THE SKY IS FALLING
WRITER-DON BRINKLEY (who was involved with TRAPPER JOHN MD)
People see a flying saucer. They are having picnics and are in the streets of the cities. Stock footage of people seeing the UFO is from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL movie. A man is in a tracking station (the same man is a stunt man on Seaview from time to time). The UFO is over Seattle, Washington (but it looks like Washington DC). Interceptor missiles are alerted. The flying saucer is over San Francisco, the LA, south from San Pedro. A Rear (make that a real rear) Admiral Walter Tobin tells a General not to wait--to attack it. It has violated all rules and has ignored all communication to it from the government. Tobin wants it stopped--he is convinced it is hostile. The UFO crashes into the sea and submerges. The General stops his countdown to intercept.
Seaview is on the surface, lit up. Seaview clears the straights and is taking water samples. Sparks gives Nelson new assignment from Washington DC. Nelson tells Crane, "For the time being, we're back in the Navy." Nose: Crane comes to Nelson. They rendezvous with a helicopter on the starboard port. Nelson asks Crane if he knows Walt Tobin. Crane says, "Rear Admiral Walter Tobin, trigger happy Tobin, scourge of the seven seas." Nelson says, "You know him." Tobin tells Nelson and Crane about the UFO which flew over the Aluesians. The Jefferson and the Madison were sent out. The Madison got too close and at 3500 feet was swept into a vortex current and lost. The 7th Fleet will be following Seaview soon. Seaview is Tobin's flagship, he states. Nelson wants more info on the saucer. Tobin tells him more info--there may be more UFOs--he tells Nelson they must get it before it gets them. Tobin wants it to surrender, since it is hostile. He tells the crew this. The crew goes on battle stations. Ski, always quick with a quip, "That's the neatest trick of the week--chasing a flying saucer with a submarine." Seaview dives (theme). Unidentified metal contact occurs. They tape it and feed it into the computer, isolating a wave pattern. Sonar blips occur and Seaview slows to one third. Tobin orders torpedoes ready; Nelson tells Crane to do this. Sail and nose cameras are on--they see vegetation that was ripped out by the roots by some incredible power. Crane looks, "I've always said mermaids make lousy housekeepers." It looks like ocean garbage. Seaview is hit by the maelstrom, turbulence hits with strong wind-like sounds, bubbles, trees, and very good music. Tobin helps steady Nelson. Seaview hits a whirlpool like area. 200 feet down--it threatens to split Seaview and push it into the vortex and crush depth. Crane asks for more maximum power from Reactor Room conversion chambers. Seaview comes out of it. Sonar whistles. Sparks gets interference--jamming, and the TV signal is gone. Nelson, Tobin, and Crane run to the observation nose (the control room and the observation nose being on two separate decks is really annoying and this is fixed in the second season opener, thankfully). Heat they are experiencing is in solar units--but the fuel of Seaview is 235 strontium 90. Looking out the window, the three men see the saucer rising in front of Seaview. Sounds of it come from FANTASTIC VOYAGE and are used more commonly as vanishing and appearing sounds on LOST IN SPACE and more infrequently on THE TIME TUNNEL, VOYAGE, and even less frequently on LAND OF THE GIANTS. These sound effects are also noticed as the Jupiter II interior control room sounds for Season One and Two. Nelson wonders how the aliens will communicate with them. Crane asks, "How can we communicate with them?" Nelson looks out, "Something tells me--they'll find a way."
The TV monitor gets the UFO on it. Tobin wants to fire. Nelson tells him they have no reason to do that. They are a civilian vessel commissioned by the US Navy. The UFO has not committed an act of aggression. The saucer glows and flashes in and out. Seaview shakes--the lights remain out even though the emergency generator is cut in. Chip tells all hands to stand fast as near panic erupts. Bishop or O'Brien is down. But he manages to hold trim by hand. NOTE: This Bishop-O'Brien thing is just too muddled: across season one, there were two actors who play Bishop, there were two actors who play O'Brien--often not credited. To make matters worse, at times, neither is named or called by name, credits in THE SKY IS FALLING contain Adam Williams as "The Chief". There are also several crewmen who appear and reappear and even die (Robert Doyle as Blake in SUBMARINE SUNK HERE) who are named different names (Robert Doyle as Pryor in THE FEAR MAKERS) and sometimes reappeared in Season Two (Doyle as Frank Werden in AND FIVE OF US ARE LEFT). This also happened with Paul Carr as Clark, who has the most erratic of histories on the show and who would reappear as Benson in TERROR ON DINOSAUR ISLAND and would die as Benson, later to reappear as Clark in stock footage from HAIL TO THE CHIEF in NO ESCAPE FROM DEATH. More on Clark in other episode reviews. The main point to all this is that O'Brien, Bishop, Clark, Malone, and others are often listed as continuing characters throughout the first season. This is simply not true: the characters appear in a handful of episodes each but could not be considered main characters as Kowalski and Patterson could be. They do not appear in a majority of episodes as Ski and Pat do. Every so often an episode would crop up that didn't have Patterson and once in awhile an episode would appear that didn't have Ski (can't recall him in SABOTEUR or THE LAST BATTLE to name but two). While both Pat and Ski could be called continuing main characters, the others--Bishop, O'Brien, Malone, Clark, and others could only be considered sometime guest starring roles---and not even that often. In trying to pin down these characters's names and the names of the actors that play them, reviewers are confounded (unless they have the scripts but even there, I suspect crewmen often go unnamed) by the fact that names are snapped out, quickly, none too loudly, and murmured.
