Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 3 Episode 5

The Terrible Toys

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Oct 16, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • The premise of possessed toys is actually fairly common in both science fiction and horror. It's really creepy to see innocent toys used that way. Although I'd like to know what sort of mind could come up with a toy EXECUTIONER--that's really scary.

    The story plunges straight into the action--Seaview is tracking "something" from outer space that comes into the atmosphere and hits the water with enough force to rock the Seaview from some distance away. There's no serious damage done--not yet, anyway. (Heh, heh, heh.)

    (This seems as good a time as any to bring up a point I've noticed time and again. Whenever something hits the Seaview, Captain Crane instantly calls for Damage Control to report--and they nearly always reply instantly, usually with a full listing of all the damage incurred. Wouldn't you think they would need a few moments at least to inspect the damage the length and breadth of the ship before reporting back?)

    Seaview, of course, goes in search of the object. In the process, they come across some wreakage on the surface, and spot one survivor. He's brought aboard, along with a sack that he happened to have with him. A comment from Admiral Nelson indicates that they are currently in the Indian Ocean.

    While the man is being checked out in Sickbay, Kowalski prepares to store the sack in one of the crew's locker rooms. Hearing a drumming sound, 'Ski first looks around before looking into the sack (you'd think he would notice the noise was coming right from his hands.) I liked his considerable, although quiet, amusement when he discovered the toys--a drummer, a robot, an elephant (dressed up), a tank, a parrot...and an executioner. (Someone's got a really bizarre mind here. They needed a toy with an ax, but a toy lumberjack would have done the job--and would look much more innocuous.) The robot suddenly opens its chest panels and zaps 'Ski, who collapses. The toys all trundle out of the room.

    Kowalski's babbling about toys is naturally passed off as a sign of delirium. He's taken to Sickbay, where the survivor introduces himself as Sam Burke, whose ship had been sunk when the unknown object hit the water right near him. We see that some of the toys have gotten into the air ducts. The parrot, in a really nifty effect, descends on a string (looking rather like a green monkey), presumably listening in on the conversation.

    Next thing we know, the toys are in the Control Room. (For such little things with tiny strides, they sure can move fast when they want to.) From here, they split up and start moving around the ship. Poor Kowalski recovers from his collapse just in time to get zapped again. No one seems to notice that he falls back into the bunk backwards.

    In search of the object, they discover that the object is, in fact, tracking the Seaview, indicating that there is some intelligence involved. Burke seems to be very anxious to avenge the sinking of his ship. They locate the object and pause at a safe distance to look it over.

    We get a look at the room that houses the control panels for the engines. Patterson is currently in charge. There is an unexplained flux in the auto speed control. After Patterson sends his fellow crewman for a replacement part, the Seaview suddenly goes out of control, shooting forward, close to the object, which promptly grabs them in a force field.

    Nelson discovers that a magnetic force field neutralizes the effect of the object's field--although not enough to break clear of it. Seaview is under considerable strain--not helped by the actions of the toys. Nelson decides to use the Flying Sub as a decoy, hoping that this will loosen the object's grip on the Seaview. Crane insists that he not go alone, but Nelson points out that he needs every available man to deal with the escalating damage on board. Sam Burke volunteers to come along with him. The toy executioner, which has caused considerable damage in the Control Room, ends up in the Flying Sub. Possibly Burke smuggled him in there--I can't imagine how it could have crossed the room to the hatchway without anyone noticing.

    Meanwhile, back in the Engine control room, a bad steam leak occurs. Despite getting a direct blast of steam, the crewman who is hit only kicks his rolling chair away. He should have reacted with considerable pain.

    Nelson's maneuver does not work--a second force field grabs the Flying Sub. FS1, which actually has more power for its size than the Seaview, starts to pull away, only to be thwarted by the executioner chopping through a control line. While Crane and the others look on in shock, FS1 is pulled directly through the wall of the object.

    They don't have much time to react--a sudden LOUD drumming noise begins in the Seaview. The sound is somehow causing damage to the reactor circuits. Kowalski awakens from his second collapse--possibly as the result of getting tossed out of his bunk as the Seaview lurches about. Everyone on board is looking for the source of the sound, but Kowalski knows what to look for. His progress into the locker room looks something like a pinball bouncing about. For some reason, 'Ski keeps a crowbar in his locker (or else he knows another crewman who does) and succeeds in smashing down the toy drummer. The sound stops instantly.

    Crane had been seen leaving the Control Room--presumably looking for the source of the noise--but after it stops, he's suddenly back, looking as though he had never left. The drumming has caused a great deal of damage. Patterson has managed to stablize the reactors, but they are still overheating. They have about 30 minutes before the reactors go critical.

