THE TIME TUNNEL
PIRATES OF DEADMAN'S ISLAND
As we hear the narration for the last time (telecast air order), Tony and Doug fly through the swirling maze and land on a pirate ship. This sequence looks as if it was done with the actors holding onto ropes and swinging down to the deck of the pirate ship set (which is very impressive). Looking up, Doug alerts Tony to the skull and crossbones flag flying on the ship they have just landed on. The pirate ship crew is in battle with a Spanish ship, capturing it and some of its people, killing many of the men in the battle itself. During this battle the same THE LAST WAGON music is used (it is really good action music and I, for one, never tire of hearing it so its use is justified). Capt. Beal and his first mate Mr. Hampton, every bit the treacherous, evil pirates in look, attack and kill men, then see Tony and Doug, rush them. Doug gets a sword from a fallen man and fights with Beal while Tony fights Hampton. They make a good show of it but end up on the deck of the ship...with the two pirates standing over them with their swords...end of cliffhanger. The teaser continues as Beal and Hampton, the two pirates, put away their weapons. At the pirates camp on land, Beal is interested in ransoming hostages and has the Spanish captain taken away and possibly killed (the inclusion of this captain is curious as it serves no purpose to the story except perhaps to make Beal seem all the more treacherous). Beal asks if there is anyone who will pay for them and Tony says, "I have relatives in Philadelphia--the only trouble is, they haven't been born yet." Beal points his sword at Tony's stomach, thinking Tony is making fun of him. Doug tries to pawn off Tony's statements on his being locked up too long without food and water. Beal offers something for Tony to drink--by throwing it in his face. In the second humorous statement from Tony in less than two minutes, he says, "A bit too strong for my taste." Beal wants to have them taken away and shot. End of teaser.
In act two, Doug protests just as a boy, the nephew of the King of Spain, Armando Del Haydes (although at times, the last name sounds like Del Hadaya or something when pronounced). Beal tells Doug he can do anything he wants, including having Tony and Doug shot, and holding the boy for ransom. Doug appeals to the boy to help them and the boy makes them his servants. Beal agrees to this, at first telling Armando to worry only about his own skin. Hampton is unhappy with this: he wants to kill Tony and Doug now but backs down when Beal asks if he is questioning his orders. When Tony and Doug question Armando about the year, after thanking him, he tells them it is April 1805 and asks, "Are you two sure you're all right?" Tony figures this place is a stopover for reprovisions for the pirates en route to the Barbary Coast and very near to there. Doug recalls it wasn't John Paul Jones who fought the pirates on the Barbary but Stephen Decatur.
In one of the most interesting scenes, Kirk is working late by himself in the complex as Ann brings Dr. Benjamin Berkhardt to him to give him a check up (other articles on this episode, and possibly one of the earlier press kits, state Kirk fell ill from overwork and exhaustion but this was not evident in the aired episode). Ann comments that it is very late and when Ben tries to check on Kirk, he comments, coldly, "I haven't time for nonsense." Kirk tells Ann he knows where Tony and Doug are--has narrowed it down. Kirk apologizes to Ben for being so abrupt and rude, he didn't mean it. Ben tells him he did but excuses him all the same. General Kirk tells him it is just that he is worried about Tony and Doug, something which reoccurs later on in the episode--the weight of responsibility Kirk feels, especially for Doug since he allowed Doug to make the first time trip. Kirk tells Ben he will get the check up once they know Tony and Doug are out of danger. Ben tells him his replacement will have to work with Kirk--Ben will be retiring very soon--actually within the day. Kirk, warmer now, tells Ben he will miss him. Ben smiles, "Maybe for a short while, you're too busy with the time tunnel to think about anything else." All of this is very interesting since we find out more about the burden on Kirk, that the tunnel has a doctor who is an army doctor but wearing civilian type clothes, and makes for nice character interplay and development, despite what critics of Irwin Allen and THE TIME TUNNEL say. Ann gets a signal. On the beach where Tony and Doug are, there is a fire going. They wake up Armando and tell him they want to escape. When the boy asks about wild animals, Tony asks, "Which would you prefer--the ones in the jungle or the ones on the beach?"
