sharkey wants to know just what this "subject" was, and Nelson nonchalantly says that it is a gorilla, a rare, white gorilla at that. I'm curious as to just what Blanchard's experiments entailed; apart from the control device, Nelson says that his experiments led to the gorilla being developed into the most powerful specimen of its species. (So this makes Dr. Blanchard a personal trainer to a gorilla. Imagine the money he could have made in the body-building business!) Sharkey nervously points out that this gorilla is still loose, and Nelson remains oddly indifferent, probably because he's in full scientist mode. He's gotten hold of some papers. Brock quickly says that they are only rough notes, not worth much, but Nelson is fascinated, and directs Sharkey to gather up the rest of them. With just a few moments scanning, he is already certain that Blanchard was on the right track. They will continue his experiments in Santa Barbara. Brock, taken aback, points out that there is the little matter of recapturing the gorilla, and he doesn't think they can do it. Even if they did, the only mode of transport would be the Seaview. Nelson ignores the implied slight to his crew and his ship. He's going to see that his friend gets full credit for the work he did. You can see Brock seething in response to this, but he volunteers his assistance, even though he's sure it's a mistake. He goes on to claim that the device was destroyed during the attack, which, considering that he admitted that he was holding it at the time, sounds a little strange, but Nelson overlooks this. Nelson will order a shore party armed with tranquilizer guns, and prepares to pass the order to Crane. Brock reacts to the name. Would that be Lee Crane? It would, indeed. Brock fumblingly concedes that he had met Crane somewhere before. He then hands Nelson a pen, which belonged to Blanchard. Perhaps Nelson would like it as a memento. (More sentimental rubbish.) As Nelson and Sharkey head back to FS1, we get a shot of the gorilla, puttering about as gorillas will when left to their own devices. On the Seaview, Crane arranges for the shore party. Nelson mentions the name Leo Brock. Crane does not start as noticeably as Brock did, but he plainly recognizes the name, and not happily. Time enough to tell Nelson about him when he gets back on board. In the meantime, Crane will also prepare a holding facility for the gorilla.

    Nelson and Sharkey arm themselves with tranquilizer handguns, and go looking for signs of the gorilla before the shore party arrive. (Presumably they're coming to the shoreline of the jungle, and walking in.) Nelson is confident that they will find the gorilla, although Sharkey points out that it could be miles away by now. Sharkey calls the base, and Kowalski answers. (They must have moved fast! And Patterson is back!) Their seven-man party is in green fatigues, and they're armed with rifles. Nelson gives the order: no live ammo. Brock, watching the shore party move out, activates the device again. We see the gorilla start twitching, tilting his head and pawing at his ears. Presumably sound is a part of the control system. I don't know how they would have reacted back when this was first aired--gorillas were probably still being considered vicious, savage creatures rather than the gentle giants they are--but I felt sorry for the poor thing. It starts moving. Patterson and 'Ski hear its growls, which change to panting sounds. They start moving in, cautiously. Nelson and Sharkey can also hear it. Nelson abruptly seems a little nervous about the whole thing--I guess he's switched off scientist mode. The gorilla looms up behind them. They open fire, but as you might guess, the tranks don't seem to work. It grabs up a large rock, ready to heave. Nelson turns and trips, the pen falling from his pocket. They turn and resume shooting. The gorilla drops his rock and starts to move away. (This makes no sense. The pen is clearly intended for the gorilla to home in on, so he should go after the pen regardless of where it is.) The gorilla makes an odd "follow me" gesture before it moves off. Nelson and Sharkey are left wondering why it left, when it was so close to getting them. Sharkey picks up the pen. As soon as Nelson puts it back in his pocket, the gorilla returns, so we can't put his former disinterest down to the tranquilizers. Nelson and Sharkey run. Nelson's a little wobbly on his pins today; he falls again, while Sharkey is knocked aside by the gorilla. (I suspect that if a real gorilla got annoyed enough to throw a man, that man would not get up any time soon.) The gorilla turns to Nelson, and stands, making gorilla gestures. Nelson stares up at him, looking puzzled. Sharkey pours more tranks into the gorilla. Patterson, 'Ski and all the others (I thought they had split up?) arrive and open fire. Either the rifles had stronger tranquilizers, or the gorilla finally succumbed to the sheer amount pumped into his system; he finally collapses, right next to Nelson. (Lucky it wasn't right ON Nelson.) Nelson quickly smooths his ruffled composure, and orders the gorilla safely loaded on the Seaview. He delegates this job to Sharkey, who delegates it to the shore party, who, not having anyone else to delegate it to, gather together and heave the thing up.

