Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 4 Episode 9


Aired Monday 7:30 PM Nov 19, 1967 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Another truly fine episode, on par with episodes from the first season. No monsters, no mad scientists, no aliens. Just a deadly threat and a ticking clock; Seaview and her crew do the rest.

    Seaview is on the surface, and Kowalski is doing a purposeful scan with the sonar, which has made contact with a large object, some 500 feet long and about 6,000 yards away. It looks like a submarine. 'Ski reports to Chip, Chip reports to Nelson, and Nelson hits a switch which brings up a lighted map on a screen. This looks like the map used in the Season Three episode "The Day the World Ended", which shows the location of known submarines. (Apparently the secret classification has expired; this map used to be kept in a locked room.) The map shows no known submarine at the location 'Ski defined. Nelson has Sparks patch in to the FS1, manned by Crane. He reports that they might have found the sub responsible for attacking ships in the area. The irritating thing is that we never find out just who this enemy is, or why they are attacking ships. Are they pirates, or an unfriendly nation trying to gain control of the oceans, or something else entirely? Washington has ordered them to not only find the sub, but the hidden submarine pen that they feel must exist. This is what Crane is searching for--alone. Seems to me that two men should be present on such a mission (or any mission, for that matter). Crane hauls out a strange yellow portable whatsit to help him scan. (You would think that such a scanner should be built into the sub. And this shows a good reason to have two men on board; trying to scan and drive simultaneously must be somewhat hazardous.) Kowalski calls Chip (with Nelson following) to the Sonar station--he has definite contact, and the sub is closing on them. They sound General Quarters. Down in the Missile Room, a new officer, CPO Beach (nice name for a sailor) reports that they're ready. Engineering and Damage Control also report in. They prepare to dive, but the enemy sub is astern, and launches torpedoes. Nelson instantly commands all ahead flank, hard right rudder, and they brace. Quite an good lurch; lots of sparks. The Powers That Be had apparently been experimenting with different openings, and this one is very eye-catching: the scene freezes, and a sonar circle forms, showing the title with a voiceover. Rather than immediately listing the two stars, it shows a quartered circle with four different shots of Basehart, then a full face view with his name. It does the same for Hedison, then goes to a shot of the Flying Sub. Quite nice, really.

    Still on the surface, Damage Control reports that they are fully watertight. (On the previous episode, DC also called in without being asked; is this a new trend?) I had thought that it was Nelson's rapid reaction (and that of his crew) that had saved them from the torpedoes, but apparently there was something more. They've got a nifty new gadget (and any bets on whether we see it again?), an electronic hull shield. Nelson sourly comments that now that this enemy knows about the shield, they will be searching for ways to counter it in their next attack.
    Seaview again prepares to dive, with the men on the conning tower coming down (that must have been interesting, trying to keep from being thrown overboard as Seaview lurched). They reach 200 feet and begin Silent Running. The other sub is on their tail, at 5,000 yards. Nelson orders, via Sharkey, for Beach to prepare missiles 1 and 3. (I assume that launching odd-numbered missiles, rather than just 1 and 2, effects the way the torpedo pairs pass through the water, either horizontally or vertically.) Beach has his men examine the torpedo tubes, which seems reasonable--but then, with their attention elsewhere, he adjusts a nut near the nose of each missile. Being the new kid had already gotten our attention, and now we can guess something's going to go wrong. After the missiles are loaded, we see a shot of the enemy sub, labeled "Vulcan". (Probably stock footage from the Season Three episode "The Lost Bomb"--is it in reference to the Roman god, or to a certain pointy-eared alien from a certain other television show?) Sure enough, the torpedoes are launched, Chip makes a countdown...and nothing happens. What are the odds of two missiles misfiring simultaneously? The audience knows who changed the odds--there's a confounded @#$% enemy agent on board! The enemy sub suddenly drops off sonar. Nelson is not entirely unhappy about this; it proves beyond doubt that there is a submarine pen hidden somewhere. (I would think that they could calculate its whereabouts using the last sonor location, but that would make for a short episode, and we wouldn't want that.) They secure from General Quarters, turn off the Silent Running, and Chip prepares to investigate those misfiring missiles. Sharkey reminds him (as exec, he should already know) that CPO Beach is the new officer in charge of the Missile Room. (Wonder what Sharkey thinks about that--they never needed a specific officer down there before.) Nelson calls Crane to report the situation, and Crane continues scanning. Chip confronts Beach, who seems mystified by the happenstance. Chip mentions that misfiring could occur by making an adjustment on the missile at the nose. In case we'd forgotten, the music sharpens up at this point to remind us that that is just what Beach did. Beach denies that any man went near the missiles before loading, and Chip fails to take in the obvious other possibility. As he starts to leave, Nelson calls him. He mentions what Crane is doing, and says that they will knock out the pen as soon as it is located. Unfortunately, Beach is right there, listening. He finds a bit of privacy, and starts signalling with his wrist watch. Crane finally spots some underwater construction. It looks kinda sorta like the mining site from Season Two's "The Mechanical Man". In a very nice touch, the equipment looks well weathered, not all shiny and new. Crane notes down the coordinates, and then the base suddenly fires a laser at the FS1. Crane, strapped in his seat, oddly loses conciousness instantly, for no discernable reason, as the sparks fly. FS1 tilts and hits the bottom.

