THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN
Seaview is on the surface. A tracking station lets them know the MISP1 is returning via Sparks. This is a rocket ship probe sent into space which Seaview is to recover. Dr. Brand, aboard, tells Nelson this capsule is the first to make a trip to deep space and return. It has encountered solar flares, cosmic rays, and lost contact for weeks. From the conning tower, they see the capsule land into the ocean; Nelson is wearing his dress hat. The capsule is taken into the cargo hatch in the Missile Room. We see the stocky Seaview crewman--a short stout man with very curly black hair--a stuntman who would reappear again in other episodes (as well as WONDER WOMAN-THE DEADLY DOLPHIN). Brand tells the men who surround the capsule that they should now welcome the first VOYAGER to return from deep space, with the implication that this rocketship was manned by a human being. Brand is given the honor of blowing the capsule hatch off. Inside, there is a mechanical man (as we see the camera zoom in on it). Ski says, "That's not a man--it's a robot." This line sounds dubbed but adds to the feel of the scene.
Chip, off the record, asks Lee why the rush on getting the robot back to dock. Nelson calls the Lab on board about the radiation check on the robot which is equipped with an almost human sensory system. It is their pathway to the whole galaxy, Brand feels. He asks for all electrical instruments to be turned off. Nelson looking at the robot, feels its instruments are all wrong. The robot appears to be in some kind of state of shock. We hear JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH music the first of many clips from it. Seaview begins to lose trim. Nelson asks Lee for two more minutes. Brand put the brain in the robot before it left and programmed it. Seaview drops 150 feet. Nelson insists it is in shock--but Brand claims he planned for everything--the Van Allen belt, cosmic rays, solar storms. They want to hook it up the Seaview giant computer. We hear THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL music, the first of many clips from it. In Crew's Quarters, Ski reads a magazine while Curley tells Ski he didn't like the robot's eyes. Ski tells him he is just afraid it'll take over his job. Curley, as Ski drinks coffee, says, "Naw, they ain't got the intelligence." Ski laughs, spitting some coffee out. Nelson makes it known they are not ready for the press to know about the robot. After Nelson and Brand move out of the room, the Robot lights up and gets up, knocking over a table, moving out the door of the lab and into the halls of Seaview!
Nelson and Brand call Brannigan at the Nelson Institute--there was some solar magnetic interruption when the capsule reentered. Everything was positive--the robot should be working and transmitting the information. The lights go out, communication stops, and the instruments fail. Telemetry fault would show in the circuitry room. The Reactor Room calls the captain--the atomic pile has shut down. Lee makes Chip surface "the boat" and asks the chief electrician to check the circuitry. When the quiet but big man does so, the robot knocks the door down and backs the man to the wall. Seaview shakes, the gyros out. Tilting, Crane and Nelson make their way to the now dead electrician. Curley arrives and stabilizes the gyros. They figure the hatch, which is on the floor, hit the man. Crane orders him taken to sickbay for an autopsy. Brand arrives--the robot's gone. Crane in the Missile Room organizes a search party. Nelson doubts the guns will do much good and tells the crew this. Chip calls Lee--Seaview has stopped at 85 feet, controls jammed with negative buoyancy. They may go down again. The Robot receives Brand but something is scrambling the signal--perhaps the Robot itself. Controls blast. Ski and Curley search, Curley reminding Ski he didn't like its eyes. They see crewman Benson (most likely not the same Benson who would appear in TERROR ON DINOSAUR ISLAND) shoot at the Robot and the bullet bounce off it and wound Benson himself! They get the wounded man away from it. Nelson feels the vent--the temperature is dropping. Chip breaks out the cold weather gear and winter coats. Seaview is 250 feet down. The forward tanks are clear. Brand detects the Robot but it throws his signal off again. Nelson feels it is beyond repair. Somehow, the figure, it's been reprogrammed. Nelson insists something has effected it but Brand insists the Van Allen belt radiation was insulated against. Lee calls it, "A maniac." Nelson says, "It's worse than that, Lee--it's a maniac built to be indestructible." The Robot, in the most effective scene, stands in the air revitalizing room, its eyes glowing as camera zooms in.
