THE SECRET OF THE LOCH
A hurt man stumbles into a Loch Ness pub, talking of the monster who attacked him, another scientist and three others who were in a launch near the dock. "Out of the dark it came," he says. The doctor is mangled and dying; thus the pub men rush out into the night and fog through the forest and rock in a very atmospheric scene. They reach the beach where the man tells the others, "The doctor is dead." One of the Scottish men asks, "Who were he? DOCTOR WHO? Tell us man." He can't tell them. One of the men yells, "Lookie there!" Out on the loch water they hear the growling sound heard in THE PRICE OF DOOM (yes, the plankton, Anna). From out the darkness and mist, the outline of the head of an amphibious monster can be seen.
Seaview is on the surface and we hear calm music. A crewman played by Mark Slade is seen (Malone maybe?). Crane tells Chip to log something. They head for Inverness. Nelson asks Lee if he is curious and Lee smiles, "I've been curious ever since we left Santa Barbara." We hear the Seaview theme. 6 miles from town is Loch Ness but they cannot get Seaview into the loch. Crane meets Nelson in his cabin. Crane tells Nelson that this is seeming more and more like a CLOAK AND DAGGER mission. Nelson asks him about what he knows about Loch Ness. Crane knows about all the legends and the deepest parts of Loch Ness have not been logged. Nelson tells him at 700 feet under the surface is top secret lab working on an ultimate weapon. Nelson received word on the scrambles last night--Tuesday. Dressed in civilian clothes, Nelson and Crane, one hour later, are dropped off in the forest near the town (more Seaview themes occur as we see it). Abriachan is four miles to the right; Inverness 16 to the left. The two make their way through the fog, rocks, and woods. Marine biologist, Professor Alistair MacDougall of the University of Edinbourgh, meets them and tells them Dr. Crothers died last night and the papers are to be turned over to him now. Crane exclaims the monster is just a legend to which MacDougall responds, "Then it was a legend that killed him." Digby, Rasor, Malcolm--all dead--the entire staff of the sea lab. At pub Glen Morey Ames, McDougall is to testify since he is the only witness and he must lie under oath to keep the project hush-hush. Good stock music as they walk through the woods. McDougall asks for the papers but Nelson tells him he hasn't got them--the papers are on Seaview. Nelson and Crane pose as newspapermen. McDougall pushes Nelson and Crane back as an arrow hits a tree near where Nelson was standing. Crane fires his gun several times but the poacher asks them to hold their fire. Nelson asks him, "What did you think we were--rabbits?" Crane wonders why he is out at night hunting with a bow and arrow. He claims to have seen a stag and wanted meat for his table. He is a scary dude. At the inquiry, McDougall says, "It smashed our boat and killed all but me." He reckons it to be an Ithyiosaurus or some reptilian sea dinosaur--prehistoric. Inspector Lesterson from Scotland Yard brings a message to the magistrate who reads it and says, "I see. Perhaps I don't see. I shall protest." He adjourns the inquiry. When the inspector asks Nelson and Crane questions about who they are, Nelson uses an accent and tells him newspaper men and begins asking him questions! This makes Lesterson leave quickly and Nelson and Crane share a laugh. Nelson tells MacDougall to be ready at the Hotel Inverness at 9AM. Outside the pub, the poacher aims the arrow from his bow right at Nelson and Crane (good musical cue into commercial).