    Apparently Kowalski has been searching for the FS1--he reports her on the bottom. Nelson goes to the radio shack and tells Sparks to keep trying to get in touch, indicating that he has already been calling. Sparks mentions that he had picked up an odd signal. (Oh, good, I thought they were going to conveniently have that signal untraceable.) The signal was in dots and dashes, but not straight Morse code. The direction finder indicates that it's from inside, which Sparks takes to be an error. Nelson doesn't say anything, but he looks thoughtful. On the FS1, Crane slowly comes to, hearing Sparks' calls. Sparks can hear him coughing. Nelson takes over and Crane responds. He slowly starts taking stock of the situation, looking very dizzy. Power is out, controls are gone, not much air. (But radio, of course.) Crane starts to give the coordinates he had noted down, but passes out before he can say anything. (Natch.) Down in the Missile Room, Beach listens in as rescue operations get underway. He suddenly leaves the room, and makes his way to...wait for it...the dreaded Circuitry Room. (Not AGAIN!) He excuses the two men inside from their duties--exec's orders--and they don't question it. He hits a button, causing the lights to go out in the Control Room (and presumably everywhere). Red lighting comes up, and Damage Control reports a full loss of power. The auxilary power is not sufficient to get the sub moving. Sharkey reports the sub is tail-heavy (this is something that I don't recall ever coming up before) and Chip has the aft ballast blown to balance things up. Nelson knows (he always knows) that the problem must be in the Circuitry Room, but no one down there responds. Sharkey goes to check. Just in case we'd forgotten about him, Nelson wonders how long Crane can hold out. Down in the Circuitry Room, Beach slips around and pretends that he's just come in. No mention of why he left his post without leave. Sharkey reports in. Nelson tells him of a main power cut-off that's been built in. (Sharkey, for some reason, knows nothing about it, while new man Beach did.) Beach pretends to leave the room; Sharkey's focused on the job in hand. As he reaches for the switch, Beach turns out the lights. My reaction would have been to instantly flip that switch, but Sharkey of course pauses for that fatal moment, and gets attacked. We can see perfectly clearly, although Sharkey does not. I think it would have been better if they lowered the lighting until the audience could barely see--it would have helped the tension, and made Sharkey's comment on not knowing who his attacker was more plausible. They knock each other around, causing lots of sparks and smoke and somehow avoiding getting fried on the panels, as Seaview swings into an excellent lurch, full steam and sparks in the Control Room. Beach finally manages to knock Sharkey out and leaves the room, as Seaview hits the rock and nosedives into the sand. (If you have to ask what rock, you're obviously a newbie.) Most unusually, Nelson got briefly knocked out during the lurch. Chip helps him up, as he wonders--not unreasonably--just what Sharkey did down in the Circuitry Room. He sends Chip to find out. Damage Control reports that they are still watertight, but the control system is shot. A full repair crew should get things fixed in an hour. Crane might not have an hour; Nelson orders it done in half an hour or less. Down in the Circuitry Room, Chip drags Sharkey out and gets his report. They head back to Nelson. We get a quick shot of Crane, almost--but not quite--waking up. Chip tells Nelson that if what Sharkey says is true (if?) they must have a spy on board. Nelson says of course there's a spy, he'd guessed it with the signals Sparks picked up. (So why didn't he start taking steps then?) Chip (and Nelson) make a bad mistake here. Chip, as the exec, always knows who is supposed to be where at all times. He should have known who was supposed to be in the Circuitry Room, but even if he didn't, he should have made a general call for them, at which point they would have reported who sent them out of the room. (For that matter, considering that all heck broke loose moments after they left the room, the