Writer-WILLIAM REED WOODFIELD
Everyone is busy aboard Seaview in the Missile Room, ready to launch test dummies in a hull bathysphere which is made of the same material as Seaview. As usual in the first season, crewmen such as Kowalski, wear button down shirts with rolled up sleeves and dark black pants. The music used in this opening is uplifting and sea-like. When we see Seaview hovering close to the surface from underneath, we do not hear the familiar popping sound effect. Using an atmosphere exchange inside the probe the experiment will allow it to go far below usual crush depth. At 5000 feet, the atmosphere exchange keeps the bell from imploding, the inner pressure equaling the outer (which doesn't sound possible or quite right). Chairman of the Inner Space Press Council Admiral Bentley Falk, the supposed creator and inventor of the hull and its mixture, is not here. He is at a press conference. Nelson is agitated, "Why isn't he here." Nelson dislikes headline grabbing news related scientists--it's a disgrace. At 36 thousand feet, Nelson tells Crane he'd make a deal with the devil to get Seaview to go that deep. The test bell lands on the bottom at 36,200 feet. Ski starts bringing it back up but some huge, giant, two headed monster grabs the bell.
The monster is two headed and its faces seem to radiate some type of light or reflection. It has seaweed like covering and roars and makes other sounds. The hull comes up. We then see the titles to the episode and hear a version of the VOYAGE theme over the Missile Room. Falk finally arrives with a photographer and press agent named Hoff. Chief Scientific Assistant Archer is not 100 percent sure the experiment was a success. Falk takes photos with Tracy, a man who seems to be either a Seaview member--possibly from the Nelson Institute or more likely a member of Falk's own staff. Tracy can give these photos to his grandchildren one day as Falk tells him to. Falk and Nelson disagree, Nelson feeling that Falk is really a phony who only wants credit for himself and not for the science world. Nelson tells Crane only he can order the hull to come up since he knows the Seaview hull better than anyone. Falk comments he may be sorry he chose Seaview but Nelson counters with the fact that he chose Seaview because he knows it is the only sub that can make the depths. Nelson wishes them all the best and says so to Archer. Falk tells Tracy, "I'll take care of you." Tracy, Lee, Falk, and Archer make a dive, each in one of four compartments around the device. The top of the bell is clear. Falk fingers a bull statue he takes out of his clothing. They make the first atmosphere change while holding the descent long enough to do so. Archer takes pills. One half of one percent more nitrogen will enter the test device. Lights blink and flashes of lightning hit. The molecules in the hull are accelerated to be heavy enough inside to withstand the pressure outside. Nelson calls, "Good, Falk, you've done it!" Falk, conceited, calls back, "Of course." Nelson makes a face of aggravation. Crane notices the statue of the Greek mythological Poseidon. Falk's father had it on his own bathysphere dive. Crane read Falk's father's book a dozen times--it kept him interested in the sea as a boy. The bell moves to 20 thousand feet, 6 thousand decibars of pressure. Nelson gives Falk his congratulations at 36 thousand, 200 feet. Falk says, "I've beaten you, father." The bell goes to the bottom (a fantastic miniature set design which makes one sorry it is not in color--as this season of VOYAGE and the first of LOST IN SPACE should have been). The monster seems aware of the bell. There is a leak in the mixture valve--one fourth of their air gone. One of them may die. Lee tells Nelson that they need to come up fast and at the rate of ascent they are at, they will need the decompression chamber ready when they arrive. Falk cuts Crane's air off and Crane passes out. Then Falk cuts Tracy's air out.
