Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 1 Episode 23

The Human Computer

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Feb 15, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • David Hedison gets the chance to show his mettle in this episode, conveying so much without saying a word.

    The teaser lives up to its name, putting you on edge and wondering what kind of peril they've gotten into THIS time. It's not until the end, when they declare the Seaview sunk, that you start thinking, "Wait a minute...."

    The Nelson Institute seems to have a very sizeable leak in it somewhere. Consider how much classified information has gotten out to enemy agents this season alone. Here, an enemy not only knows about the super-computer, it has access to information about the Seaview, and the ability to sneak a man on board with no one noticing. Oh, well. If security were perfect, we wouldn't have a show.

    Crane is required to stay on board for the tests, to comply with maritime law, which states that an empty vessel is classed as derelict and can be claimed by anyone who finds it. The tension begins immediately, with Crane wandering rather forlornly around the control room and nose, listening to all the normal ship noises, which seem so much louder in the emptiness. The Seaview's part in the maneuvers is completed very briskly. Crane reports back that the computer operated perfectly. However, his expression when the maneuvers were being carried out, while approving, seemed perhaps a little rueful.

    Watching Crane play chess against himself strikes a lonely note. There's not too much time to dwell on this, however, as Crane shortly discovers the sabotaged radio and instantly realizes what it means. A good officer, he does not panic, but his reactions immediately tighten up.

    David Hedison does a marvelous job, slipping around the Seaview, alternating between a slow creep and sudden bursts of speed, while reacting to every little sound. One scene that I especially enjoy was in the crew's quarters, when Crane thinks he sees the shadow of a man. He crouches down, ready to fire, then you can see the very slight relaxation as he realizes that it's just Kowalski's coat and hat.

    It seems forever until the enemy shows his hand, and then it's stunningly abrupt. Trapped under fallen missiles, Crane keeps his head and chases the man off with a couple shots. He then turns to the business of extricating himself. It's not until he's nearly free that you see the pain in his face and realize that he's been injured.

    I knew perfectly well that Lee Crane would survive for three more seasons, and I still kept jumping at sounds and shadows. After pursuing the agent for a time, Crane runs out of bullets (bad move, Lee, you should have shoved that box of ammo in your pocket) and becomes the pursued, eventually getting trapped in the Ballast chamber. The agent cuts off the air supply, so that Crane will appear to have died an accidental death. (I rather think that Nelson would have queried just why Crane was in the Ballast chamber, why his ankle was injured, and just what about those bullet marks in the walls?)

    Considering all that he's been through, you can't really blame Crane for forgetting about the emergency air canisters in the cabinet. Once he remembers, he quickly takes the offensive, travelling through the ballast tanks. (Those scenes in air ducts, etc, are always claustrophobic to watch, but when it's full of water as!)

    There was a nice attention to detail at the end. Quite often, while doing "wet" scenes, retakes and hot camera lights will leave actors looking drier than they should. In this episode, David Hedison is kept dripping wet throughout the relevant scenes. They cranked the tension up, too, as Crane waited until the agent looked right up at him to jump down on him.

    After so much tension and the climactic fight, it's rather disconcerting to have them jump to that final, light scene in the Sickbay. Of course, you have to wonder just what became of that supercomputer. Surely they wouldn't scratch it simply because you can't borrow ten bucks from it on a Saturday night.
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