Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 2 Episode 9

The Peacemaker

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Nov 21, 1965 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Peacemaker
Admiral Nelson and the Seaview pick up a scientist who defected to the enemy ten years ago. He is the only person who can deactivate an underwater proton bomb.

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  • This episode jumps right back into the spy-oriented plots. Exotic locale, excellent camera work, and a scary premise. John Cassavetes fits his role very well.

    The episode starts out with the Seaview visiting the icy wastes, which gives them a fine excuse for their classic broaching shot--in color, no less! They are checking out rumors of a new weapon being tested. Twenty-five miles from the test site, not only does the rumor turn out to be true, but the weapon is far more powerful than anyone guessed.

    The scene hops to Nelson's office at the Institute. Nelson seems to have run through his supply of secretaries for the moment--having none at all for the previous episode, he now has Stu Riley, of all people, subbing for one. Nelson finds that the super-powerful weapon they witnessed was indeed as small as it had been claimed to be, leading him to conclude that it was a proton bomb. A larger bomb of the same type could be devastating to the world.

    Meet Dr. Everett Lang, who, with a couple of colleages, has invented the bomb. Lang had defected from the United

    States to some country behind "the bamboo curtain". We're not told precisely what his grievance against the U.S. was, but apparently he has the naive idea (naive being a gross understatement) of forcing the world to disarm its nuclear weapons by threatening it with an even deadlier weapon. The leader of Lang's adopted country shows his opinion of such idealism by having Lang and his associates gunned down in a spray of bullets (and not one drop of blood, fancy that). The guards must have been hideously bad shots using very cheap ammo, because Lang manages to survive the shootout and escape. He gets out a distress call to the U.S, promising to give them something "important"--but only if Seaview is the ship that comes to his rescue. Because of Lang's background, Nelson suspects that the important something is the proton bomb.

    Dr. Lang, who seems at first to be quite badly wounded, commences a rapid recovery, quite ably assisting in dispatching two agents who have discovered him. He puts another call through to the U.S, this time admitting that his information deals with the proton bomb, and again demanding the use of Seaview. Nelson agrees. Crane, more pragmatically, refuses to take the Seaview in directly, fearing that the traitorous Lang might simply be trying to draw them into a trap. He proposes going in alone to find Lang, and only then bringing him to a rendezvous with Seaview. This not only gives Crane the chance for some undercover action, but they get to haul out the Flying Sub as well.

    Crane starts his search for Lang disguised as a legless beggar, only to be nailed by the police. The two police officers in question turn out to be part of the underground--although it's quite clear that Crane was not aware of this until he was carried into Lang's hideout and one of the officers introduced himself. There's a brief, very nicely played bit here: Lang walks up to Crane, extending his hand--and Crane refuses to take it.

    Lang, at this point, seems to have pretty much recovered from whatever wounds he had suffered. Crane, on the other hand, who has been in a cramped, kneeling position for hours, has to work the kinks out of his legs before he can stand, which I thought was a nice touch of realism. A female agent, Su Yin, has made arrangements for them to travel out to a junk, and from there to the Seaview.

    The junk is captained by one of the top smugglers of the area. Lang starts to show some of his arrogance at this point, insulted that Su Yin paid so little for his escape. Somewhere along the line, there was a leak, for the authorities get wind of the escape and come after the junk. They attempt to fight back, Su Yin getting killed in the progress, but the police boat is faster and better armed, and ends up blowing the junk out of the water. They neglect, however, to make much of a search for survivors, and Crane and Lang both make it back to the Seaview.

    Lang leads the crew to where his new, larger proton bomb has been set in the sea bed. This part raises a few questions. In the first place, the bomb's original position seems to be in a place where, if activated, it would harm Lang's adopted country. You'd think that they would have placed it at a safer distance. Lang warns them that if they bring the submarine closer than 200 feet, it will activate the bomb--then he tells them that if they get too close, it will trigger off missiles. I should think that the bomb going off would do quite enough damage--the missiles would be redundant. You would also think that there would be a patrol in the vicinity to prevent any other submarines from unwittingly straying too close and accidently bombing a good chunk of the planet.

