Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 2 Episode 26

The Return Of The Phantom

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Mar 20, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • This was a marvelous episode--but I do wish that the writer had not taken the lazy way out in framing the plot.

    Earlier in the season, "The Phantom" went over so well that they decided to do a sequel. Problem is, the "The Phantom" ended with everyone in the control room aware that Captain Krueger was a ghost. "Return" begins with the crew shooting Krueger down, then burying him at sea. At this point, the writer elects to pretend that the ending never happened, which makes for a lot of confusion. I think that it would have been even more suspenseful (if more difficult to write)if the sequel had taken place days, weeks, or even months after the first, after Krueger had had time to think it over and decide that he had blown a great opportunity. It would have been interesting to see Crane, as well as Nelson, struggling with the idea of sacrificing Crane to save the rest of the crew. (Crane, with the safety of his crew paramount, would no doubt have made the decision to give himself up. Contrast that with Krueger, who was prepared to slaughter a whole shipload of men for his own selfish interests.)

    That having been said, it was still a wonderful episode. Richard Basehart gave a great performance as a man hounded and driven to perform a terrible act, not to mention his desperate efforts to convince someone--anyone--that he was telling the truth about what was going on. David Hedison's performance was superb. According to an interview, Hedison worked hard to approximate Alfred Ryder's German accent, not just a generic German accent. And I don't know if it was makeup, lighting, expression--or just my own imagination--but Hedison somehow looked different after he was "taken over", as though he had become more gaunt. He also gave a marvelous impression of furtive sordidness when he went into that club to watch Maria dance. (That dance, by the way, must have been quite a shock to see on this show way back when.)

    Vitina did a nice job with both the earthly Maria and her ghostly counterpart. The explosive finale was very satisfying, with Lani and Krueger walking off through the chaos together. (Although I'm not sure why it was necessary to destroy the entire island to free them. Good thing they weren't on the mainland.)