Curley and two men find the robot in the Air Revitalizing Room (which looks nothing like it did in THE INVADERS). Lee, Ski, and Nelson join him there. Curley is to open fire with a machine gun when Crane opens the door. When Lee opens the door, it is gone: it tore right through the wall! Engineering is making headway with the ballast tanks. Nelson says, "Good, we'll fight our way to the surface yet." Patterson reports the main ballast jammed and they can't pump water out. Brand finds the robot is between the inner and outer hull at frame 60--inside the main ballast. They don't want to blow ballast but that would flood the robot which Nelson figures might short circuit it. If they flood the ballast, the Seaview will go down again. Lee hopes Nelson is right and they flood the ballast--Patterson doesn't question why--he just does it--without questions about reversing his previous work to clear the water out! In later episodes, a whole conversation about why this is not a good thing from Patterson but why it is from Crane would have taken place. The robot vaporizes the water into steam and the temperature rises. The lights go out, the generator room affected. Communications to the room go out. Nelson and Lee go aft; Brand loses the robot signal again. Nelson gets Brand to the nose where there is less steam. The nuclear pile is cold. Nelson calls the robot berserk--paranoid but Brand continues to insist there are too many controls and precautions on the robot. He lost contact during the blackout; Nelson realizes light is its power source--photo cells--without light it cannot function. Nelson and Crane search with flashlights. In front of Nelson, a hatch opens: the robot comes at him. He lures it with the light, shining it right into its face. Nelson is backed to a hatch, turns the wheel, goes into a darkened room, then shuts the light, ducks away from it and locks it in. In the nose, Crane mentions the words "humanly possible" making Brand wonder, "What makes something human." Nelson tries to calm his fears, "Man will win out." Brand says, "I hope so." Nelson tells him they have to destroy it which upsets Brand. Nelson insists, "It could still kill all of us." It could reactivate at any time. If Brand doesn't cooperate, Nelson will send an engineering detail to go in and hack it to pieces and have the parts blown out the torpedo tubes. Brand feels he might still recover some of the information about outer space. He asks the Admiral to let him dismantle it--to salvage part of it. He goes to the robot, opening the door. It is sitting, looking almost placid. He starts to unscrew it but screws the lid back on the chest--he shines the light in its face. First season stock music adds to this. The robot goes on, beeping. It won't transmit to him. It gets up and comes right at Brand!
Seaview is going down as the Robot is in the hallways again. Nelson and Crane find Brand. Brand is all right, "He meant to kill me." The arrival of Crane and Nelson may have stopped it from doing that (at least press material says so). Two men get Brand to the nose. 40 minutes to one hour to get to the surface. Robot tears a hatch off in front of Patterson. Seaview moves down to 465 feet. It is dark in the Crew's Quarters: robot is in the hall moving slowly. It knocks the door in. Three men inside shoot at it (but the bullets don't seem to bounce off into them) but it keeps coming. NOTE: In this season, in some episodes, the Crew Quarter room has picnic-bench like tables and chairs. The robot moves at the men. Brand tells Nelson the robot's mind is "an electronic brilliant mind dedicated to killing all of us." Its emotional reactions are emulating human behavior--,"Totally dedicated to killing all of us." Lee calls--three men in the Crew's Quarters are dead and he tells Nelson it is not a pretty sight. Ski and Patterson hear it moving. Ski wants to see and sends Patterson to the Skipper. Pat says, "Good luck." Ski says, "Well, thanks." He looks through the door and the robot comes through the wall. Ski runs and tells the Skipper, "That robot goes through steel hatches as if they were cardboard." There is a small Seaview model in the nose (in some episodes there is a larger model on the shelf in the nose). Nelson is told it is in the Missile Room. Crane wonders what kind of damage it can do there. Nelson feels this is the best break they've had, "I'm going there to meet it." Brand worries, "Admiral, stay away from it--you saw what it did to your men." Nelson says, "Yes. Yes, I