Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Classic Episode"Doomsday" Page 2

Meanwhile, Doc prepares for a procedure to save Kowalski's sight, an affirmation of life and the human struggle to preserve it set against the insanity of nuclear war.
Preparing for surgery, looking for inspiration?
Doc:  Can you see anything, Kowalski?  Anything at all?
Kowalski: What's the difference now?  It's maybe an hour, an hour and a half . . . boom.  So what's the difference?
Doc: The next hour and a half are critical to whether you will ever see again or not, that's the difference.  Assuming, of course, that there is no boom.
Assuming, of course, that there is no boom.

Opening the door.
Admiral . . .

Interceding for Corbett.
Give him another chance.

Unsure admiral.
I'll have to think about it, Lee.

Crane goes to Nelson's cabin, concerned about what's going on with Corbett.
What happened to Corbett?
Nelson: He couldn't activate his Failsafe, he just couldn't do it!
Crane: Every soldier who ever went to war knows that moment.  It's one thing to be a crack shot on a rifle range.  It's another thing to pull the trigger when there's a man, a real man, a human being in your sites.
Nelson: Corbett's not a coward.  He just started to wrestle with his conscience at the wrong time.  He should have done that before he'd taken his oath of duty.
Crane: Admiral, no one -- none of us knows how we'll act when we have to pull that trigger.  Give him another chance . . .assuming we have another chance.
Nelson: I'll have to think about it, Lee.

The Admiral subsequently heeds Cranes advice and has Corbett restored to duty as missile operator.  He goes to see Corbett, who is obviously still troubled about their situation . . .

Practice runs, games, like when we were kids . . .
What difference is it who started it?

Nelson: I can't understand it.  You're Navy -- Annapolis.  This is what you've been trained for.  You've gone through this a hundred times.
Corbett: Practice runs, games, like when we were kids.  This is no game, Admiral.  This is real.  I know.  A missile officer knows.  There was no practice alert scheduled for this run.This is doomsday, Admiral--doomsday!
Nelson: If it is, we didn't start it.
Corbett: What difference is it who started it?  It's one thing to carry a big stick--it's another to bash someone's head in with it.  I just couldn't do it.  But you could! (he looks astonished)  Couldn't you, Admiral?
Nelson: You think that because I do what I have to do I don't feel . . .  Nelson chokes up, recovers, and continues.   "Our job is to provide the bone and muscle of our country's deterrent power.  If we fail in that . . . if we freeze in the clutch, our country's defenseless.  You failed your country once before--don't ever fail her again. "  This said, you know Nelson damn well means it in spite of the implicit horror.

Failsafe buoy heads for the surface.
Failsafe buoy.


Nelson heads forward to the control room and as he enters, Crane announces they've reached launch coordinates.  The Failsafe alert buoy is released to check for any sign that the order for attack has been withdrawn.  None is received and the countdown begins amidst tension thick enough to drown a bull. 
Nelson mutters:
Answers, answers . . .
Crane: What did you say?
Nelson: I've spent all of my life trying to find answers.  There's no answer for this.
Crane: Admiral . . .
Nelson: Yes, Lee
Crane: Nothing.
Nelson: There's nothing to say. 


Nelson confronts doomsday.
There's nothing to say.

This is the first of three occasions on which, Nelson's inability to speak, to comment on the events unfolding, surfaces; the scientist/military man is constrained by his oath of allegiance, even in the face of madness.  Luckily, in the proverbial nick of time, an abort signal comes through, and a wave of relief washes through Seaview.

Black and white screen captures courtesy Stephanie Kellerman

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