Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 1 Episode 4

The Mist Of Silence

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Oct 05, 1964 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Poetic title. This is one of the best of the politically motivated episodes, and probably the grimmest of the entire series. A fine guest cast.

    It starts with a long shoreline shot (that was probably lifted from the episode "City Beneath the Sea"). A man rows up under a pier, tosses a big cylinder overboard, and climbs up on the pier, armed with fishing gear--and a gun in a bucket of shrimp. Meanwhile, a woman races along the shoreline, searching for a man named Ricardo. Pretty safe bet that we've already seen him. A large car pulls onto the pier (busy place). A man hops out, checks that a ship is waiting offshore, and goes back to confer with the man waiting in the back seat. "El Presidente" is apparently trying to flee from a General D'Alvarez. The woman joins the throng on the pier, but starts moving cautiously. The first man prepares to shoot at el Presidente, but the woman wanders into the line of fire. She turns and sees him (yup, it is Ricardo) and then the shots begin to fly. Ricardo is hit just as he's jumping off the pier.

    Next stop, Washington. Nelson's been called in to consult with someone, probably from the State Department. Presidente Fuentes, despite previous indications of anti-American sentiment, is now appealing to the U.S. for assistance. Nelson is skeptical, but the potential advantages appeal to the State Department--of course, they're not going to be the ones directly involved. There are rumors that the Presidente has been a prisoner, kept alive only because he is a national hero. A representative of the government in exile has been called in to consult as well. The Presidente wants a rendezvous at sea, and guess who's going to be sent to pick him up? It is made clear to Nelson that Seaview's status, if there happens to be any trouble, will be "unofficial." This sounded like a foretaste of "Mission: Impossible". ("The Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions....") The government representative, Senor Galdez, is brought in to meet Nelson. He turns out to be Ricardo. Things are getting murkier. (And obviously he wasn't hurt very seriously. Would have been a nice touch to show him favoring his arm.)

    Seaview reaches the rendezvous area, but no ship is sighted. Ricardo makes some unfriendly comments about el Presidente, but Nelson lets them pass. Sonar picks up a ship, but on first sight she seems to be listing in the water, and there are no responses to their hails. Crane takes a boarding party over, accompanied by Ricardo. They find the ship empty. All life jackets and lifeboats are in place. Crane spots a ring, which Ricardo indentifies as belonging to el Presidente. Had he been on board--or are they only meant to think so? Nelson doesn't believe that it was a deliberate plant--after all, they couldn't have known that anyone could recognize it. They assume that he has been kidnapped. Nelson orders a prize crew to bring in the yacht, and, as Crane has commanded small vessels in these waters before, he is put in charge. Patterson, Kowalski, and Farrell go with him. Some time later, they spot an oddly localized patch of fog and sail into it. Nelson calls in to report that their sonar has picked up a small but fast ship on collision course with the yacht. The fog comes inside the ship. They cannot see anything, even though sonar indicates the small ship is right alongside. The prize crew, breathing in the fog, start to choke, and quickly collapse.

    In what is presumably the capital city of el Presidente's country--whatever it is--an officer, Captain Serra, comes to report "Mission Accomplished" to General D'Alvarez. Mike Kellin, usually cast as a villain, plays it for all it's worth, oozing menace and malice from every pore. El Presidente is "resting quietly"--by which we can pretty much guess that he's been drugged with something. An oriental Colonel sits at ease in another part of the room. He apparently has been assisting the General by providing the "Lethium" gas used on the yacht. The prize crew has been taken prisoner.

    Nelson and Ricardo realize that the yacht was a trap--the crew have doubtless been taken for propaganda purposes. Washington disavows the Seaview's mission fast enough to make your head spin. Sparks comes up with the first of many coded messages he'll be passing on--the resistance fighters will meet them at Banyan Cove. This seems as good a place as any to comment on Ricaro and the political situation. "Government in Exile" would seem to refer to the government that was ousted when Presidente Fuentes' revolution took over. As a fellow revolutionary, it's odd enough that Ricardo turned up as a government representative, but why would the government in exile care one way or the other what happens to Fuentes?