did." He goes anyway. Crane follows after him quickly. Patterson and some other men are moved into the Missile Room--the robot is in the hallway. NOTE: In other episodes, characters have escaped the missile room using the vents and shafts--why didn't these men? Maybe they didn't know it. Patterson says, "It's coming in here. We're trapped." The robot knocks the door in and picks up a magnetic mine on the wall (why these explosive devices are on the wall or on Seaview in that spot, one can only guess--dramatic license). In one of the strangest sequences in any VOYAGE, the robot attaches the activated magnetic device to his own chest! In 60 seconds it will go off. Nelson and Crane arrive; Nelson tells Lee to douse the lights. The Admiral leads the robot toward the escape chamber hatch with 40 seconds left. Patterson does a countdown. The robot lumbers slowly at Nelson who tosses the light into the chamber, then throws himself down on the floor to avoid the robot. It follows the light into the chamber, Lee closes the door. Nelson floods the chamber. The robot goes out, moving upward when it blows apart. Seaview shakes and the lights go on, out and on again. Chip calls--they have full power. Seaview surfaces. On the conning tower, Brand claims he will create another and send it up into space, this time insulating it from...its own personality. Crane says, "Maybe with a prayer this time." Brand asks, "For the robot or for us."
Hat on, Nelson comments, "Maybe both of us, doctor, maybe both of us."
REVIEW: I really enjoy the first season endings on the conning tower--there are many of them; when the episode doesn't end on the conning tower, very frequently it ends in the observation nose and sometimes sickbay. The music used at the end, while Nelson makes some quip or Lee makes some judgement, usually sound, or both happening, is quite good. The endings always seem to wrap it up quite well, especially this season. They are usually uplifting but with a feeling of mixed emotion. This episode wasn't one I looked forward to re-seeing. It was much better than anticipated. While many fans mock the robot design (it does look rather flimsy and hastily put together) and its cardboard like supposed metal "skirt"--and this is justified--the robot's face plate gives it some real menace. This is another VOYAGE episode that seems like a throwback to pulp fiction and adventure, even to FLASH GORDON, which had similar robots in the third chapter play FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE. The killing of the crewmen, while morbid, makes the episode seem all the more filled with danger---people die and just after the three crewmen are killed in the crew's mess, Pat and Ski encounter the robot--making it seem more of a threat. One does wonder if the Benson who is wounded in this episode was the same Benson character who died in TERROR ON DINOSAUR ISLAND. Another good reason or two to like this episode is Mike Constantine playing Dr. Brand. He is not cliche. He is not mad with power and has not programmed the robot to do these awful things. He is really a good person, one who is not related to a Frankenstein like doctor and that the robot isn't related to Frankenstein is also a good thing. Brand also, happily, does not get killed off. He didn't deserve to--he wanted only the best for all. He wasn't conceited and cared about Nelson getting hurt or killed. Constantine's acting is fine, as it always is. The episode, about a robot running amok, is not new material, but the filming is superb this episode with several interesting camera angles and zooms. This episode and THE INVADERS, seem to set a standard for offbeat, more science fictionary tales of invading beings being on the sub.
SEPARATE ARTICLE---RELATED IN A WAY TO ALMOST ALL VOYAGE EPISODES:
What I like to call the HP LOVECRAFT cycle on VOYAGE includes the following.
MUTINY (what are the many jellyfish that appear in VOYAGE really working for or scouting for or if not, what are they?). The jelly fish type thing reappears in GRAVEYARD OF FEAR. Another kind, and this time it is linked to eternal youth serum, the serum making a young test subject girl young again. But in what way is it linked? The serum was supposedly created by a team of scientists but was it really? Where did they get the idea and how did they grow the jellyfish or find it? While we are on paranoia here, what really caused the earthquakes in ELEVEN DAYS TO ZERO? And who is behind Dr. Gamma and all the evil agents sent to stop Seaview?