two men should have reported to Sharkey.) Crane finally awakens, and weakly calls the Seaview. There's something they must know. He found the enemy pen--but again passes out before he can say anything. (Double natch.) Nelson proposes sending divers out to the FS1, using helium-mix tanks to counter the effects of the dangerous depth. He orders the two best divers alerted, and notifies the Missile Room. Beach (who, by the way, does not have a mark to show for that intensive fight in the Circuitry Room, as opposed to the battered Sharkey) makes a "come listen to this" gesture to someone as he takes the call, implying that the other person is in cahoots with him--but the man is shockingly familiar. Granted, its nice that Marco Lopez got some extra screen time and money (if not credit) but I wish they had used a lesser-known face. It gives the implication that Marco is a traitor, not merely someone who finagled his way on board the Seaview (and let's avoid comment on the job-screening process at the Nelson Institute, shall we?) Beach tells Marco to get a pair of regular tanks and meet him at the diving locker, then leaves the room. Diving suits are usually found in the Missile Room, I'm not certain of the purpose of a separate room. Extra equipment storage, perhaps? The helium tanks are in a special cupboard (and the tanks themselves should have been carefully labeled, but what do I know?) Marco brings the other tanks, and they exchange them before Kowalski arrives to assist Beach. 'Ski gets to point out to the audience that divers would not last more than five minutes at that depth with regular tanks, giving us a grim preview of what's coming. The two sacrificial lambs--er, best divers--suit up in the Missile Room under Nelson's supervision. You would think that they could tell that the air mix is NOT different, but apparently not. Sharkey is the one in radio contact, and listens in helpless horror as the men react to the wrong air. They have no means of getting to the men in time. Nelson realizes what has happened--and who caused it--but Beach has slipped away. Nelson sends the badly rattled Sharkey after him. Sharkey makes the assumption that this enemy is unarmed, and he is, but only for a few moments; it doesn't take long to waylay one of the searchers and confiscate his gun. Sharkey (himself unarmed) spots an armed silhouette in the corridor, but Beach is gone before he can peek around the corner. Sharkey updates the situation, and calls for an armed detail to the aft bend of Corridor C. Beach, who is starting to look a little rattled himelf, is assisted into the air ducts by Marco (and you know no one is going to think to look there!) Sharkey meets up with the men who should have passed Beach along the way, snatches one of their guns, and heads back. Up in the Control room, it's still going to be 25 minutes before they can get off the seabed. Nelson plans to go out himself, and will radio the coordinates as soon as he revives Crane. They will then attack the pen at once. Kowalski is still not finding anything on sonar; the enemy sub must still be docked. Beach exits the ducts, but the angles make it difficult to see just where. He opens a hatch which reveals a small space with a pipe and valve. He starts signalling. Sparks picks it up, although he still can't decode it (he is taping it, of course). Nelson takes a portable detector and begins tracking. Beach removes a small gold box from his pocket (that nevertheless is large enough that it should have made a significant bulge) and places it at the base of the pipe. Nelson tracks the signal (which is no longer signalling) and enters the room as Beach hides himself. Beach could easily have shot Nelson at this point. The detector starts to whine, and Nelson opens the hatch (which I only now recognized as the "escape hatch" for the divers) and finds the box. (Just what what Beach up to at this point, just trying to keep anyone else from diving, or a major blowout in the Missile Room?) Beach shuts Nelson inside, yanks out wires from the side panel (sealing it?) then adjusts two valves behind the hatch. He leaves the room with the hatch filling, and Nelson already up to his neck. This is Not Good.