McDougall comes out and asks for a match. From behind, Lesterson hits the poacher from behind and watches the other three leave. Seaview music is heard again. Nelson's cabin: Lee doesn't like any of this. He doesn't think Nelson should turn the papers over to MacDougall. Crane asks, "Do you trust somebody who claims he was attacked by a prehistoric monster?" NOTE: This is ironic since he and Nelson have already been attacked by a few prehistoric monsters (TURN BACK THE CLOCK and one might want to also count THE CREATURE I and CRADLE OF THE DEEP) and will be for many episodes in the future. It also makes no sense in the confines of the series since even VILLAGE OF THE GUILT established that "sea monsters" do exist. Washington DC had ordered the papers turned over to MacDougall--he has top security clearance but Nelson can use the excuse of investigating the cause of Crothers' death to delay giving MacDougall the papers. From the bridge, Ski calls Mr. Morton and tells him MacDougall is on board. Nose: Crane and Nelson talk to the Professor. Crane says, "I can't make myself believe in a sea monster." NOTE: This episode must take place in a parallel universe where Crane and the others haven't had any of the previous adventures yet (including ELEVEN DAYS TO ZERO with its huge squid). Just sarcasm there. Nelson tells MacDougall that DC has told him the papers stay in his safe on Seaview in his cabin until they find out what killed the other men (is this true or is Nelson making this up?). For 50 years folks have seen the Loch Ness monster; Crane counters with it being publicity for the tourist trade. "Ever hear of a more unlikely spot for tourism as Loch Ness?" MacDougall asked. NOTE: YES, I HAVE-King Tut's Pyramid, the Amityville Horror House, the Montauk Project, etc. The tourist trade increased via the monster stories. McDougall knows of a way into the Loch for Seaview--not shoals or channels but 400 fathoms down is a navigable route. He adds, "If there is any craft that can follow it--we're aboard that craft now." Nelson calls Sparks for a private call. Nelson breaks out the local Scotch which MacDougall is thankful for since it doesn't taste like the sea water from the pub. Seaview theme sequence again--rather nice and watery. Lesterson calls--he has heard from the British Home office. He tells Nelson there was a second attempt on his life last night by the poacher. The Inspector questioned the poacher and has been getting some very strange answers. His home secretary has told him to relay to Nelson not to do anything with those secret papers. Crane tells MacDougall that Seaview can go far below 2400 and they will try tonight. Seaview theme. They see the natural cavern tunnel ahead--it is 200 feet wide and they move ahead one third. Sparks calls Nelson to the Radio Shack. On a motorboat, Lesterson calls--there are two men with him, one is the poacher (Angus?) who is handcuffed. The fog is like pea soup. The poacher told him everything. He knows why the men of the lab were killed, "Admiral, you're in mortal danger." The monster comes at them; Lester shoots but the boat floods and tilts. The thing hits the boat and turns it over. The boat blows up.
Crane thinks they should think about turning back. There is 200 from keel to bottom. The tunnel descends. Crane says, "Into deeper trouble." McDougall wages a six pence that they can make it. Seaview goes down another 100 feet. McDougall smiles. There is 110 below. They go down another 50 feet and ahead two thirds below Mount Grantite. Nelson tells MacDougall his faith seems akin to knowledge. MacDougall wants more scotch and goes to the nose from control. He looks at Seaview plans near Inspection Panel 14A. Someone with a ring on plants a device which sparks and shorts a line. Crane orders the duty technician to check it. The forward torpedo loading and launching system is out. Ski and men put out a fire. Crane sends Chip down to the Control Room. Crane thinks it was MacDougall. Seaview comes into the Loch. Two miles south of Loch Ende, Equid Circuit Bay (or something like that). At the window are waves. Nelson says, "We're going monster hunting, Lee." MacDougall pours it on, "That I should have lived to see this day--to be aboard the world's greatest submarine craft and the world's greatest marine mystery ahead of us." It will take four hours to fix the torpedo firing system--defective cable brackets caused this, bypassing the circuits that would have prevented this. Ski tells Crane it couldn't happen again in a million years. Crane asks, "Kowalski, do you think it was an accident?" Nelson calls Lee to the nose. We hear the Seaview theme again. Sonar has picked up something south by south west moving at 600 feet, 2200 yards. They move ahead two thirds-heading 1-2-3. Bubbles come out the Seaview back. They slow to one third and soon all stop. At 300 yards, there is something continuing to move at them. At the window, Crane, Nelson and MacDougall see the creature--its eyes blowing, the mouth blinking a light. Nelson tells them this is a monster they can talk to. MacDougall tells Nelson it is not his turn to talk. The radio pipes a message from the "creature"--a submarine made to look like a monster, "Submarine Seaview, remain where you are." The voice sounded British--in fact, it sounded like Lesterson! MacDougall confirms his presence aboard--if he didn't the other sub would have fired in 60 seconds, waiting to hear from their spy. Nelson lets him answer. Crane tells MacDougall, "You're as much a professor as you are a Scotsman." The real MacDougall is dead at the bottom of the Loch, MacDougall Fake admits. He admits, proudly, that using a monster to spy on the base was a brilliant move. The voice wants Nelson and the Professor in a mini sub with the plans. It gives Nelson 6 minutes to do so or it will torpedo Seaview--6 minutes to midnight. The Professor says, "You don't want to die any more than I, Nelson, mon."