The vent system is out--there is no air, the men use battery flashlights. Ski tells a crewman to relax--they are okay. Mitchell Corbett (or Coburn) tells Ski they can suffocate. The UFO and Seaview move together. A magnetic force is pulling them up. Tobin wants the torpedoes fired. Sparks has a lighter lit in the radio room. A crewman tells him to save the oxygen, "We need all we've got." Men check on each other, one crewman named Corbett seems claustrophobic. Chip grabs him. Corbett flips out but the Chief (not Curley--who isn't in THE SKY IS FALLING) but possibly O'Brien or Bishop (?) punches Corbett down into his senses. He then apologizes to the "kid" feeling badly. Crane talks to the crew. Nelson tells Tobin there is no future for short winded men. Tobin thinks it is worth trying to fire the torpedoes. Nelson argues this would make them the aggressors. Seaview tilts and shakes, at a dead stop; Crane guesses 400 or 500 feet. Nelson tells him they have ten diving masks with tanks of air (ONLY TEN?) which can be given to some men. Crane calls attention to a small device leaving the UFO. Tobin believes it to be a weapon. It lands over the control room hatch (and sounds like the FANTASTIC VOYAGE sound effects, used throughout the alien sequences in this episode). The Chief and Pat lift the hydraulic lift by hand, raising the periscope. Crane calls the chief Coburn or O'Brien--it is difficult to hear him. The device on them is thought to be an escape chamber; Tobin thinks it a bomb. Chief calls out Z132M and tells SKi he just volunteered (as this was a usual Curley line--I am lead to believe Curley's part was given to this mysterious "Chief" character). Crane and Tobin follow the two. Nelson opens the deck door and up into a smaller room. They see the hollow device which Tobin thinks may have lethal gas. Nelson tells them to go back down while he opens it. They all stay. Crane closes the hatch door beneath all four of them. The escape chamber is empty with room for only one. Nelson makes that one himself. The device lifts off. Crane and Tobin rush to the nose to watch it return (at this point the excellent music sounds a bit like the much later--SPACE: 1999 first season music in its eerie quality). Tobin cheerfully says, "Well, that, ahh, that's the last we'll see of him." The dome on the spaceship bottom rises up and rises Nelson up under it. Nelson ascends to the UFO interior. Inside there are a great deal of electronics. The bubble goes down once Nelson steps off. NOTE: This set is fantastic and quite unlike the much cheaper sets later on in a majority of LOST IN SPACE's alien spacecrafts---here in SKY, there is no blackness in the background, no dark walls hiding undecorated interiors and no strange curtains blocking walls---the set is fully realized. A human shaped figure in a spacesuit, an astronaut, comes to him, "Welcome my friend. We have been expecting you." The figure takes off its helmet and shows that his face is that of Admiral Harrimin Nelson, "Why do you stare like that? Does my appearance offend you?"
The Nelson double tells him his kind have been studying Earth's language and customs and realize that human beings are dangerously sensitive to what they don't understand but there is one creature that couldn't offend him and other Earth people--their own image. His real appearance, the alien claims, would be found repellant to humans and to Nelson. He admits that even though they have technical marvels, the aliens are fallible and make mistakes...such as its landing here--it was a blunder. The ion ray on Seaview will wear off in one hour. The UFO cannot surface. Nelson figures the men on Seaview can use a snorkel to get air but it won't work under 100 feet. The alien will bring it up to 100 feet. Nelson asks him to release them...but the alien has no way of evaluating his word. The alien has come through the solar system when a meteor ruptured a line in his fuel system. Nelson knows what this means and tells the alien image of himself that he is a scientist; the alien tells him that has a vast meaning to him and his race. Seaview is at 308 feet now. The Air Force is standing by to attack. Seaview men sweat. Crane looks out periscope as Seaview moves with the UFO. Pat moves scope; crewman Murdock will crack the hatches when they reach the surface. Williams will take the forward hatch. Seaview shakes again and has stopped again--at periscope depth. Chip tells Crane this hasn't helped--they still need air. Crane calls Chief for the snorkel tube to be hand pumped into the vent system--this will get fresh air in. They do this and Ski goes close to the air vent, "Oh, I finally found something I like better than girls." Crane looks and sees jets ready to bomb the saucer. The alien confronts Nelson, telling him he was lying. He is getting electronic alarms. A plane drops bombs. Seaview and the saucer shake. Nelson suddenly, cannot find the alien, "Where are you?" The whole payload didn't dent the saucer, Squadron B and a flotilla: super carriers and 7th fleet destroyers are sent out. The alien returns to Nelson who urges him to call them. The alien tells him his communications systems are incompatible to the radios of Earth. The being has contacted another craft which was on the way with fuel for him. It is a more heavily armed craft he says in almost nasty tones. Nelson tells him they don't want to start a war. The alien yells, "The war has already begun!" A simple mistake will lead to an act of aggression from Nelson's people. Another saucer will be interrupted as an invasion from outer space and Seaview may turn arms on the UFO. The alien tells Nelson the ray is draining off with his remaining fuel--it cannot be used to stop the fleet or Seaview---Seaview will be blown to bits by its own people. Zoom in on the alien Nelson's face, then his mouth as he explains--another attack by the Earth men will bring retaliation from the other, more powerful coming craft. "That will leave your planet a dead cinder in space!"
