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CRADLE OF THE DEEP

WRITER-ROBERT HAMNER

DIR-SOBEY MARTIN



TEASER

Two scientists, Dr. Andrew Benton and somewhat younger Dr. Wesley Janus, look at cells in a lab. The test tube they are in heats up and is unstable. Janus pulls Benton back but the older man runs to touch the test tube and it blows up and he falls, dead.



ACT ONE

Seaview is at dry dock. Janus shows Nelson a film of a one celled protozoa which took evolution two billion years to evolve. Nelson muses, "Simple but complicated." Janus tells Crane (who enters in a jolly mood) his men did a wonderful job of bringing his things on board--not one broken test tube. Benton (perhaps a relative of Sergeant Benton in 1970's DOCTOR WHO?) and Janus were close to finding the answer--they produced a protozoa under lab conditions but it was kept alive for only a few moments. The research Janus feels will help them stop humans being born deformed--there is no reason babies have to born deformed. Janus tells them, "We're going to the very cradle of existence, we're going to obtain the basic materials of human life." Crane looks at where--Malvernus Ridge and Vemir Sea Mount. Nelson calls it rough; Crane calls it the most treacherous place in the ocean. Janus only understands it as the place where evolution began. He wants to recreate life as it was four billion years ago. Crane wants to save life now--"That place has been called a graveyard of subs." He thinks they should call off the mission right now. Nelson says it is risky but worth it. Seaview puts out to sea. There is a power energizer in the lab which will help speed up evolution. Seaview is at the rocky and turbulent Azanian Sea, both the surface and the undersea is turbulent. Crane tells Chip to go to 200 feet. Seaview dives and we hear the theme. They shake. Crane puffs, "We're in for 400 miles of bad road." New Junior Officer Mr. Clark comes to Crane and asks about the Beamus Sea Mount--it is off limits to everyone else and is unsafe, he tells Crane. Washington DC says it is unsafe--Navy Subs need special permission to maneuver there. Crane tells him, "But we're not in the Navy. That's one of the reasons we're able to go places that are off limits to official vessels." Clark says, "That doesn't give us the right to commit suicide." Crane is getting annoyed and talks to him some more. Clark's older brother was on the Sea Lion--a sub that was lost near the Beamus Sea Mt. He and all the men on board died--there is nothing but wreckage there--if that. Later, Clark storms into the Admiral's quarters and demands he abort this mission--120 men are still there on the sea mount. Nelson demands he return to his post and he will listen to his objections in the manner prescribed according to the vessel's articles. Clark says, "By that time you'd have killed us all." Nelson relieves him of his duties, being so formal now since he wants this expedition to succeed. Clark tells him it doesn't matter--he's already changed their course to bypass the dangerous area. Nelson gets up and calls Chief Jones to take Clark to the brig. Crane checks the course with navigation: A for apple 127, D for Dog 708. Chip asks Lee, "What got into him?" Crane says, "I would have sworn by him as deck officer." (NOTE: I wouldn't. See HAIL TO THE CHIEF and HOTLINE). Crane figures it is the death of his brother. Chip declares, "I know him well enough to know he's no coward." Crane says, "We all get scared a little bit sometimes." Crane worries about an emotional breakdown. Chip hopes Clark gets over it. Crane says, "I hope we all do." Turbulence hits Seaview--trees torn by the roots (THE SKY IS FALLING stock which is used in TURN BACK THE CLOCK and other episodes of season one). They shake; Chip says, "We're asking for trouble." Crane differs, "Asking? We're begging for it!" Seaview lands. Crane goes to the nose-the seismograph tells them a trench above can cave in on them at any moment. Nelson and Janus vote to stay. Janus points out, "Just beyond that window is the beginning, the CRADLE OF THE DEEP." Crane tells him that to sub commanders it goes by the name of graveyard of the deep. Crane questions the whole mission. Nelson wants to collect elements and the sooner the better.