    Crane and Company wake up in a cell, groggy and in pain. Lethium seems to have unpleasant side effects. They see a handsome, defiant young man taken out of the next cell over, stalking out with his head held high. D'Alvarez comes up and introduces himself, with elaborate courtesy. The crew had not been kidnapped--oh, no, they've been arrested for attempting to kidnap Presidente Fuentes. Captain Crane is to admit their guilt publicly. Captain Crane is doing nothing of the sort. D'Alvarez refers to the prisoner just taken out--as a celebration of the anniversary of the revolution, he is going to take a prisoner at random once every hour from now until midnight the next night, and execute them. Personally, I would have just gone with fireworks and a holiday from work. The names of Crane and his men have been added to the list--unless of course Crane confesses. The execution takes place not far from the cell window, as they watch in shock. D'Alvarez then makes a visit to el Presidente, who is also presumably recovering from the gas. Fuentes suggests that D'Alvarez is being used by the Orientals assisting him. This interesting idea is never really followed up on. Fuentes tries to struggle and is quickly drugged again. D'Alvarez receives an intercepted message from the resistance about the rendezvous at Banyan Cove. He instructs Captain Serra to deal with it.

    As Seaview approaches Banyan Cove, Nelson instructs Chip to go out past the three-mile limit after dropping off Nelson, Ricardo, and Crewman Williams. They are to wait forty-eight hours. Sparks gets another coded message--a different code--warning them off Banyan Cove. They are to go to the Bay of Red Cliffs instead. Nelson states that they have a friend close to General D'Alvarez. Not too hard to guess who that friend might be. Coming ashore, they hide the raft, then ascend the cliffs with the rope tossed down to them. Ricardo takes the lead (his gunshot wound not hampering him at all). At the top, he meets the woman who thwarted his assassination attempt. (The credits list her as Detta, although I don't think a name is actually mentioned in the episode.) Detta is astonished and restrainedly pleased to see him--she had thought he had been killed. (Plainly the big cylinder tossed under the pier at the beginning was an air tank, and he would have looked as though he drowned whether he got shot or not.) She tries to tell Ricardo that he is wrong about el Presidente. The group hides in what appears to be a storage shed. A man comes to confer with Detta, who informs Nelson that Crane and Co. are prisoners in the presidental palace. (You'd think that they'd want the dungeons somewhat removed from the residence, but perhaps that's new-fashioned thinking.) Detta has a plan, but it must wait until the following night--she points out that they must not merely get into the city, but into the palace as well. She tries again to speak with Ricardo. It's obvious that she cares for him, but his obsession about el Presidente blinds him to other matters. Detta is certain that Fuentes has not changed; that he has only pretended to do so in order to get around D'Alvarez.

    D'Alvarez, meanwhile, is annoyed at having been decoyed, as he thinks, to Banyan Cove. He tells Serra to arrange roadblocks. He is certain that the Seaview is nearby, and plans to deal with her. In the cells, the men discuss the situation. Crane assures them that the Admiral is working to help them, and explains why it's important that he not confess. It's not America's allies that need to be convinced--or even her enemies; it's the people "on the fence". They grimly listen to the sound of another prisoner being shot. Seaview is parked on the bottom, blowing bubbles. The men all look fidgety, although they're not moving. Curley makes the one funny comment of the episode, which breaks the tension a bit. Sparks has gotten another message. This one states that the mission is complete, and they will rendezvous at noon the next day, rather than 1800 hours. This leaves the audience, who knows perfectly well that it's a trap, chewing its nails. Chip Morton is suspicious, but, as Curley points out, they have no means of verifying the message. Detta, both killing time and passing on some useful information, shows Nelson the "Institute for Advanced Scientific Research" where the Lethium gas is prepared. She comments that most of the technicians there are foreigners. The trucks containing Lethium are automatically passed through without checks (which seems incredibly careless to me). That night, they intercept one of the gas trucks. The next morning, the drugged Presidente is dragged out to a balcony to be put on display briefly for the people as part of the anniversary celebrations. D'Alvarez apparently decided to extend the celebrations past the deadline--it's long past midnight when he strolls up to the cell and informs them--very slowly--that Farrell's name has been drawn. I'm of two minds about this scene. The emotional impact was incredible--yet it seems a little strange for this Seaview crewman to fall to pieces like that. Crane, Kowalski and Patterson attack, and darn near get the upper hand. They are thwarted when D'Alvarez uses the really dirty trick of a gadget ring that sprays a blinding liquid into Crane's face. It's finished off when Captain Serra belated arrives on the scene and herds them back into the cell. Patterson and 'Ski stare out the window in horror. The blinded Crane can only hear his crewman's anquished cries, which is quite bad enough. There is still time to call it off--but Crane cannot back down. The shots are fired. D'Alvarez promises Crane that his will be the last name drawn of the three.