THE INVADERS (this ancient race had many secrets of being on Earth for over 20 million years and were hardly human at all--were they the product of some higher alien life form--an evil one and did they worship any kind of "god"?).
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN (what in space made the robot want to kill? What force was behind this?).
CRADLE OF THE DEEP (while I haven't included any of the scientific findings and experiments such as those from VILLAGE OF THE GUILT, HAIL TO THE CHIEF, THE FEAR MAKERS, THE X FACTOR, etc, there are episodes like those and this one CRADLE OF THE DEEP, that make one suspect human scientists have been given secrets by some higher life form and not for the benefit of human kind).
The monster in THE CONDEMNED and the air mixture invention may have also been something mastered by a master alien race, THE AMPHIBIANS certainly, THE CREATURE I, LEVIATHAN for obvious reasons, THE MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, DEADLY CREATURE BELOW (perhaps the monsters like this one were leftover experiments from the early alien to human life original inhabitants of Earth and outer space or other dimensions beyond our vision and such monsters appear in outer space in LOST IN SPACE and this sum up for this monster is not unique--there were other types of creatures seen in space and on Earth under the sea--see THE MONSTER'S WEB, THE MENFISH, THE MERMAID, THE THING FROM INNER SPACE, and others).
THE PHANTOM STRIKES and THE RETURN OF THE PHANTOM (what really brought Kruegar back from the dead? and how did Lonnie fight back--were there two opposing forces of aliens or demons against angels behind this?), ditto demon intelligences or alien or both demonic and alien forces for THE HAUNTED SUBMARINE, CAVE OF THE DEAD, THE TERRIBLE LEPRECHAUN, DAY OF EVIL, THE MUMMY, and THE RETURN OF BLACKBEARD. Ghosts and other supernatural evils were hardly ever fully explained on VOYAGE. Was some devil or evil space alien behind it all or at least some of the time?
To a lesser extent, men turning into monsters can be seen as the experiments or leftover residue from alien interference and VOYAGE has had plenty of those: WEREWOLF, BRAND OF THE BEAST (both werewolf tales laid the foundations of the lycanthropy as a virus disease--but where did it originate from?), and MAN-BEAST. Again, in MAN-BEAST, the result was supposedly from a scientist's experiments but is it really?
THE SKY'S ON FIRE--what really made the Van Allen Belt suddenly lurch towards the Earth--perhaps alien fire beings not unlike THE HEAT MONSTER. As in THE MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, we have aliens from space in other episodes. Sometimes these aliens refer to themselves as the Masters of the Galaxy or the Universe. Sometimes they claim to have done this to other planets (and in THE TIME TUNNEL, the aliens in TOWN OF TERROR, RAIDERS FROM OUTER SPACE, THE KIDNAPPERS, VISITORS FROM OUTER SPACE make these claims outwardly). MONSTER FROM THE INFERNO, THE TERRIBLE TOYS, DAY OF EVIL, DEADLY INVASION, SHADOWMAN (which represents the same type of aliens in LOST IN SPACE's WRECK OF THE ROBOT and THE GALAXY GIFT), DOOMSDAY ISLAND (the aliens which resemble the bearded alien in THE TIME MERCHANT as well as the alien scientist Lemnoc in LOST IN SPACE's THE PHANTOM FAMILY), DEADLY CLOUD (the alien which resembles one in LOST IN SPACE that took over John in FOLLOW THE LEADER), THE DEADLY DOLLS, JOURNEY WITH FEAR (most straightforward aliens), TERROR, THE LOBSTER MAN, NIGHTMARE, SAVAGE JUNGLE, FLAMING ICE, and ATTACK! all fall into this aliens are arriving, are already here, or are taking us over realm. The point of masters is driven home most in THE DEADLY DOLLS but "masters" of the ages and the galaxies are mentioned in THE TERRIBLE TOYS and DEADLY CLOUD. Many of these aliens claim to have been watching Earth for a long time. DOOMSDAY ISLAND aliens have been here for centuries.