ACT TWO

Seaview: divers go out. Chip goes to Lee in the nose as Nelson and Janus swim. Crane says, "We've got a good chance of being right in the middle of our own private disaster area." Nelson and Janus appear to be right near the surface of a pool. They see a swordfish shark. Fish swim by. They use a pick to break off some of the rocks and come back inside. Nelson tells Janus, "I wouldn't miss the start of evolution for anything in the world." Crane and Chip check the seismograph in the Control Room--it's bad. Crane goes to Bill Clark and tells him where they are. Clark doesn't care about his career, "You're gonna kill all of us on this ship." Crane tells him he will have the doctor give him a sedative but Clark tells him he won't take it. Crane counters, "Now you listen to me, we're here under orders." Janus tells Nelson that Dr. Benton blazed the trails of this work. Nelson tells him, "It's your work now too." They look at the cells--the energizer worked on it. Lee comes in and Nelson tells him to look at the cells in the microscope. The gestation will take 24 hours--Seaview must remain still for that time. Crane asks, "How with the ocean bottom kicking up all around us?" Seaview shakes. Crane relates how a sea quake can cause an avalanche on them, telling them to forget the experiment, in a few hours they will be dead. "There's a whole undersea mountain ready to fall on top of us. Now, we enough problems with that than having to worry about Dr. Janus and some unstable element." When the question Janus about the element stability, he doesn't give a straight answer--he can't. Crane tells Nelson, "You can see how sure he is." Nelson figures the element can muffle vibrations thus he orders Lee to proceed to a safe area slow and easy. Nelson tells Janus who wants to stay at night longer, that he should get some sleep. They leave and lock the lab. The specimen glows (brief music from JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH and even briefer from DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL). The liquid goes down but soon, a blob brain with veins grows and cracks the glass. Crane goes to Chip and tells him to set a course for home. Seaview lifts up but they shake. The mountain blows bubbles. Crane orders them ahead one third. Chip asks, "One third?" Crane repeats, "One third." More quakes shake them. Seaview hits the side of a rock hard mountain. Clark in his cell, shakes. A lot of water is taken in to the Missile Room but men use plates on it. Seaview drifts. Damage control calls about the outer hull damage. Chip says, "That trench area is blowing up behind us and the bottom is ten thousand feet below us." There is a plateau 51 thousand yards, 250 feet. Crane orders them to make for that, "Miss it and we've had it." Seaview lands on the plateau, its side fin tilts. Crane orders Chip to get a repair party crew working on the outside. Curley, Ski, and another man are in the Missile Room containing a leak. Crane calls Nelson and seems to be yelling for no reason (perhaps Hedison was told there would be loud sound effects or steam style hissing going on but the effect is that Hedison is yelling during a quiet time). "RIGHT!" he snaps to Nelson but not in a mean way. Janus goes to the lab and finds the cell glow filling the room and it is large on the table. Crane and Nelson come in--it is beeping like a heart. Crane asks, "How big will it get before it stops growing?" It is pure organic matter, which Janus says, they made from nothing but Nelson reminds him, "Not exactly nothing." Nelson thinks Crane's question was a good one. Crane tells them his concern is here and now and he wants exact figures which Janus can't give him. He will put the measurements of the thing into the computer. Every three hours, it doubles, its weight is multiplying dozens of times faster than its bulk. Crane wants to destroy it but Nelson wants to get it to the foundation labs. They disagree. Nelson asks if he is magnifying things. Crane says, "Sure, all those scientific visions of tomorrow running around in your head, I just hope they don't minimize the damage." Nelson calls Chip (we hear a radar blip for some reason). Chip tells them they can make it to a port in 40 to 41 hours, 37 to 38 if the reactor runs full speed. They will run it and go top speed to get there in 24 hours as per Nelson's figures. Chip questions this but Lee tells him, "We've cut it thinner before." Nelson says, "Thanks, Lee." Chip tells Lee the Reactor Room is doing vacation overtime. We hear the Seaview theme as it speeds through the sea. In his cell, Clark is nervous. The cell creature bends the table it is on. Chip tells Lee, "The Admiral might be right, maybe we can make it." Then he tells Lee, "I've got ten hours to go, you don't--you get some sleep." When Crane objects and tells him he is going to go without sleep, Chip says, "Not on my watch you don't. I'm the watch officer, you go fetch some sleep." Crane nods to him, "Aye, aye, sir."



Seaview theme. Morning: Lee walks back into the Control Room and begins a hello, "Good morning, Chiiii..." Crane finds him playing with a pencil in a fun, frolic mood. "Good mornin' Skipper old buddy." Chip plays on the table and then moves to the periscope island. Crane checks their location, "We're in the same spot as last night! You've been taking us around in circles! We'll never make it back to port in time now!" The cell creature is so heavy, the table beneath it snaps into two. The thing is much larger now.



ACT THREE

Chip sings a circle song, helmsmen do also---about going round and round in circles. Crane threatens Chip with brig time till he's 80. Crane says in words of one syllable--they are 1000 miles off course. He puts Chip under arrest but wants answers. Crane calls Mr. O'Brien to get the day watch to the Control Room; Nelson calls Doc to the Control Room. An older man moves to the helm with another man who removes the stocky short stunt man from the helm. Janus finds the cell larger---as large as a man now. Sickbay: Nelson looks in the scope. The "Doc" is a stunt man or extra who usually plays a crewman (sometimes one who dies-see THE BUCCANEER). There are lab coats on a rack behind them. Nelson shows Lee the blood from Chip--it has a high nitrogen content--where did the oxygen in his blood go? Ski brings Mr. Clark a tray of food. Clark asks Ski what is going on--everything seems so still. The cell is breathing oxygen. Crane figures that is why the night crew went on a pay day binge. Nelson tells him he, Crane, and Janus as well as the day crew were asleep--their body processes were slower at night--otherwise they'd be feeling that way too. Crane insists on killing the cell and dumping it. Seaview shakes, losing trim. The reactor is giving out and Seaview men are told by Crane to rig for bottom collision. Clark punches Ski and leaves as the ship hits and shakes. He runs to the lab and tells Janus he will kill it before it murders us.