Unconscious, Lee, Falk, and Archer are put into the Decompression Chamber in the Missile Room (?). Tracy is dead. Doc (Richard Bull's Doc) asks Nelson for a schedule of the decompression. Nelson does not have it yet. Doc orders Ski to seal the chamber. They simulate 6 thousand decibars of pressure. Doc tells them if they hold at that pressure they may die. Nelson stops Hoff from shooting pictures and orders no press releases from the sub. Hoff tells him then they have a problem: he already radioed to the press. Nelson vetoes any more messages. At 4000 decibars, the three men show signs of being somewhat better. Chip tells Nelson the master cylinder was defective in the test hull bell--gas collected, expanded, and burst. There was nothing wrong in Tracy's compartment. Chip found the bull. Falk, getting up, checks Crane who is still out. He goes to Archer and wakes him up, telling him to be quiet. The theory of the atmosphere mixture is Archer's, who saw Falk kill Tracy so they would have made it back--if he hadn't all four may have died. Falk tells him their mixture will open up a whole new world of riches. Archer tells Falk that telling on him won't bring Tracy back but he continues to want to destroy Falk, something he's denied himself for a long time. Archer says he is not doing this out of some sense of right or wrong but for science. He has denied himself more than revenge on Falk--he's denied himself honor, self respect, and dignity. Falk says, "How noble." Crane is up now and all are up and eating. Nelson gives Falk his bull back. Falk brags about how the atmosphere equalization process worked. Nelson reminds him, "A man died." Falk lies--telling them that when Tracy saw Captain Crane pass out, Tracy closed his own intake valve in his compartment to save the other three men. Falk says when he realized what Tracy was doing, he was going to reopen the valve from the master panel but it was too late to do it. Falk continues the lie, "Tracy's last thoughts were of me and this project." Nelson won't dive Seaview just yet, he wants another test bell dive. Nelson argues with Falk over this, "This is my sub--I say it won't go down until I say it does!" Falk turns to Crane after Nelson leave. He wants Lee to make Nelson understand. Nelson, in a t-shirt, is in his bathroom and tells Lee there will be no test for another week (the 27th of the month). Nelson is singing and Crane wants to convince Nelson but Nelson wants the test to work, only he's not willing to risk even one life to make it work. Nelson calls Falk an egotist--he will risk putting up with that egotist for the sake of the project. Crane gets agitate this time, "How can you be convinced of anything?" Lee wonders if Nelson wants it to succeed. Nelson wonders if Lee thinks he is jealous of Falk. Lee looks at him and leaving says, "Of course not, Admiral." Crane walks out. On the teletype to Seaview, the President requests Nelson pose no further delays to Falk's test dive. Nelson is angry Falk went over his head and tells Falk, "If there is any trouble, I'll abort this dive, orders or no orders and I'll will hold you personally responsible!" Falk claims, "There's nothing to worry to about." On the bottom is the giant monster.
Seaview is going down. Nelson wants Archer to brief him on every component. The computer is programmed to all levels of change of atmosphere. They are now 200 feet above crush depth. Two huge circular devices and four small ones are in the room (the lab? Missile Room?). Everyone gets dizzy as they make the first exchange of atmospheres. Crane tells the crew, "There's nothing to worry about." Is he oxygen deprived? Doesn't he recall Tracy's death? Hoff almost lights a cigarette but Falk stops him--he could have blown them all to Kingdom Come. Hoff wants to take more photos. Falk tells Hoff just to go sit down. Archer, without looking at Falk, says straightly, "Why, Admiral Falk, you've never refused to have your picture taken before." Nelson laughs quite a bit. Seaview holds. Nelson tells the crew the small purple lights installed in the air ventilization and revitalization systems are to allow Seaview to withstand the pressure of lower depths. Seaview shakes a bit and sparks fly. Archer holds his chest and tells them to continue the dive. Crane takes Seaview down. Seaview is past crush depth--the hull pressure is normal. It is 96 minutes to the bottom. Falk leave with Hoff. Suddenly, it is 98 degrees and getting hotter. It is usually a constant 78 degrees but now it is 100. Nelson tells Chip to check the cooling system. Patterson checks the blowers and ducts. Falk returns and finds Archer on the floor. He puts pills in Archer's mouth as it becomes 130 degrees. Nelson calls Falk a fool when he realizes Falk cannot help him fix what is wrong. Archer was the assistant, Falk explains, he knew about all the details and takes care of them. Seaview dives and lands on the bottom. The hull is fine but Nelson wants to go back up to 200 feet. Nelson tells Archer, "Fine work, Archer." They go to the nose to look out, Archer telling Nelson they can only do so for five minutes as decompression time increases every minute. They look out at perpetual night. Archer quotes Falk's father, "The abyss is where your nightmares live." Falk arrives and tells them his father was a better writer than a scientist." Falk tells them his dreams are of conquering the sea, not a nightmare--a dream. Falk has called the President and already spoken to him. The President wishes he were right there with them. Falk talks about all his glory which upsets Archer, who finally yells at him but then falls, dead. Nelson grabs the pills Falk pulled out of Archer's jacket--digitalis--Nelson asks Falk if he knew Archer had a heart condition. Hoff calls their attention, "Look Admiral!" The monster is seen out the nose and comes at Seaview.
