Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Classic episode, Doomsday, page 4

Sight saving struggle. Snapping orders . . . Recapturing missile 4. Heading toward crush depth.
Doc works to save Kowalski's sight as Nelson coordinates the recapture of missile 4 during the 5 second window the President has agreed to open Failsafe.  Nelson then orders Seaview down to the required 4,700 foot depth, dangerously close to crush depth, so they can fire the missile and have it explode one thousand feet below sea level according to his plan.  But as Seaview nears crush depth, her ballast vents jam, and the sub balloons out of control for the surface.  Nelson rushes back to missile control and confronts Corbett.

Certain knowledge - there will be no accident.
What's your plan?

    Nelson: What's your plan?
Corbett: What plan?  We've had it!
Nelson: We're not going to have a nuclear accident, Corbett.  Can we roll her past 90 degrees and fire downward? 
Corbett: No - the guidance system will prevent firing unless the attitude of the submarine is normal.
Nelson: The fuel, can we -- ?

What plan?
What  plan?  We've had it!

Bleeding off the gases.        

Corbett perceives immediately what Nelson is getting at and begins bleeding off the missile's expellent gas.  But midway through the procedure, he abruptly shuts the valve and buttons up the missile.
What happened?
Corbett: I disobeyed orders.  I

didn't change it.  I left it set for a  surface blast.
Nelson: On whose authority?
Corbett: On my authority.  As a man -- as a human being.  I just discovered I have a commitment that takes priority over this uniform.  People have a right to know what almost happened! Corbett says as he lunges at the control which fires the missile.   Corbett announces, "Pray."

Donald Harron turned in an intense, focused performance.
On my authority --as a man, as a human being.

Looking upward toward the just-launched missile, looking toward heaven.

    This is the last word to pass between Nelson and Corbett; the riff between them is too great, further words are meaningless. When the missile falls short of reaching the surface by two hundred feet, it is hard to determine if Corbett's look is one of consternation, or relief.   Regardless, there is no doubt that his military career is over.      

A moment of prayer?
Stunned Admiral

It just might have been doomsday, Lee.
Seaview surfaces and Crane is joined by Nelson on the bridge.  He asks the Admiral if he wants to talk about it, and Nelson again takes the position --"What's there to talk about?" thus echoing for the third and final time, the running theme of the Admiral's inability or unwillingness to talk.  It is obvious that there's a lot going on in the scientist/warrior's mind, but his oath of duty takes precedence over all.  It is also obvious that their survival, and perhaps the survival of the world has hinged on nothing more substantial than a bit of luck.  It is on this somber note that Doomsday concludes.

 Return to Doomsday Episode Guide
  Return to Main Page

Black and white screen captures courtesy Stephanie Kellerman

"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" ® is a registered trademark of Irwin Allen Properties, LLC.  © Irwin Allen Properties, LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.