In the morning, Tony and Doug (with Doug offering to carry Armando), see a black panther which doesn't really bother them. Tony asks Doug if he can carry Armando but Doug believes he can do it for awhile more. Unfortunately, the trio find the end of their trip nearby...another beach...they are on a small island! Before they can discuss hiding, Hampton captures them, drags them back to the pirate camp with Beal taking the boy off. Back at the pirate camp Hampton tells the two time travellers he doesn't want to spoil Beal's fun--he'd rather not have to---for it would give him great pleasure to kill them now. Beal brings back the boy, who has marks on his face; Doug attacks Beal, "A man hitting a boy? Aw, you ought to be proud of yourself." Beal snaps, "He talked when he should have listened." Tony holds Armando's face as the boy seeks comfort and hugs him. The two men have been taken back to the pirate camp to fight a mute named O'Mali (just Mali in some press kits) who doesn't talk much at all--but listens. He listens to Beal as the captain orders him to kill them slow. O'Mali moves toward them to kill them.
In Act two, Tony and Doug have a major fight with the large mute pirate, knocking him over. The music used is the action music from THE DEATH TRAP and it is quite good. It is used later when Doug is about to be killed by Beal. The Sheba Queen attacks the island (this is one of the American vessels), apparently killing O'Mali. In the complex, when Ben half jokes about being thrown out of the army by their retiring him, Ray tells him he can serve elsewhere--but Ben wonders where a 60 year old doctor will be needed. Just then the power limit setting increases and they get an image of Tony and Doug. We hear the jungle wild bird sounds that we would hear later in the first few LAND OF THE GIANTS episodes produced, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (THE SILENT SABOTEURS and others), DOCTOR DOLITTLE, and other Fox productions, both film and TV. Armando tells Tony and Doug about the American naval boats coming. Tony thinks they should try for a dory (a kind of deep flat bottomed rowboat). Hampton wants to kill them but won't spoil Beal's pleasure. Kirk orders Ann to switch off the image: they'll need the extra power to transfer the boys. They have found out it is April 10th, 1805 and Stephen Decatur destroyed pirate strongholds at the Barbary Coast. Decatur is featured later but only for a short amount of time and a certain Mr. Johnson is featured more. It is a shame they didn't use Decatur more since he was the historical personality. Johnson is played by the same actor who played Wilson, Billy the Kid's right hand man in BILLY THE KID---Harry Lauter. Here, it is almost impossible to tell he is the same man since the role is so different. When Ben, at the complex, asks if he can do anything to help, Kirk--once more unfeeling--just tells him to stay out of the way.
Beal takes his hat off as he pushes Armando back to help Tony and Doug fill up sandbags. As the trio work, they plot but the boy doesn't think trying to overpower the two pirate guards that were left is smart. Doug tries to calm him, "We just got our second wind in that last fight." I like the glance over Armando's gaze that Tony and Doug exchange between each other. This shows that they are just trying to keep the boy calm and that they were just lucky in the last fight. It also gives a bit more characterization than we are used to while the two time travellers are busy fighting for survival--and let's face it, in this episode they really are! Armando fakes that he won't work any longer as a diversion against the guards, one of whom pushes him down. As the guard does, Tony and Doug strike with the shovels they were given to dig. They rush out toward the beach again (and we see a very nice shot of the island which extends out and behind the three--probably a painting but very nice just the same). They head out to the dory but Beal stops them again! Soon, Doug and Tony are tied to stakes as the tide comes in and will drown them soon. Armando tells Beal he will pay their ransom but Beal laughs, "You won't spoil my pleasure." The pirates with the boy leave Tony and Doug as the tide comes up and the American ships begin firing at the beach!