ACT FOUR

Janus and Clark have a long fight (good fight music used). Ski awakens and hears the fight and hits Clark over the head when he arrives to the lab. He grabs Clark back. Chip returns to the Control Room and apologizes, "Admiral, I'm sorry, I don't know what to say," but Nelson says, "Don't worry--there's nothing to say." Crane jokes--"For awhile I didn't know if I should throw you in the brig or overboard." Systems have compensated for the oxygen being taken out by the thing. Nose: Crane and Nelson now both tell Janus they must destroy it. When Janus won't permit it, Crane says, "I have one officer on the brink of insanity--who's next?" NOTE: I wouldn't really blame the monster for Clark's insanity--I don't think he had a grip before this episode or the death of his brother. Nelson tells Janus the weight of the thing will go right through the bulkhead soon. Janus won't cooperate with killing it. Nelson tells him man does not create life--he now thinks this experiment was a horrible accident, saying he thought it was a mistake right from the beginning (WHAT??? HOLD ON HERE--NELSON DID NOT THINK THIS--IN FACT--HE PROMOTED IT TOTALLY!!!). The thing converts oxygen to organic matter but its composition is the same as the human body. Janus figures evolution took so long due to adaptability--the thing matter in the lab didn't have the time to evolve--it has no adaptability---no thinking process. Janus now says he will cooperate. If they cut off the oxygen it will starve but Seaview would still break in half with its present rate of growth. Janus tells Nelson the thing has sodium, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon---an overdose of carbon might kill it and infuse it to stop the accelerated growth. Nelson orders Curley to take carbon to corridor B outside the lab. What I don't understand is that the spray they have also has oxygen in it, too. They hope the carbon will do its job before the thing uses the oxygen (?). This doesn't make sense--why not just hit it with carbon? Nelson sprays the viewers as he shoots at the camera. Two parts oxygen, one part carbon--hope the carbon will be absorbed. The outer layer membrane cannot absorb the oxygen directly (why not? How does it do it?). Nelson and Janus go in. Crane stays out on Nelson's order---as a backup. The cell is larger--filling half the side of the room and is now in three or four cell parts, expanding, elongating, dividing. They force the carbon onto it. Janus decides to go around it so he and Nelson can hit it from both sides--and he traps himself in the corner of the room. The cell traps him and Nelson can't reach him. Janus tells him to get out, "Nelson, get out!" The cell electrifies and there are a number of blasts and bursts. The blast throws Nelson against the door and Nelson and the door fly out into the hallway wall. Seaview goes up horizontally (this shot is in the opening credit titles). They have on leak forward, one in the middle. Crane is wondering why--first--Benton, then Janus--too good men--for what. "There are so many things there are no answers for," Nelson turns to the Bible and reads from Genesis, "And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed air into him from his own nostrils and man became a living soul."

REVIEW: Despite this one being a blob-monster episode, it was neither scary but is interesting on a new viewing and holds up better now than it did then. The beast rarely, if ever, leaves the one room it is in and the main action comes from fights over it. John Anderson is a rather straight forward scientist, perhaps too straight to be mean or possessed by it--which he is not, thankfully. The fact that the thing is life from billions of years ago, is interesting but the story just didn't grab me back then. It didn't have much action just suspense and some mystery. Today this one holds up remarkably better and is understandably weird, even in the context of the second season. Very creepy in thought alone. Some of the science doesn't really make sense--an element in an area where evolution began? And the whole carbon--oxygen thing just doesn't make sense. Why not hit it with pure carbon? Perhaps they didn't have any such thing on board. Despite there being only a few fights, there is a lot of verbal sparring between Nelson and Crane and one could feel them disagreeing without them totally off the wall about it. Nelson certainly did not think the mission was wrong from the beginning and his saying that he did, lessens the character's word and believability. O'Brien is called in this episode but doesn't really appear much and is not credited. But he does appear. The whole O'Brien thing is a nuisance to someone trying to figure out who he is or where he is.



NOTE: The generator in the lab looks like early parts to the LOST IN SPACE force field generator.

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