Writer-WILLIAM REED WOODFIELD (who was involved with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE later) and GEORGE REED
Crane is being interrogated behind an electric sparking brainwashing device. A voice asks him questions. Crane resists but tells them he is an agent for the People's Republic. He tells the voice lies the voice wants to hear--part of the brainwashing. He says he was visiting his mother for the weekend, she was ill but is better now. His allegiance is no longer to Seaview. His best friend is Admiral Harrimin Nelson. The voice makes Crane pick up a .45 caliber gun and shoot what seems to be Nelson but is only an image-poster of the Admiral.
Intelligence Committee appoints Mr. Forester (no, not Paul Forrestor of STARMAN) to secure the mission over Seaview. Chip brings the man to Nelson who wonders if he can move some of the Marines who are in the way so they can get some work done. Being planted on the sea bottom are self contained nuclear armed intercontinental missiles. In the enemy dark room, Crane is given a shaving kit with many spy devices within. Among these are a curari pistol (which when fired brings instant death to whoever is hit), shaving cream which is an explosive 54 times more powerful than nitroglycerin--the wheel on his razor cap is the detonator, the mercury in the battery sparks it. His soap is a micro reader. His nail file, made with a magma carma (?) seal, can cut through steel bars, and his comb is tritanium which will be explained to him later. An agent on Seaview will watch him; if Crane fails, the agent will destroy Seaview. The agent will give him instructions on a matchbook in microdot. The matchbook has the trigram--the symbol for peace. The builder of the missiles, Dr. Ernst Ullman, meets Forester. They realize the US President must announce these new weapons very soon, before the Paris conference ends. Nelson asks Chip about Lee. Chip explains he and Lee had dinner Friday night, agreed to meet at the country club the next morning at 9AM for first tee off. When Lee didn't show, Chip called his apartment--no answer. They get a call--Crane is aboard. Nelson tells Chip he wants to see Captain Crane as soon as they are clear of the harbor. Forester checks Crane's bags. Chip greets Crane, "Glad to see you, Skipper." Seaview pulls away from the harbor. Nelson asks Crane about where he has been: Crane lies about his mother being ill. He tried to call Chip but Chip wasn't home yet. He also lies about leaving word at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. Parker, the radio operator, gives Nelson a message. At the nose window, watching the water, Ullman feels reminded of old sailing ships and his dreams of them. He asks about the window. Nelson tells him it is not made of glass but a high tension plastic. Forester wants 24 hour security on Seaview. Ullman asks about a high voltage power source he can have that is independent of Seaview's power sources. Nelson tells him the Missile Room has one. Crane says, "As Curley would say--Nothing we can't handle." Crane looks down--he sees the matchbook on the table in the nose area. Both Forester (cigarettes) and Ullman (a pipe) are smoking.
Nelson hopes the missiles will make war impossible. Any country knowing the US had these ICBMs on the bottom of the sea would be crazy to attack. Nelson asks for the precision depth recorder as the missiles would have to be placed at 25 thousand feet or more. 18 hours and they will be ready to plant these. Crane sees Forester checking some seamen for magnetic devices which may affect the fusing devices on the missiles. Crane says, "The crew is not used to being suspect." Crane asks Spencer their current position and O'Brien to set a course. Crane fakes that Spencer's duty-watch--the inertial guidance system, which is vital to this mission, is overheating a bit. He changes two wires without Spencer seeing this. In the Lab (a radically different lab from the other three seasons to follow), Nelson tests the salinity of the water in the area (34.7); Crane says, "Constant." Spencer turns a switch on the inertial guidance system and it shorts out, electrifying him. Chip yells his name, then to have the men cut off the current to circuit 12. Doc (Richard Bull's Doc) comes in and checks Spencer and the man is taken to Sickbay. Nelson can't tell if the device was sabotaged but doesn't see Crane smiling and acting glee. Nelson insists, however, that, "There will be no aborting this mission." They will come to periscope depth using the sextant. Nelson tells Crane he has to make Seaview perform like an elevator; then Nelson wonders what is wrong with Lee when their position is off due to his error. "Prepare to go down," Nelson orders and Seaview descends and then drifts towards a mountain range. Nelson says, "Take her up and try it again." Crane insists, "It can't be done, Admiral," and when Nelson appears agitated at Lee again, he snaps over the mike, "Get off my back, Admiral! I'm in control of this ship!" They shake and Seaview scraps the mountain. Damage includes starboard tear and a leak in frame 41 as well as probable propeller damage (by A TIME TO DIE in season 4, Nelson claims Seaview doesn't use propellers any more). Crane tells them to surface and return home for repairs. Nelson comes in and belays that order. Crane is in the nose. Nelson comes down, "Is something the matter with you, Lee?" When Crane admits there is nothing very wrong, Nelson says, "How dare you abort this mission." He tells Crane this mission will go on if he has to hold the sub together with spit and glue. Crane snaps, "And risk the lives of 125 men. And for what?" Nelson answers, "The future peace of the world." Crane goes ballistic, "You hypocrite, you don't care about the peace of the world!" Nelson slaps him.