Act Three starts as the ships blast away. One knocks all the pirates down. Armando is shielded by their bodies, so he grabs a sword, runs to Tony and Doug and cuts them free. They run for it but a blast hits them down! They see a ship crash, out of control (it wasn't clear to me on the copy I saw what this ship was--the pirate ship? seems like a good choice). As they run for the dory again, the pirates shoot Tony, who falls, seemingly dead from a shot in the head. Beal knocks Doug down as the disparate man pleads for him to free Armando. Beal is one of the worst villains Tony and Doug...and Ann have faced...he is totally unredeemable without scruples and morals and later, when his crew is finished or captured by Decatur and men, he will plan to abandon them. After the pirates drag Doug and Armando off, Tony recovers--the bullet just grazed his head. Dazed, he nevertheless swims out to the ship! Why couldn't he swim out before instead of using a dory?!?
Tony meets Stephen Decatur and then has to explain quickly about the captain's great reputation when Tony expresses admiration for his accomplishments. Armando and Doug are put on the pirate ship but the battle endangers everyone. At the tunnel, Ben watches as the others get the image of the battling ships. He wonders how many he could save if he were there. Armando is afraid so Doug puts him near him and then on his lap, telling him he has courage. The boy cries on Doug's shoulder in a believable scene. As the battle progresses, the mast on the pirate ship falls off and crashes into the room Doug and Armando are in! They fall!
Act Four opens with the tunnel's efforts to get Doug but they bring back Beal instead! Not a great move--as he cannot be sent back right away...the radiation zone build up will take a bit of time. Kirk tells a guard that he can't kill Beal...he doesn't exist in this time...he died in the past. Why he says this is beyond me? Beal, if shot, would be shot and die just as Tony and Doug would die in the past or the future times they visit. In any event, this gives Beal time to shoot the guard--who appears to survive---only wounded as two other guards haul him out. Next, Beal grabs Ann at sword point, then runs out, exiting by emergency door exit 26, North east bridge 98---or so we are told by Kirk who calls an unseen Jiggs. This seems an obvious ploy by the show not to show us the door entrance to the tunnel but we do get to see some rare sets behind the tunnel and the towers and the like. The one thing is that when the characters run behind the tunnel, we really cannot see much of it and it remains mysterious...which is fine. Beal caused some damage to one of the consoles and it will take them time to repair it. Beal drags Ann to one of the bridges and looks over at all the levels, the power core, the elevators, the guard running, etc. He blames her for being a witch and almost throws her over. She tries to explain as Kirk arrives, stopping him from tossing her over in an all too real scene. He tells the hate monger that they can get him back to his ship and Ann explains he can walk right to it...with Beal's knife now at her throat. He finally agrees, not wanting to listen, but if Kirk is lying and Beal cannot see his ship on the tunnel screen...Ann will die!
After a few tense moments as Ray loses the image of the ship and Ann is fending off Beal's knife hand and arm, the foolish pirate runs back through the tunnel and appears on the deck (an excellent set on both ships above deck; beneath they look like rooms decorated to look like a ship but they are adequate) of his ship. The music as Ray lost the image was very good, tense and not overdone. Beal, back in his own time, is dazed and confused, not really recalling any of what happened to him. The scene of Beal coming to the present seems to be added onto the episode but fits in nicely.
Beal slaps Hampton when the first mate suggests they leave the boy and abandon ship using the aft longboat. Beal tells Hampton to forget the crew, he wants the boy who has hurt his shoulder. Hampton goes to prepare the longboat while Beal goes below. Doug tries to appeal once more to this reprobate and earnestly asks for him to help Armando. Beal just wants his ransom and wants Doug to help him take the boy out. Doug faces Beal, telling him if he wants the boy, he'll have to take him from him. Beal attacks Doug and they fight, with Doug losing again, on his back with Beal's knife moving at his neck and face. Hampton shoots and kills Beal, then will kill Doug, who reunites with Armando. Doug and the boy vanish but reappear on the dangerous beach. Doug smiles and pats Armando's face gently but a blast knocks them both down...and both appear badly hurt. Ann sets the coordinator while Tony's efforts to get the Americans to search for "a man and a boy, please," don't get far. Tony helps with the wounded (8 boarded, 2 are dead).
At the tunnel they are finding it difficult, almost impossible to hold them both when they are separated, something Ray has found out on previous adventures. They superimpose Doug and Armando onto Tony and use a spatial transfer, and try this to get them off the island.