Another genre falls into the beings from the sea--it is rarely explained if these beings are from Earth originally or if they have come from another planet or were brought here by other beings. Perhaps the sea creatures in these episodes were experiments themselves of some earlier race of monster-intelligences. These include: THE INVADERS, THING FROM INNER SPACE, THE FOSSIL MEN, THE MERMAID, and DEADLY AMPHIBIANS. In addition to this, some of the before mentioned monsters from space had a sea-like feel to them: THE LOBSTER MAN certainly was from a sea planet and the alien's true form in NIGHTMARE resembled DEADLY AMPHIBIANS--was there a link in some way. Again, many of these "races" appear in LOST IN SPACE in deep space--and also look like--sometimes exactly like--the aliens and sea men presented in VOYAGE (the alien in LOST IN SPACE-A CHANGE OF SPACE looks like the merman in THE MERMAID, not to mention the supposedly man created THE MENFISH, an alien woman in LOST's SPACE BEAUTY looks like THE DEADLY AMPHIBIANS). Are they all linked to a small select group of higher life forms---evil ones as well as neutral and good ones? Although I could never imagine Richard Basehart acting against a race of frog aliens, it must be mentioned that these watery type frog aliens appeared several times on LOST IN SPACE (THE GOLDEN MAN, THE GALAXY GIFT). It must be noted that these monsters and "races" are also linked to errant life forms that seem less intelligent at times--the spider in LOST IN SPACE-THE KEEPER PART 2 and THE MONSTER'S WEB as well as other cameos in both SPACE and VOYAGE. This also goes for the white creatures seen in SPACE CIRCUS and REVOLT OF THE ANDROIDS--resembling the mad scientist experiment in THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN on VOYAGE. More on mad experiments and well meaning experiments gone awry below.
In addition to all of the above, there are evil scientists, mad experiments gone awry and telepathic powered human beings, perhaps well meaning at first episodes, included in this list are the inventions and weapons man supposedly created himself: CITY BENEATH THE SEA, THE FEAR MAKERS, THE MIST OF SILENCE, THE PRICE OF DOOM, THE MAGNUS BEAM, THE BLIZZARD MAKERS, HAIL TO THE CHIEF, DOOMSDAY (by the way, notice how some force, be it man himself or some alien or sea driven race wants to create a nuclear holocaust all through out VOYAGE), THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN, THE HUMAN COMPUTER, CRADLE OF THE DEEP, THE AMPHIBIANS, THE CREATURE I, THE ENEMIES, THE CONDEMNED, THE CYBORG, LEVIATHAN, THE PEACEMAKER, THE SILENT SABOTEURS (note the goal of some foreign power is usually trying to sabotage space craft efforts as are some alien beings in later episodes--coincidence?), THE X FACTOR, THE MACHINES STRIKE BACK, THE DEADLIEST GAME, GRAVEYARD OF FEAR, THE MENFISH, THE MECHANICAL MAN, and THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED (which like THE PLANT MAN contained a telepathic or mind controlling human enemy). It is interesting to note that the Senator in THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED used stock monsters for his illusions. Monsters that have appeared before in VOYAGE--either taking these terrors from the minds of the Seaview men or...and this is a big or...using monsters of the alien intelligence's knowledge--whether or not the Senator was aware of the aliens behind his powers is another story. The gas on the strange island in NIGHT OF TERROR and the radiation leak in SEALED ORDERS new type of missile caused similar illusions---and monsters appeared again that looked exactly like one another (and a few appeared in LOST IN SPACE as well as VOYAGE---THE THING FROM INNER SPACE, NIGHT OF TERROR, and SEALED ORDERS showed up in LOST's PRISONERS OF SPACE) More in this list of experiments gone mad or wrong: DEATH WATCH, THE PLANT MAN, THE LOST BOMB, THE CREATURE II, NO ESCAPE FROM DEATH (forgive them for crossover but this has a jellyfish with whale innards-type monster), THE WAX MEN (what were the wax men really? And how did the clown--who has no name--create them? Was he human? Were they his creation or the byproducts of some alien masterminds behind it all? Was the clown an alien? Or some alien weapon himself? Or simply a used human?--it must be noted that toys and dolls were used in other episodes that featured aliens attacking Seaview--WAX MEN made no such claim to aliens being behind it but...?), FIRES OF DEATH (which can fall under many categories--mad scientist, supernatural, experimental, alien forces), MAN OF MANY FACES (involving the Moon coming toward the Earth and Nelson mentions that Mason, the scientist didn't realize it would do this--perhaps something else was behind it all--and Mason certainly had agents behind him), FATAL CARGO (so how many white apes have you seen on Earth?--there was one similar one in STAR TREK!), BLOW UP, THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (which overlaps with LOST IN SPACE's monsters in SPACE CIRCUS, REVOLT OF THE ANDROIDS), SECRET OF THE DEEP (with a repeat of many of the monsters across VOYAGE's four years), MAN-BEAST, and THE DEATH CLOCK.