    At noon, Seaview approaches the rendezvous point. Sparks rushes up with yet another message warning them of the trap, but it's too late. An odd-looking flat plane begins dropping depth charges, and Seaview crash dives. In the shed, Detta hesitantly approaches Nelson. Rita Gam's reactions were excellent--she was obviously wishing that she didn't have to say anything, but Nelson must be told of the death of his crewman. Basehart's reaction is a masterpiece of restraint. Ricardo is all for rushing in right now. Nelson would probably like to, but Detta points out that their friend in the palace had recommended waiting until 3:00--siesta time. Ricardo is furious, taking caution for cowardice. Nelson really should have been picking up on Ricardo's hate-filled attitude by now. Back in the ocean, the depth charges have been set to carry them to the bottom, and the Seaview is getting hammered. Oil and debris float to the surface.

    In the shed, there is a somewhat tender moment between Detta and Ricardo--Detta says that she still dreams, but it's not entirely clear if she's dreaming about her country or Ricardo. The moment is at hand. As Detta foretold, the truck passes through the roadblocks easily--although at the checkpoint, it looked as though the second guard was planning to stop them, but let it go. In the palace, D'Alvarez speaks to the Oriental Colonel over the telephone, then calls in Captain Serra. A Lethium truck has been reported missing. D'Alvarez is starting to show some cracks. Seaview has survived the barrage by shooting oil and debris out the torpedo tubes--although she was damaged, and the men are hastening to get the repairs completed. D'Alvarez comes back to the cell. He's recovered his self-assurance--and his sadistic tendencies. He again draws out naming the chosen crewman--Patterson. Unflappable Patterson refuses to react. Perhaps he's trying to spare his Captain, or perhaps he just doesn't want to give D'Alvarez the satisfaction. Crane and Kowalski cling to the bars, waiting in pained resignation. As Patterson is being walked outside, the truck comes into the grounds, and Nelson, the driver, spots him. Nelson quickly signals that the gas be released. I thought that perhaps Patterson would take advantage of the confusion and try to run, but Nelson and the others find him lying at the execution wall. (Another bad headache for Patterson.) Getting in to the cell area, Nelson knocks out a guard and yells for Crane, while Detta prudently gathers up the cell keys. (Considering that Crane's cell was right near the execution site, it's lucky they weren't already overcome by gas.) Crane and 'Ski are given masks, while Detta asks where Ricardo has gone. When Nelson says that he's fetching el Presidente, Detta responds that Ricardo is going to kill him. Nelson instantly dashes off, leaving Detta to get the men out of the cells. Just as D'Alvarez learns that the missing truck is in the capitol, a man rushes into the room and collapses. Captain Serra contemplates him as though he's a not too interesting scientific specimen. D'Alvarez becomes frantic, not knowing that it's an assault force of four. He rushes off to see to el Presidente, leaving Serra to sound the alarm.

    Ricardo finds Fuentes and prepares to kill him. A groggy Fuentes says that it's just as well. Ricardo finally realizes the truth. D'Alvarez ambushes Nelson near the presidential quarters. Nelson puts up a good fight, leading D'Alvarez to resort to his trick ring again. Crane arrives and hurls himself on the man who murdered his crewman. It's a pretty good fight, although the stuntmen are fairly clear to see, and I wouldn't have minded if Crane had been a little more savage about it. Crane finally knocks him down. Ricardo brings out Fuentes, and Crane grabs the blinded Nelson. D'Alvarez aims his gun at them, then flops to the floor, knifed in the back by the "friend at the palace". Looking calmly at the dead man, he turns to the telephone and countermands the patrol waiting at Red Cliffs. The alert has been cancelled. He's about to clear the courtyard, as well, when he's brought down by Lethium fired by the Oriental Colonel, who has kept himself so unobtrusive that it's a shock to see him. The courtyard alarms go off as the group reaches the truck. They've run out of the Lethium, and the truck won't start. (These confounded complications.) Ricardo volunteers to stay behind and cover them with the machine gun. Detta elects to stay as well. With his obsession broken, it looks as though Ricardo might start noticing other things--if he can live that long. Crane's tinkering with the engine is sucessful, and Kowalski gets them out of there. Ricardo uses Detta's necklace to tie down the machine gun trigger, giving them time to make their escape as well. The truck reaches the Red Cliffs, and Kowalski and Williams (who, remarkably, didn't get himself killed in the fray) pull out the ropes to get back down the cliff. Crane brings the barely-awake Patterson, while Nelson assists Fuentes. They note that the firing has stopped, although Fuentes says that it's not for long. Actually, it shouldn't be too much longer, unless D'Alvarez had a fairly large group of loyal men around him.

    A fast paced and exciting episode.