    Inside the object, the blustering Burke has cooled down considerably. Nelson determines that there is a breathable, although very cold, atmosphere, outside FS1. Leaving the nervous Burke to make repairs, Nelson dons a trench coat and heads out into a thick, dark fog, looking like an old-time private eye walking the mean streets. After calling out several times, Nelson is suddenly joined by a benevolent-looking old man. The man claims that his ship had crashed because their nuclear fuel source had become contaminated. Nelson, who had dealt with a similar situation back in Season One, offers to give them some fuel from the Seaview. As he starts to return to FS1, the beings suddenly freeze him, and discuss the matter. It's not nuclear fuel they need, it's titaneum--which comprises a considerable portion of the Seaview's hull.

    Back on Seaview, leaks are springing everywhere. Crane orders that the forward torpedo tubes be loaded with unarmed missiles. His hope is that the recoil from firing them simultaneously will shove the Seaview out of the force field's range. The toy robot gets down to the Missile Room and moves in to thwart things. Just as they set things in motion, Crane sees the FS1 escape from the probe. He frantically calls Nelson to get out of the way, but the radio is not working. His call to the Missile Room to abort comes too late--but the missiles malfunction.

    Back on board, Nelson is shown the broken drummer and realizes that all the toys must be a danger. Burke urges him to stop and hand over the fuel to the aliens, as requested. This is a classic "Aha!" moment. Nelson, looking as friendly as a puppy, reaches out to Burke (actually patting him on the back) and asks how he knew about the request for fuel--when Nelson had never mentioned it to him. Burke had been caught by the aliens, who demanded that he obey their instructions. The toys were legitimate toys (even that executioner!) programmed by the aliens. Caught out, Burke is taken away and locked up (although not in the brig, oddly enough). It's hard to say if Nelson had been taken in by the aliens--I tend to think that he had not--but the revelation about Burke made it clear that the aliens were not to be trusted. Running out of time, Nelson, assisted by Kowalski, cobbles together a packet to deal with the alien object. He then sends 'Ski to prepare his scuba gear. Meanwhile, the five remaining toys (with the parrot riding the elephant, making it a little difficult to see) make their way through the corridors. The tank takes out a guard (can't tell if he's dead or alive) and then opens the door to the Circuitry Room. Four toys move into the room, while the tank continues on its way.

    The packet consists of 50 para-magnesium flares fastened together, each one capable of putting out 50,000 BTUs. (I'm presuming that's a unit of energy). Since the aliens were in such a cold atmosphere, Nelson is hoping that heat will affect them badly. Crane saves three minutes of precious time by being suited up and ready to go when Nelson reaches the Missile Room.

    The ship's reactor's have, in fact, reached critical mass at this point, but something--prayer, perhaps--is holding them together. The toy tank takes out another guard, and opens a door, letting Burke out. Burke is horrified to find the fallen guard, but when the tank swivels around and aims at him, he hastily backs down. This passage would seem to indicate that the toys can hear and comprehend what is going on around them. The tank goes to the Engine control room and takes out Patterson and his fellow crewman. Patterson, of course, is not killed, so it is possible that Burke was mistaken in thinking that the guard outside his room had been killed, because what would be the point in killing one, but not the other?

    Out in the water, Crane attempts to place the packet on the object's hull, but an energy discharge makes him drop the packet--and, rather belatedly, go into convulsions for a few moments. Two divers are sent out after Crane. The aliens, who either did not see Crane emerge from the Seaview or chose to ignore him for the moment, immediately set up a net to deter the two divers. The ensuing footage is straight out of "The Monster's Web". A diver is seized by an independently functioning strand of webbing and dragged into the main web, while the second diver is caught while attempting to help his companion. In order to draw out the tension, Crane reacts improperly. His duty is to his ship as a whole--which means that his first priority was getting that packet placed. Instead, he first goes to the aid of the two divers (whose struggles would have served as a nice diversion while Crane placed the packet). His men freed, Crane goes back to finish the job. There is a second burst of energy as he does so--but this time it does not affect him.

    Very oddly (given Irwin Allen's liking for explosive effects) the alien object, with a sudden glow, quietly vanishes.

    The ending seems a little peculiar. Burke had presumably been doing the aliens' bidding under threat. The threat is now gone. Although it is stated that the toys had been "programmed", their actions indicated that they could react to circumstances. Yet the toys still continued on their path of destruction, and Burke seemed to act as though he were taking over where the aliens left off. Nelson is amused by Burke's behavior, although Sharkey is more inclined to beat the stuffing out of him. When the toys show up, Burke suddenly leaps to shield Nelson (further proof that the toys don't kill directly) and we are treated to the incomparable sight of four grown men smashing a bunch of toys. Burke recovers conciousness (a lot faster than anyone else did) and lamely explains that he thought that the toys would succeed in destroying the Seaview, and his actions had been to persuade them to abandon ship. I think a straightforward explanation would have served a lot better than threats. Nelson is more forgiving, and promises to send Burke on his way, with perhaps even a parting gift. I think that the offer of a gift was set up merely so that Burke could have the closing line asking them NOT to give him toys, please. Little strained humor there, but not all that bad. Pretty good episode, all in all.
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