    On the Seaview, Sharkey comes to the Control Room after having stowed their cargo. Brock follows him a few moments later. Crane dismisses Sharkey before he confronts Brock. Leo Brock is now a little more mature and a great deal more sucessful. (That's a matter of opinion, on both counts.) Crane is cold, Brock is condescending. He asks to be directed to the Missile Room, where he can see about the gorilla. At this point, Sharkey, a few feet down, turns and gives him an odd look. (Perhaps Brock had not shown any interest in the gorilla while they were ferrying it.) Crane reels off a set of directions that would only be comprehensible to a mariner, but Brock accepts them and goes on his way, leaving Crane looking rather unsettled. Brock seems unsettled, too; heading down a stairway, he pauses and looks back before continuing on. Back in the Control Room, Chip reports that the gorilla has been secured in the Missile Room. Crane gives him the course for Santa Barbara, at standard speed. (I wonder what speed is "standard"?) Chip comments on the gorilla, and Crane states that there is only one other like it. (And how would he know that? Or anyone else, for that matter?) He had ordered a sturdy cage and chains for it, but the hope is that the tranquilizers will keep it subdued. (No concern that the vast dosage might kill the creature.) Crane calls Nelson, who is in his cabin studying the notes. He reports the situation, then asks if Brock is in the cabin. As he is not, Crane goes on to say that he would like to discuss Brock with Nelson, and is invited down to the cabin. Nelson is looking thoughtful. He may not realize what Brock is doing, but I think that he is starting to question his motives. Down in the Missile Room, the crew looks at the gorilla, zonked out in a large cage, with all four limbs chained. Patterson comments on how strong it is (in spite of the fact that he only saw it when it was collapsing and unconcious). Kowalski sets up the remainder of the episode by making the obligatory statement that it can't get out of the cage, and Patterson follows with the equally obligatory statement of what will happen to them if it ever gets loose. In the corridor, Crane is abruptly ambushed by Brock, who leaps out and nails him before dragging him off. As he prepares to heave Crane down a flight of steps (an "accidental" death, perhaps?) Crane comes to and struggles. He makes a valiant try of it, but of course it's too early for Brock to be found out, so Brock eventually knocks him out, gags him, and drags him away. When the knock comes on Nelson's door, he naturally assumes that it's Crane, but Brock enters, wanting a little talk. Nelson is confident that he can duplicate the control device from Blanchard's notes. Brock quickly offers to help with the notes, editing and collating them. Thanks, but no thanks, Nelson has it in hand. It's hard to say at this point if Brock just wanted to get his hands on the notes and away from Nelson, or wanted credit for being involved. Brock states that this will surely do Nelson's reputation good in the scientific community. Nelson gives him a look as though he is now certain that Brock is a glory-grabber, and calmly answers that the credit will go to Blanchard--and no one else. Straining himself, Brock agrees; Blanchard was a great man. He still professes himself as willing to help, but Nelson dismisses him. Nelson calls up to the Control Room, and finds that Crane had left when he should have. Chip broadcasts a call for Crane, and gets no answer. Chip sends Sharkey to start a search. In his cabin, Nelson starts to make a note with Blanchard's pen, and finds that it's completely dry. He tosses it in a drawer.

    Brock, at the foot of a set of stairs (that looks like the same one we've seen already--seems to be a popular spot) starts to activate the device, but stops as Sharkey comes up. He asks about Crane, and Brock denies seeing him. Sharkey starts to counter sharply, then pauses, and asks mildly if Brock is sure. (Sharkey seems to have suspicions about Brock, but there's no indication of why.) Brock addresses him as Sergeant, and Sharkey quickly corrects him--on board, it's Chief. Sounding a little tight-lipped, he asks Brock to keep an eye out for Crane. Brock contemptuously asks if anything is wrong with the ship. Well, having her captain missing is a wrongness, I guess. Sharkey goes on to the Missile Room--no one there has seen Crane, either. He relieves Patterson and 'Ski of guard duty and sets them to searching. Sharkey leaves the Missile Room, and Brock steps out of a nearby room and activates the device. In spite of being loading with tranquilizers, the gorilla instantly wakes up. He stands up and kicks off the chains as though they were made of foil, as the remaining men stare. He then bends the bars of the cage like licorice sticks. The men open fire, to no avail. He starts knocking the men about. Patterson and 'Ski, hearing the rumpus, come to the room, view the situation, and promptly dog the hatch. 'Ski calls the Control Room, but Nelson hears as well. He orders General Quarters (never Specific Quarters) and a detail with tranquilizer guns. Sharkey intercepts those men on their way, and leads them on. As the gorilla knocks the hatch out of its housing, Patterson and 'Ski flee. They lock another hatch to slow him down, and then just stand there, waiting for him to break this one. Brock intercepts Nelson, wanting to know if his men can handle the situation. Exasperated, Nelson states that they're WORKING on it. If they can't, then they're all going to be in for it. Brock looks as though he's having second thoughts. The men arrive as the gorilla breaks through the next hatch, but they wait until he comes through before they fire. The gorilla simply stands, swaying, under the multiple hits. Brock can hear the shots, and uses the device. We can see the poor gorilla's eyes roll up, and it grabs at its head, then turns and leaves. Nelson orders the men to follow, keeping their distance. Staggering badly, the gorilla returns to the Missile Room (as a familiar spot?) and collapses.