Crane and Tobin argue about another attack. Seaview won't be the first vessel to die following orders he claims. Nelson and the alien rise up from the floor, having inspected the fuel section of the spaceship. It has a core of fuel which operates on heat...nuclear power as does Seaview. Uranium dioxide enriched uranium which can be derived from Seaview's 235 strontium 90 pellets. The being can convert those to the fuel he needs. This would enable him to boost the ship's power to rendezvous with the rescue spacecraft. Nelson asks him to let him go---the alien tells Nelson he doesn't particularly want the Earth destroyed. Nelson: Trust me. The alien lets Nelson leave. The bubble comes up for Nelson. When he turns around, the alien is gone. Nelson takes it back down and heads back to Seaview in the smaller craft. When he leaves, the alien reappears on deck--his real face is hairless, dark eyed, crust-like, full of large veins, and very scary!! Ski alerts Crane as to what is happening. Tobin figures Nelson was a specimen for the aliens to study. Nelson tells him he is talking nonsense. Tobin continues to want to blast the saucer. Nelson wants the aliens to leave as friends. Tobin recounts his orders--to capture or destroy the alien spaceship--telling Nelson he is at war like the rest of them. Nelson says, "Right now, my only war is with you, Walt." Crane has the strontium ready. He alerts Nelson and Tobin who are in Nelson's cabin arguing over the alien and what to do. Nelson claims Tobin just wants to be a savior...to make the world safe for disaster. Seaview gets its power back on and the lights appear. Tobin assumes command and orders Crane to put Nelson under arrest. Crane confines Nelson to his quarters and locks the door, slamming it and locking it. Tobin is trapped inside with Nelson, who smiles and tells the complaining Tobin, "Crane just saved the lives of all of us." Crane uses the small scout ship to return to the spacecraft, delivering the 90. He sees the alien as himself. The other Crane sardonically smiles, "Welcome aboard, Captain. Thank you." Tobin hopes to be wrong about all this--his wish is granted--he is wrong. The Chief opens the door, "Captain Crane said you were having trouble with this door." He gives Nelson the keys to the door and seems to enjoy the trick they pulled on Tobin. Sparks tries to call the destroyers and planes. The government, echoing Tobin, feels they have ten minutes to free Captain Crane or attack. Crane returns and tells Nelson, "Admiral, when I tell you what I saw!" "Later, Lee," Nelson urges. The UFO rises up and flies out of the sea. Nelson, Lee, and Tobin watch it on a monitor in the nose. Tobin feels it is just as well it is going. What a jerk he is! Nelson feels not a plane or weapon that can touch it now--gee, why not? They attack a saucer later in season four's FLAMING ICE. Nelson feels they may come back some day. Crane looks, "I hope they remember they were treated as friends." Nelson smiles and looks absently at the spaceship as it rises upward into the sky, "They'll remember all right---I wonder if we will."
REVIEW: The very end with Nelson wondering if the Earth people will remember the aliens that just left the Earth, had come as friends is very nice. This is certainly different from the alien menaces and monsters that would come later. The alien here is a horrid faced being---but his intentions are well meaning. He just wants to leave. The military man Tobin (from what would become a long line of stupid minded, war mongering military men--such as in MUTINY) and the military come up against Seaview due to the beliefs of NOT JUST ONE man but the government attitude of---destroy the aliens before they get us. Nelson saw the alien as himself, Crane as himself. I like the fact that Crane locks the Admiral Tobin in with Nelson and has to take the alien shuttle back, delivering needed fuel to the alien, who just wants to get back to his own planet. The alien ship's interior is impressive. I would stack this episode against almost any STAR TREK from any era as well as THE OUTER LIMITS and THE TWILIGHT ZONE. It is very well crafted, written and acted. Thoughtful and interesting. See above notes for confusion about Chiefs, officers, and crewmen who are reoccurring but not regulars. Example: ADAM WILLIAMS AS THE CHIEF.