    Oh, well. The underwater shots are beautifully done, as usual, even if the bomb does bear a striking resemblance to both the life buoy from "Submarine Sunk Here" and the habitat of "Leviathan". (Nice, thrifty guys, those special effects people.) There's a lot of tension as Lang and Nelson carefully manuver through all the gadgetry designed to keep people away--although the moment where Nelson neatly catches a falling tool passes by so quickly the viewer hardly has time to realize the danger.

    Having ensured that no one can set the bomb off by remote control, Lang promptly shows that he has learned nothing from either his own bitter experiences or from Nelson's sharp comments. He's bound and determined to force the world to disarm--or die. His idea seems to be that if the world won't disarm RIGHT NOW, then he will just put it out of its misery. He refuses to concede that the world just might possibly decide to disarm of its own free will.

    Lang may be deluding himself that he's acting for mankind's benefit--but just watch how he overreacts to such a minor matter as fetching a chair for him to sit in. The man is already drunk on power--thereby proving Nelson's comment about the danger of having one person in complete control.

    Lang's comment about man's destiny being his to shape makes me suspect that he would not have been satisfied with getting the world to disarm--he would have gone on to more and more demands. Nelson convinces the Powers That Be to pretend to go along with Lang's demands while he thinks of a way to deal with the situation. Sharkey darn near blows the whole shooting match when he decides that Lang will never really set off the bomb, and all that's needed is some simple brute force. He manages to talk Riley into going along with this, but Chip Morton catches them just in time. Chip threatens Sharkey with arrest, but under the circumstances, the man really should have been put on report. Sharkey really lucked out here.

    Nelson determines that the bomb will not blow up the moment Lang hits the button; it will take time for the detonator to actually reach the explosive. He says it may take minutes, or it may take seconds. Fortunately for all concerned, it does take minutes, because they certainly take their sweet time in dealing with the bomb once Lang activates it. In fact, Nelson's plan does not work, and he must hastily yank out the explosive part of the bomb before shoving the rest of it outside to detonate relatively harmlessly in the water.

    Once again, the world can breathe a sigh of relief. Nelson concedes that, while Lang's motives were laudible, his methods were not, the price of peace being, in this case, far too high.moreless
Irene Tsu

Irene Tsu

Su Yin

Guest Star

Lloyd Kino

Lloyd Kino


Guest Star

Walter Woolf King

Walter Woolf King


Guest Star

Allan Hunt

Allan Hunt


Recurring Role

Terry Becker

Terry Becker

Chief Sharkey

Recurring Role

Robert Dowdell

Robert Dowdell

Chip Morton

Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The year given for this episode is 1978.

    • Uncredited role:

      Owen Song (Policeman)

    • Crane is playing a legless beggar, on what looks like a less than reputable side street or alley. As he sees a police van start to turn in, he hastily tucks his begging bowl between his knees and hunches over it, hands lying palms up over the bowl. As the van drives past him and stops, Crane has the bowl in his hands...and hastily tucks it between his knees and hunches over it again.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Crane and Su Yin are discussing the captain of the junk they are escaping in)

      Crane: Well, let's hope he's well paid for this.
      Su Yin: One thousand Hong Kong dollars.
      Lang: That's only 180 American dollars. Don't you think I'm worth more than that?
      Su Yin: It is enough.

    • (Lang is referring to the country for whom he created the proton bomb.

      Lang: I thought if they had power they would also have the wisdom to force the world to disarm.
      Nelson: You're not only a traitor, you're stupid as well! Not one man, not one individual, not one nation should ever have complete control over the entire earth!

    • Lang: Submarine Seaview is the capitol of the world .... and man's destiny is mine to shape.

    • Riley: I don't care if he just blew himself up. It's us I'm worried about.

  • NOTES (1)

    • According to the book Irwin Allen Productions, 1964-1970; A Critical History by Jon Abbott, John Cassavetes only did television work to finance his personal film projects. He could be very contemptuous of actors who were working to entertain the masses. In an interview for Filmfax magazine, Irene Tsu (Su Yin) reported that Cassavetes tore buttons from his wardrobe and caused other irritations during the filming of this episode.