As Tony helps move the wounded below deck, Armando vanishes from the island and reappears on the bed, very badly hurt and asking Tony not to leave him. Tony won't and calls Johnson in. This man checks the boy who has passed out and thinks the fever will finish him. Doug is brought in by other sailors and Tony sees how bad Doug is and in a scene that Darren overacts badly, cannot find a heart beat.
Ben wants to take the medicine kit to Doug himself. Ann and Ray express concern at his even thinking this (Ray calling him Ben again; Ann calling him Dr. Berkhardt again). Ann tells him he could be trapped there. Ben asks, "More than I'm trapped now?" Kirk absolutely won't hear of it, "Trapped or not, you're not going!"
Ben tells him as of 5 minutes ago (a different aspect of time) he was a civilian and Kirk has no rule over him. He tells Kirk that Doug's chances of surviving a heart attack are one in a thousand without his help. Ben tells wants Kirk's authority to send him through but Kirk tells him he doesn't really have the right to send him. Ben tells him, "The right to go is mine. You sent Doug Phillips out there and its your responsibility to keep him alive until you can get him back." Ben realizes he can be useful in the remaining years of his life (another aspect of time and yet another is the retirement thing) and can help Doug, the boy and others on that ship...they need him. Kirk agrees, solemn. Ann kisses Ben; Ray pats him on the back, and Kirk shakes his hand. Ann goes the countdown and Ben walks right through the tunnel.
In the tag, Ben appears and finds out that Doug is in shock but after a few CCs of what he has, Doug bounces back. Doug and Tony reunite (in a replay that we've seen a dozen times already; however, each time the two actors make it believeable and interesting, making us think that they really do care about one another, no easy feat in an adventure series). Ben's bedside manner with Armando (whom Tony asked the Doctor to look at) is very good. Armando wants to make him a court doctor (physician in his own language). Johnson comes down and questions them. Tony tells the truth and for once it doesn't land them all in hot water. They show him the penicillin (gee, doesn't this change time or cause some type of time warp or time trap or something????)
Johnson just smiles, "I pride myself on being a man of logic. Travellers in time. Well, that's quite a thought. I'll have to think about that awhile." Ben intends to stay and asks Johnson if it matters where he came from--he wants to help and perhaps the US Navy can now use the services of an army doctor whose career in the army is now over. Johnson agrees and leaves. Tony laughs that Johnson didn't come right out and call them crazy. Ben goes up to help out the wounded men. Tony and Doug vanish. Since Armando was in the room, on the bed, he must have seen them vanish or maybe he was asleep but we do not see a reaction shot.
An entertaining episode despite the criticisms fans always level against it. The subplot with Dr. Berkhardt is worthy on its own and while there was much foreshadowing (too much) of what would happen, I found Regis Toomey very good...he wasn't too over the top at all and gave a fine, reserved performance, evoking sympathy from the audience. I also like his convincing Kirk to let him go. There is also the subplot of Kirk's feelings of worry and perhaps guilt over Tony and Doug being out lost in time and for once, we get a rare view of Kirk's mental condition over such a burden. To me, these scenes are worth the entire episode.
Of course, there is a lot of action, this being a pirate adventure. It is very realistic, rather than escape and hide out with some kind of chase across the small island, the trio of fugitives from the pirates are immediately recaptured each and every time...which is what would probably have happened.
The panther sequence, the crashing ship, and the Spanish captain's fate are all rather poorly handled with confusion over how the events turned out and why they were included is beyond me. Other than that and I am sure several historical inaccuracies as well as the lame version of Decatur, this episode is really quite good and entertaining with the tunnel staff acting up a storm. Victor Jory is quite entertaining and a bit of a character. This episode was never boring and moved along nicely. I particularly like the many pop ins and pop outs of all the transfers...the tunnel seemed to be moving everyone spatially at one time or another and the pop ins and outs were quite fun in such rapid successions, mixed beautifully with previous music (much from RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY). It is quite possible that this fun episode was one of the middle ones filmed but aired much later. DOCTOR WHO and VOYAGERS! both had their respective pirate tales (THE SMUGGLERS for DW).