A sub genre of the mad experiments includes time travel and time machines which pop up in TIME LOCK (Alpha in the year 2823), A TIME TO DIE and NO WAY BACK (Mr. Pem in the present of VOYAGE-1981 and 1982). Both humans, Pem and Alpha, didn't seem able to concoct time travel machines on their own--they may have had some push in the right direction or were outwardly helped by aliens or some other more intelligent life form. THE DEATH CLOCK is one of the oddest of the time travel stories where a corpsman, Mallory, has a device that can bend time and change it to alternate realities--a world of tomorrow that can or can't happen. Did the corpsman create this on his own? An island drifting in space and time appears in the sky in THE DEATH CLOCK. It can also be noted that the device is similar to the effects of the missile in SEALED ORDERS and the servo actuator in LAND OF THE GIANTS-THE GRAVEYARD OF FOOLS--where the giant men--aliens themselves--human but alien to Earth--claim "it came from the stars." Are these all linked? It should be noted that supernatural terrors such as those found in HAUNTED SUBMARINE, CAVE OF THE DEAD, RETURN OF BLACKBEARD and others also have the power to stop time or slow it down or make it go back (as do the aliens in DEADLY CLOUD). All similar. Related? While on the subject of LAND OF THE GIANTS--NIGHTMARE in GIANTS had a similar radiation leak to SEALED ORDERS with the same type of illusion causing! In GIANTS, an element on the giant planet caused this. Did the President of the US know something about the silo in SEALED ORDERS he wasn't telling (Nelson even tells Crane that the builders of the silo weren't about to tell him more about it--he didn't have the info on it--which is highly irregular for Nelson not to have info on the missiles--he always did in the past episodes).
In DEADMEN' DOUBLOONS, Captain Brent may have been faking that he was a real reincarnated pirate but in fact, the Capt. Brent in 1524 looked too, too much like the Brent in 1978. Perhaps not reincarnation but maybe it was really the 1524 Brent.
THE MECHANICAL MAN is certainly the creation of a human man or at least the responsibility for his building falls onto Paul Ward but how did Paul get such knowledge to build this being of incredible power when just a year or so earlier THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN was just a bucket of bolts which looked very inferior to Peter Omir 50. I realize that perhaps eight years may have gone by from season one to season two but Omir was beyond what we can do in 1997! Who gave Paul this knowledge and what force wanted Omir to conquer the galaxy, not just Earth? A fan fiction story once told of an alien sea race that came from the stars and in it the Seaview encountered a race of amphibians that wanted one of their own back--a girl who was really one of their experiments and their own kind---and the story tried to say the encounters of the Seaview and such menaces weren't all random. In the story was a cameo by Prof. Bernard Quartermass (an England scientist with his own set of adventures--about four or five, and with aliens who were here before).
This is all just food for thought. But maybe you shouldn't think too hard about it all. We wouldn't want you to. Neither would they.