Crane thanks the Admiral for slapping him. He came apart. Nelson tells him he's exhausted; Crane tells him he is not fit to carry out this mission, nor is Seaview. Nelson tells him to get some sleep. In 24 hours they will begin again while Morton sees to the repairs. Nelson remains stubborn. Ullman works on the inertial navigator. Seaview surfaces for repairs. Forester asks Parker, the radio operator to get Mrs. Crane on the radio to check on Lee who was worried about his mother. Nelson takes Forester into the hall behind the control room to ask him why. Forester must check on Captain Crane who was missing three days. Nelson says, "I would trust Lee Crane with my life." Parker comes to them and gives them a report--the hospital says Mrs. Crane cannot be disturbed. Chip calls Crane awake. Crane sees another matchbook and uses micro read to see what it says--deactivate missiles. In Missile Room, Crane uses the razor to do so. Later, Ullman wonders if Forester and Nelson would mind if can be indulged in a bit of superstition and draws the trigram for peace on one of the missiles. Nelson orders Lee who tells O'Brien to go down again. The Missile Room lower doors open and the silo missile is lowered and set. Seaview heads to the next course. Forester tells Nelson security must be maintained until the last of the silos are planted. Nelson patronizes him, "I know, Forester, that's your job." Crane goes to the Missile Room in the vents and finishes deactivating the missiles. Forester is outside and when he comes in, Crane hides but drops something. There is some very good stock music used. Crane hits Forester from behind and knocks him out. We hear a slow version of the VOYAGE theme song. Forester awakens and hits an alarm to call Nelson and Crane down to the aft torpedo room--where he is (is there more than one torpedo room or is this the missile room? It sure looks like the same one). Nelson admits there is an inspection passage through the hull (if this is the missile room then why can't the men use this hatch other times--as when they were trapped in it by THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN and numerous other villains in the show's entire run?). There are about 20 exits and everyone knows about this. Forester asks Lee why this passage wasn't shown on the plans of Seaview that he gave him--he could have it sealed off. Crane thought the passage was on the plans. Everyone must be put on alert now. Ullman checks--the silo is deactivated. Forester asks Nelson if he will continue to vouch for everyone on this sub. Ullman figures a magnetic device could do this and the other missiles must have deactivated as well. Forester begins a search and tells Nelson, "How about if we start with your cabin?" Crane reads a new message in his cabin--KILL NELSON.
