Even though I've seen this season before, coming back to it after reviewing Season 1 is still a jolt to the eyes. Everything is so bright and colorful. We don't see the Flying Sub on this outing, but we are introduced to Chief Sharkey, brought in to replace the late lamented Curley (it would have been nice if they'd had a line or two about that) and Riley, the man from "Surf, U.S.A."
There were a couple little nits, not enough to spoil the plotline. I should think that tracking the migration patterns of whales would, especially in Seaview's time, be a relatively simple thing, so why build an undersea lab right in the pathway? Secondly, whales are not blind, so why would they risk injuring themselves by crashing into the lab? It would have been nice if they'd done some speculating on that. Perhaps it was the mating season, and the male whales were trying to show off in front of the ladies.
Another eye-catching new set was Nelson's laboratory. Nelson's lab set-up had varied over the first season, sometimes being a sizeable room ("Cradle of the Deep"), sometimes rather cramped quarters ("The Creature") and sometimes a make-shift arrangement down in the Missile Room ("The Saboteur" and "The Enemies"). Here, Nelson has a fairly big room with a gorgeous wall of aquariums with a variety of sea specimens.
It would be interesting to know whether Katya Markhova was trying to prove herself as a Soviet scientist, or as a woman scientist. Making plans for a second dive just moments after her fiance's body was dragged out of the diving bell was a little extreme.
Katya kept needling Nelson pretty much through the entire episode. Nelson, for his part, seemed to enjoy the repartee.
Getting swallowed by a whale was a nifty plotline. Maybe the special effects are a little funny by today's standards, but then, most old special effects are. I understand that the Powers That Be had instructed the people working on this episode to keep the effects toned down, for the benefit of more squeamish viewers. (Times have definitely changed.) Never having seen the inside of a whale's digestive track, I thought that it worked very well--although I would like to know what those big dangling lumps were supposed to be. The only problem I could see--and it was necessary for the filming--was that it was too large. It should have appeared a lot more cramped.
I loved the reaction of Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley when the Captain explained just what he was planning to do. The way Sharkey started to explain the Captain's statement...and then trailed off as the dawning came, was great.
Of course, they drew out the tension to the very end, with the rescuers turning up just moments before Apple One was going to blast its way out of the hapless whale. Oddly, neither Crane nor Morton did any speculating on just what Nelson might try to do if he was still alive in there. Knowing that Nelson's escape attempts could kill the rescuers would have piled on the tension where the crew was concerned.
Katya seems to have accepted the value of American science (not to mention American courage). Nothing like getting stuck in a whale's belly to loosen a person up.
A final note regarding the music--it's very interesting music, but I can see why they went back to the old theme. The new music is just too menacing in tone. I thought that it made them sound like the bad guys. It would be excellent music for when the Seaview is going into dangerous situations, but I don't think that it suits as the signature piece.