    Seaview is still on the seabed, blowing bubbles. (Only from the midsection, I wonder why?) Sharkey enters the Missile Room, spots the water level indicator rising, and dashes to the viewport. Nelson is looking quite composed, under the circumstances. Sharkey gives him an astounded look, and darts to the other side. He turns one valve, but the other is jammed. Nelson is treading water--sort of. Treading water usually is done by swirling the arms at the surface. Nelson looks like he's doing a vertical dog-paddle. He has a set expression on his face, as though he is carefully concentrating on his breathing. Chip comes in, missing the drama in the escape hatch, and finds Sharkey wrestling with the valve. There is no time to cut through the hatch. Chip thinks of the safety lock on the exterior hatch. They could send a diver (no mention of the helium tanks, but maybe it would be a short trip) through the open well in the Pressure Room. (Oh, so that's what that room is called! But wouldn't the pressure needed to keep the water coming up the well make it uncomfortable for people?) Sharkey wastes no time considering volunteers, he just grabs some equipment and runs.

    Beach enters the Circuitry Room (oh, no!) which is looking somewhat scorched from the last outing. There is still no one back on watch. He starts exploring the lockers at the far end (which I've never noticed before.) One of the lockers is locked. He aims his gun, thinks better of it, and grabs a wad of fluff (huh?) out of another locker to use to muffle the shot. The inside is clearly marked Electronic Hull Shield. The fact that this vital piece of equipment is here makes the lack of guards all the more outrageous. Don't they know that there's an enemy agent on board? Beach pulls on a lever, and there's a burst of sparks and smoke. (Don't ask me why simply pulling a lever from On to Off should cause sparking.) Beach starts signalling again, and we get a quick shot of the Vulcan, which has apparently popped up out of its pen. Beach then leaves the room. In the Pressure Room, Sharkey finishes suiting up and drops down the well. (Um, if they're on the bottom, then how...oh, forget it.) In the Missile Room, Chip's upward glance indicates that Nelson is now floating up at the top--with or without an air bubble.
    Chip walks around to the mike, then hears a tapping sound. He quickly runs to the jammed valve, which is now working. As the water level drops, Chip orders a detail from Sickbay with oxygen. The light switches from red to green, and Chip opens the door and hauls out the unconcious Admiral. Out in a corridor, Beach hears men coming, and rushes back to the Circuitry Room, locking himself in. (I really don't see the point in having an inside lock for this room.) Two men--including Marco--approach, find the door locked, and break in. The first man is quickly dispatched with a shot from Beach (or at least wounded badly). Beach is now ready to leave the Seaview, his work completed, but Marco says that he can't. They are both expendable, and were ordered to stay on board. (Again, I would like to know what sort of enemy commands such loyalty that men would take on suicide missions?) Beach agrees, although his expression makes plain that he doesn't. Marco bends to grab the dead or wounded man, and Beach clobbers him. HE's not expendable, whatever Marco may think. Sharkey returns to the well just as Beach enters. (Without a suit--was Beach proposing to swim to the submarine pen on one lungful of air? He didn't know about Sharkey.) Sharkey ducks as Beach takes a shot at him. As Beach turns to the door, Sharkey pops up again, having somehow divested himself of his tank at a moment's notice. He heaves it at Beach's back. This should have been a crippling blow, but Beach recovers fast, and the two have at it again. Sharkey tosses various things, and then, knocked to the floor, pulls a GUN from his belt! Who does deep-sea diving carrying a handgun? Beach quickly shoots it out of his hand. Remarkably, Sharkey reacts to this, although not as much as he should--that hand should have been mangled from having the gun jerked out of it. The men now converse. Sharkey thinks that Beach is going down with the rest of them, but Beach is still not feeling expendable. He orders Sharkey to strip, not wanting the suit damaged with bullet holes. There's no mention of helium, which seems to indicate that the submarine pen can only be a couple minutes away at the most. After Sharkey pulls off the upper section of the suit, Beach prepares to shoot him, naturally giving notice of his intentions. Sharkey kicks the tank into his shins, then dives in. Sharkey knows that it's do-or-die at this point, plus there's the little matter of his two murdered crewmen and Nelson being left to drown. After a brief wrestling match, Beach goes headfirst down the well. For some reason, Sharkey does not look too upset about this.