Nelson orders Seaview back. The nose camera goes on for Lee and Chip. Nelson and Falk leave to go to the devices. Lee calls--they've backed into a canyon--effectively trapping them. Nelson stops Falk from turning a mixture blend off--it only goes off if the computer malfunctioned--which it hasn't. Archer told Nelson this. Falk yells, "Let me think!" He sets it. Seaview goes up, the creature, notes Nelson, isn't following. Perhaps it can only survive on the bottom. Falk tells Nelson he is sorry--the shock of Archer's death made him upset. They hear gas--there is some kind of imbalance inside--the pressure inside is greater than outside! They must compensate. Falk looks in the book for answers. Nelson switches to manual and orders the men to flood ballast---Seaview must go back down--where the monster waits. Falk slips that Archer built the machine. Falk told Archer what he wanted and Archer built it. Falk insists he conceived it. Nelson asks, "Who was it who turned the dream into reality?" Falk can't help him. Nelson calls him a thief and a fraud who's dishonored his father's name. He also asks him if he's ever done anything in his life for himself, by himself. Falk tells Crane and Hoff, "Tell him he's wrong." The two men just stare at Falk. The monster attacks. Crane orders the reactors up to full power and sends a charge through the hull--twice. Electric shocks hit the beast, coming off of the sub. Divers cannot go out--at this depth, they'd be crushed---Falk overhears this. Lee orders Seaview back up again but slowly. He gets scuba gear in Missile Room. Hoff tries to stop him but Falk hits him with an air tank (the symbolic shaking of the press and the glamour). Thanks to Falk, the monster lets Seaview go. Falk goes out and uses a light to lure the monster away from Seaview. Seaview exchanges atmospheres. We see a small light--Falk--near the monster--on the TV monitor Crane, Falk, and Nelson see it too. Sickbay--Hoff has his head wrapped up, telling them Falk said he wanted to do something important once in his life. Nelson won't expose Falk. When Hoff thanks him, Nelson says, show your thanks by making sure Archer gets the credit he deserves. Archer will be as famous as Falk, Hoff promises and he sounds sincere. As Nelson and Crane move away, Hoff asks, "Admiral, can you use a really good press secretary?" Nelson turns to Lee, "Come on, Lee, I think I'm going to need fresh air."
REVIEW: A really more engaging episode when you watch it more than once or twice. Falk symbolically leaves behind the unimportant press and fame for something "really important in his life." He didn't seem to be an out and out bad guy but just opportunistic. His killing of Tracy was not fully revealed but it did seem that if he didn't do it, he, Crane, and Archer would have died. But if he were so noble, why not sacrifice himself? Of course, he realizes this at the end and does sacrifice himself. Nelson was a bit hard on him in the 4th act but for all the nonsense Nelson took from him earlier without any return, it was justified. Another thought is that the monster represented Falk's dad...his monster who he lived in the shadow of his whole life---and using a light against his shadowy monster--he does something really important, for himself. Also, it is difficult to feel sorry for Archer since he came off as being as cold as Falk; however toward the second half, Arthur Franz imbibes him with some sarcastic humor, it is difficult not to like him. His motives weren't altruistic by his own admission but perhaps they were and he didn't see this--but he kind of "dug his own grave" by not being honest from the beginning. He was partly to blame for Falk's deception and misjudgments. The fact that Falk redeemed himself makes Falk somewhat more likeable in a strange sort of way.