McDougall tells Crane and Nelson "We are all reasonable people, just on opposite sides." Crane tells Nelson, "Don't let them bluff you out of those plans." Nelson is thinking of their men--over 100 lives. "Two minutes to DOOMSDAY and you haven't turned a hair," Nelson tells MacDougall. Nelson calls for the mini sub. MacDougall tells Crane to shut up when Crane tells him not to do it--they will blow Seaview out of the water as soon as the mini sub is launched and safely away. Chip tells Ski to prepare the mini sub. MacDougall tells the other sub to hold their fire. They have 3 minutes to send the mini sub. Nelson tells Lee not to countermand any of his orders and leaves with MacDougall following. He tells Lee, "BE SEEING YOU." MacDougall says, "Uhh, don't count on it." Nelson gives MacDougall the plans. MacDougall seems nervous and wants to leave right away. Nelson urges him to check the plans. MacDougall looks, telling Nelson he wouldn't be so stupid as to pass anything off fake on him. Nelson locks MacDougall in his cabin and calls the Missile Room. Then he lets MacDougall out. The mini sub leaves. Crane in the nose watches the monster and sees the mini sub moving away from Seaview. Nelson with a gun, shoves MacDougall into the room. The mini sub moves closer to the creature sub. The monster is suppose to shoot as soon as the mini sub is safely away. The plan was to capture Nelson and blow up Seaview. Nelson tells MacDougall to talk to the other sub--he has 45 seconds--if he wants to live. He calls, telling them another arrangement will be made. The other sub via the voice is surprised MacDougall is not on the mini sub---shouldn't this tell him that the mini sub is really a bomb? The mini sub blows up the other enemy submarine creature. MacDougall puts his hands over his face, sad at losing it and his men. Arrrghh, too bad, too bad. Seaview is almost out of the Loch Ness now. Nelson sits in the nose, wondering if there really is a monster out there. Crane tells him, "You couldn't prove it by me." Nelson says, "Perhaps one of these days, we might come back and find out."
REVIEW: Suspenseful, atmospheric story when in Scotland, a bit slow when on Seaview but not too bad. Torin Thatcher seemed to truly care for the men who died on his submarine after it was destroyed by the mini sub that Nelson sent to it. He didn't care that he destroyed others using the Loch Ness monster as a ploy. Odd that in this season, the Loch Monster turns out to be a hoax when in other episodes, both before and after (plenty of later episodes), giant monsters were almost all real! The sub used is quite good, resembling a sea monster and the Nautilus in 20 THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. The eerie sequence when Lester's boat is destroyed is quite chilling. I must admit to feeling a bit cheated when finding out the monster is really a submarine but this is a good twist--a monster sci-fi tale really is a spy one. Other series used this as a model of sorts. X FILES had the two agents checking out a sea monster which is really not a sea monster. They find out it was a giant alligator--something very natural to the area the "monster" was seen. Sounds like THE SECRET OF THE LOCH. Oh, and Scully's pet poodle had to be eaten by the alligator.