I don't approve of the idea of taking old television programs and altering them to make them more appealing to a modern audience. But if I were to make any changes to this series, it would be to get rid of the occasional dates that they slapped onto them. We know that there were no manned Venus probes in 1976, or anything remotely close to it. Of course, they couldn't have known that there would be people enjoying these programs decades down the line, but with any futuristic series, putting a date on it locks it in time. Much better to keep it open.
That having been said, it was a pretty nifty premise. The U.S. having launched a series of Venus probes, they find that the probes are being destroyed on their return--after first having all the valuable information drained from them. The Seaview's crew--who are so good at this sort of thing--are assigned to look into the matter.
For some reason, Richard Basehart wasn't much involved in this episode, his presence being limited to a couple videophone exchanges, probably from Washington--he's in his dress uniform. This leaves Crane for the active work, while Chip Morton minds the store.
They have somehow traced the source of the transmission that destroyed Probe 3, and Crane, Sharkey, and Kowalski hasten to reach it, as Probe 4 is not far behind. They have some nice underwater shots of the Flying Sub as it moves upriver--although the scenes with divers, as usual, look as though they were done in a swimming pool, with little effort made to dress up the background.
Crane having gone out in search of their Underground contact, Sharkey and Kowalski find out too late that that some heavy complications have set in. They can't take the risk of calling Crane directly, lest enemies track the transmission. (They don't seem to have a problem with Crane calling them, oddly enough.) A diver approaches the sub, who turns out not to be Crane. She gives them the proper passwords (ever notice how often those seem to involve baseball?), is brought on board, and identifies herself as their contact, Major Chang.
Meanwhile, an unknown person has been tracking Crane, and opens fire on him. The sound effects people really went to town on this. Neither the long gun nor Crane's short gun make the standard sound of gunshots, but they both echo with the sound of thunder. Quite interesting against the jungle background, but you'd think that the long and the short would sound a little different. Crane manages to overpower the man--who identifies himself as their contact, Major Chang.
As the lady foretells, this makes for a rather interesting confrontation once Crane and his guest return to the Flying Sub. The lady quite cheerfully re-identifies herself as Moana Yutang, but maintains that she is part of the underground. Moana is the only one that has a plan for them to follow, and Crane elects to follow it. Chang's idiocy in shooting at Crane without knowing who he was--even if he did think that he was in danger--might have been a factor in the decision.
Having come further upriver (to a site that looks remarkably similar to their previous one) the group has a run-in with some cute little floating mines. A counter-magnetic field keeps them at bay, but for some reason, while a number of them passed by, another batch of them suddenly decided to explode anyway. The resulting damage caused Sharkey to remain behind to make repairs, while the rest of them got to shore and started on their way to Moana's safe house.
Stopping for a rest, the group for some reason divides in two, allowing for a nice interlude with Crane and Moana, in which we find that she used to be an exchange student in the U.S. Moana was a little heavy-handed with her dialogue at this point, which might explain Crane's increased wariness of her when they hear shots fired in the distance. He takes Chang with him to investigate, leaving Moana under Kowalski's guard.
They find that the safe house has been ambushed and the people there dead, which Chang offers as proof that Moana is the enemy. Crane is concerned for Kowalski--as well he might. Having listened to a series of beeps from her sleeve, Moana quickly knocks Kowalski out with a lipstick gadget--there's that standard mistake again of standing too close and talking too much. She's unconcerned with the possibility of Kowalski being found by either men or wild animals.
Sharkey contacts Crane with information that the real Major Chang had been killed two days previously. Chang gets rid of the radio transmitter and orders Crane along at gunpoint, not noticing that Crane has activated a homing device. Sharkey and a rather groggy Kowalski set out in pursuit.
At this point, a number of questions start to arise. Having reached the base camp where the computer interfering with the probes is located, "Chang" inexplicably conceals himself and Crane from three guards. It would have made far more sense for him to reveal himself and have them take his prisoner in charge. "Chang" also tells Crane that he has no intention of killing him--his superiors want to question Crane about the Flying Sub. I'd like to know just how he found out about that. He very obviously was trying to kill Crane when he first found him, and while he could silently transmit a signal telling his superior, Lago, that they were on their way, he could hardly receive a message back ordering him not to kill Crane without Crane noticing. "Chang" discovers, too late, that Crane had handed him an empty gun and had simply gone along with him in order to find the base. The resulting fight was very well down--brisk and efficient. Quite often in the fight scenes, Hedison's stand-in is very obvious, but not in this case. He promptly gets into another fight with someone who turns out to be Moana. (There is another nice touch here--Moana gives a quick grimace of pain when Crane pins her down.) This brings up a couple more questions. Moana states that the reason she had come after Crane was that she had intercepted "Chang's" transmission and "somebody had to tell you that this man was a traitor." She knew all along that "Chang" was not the real Major Chang, so why did she wait to go after them? She offers Crane proof that she is who she claims by giving him the plans of the base camp. Crane, very sensibly, asks why she didn't give them to him before, and she says, "I couldn't without revealing my identity." Well, why NOT reveal her identity? Wasn't it the whole point to prove to Crane that she, and not "Chang", was on his side? As it turns out, she had been married to the real Major Chang. Perhaps she was just not ready to openly deal with his loss.
It would be interesting to know just how long they were rambling about in the jungle. Sharkey said that it would take eight hours or more to fix the Flying Sub. Lago states near the end that it has been six hours since he has heard from his agent--which presumably was the transmission Moana listened to right before knocking Kowalski out. All things considered, they should have all been ready to collapse with exhaustion by the time it was all over.
In what was probably a rarity at the time, Moana overrides Crane's suggestion that she stay safely back out of the way, and accompanies them in their armed assault on the base camp. Time is running out for the fourth Venus Probe, and they quickly make their way into the inner sanctum. In a remarkably realistic touch, the laser beam Crane uses to destroy the transmission panel is invisible--which is exactly as it should be. Lago decides to destroy everything rather than surrender, but Crane and Co. manage to get out, naturally, hauling Kowalski, who had gotten himself a classic shoulder shot, along with them.
Crane suggests that Moana come back with them in a rather flirtatious manner, seemingly forgetting that the lady is newly widowed, but she elects to stay and help her people. Crane and Co. head for home. I suppose that it's a standard, rather trite phrase, but I do like the implication that, for them, the Seaview is "home."