    Chip comes back to the Control Room, and Kowalski asks after the Admiral, who has refused to stay in Sickbay and had already ordered dry clothing to be fetched. Nelson arrives moments later, as Damage Control reports all systems operative. They head for the FS1, where Crane is still out. In a nifty scene, the Seaview hovers just above the little sub, opens the front hatch, and draws the sub up using magnetics. Chip is the first one down the ladder, followed by a man armed with oxygen. Chip finds the paper with the coordinates and goes back up to the nose, followed by Crane, who is immediately hauled off to Sickbay. Chip gives Nelson the coordinates, and Nelson orders missiles prepared. Kowalski reports the enemy sub is back (which he should have noted some little time ago). Nelson states that they need to fire first. (There is no indication that anyone was aware that the hull shield had been turned off.) He calls the Missile Room and asks if anybody is there. This would be an incredibly stupid question on any ship but the Seaview. However, Sharkey has returned, and promises that missiles 1 and 3 will be prepped in five seconds. (Not quite, but it was a good effort.) With grim humor, he also promises that THESE missiles will fire properly. Vulcan approaches, and fires first. Oops. Now what? Chip orders evasive maneuvers, which are effective--the torpedoes sail past, and the resulting lurch isn't too bad. Nelson orders 1 and 3 fired, and Vulcan evaporates quite satisfactorilly. Nelson takes time to ask about Crane, just as Crane walks in the room. Nelson scolds him about leaving Sickbay, conveniently forgetting that he did the same thing. Crane had persuaded the doctor to let him go, wanting to be "in on the kill". He missed the submarine, but Nelson graciously permits Crane to finish things off. Without bothering to check if the lurching had put them off target, missiles 2 and 4 are prepped and fired. The pen explosion isn't quite as spectacular as the Vulcan (one tall section goes over with a very slow "Timber!") but it's still pretty good. All is well now, time to head home. Er....what about Marco? There's no indication that Beach killed him, and no one knows his part in all this. All Marco has to do is say that his partner was shot and he was knocked out, which is quite true. Is he going to remain on Seaview, awaiting another opportunity? Disquieting thought.

    This, and a few other points, prevent me from giving this one a "10", but it was still an excellent show.
  • Crane is on the Flying Sub trying to find an enemy base. FS 1 is hit. Nelson trys to resuce Crane but a new Petty Officer is sabotaging the ship. The Seaview reaches Crane rescues him and they end up blowing up an enemy sub and the base.

    Crane is on the Flying Sub trying to find an enemy base. After the Flying Sub is attacked by the base, Nelson tries to use the Seaview to rescue Crane. With a new petty officer trying to sabotage the ship including a hull protection system which the enemy agent sabotages. Chief Sharkey ends up killing the guy after a fight in the water well on the underpart of the Seaview. The Seaview reaches the Flying Sub recovers it with a new system and Crane is rescued. Morton shows Nelson a note Crane had in his hand with the base location. The enemy sub shows up and the Seaview destroys it. Nelson calls up sickbay to find out how Crane is and Crane shows up saying I talked Doc into letting me in on the kill. Crane sends off the torpodes to destroy the base.