    Nelson and Sharkey return to the Control Room. Two men are injured, and two hatches will need repair. Chip will get on it. Nelson asks about Crane. The little incident with the gorilla sorta kinda put that out of everyone's mind, but no, they haven't found him yet. Chip will detail several search parties, but in the meantime, what about the gorilla? Nelson orders a sharpshooter to stand guard and kill it if it starts moving again. Nelson returns to his cabin, and Chip delegates the search parties to Sharkey. Sharkey reports to Nelson; still no sign of him. He thinks that Crane is no longer on board. Nelson points out that even a body could not leave the Seaview without the instruments picking it up. Sharkey suggests that the entire experiment be called off, but Nelson will only do so as a last resort. Blanchard's experiments seem to have been as much about developing the gorilla's power as they were about controlling him. Sharkey's no scientist, but he will go along with what Nelson says. Nelson thanks him for the vote of confidence. (Basehart was great here; just the right amount of sarcasm.) Sharkey goes back to the search, Nelson back to the notes, but he's tired.

    Down in the Missile Room, the sharpshooter stands by. No one has attempted to rechain or recage the gorilla, they just left him where he fell. Brock approaches Nelson's cabin, taking out what looks like a cigarette case and extracting a little tube. Nelson is napping at his desk, and does not respond to the knock. Brock enters, and pokes cautiously around the desk before finding the pen in the drawer. He opens it and exchanges tubes, the slips the pen into Nelson's pocket. Sharkey comes to the Missile Room, looks over the situation, and leaves. Brock comes out of the same room as before--but this time he's holding a heavy wrench. He enters the Missile Room, concealing the wrench until he's behind the sharpshooter. With an ugly expression, he strikes a vicious blow. He unloads the rifle, pocketing the bullets. He checks out the escape hatch, but then takes the unconcious (or dead) man and drags him to the missile tubes, a convenient hiding place. In the Control Room, Patterson and 'Ski give the usual report. Their watch is ending, but they want to continue the search, and Chip gives them permission. Brock finishes hiding the man in the tube. Then, in a horrifying moment, he activates the launch. This was utterly unnecessary. He could have hidden the man in the escape hatch. Even if, for whatever inscrutable reason, he wanted it to look as if Crane had been kicked out through the tube, he could have simply pressed the button on the empty tube. (And why would he want it known that someone had been launched? That makes it crystal clear that an enemy is on board, and who is the first person they will think of?) Chip immediately calls down for an explanation, and hearing no one, rushes for the Missile Room (without putting anyone in charge--tsk, tsk). He meets up with Sharkey--they consider the possibility that Crane is no longer on board. Brock slips out and starts to activate the device, but is interupted as both Chip and Sharkey come to the Missile Room. They find the hatch open, the sharpshooter missing and the rifle on the floor. Sharkey guesses that the sharpshooter might be the one who exited the sub, but someone still had to have done it. Brock activates the device, and again, the gorilla instantly awakes. He beats his chest, which gets the men's attention. Chip orders it shot, but Sharkey finds the gun empty. With no sign of trepidation whatever, he instantly reverses the gun to use as a club and moves forward to meet the threat. (Brave man.) Unfortunately the club is useless, and the gorilla knocks them about, leaving them helpless on the floor. As he approaches them, Brock makes an adjustment on the device. The gorilla grabs its head (that thing must hurt!) beats his chest, and leaves the room. I took note of its rolling stride--it really looked authentic. Chip dives for the mike, and orders a detail with rifles--they are to shoot to kill. Nelson wakes up as the alarms go off. The detail quickly arms, and calls to report that they will seal off corridor C--which will leave Chip and Sharkey trapped. Sharkey suggests that they go through the inspection hatch and get around. Patterson and 'Ski join the detail. 'Ski warns that the gorilla can bust through the hatch, and Patterson reminds them to aim at the head. Chip and Sharkey come up through the inspection hatch to...somewhere...and find Crane, bound and gagged. (Under the circumstances, I wonder why he didn't just kill him?) Black marks to all the search parties; this is a sizeable room they're in; how'd they miss it? Crane is badly rattled, the one thing on his mind is finding the Admiral. He doesn't seem to recognize where he is. Chip and Sharkey restrain him. For whatever reason, Sharkey doesn't feel that they can handle him alone, and goes to fetch some corpsmen. Nelson comes up that same flight of stairs, just as the gorilla comes through the hatch above. So much for knowing where it was going to come out. Sharkey comes up the hatch under the stairs just as Nelson vaults over the rail. Sharkey yells at him to keep going, and Nelson doesn't need to be told twice. Sharkey tosses a fire hose at the gorilla. Not a very good job, but it slows him enough for Sharkey to jump through a door. The gorilla follows Nelson, who hides in the Circuitry Room. (Naturally, he couldn't find a safer room; you'd think by now they'd avoid the Circuitry Room at all costs.) Nelson broadcasts the gorilla's whereabouts. Chip and Crane (not waiting for the corpsmen) come up the hatch below the stairs. Crane still looks unwell, but of course refuses to go to Sickbay. He sends Chip back to the Control Room. The gorilla finds the Circuitry Room and smashes it's way in. Of course, the first thing it does is grab some wire and give a good rip. For the second episode in a row, they waited till the end to have a lurch! And what a lurch. Seaview bounces off a nice new rock outcropping. The men in the Control Room manage to keep their seats. Brock is frantically clinging to a hatch in a corridor. Chip yells to Engineering to switch to Auxillary, but they take their sweet time about it. Brock panics, thinking that the ship is going down, and he must stop "him". He pulls out the device. As the Seaview hits another ledge, the device falls and smashes. Seaview seems to stablize a bit, and Nelson escapes the Circuitry Room (the gorilla was having as much trouble keeping its feet as anyone else). Up in the Control Room, the lurching is still bad, with a dangerous steam leak. Finally, it stabilizes.