Forester calls the Commander of the Marine Detail to Nelson's cabin. They found a comb behind a mirror in Morton's cabin. Nelson says, "I can't believe it--I've known Chip Morton since he's entered the Academy." Forester orders three men to bring Morton up to them. Now they can get on with the mission. Nelson admits he is not so sure. Crane in the Missile Room is to double check the silo launching gear. He takes out a gun. Nelson checks other controls and Lee points the gun at his back. Forester sees this and shoots Lee's shoulder; Nelson calls Sickbay. Forester says, "I'm sorry, I hoped it wouldn't get this far." Now, they are certain it was Lee. In Sickbay, they question Lee. Lee tells and says Nelson would destroy the world. He vacillates between his real self and his programmed self. Forester figures it was the brainwashing but the shock of being shot and the sedation Doc has given him is bringing him out of it. Crane tells them he works for the People's Republic but Lee fights it off. Crane tells them about another contact, then laughs, saying it was Ullman. Doc tells the two men not to question him any more. Nelson and Forester wonder how messages could be given to Lee or the contact. Forester believes no one could have gotten a radio aboard. Nelson figures it has to be the most powerful radio already on board--the radio of Seaview--the new radio operator Parker must the contact. They also realize the information Parker gave them about Crane's mother was false. In the nose, Parker is using the shaving kit to blow the viewport windows. Nelson and Forester find Parker was just relieved of his duty watch--there is another radio man there. O'Brien tells them this and Nelson orders the officer to surface the sub. Parker continues as we hear good stock music (used many times later on THE TIME TUNNEL). Behind Parker, on the ledge off to the right side of the nose, is a very large model of Seaview. Parker shoots as Nelson and Forester try to come in. As Forester shoots back, Nelson says, "Careful, if one bullet hits the window, we'll have the whole Pacific ocean in here." Now to me this seems unlikely that a window that is built to take the pressure of the ocean depths Seaview can go to, would be unable to take a bullet or two--it must in future episodes. Forester jumps into the nose and shoots Parker in the back (most likely killing him dead). Nelson runs in just as the window is blown out and the water sprays inside! Luckily, as Nelson tells the group in Sickbay, Seaview broached the surface just as the window was blasted out. Lee is in a wheelchair and in a robe, "Sorry, I involved you in all this, Chip." Forester tells him they never really thought it was Chip anyway. Nelson says Chip was with him when Forester was knocked out. They brainwashed Lee and must have done the same thing with the radio operator. Nelson says, "As long as the enemy has to go to these lengths to meet their ends, I'm not worried about our security." Forester nods, agreeing and smokes, using Ullman's match book. Nelson takes it, and sarcastically says, "Peace."
REVIEW: A very involving story with Hedison doing top acting throughout. Warren Stevens is also very good as always. His character added some spice to the proceedings and the interplay was very good so much so that in the future he would have made a great reappearing character. On hindsight, it is easy to spot who the contact was, but when first viewing this episode, it is not very easy to realize it was Parker, who was moving in and out of the nose bringing messages. It was truly a surprise. It was also a surprise and a logical one, that the enemy would have brainwashed another member of the crew but suspicion seemed to be cast on either Ullman or Forester ala HOTLINE and NO WAY OUT where one of the spies on board had to be one of the guest visitors to Seaview---here in THE SABOTEUR, it was neither guest visitor but members of the crew itself. These twists and turns were nice especially since we knew right from the start that Crane was one of the saboteurs. The missile drone concepts begun in DOOMSDAY and followed through here resurface again in later episodes--notably THE MACHINES STRIKE BACK and KILLERS OF THE DEEP. Earlier than MACHINES, and not too long after this episode, enemies would try to coerce Nelson into giving them the locations of the missile silos in THE TRAITOR, another very good episode which sometimes gets confused with this one. It is also mentioned in passing in THE PEACEMAKER. Another episode which shows such missiles on the bottom are DEAD MAN'S DOUBLOONS. In other references, it is noted that Parker, the radio operator who was the other brainwashed crew member, was arrested. In the episode, it looks fairly sure that he was killed when Forester shot him in the back. Many fans, some who have just a passing interest in the show, really enjoy this episode and mention it often. James Brolin apparently appears as Spencer but he is almost unrecognizable and is seen very little. When seen it is from behind a great deal and when shot from the front, it is very quick. Someone named Fred is credited but who this is, is not clear, perhaps the Security Marine Officer.