Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 3 Episode 9

The Death Watch

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Nov 13, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Voyage to the bottom of the barrel

    This was terrible. For 90 percent of the show you have no clue why Nelson and Crane would want to kill each other. Spoilers here. They were part of a government experiment to see if subliminal messages worked. Would the government really pit their best officers in a fight-to-the-death experiment? I could understand using prisoners, but top commanding officers?

    There was another odd thing in the episode. Nelson reveals there's one more gun on the ship safely ensounced in his cabin, and where does Sharkey lock up Crane? In Nelson's cabin! This right after Nelson said the gun was there. And the gun never turns up.
  • However, it disappointing (and irritating) at the end, when we find out the truth, because it raises too many questions.

    The teaser is excellent, with Admiral Nelson (kitted out in his dress uniform) returning to Seaview to find an empty control room. The tension rapidly escalates when "someone" dogs the hatches from the outside, trapping him, and continues to grow as he finds that the sub seems to be empty except for Sharkey...and the evacuation seems to have been done on his orders. Mention of Captain Crane seems to make Nelson uneasy, and he immediately begins looking for a gun. Unfortunately (from his point of view) all weapons have been removed, apparently at Nelson's own order.

    Crane sneaks on board, armed with a gun, and the game of cat-and-mouse begins. The sequences were beautifully shot. The audience is left chewing its nails--what's going on? Have they been brainwashed? Have they been drugged? Is Sharkey in on it? The episode proceeds briskly to a thrilling, nick-of-time climax--and then falls flat on its face.

    Just an experiment, huh? Nelson casually tosses out the line that Sharkey, the "control" had unexpectedly been left with amnesia when the experiment had been set up, just as he and Crane had. I'm sorry, but there is no reason why Sharkey should have had amnesia. He would not have been "programmed" with his instructions, he would simply have been told what to do. They presumably were trying to avoid actual harm by removing the weapons from the how did Crane end up with a gun? Wasn't anyone keeping an eye on him? Didn't it occur to anyone that there were other materials on board that could be used as weapons? Nelson and Crane certainly did. Wasn't anyone monitering the situation from outside the sub--which would have been a perfectly simply matter to set up? And why on Earth would they have sent the Seaview gallivanting out to sea--completely out of reach of assistance if something went wrong?

    That "sexy-voiced" warning system was a nifty idea, but it had a lot of bugs in it--which is presumably why it was scrapped for future episodes. Crane spent quite some time waiting in Nelson's cabin, armed with his gun. Why did the system wait until Nelson opened the door before announcing to the ship at large that a weapon was present? When Nelson crawled into the ventilation system, the voice announced that two unauthorised persons were in the vents, which was unsafe. Ummm...why didn't it mention that there was one unauthorised person in there when Crane first crawled in? When Nelson escaped the lethal gas through a sealed hatch, why did the system wait so long to announce that the hatch had been unsealed? (Biggest nit of all--if Seaview has a way of sensing that people are in the ventilation system, why did so many people crawl around in there undetected over the space of four seasons?)

    It would have made sense if it had turned out that someone involved in the experiment was actually an enemy agent, trying to steal the Seaview and kill Nelson and Crane at the same time. As it is, one can only hope that the fools who set up the experiment lost their jobs...or at least were severely disciplined.

    I suppose that it could have been worse. They could have had it turn out to be...all a dream.