    Nelson comes around a corner and encounters Brock, who is convinced that they're going to die. He's too late to stop it. He could have done it before, but not now. Nelson (impatient with these panicky civilians) sharply tells him to pull himself together. He sees the broken device in Brock's hand, and grabs it. All is becoming clear, except the "why". Brock, however, is still fixated on the ship going down. Nelson recalls that in the notes Blanchard mentioned a byproduct of the experiment--a fluid that caused uncontrollable rage. (No explanation as to how said fluid, at a considerable distance and contained in a tube, could affect the gorilla--it would have made more sense to have the tube be an extension of sorts of the control device, set to a more maddening level.) Nelson pulls out the pen--and just how, in all the excitement, did he notice that it was back in his pocket? Brock denies that he was trying to kill Nelson. In that case, Brock should not object to carrying the pen himself, and Nelson tucks it in his pocket. Hearing growls, they both run, meeting up with Patterson, 'Ski, and Sharkey. Patterson and 'Ski have rifles, but the gorilla comes around the corner too fast and knocks them down. Crane comes running up behind, grabs for a rifle, and is also knocked down. (He's had a rough day.) Nelson grabs the pen and throws it into a room marked "High Voltage". Brock is frozen, not hearing Nelson yell that the gorilla is after the pen, not him. (Recall that the gorilla previously ignored the loose pen.) The gorilla grabs Brock and they both hurtle into the room. There's a lot of electrical noise, sparks, smoke, (and, one can imagine, an unpleasant cooking smell). The poor gorilla is at peace, but it's a shame--it didn't ask to be tormented like that.

    The final scene seems to be in Nelson's cabin, although Crane is there in his pyjamas and robe, seated on the bunk. Nelson has deduced that Brock had attacked Crane to keep him from speaking with Nelson. He can guess that Crane was going to tell him that Brock was insane. Not quite, Nelson, although possibly Brock had gone over the edge since Crane had met him. (And I would like to know just what Crane had witnessed.) Crane describes Brock as an egomaniac, a man whose only talent was his ability to fool people who really were talented. (One might guess that he had achieved his position with Blanchard by stealing someone else's work; perhaps that's what Crane knew about, although he couldn't have had actual proof.) Nelson decides that he, at least, is not ready for Blanchard's discoveries (gorillas everywhere will be relieved to know that) but, a true scientist, he doesn't dispose of the information--he just locks it away for the time being.

    Quite a decent episode, with a terrifying monster--and I'm not referring to the one in the white suit.