Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Cave of the Dead

By Bruce Fedow

July 31, 2005

Writer: William Welch
Director: Harry Harris
Production # 1305
Airdates: 10/8/67 and 4/28/68

STORY SYNOPSIS:
While searching for clues to the disappearance of four Navy ships the crew of the Seaview suffer the curse of the Flying Dutchman.

The episode opens with some very exciting miniature shots as the Flying Sub, manned by Admiral Nelson and Dr. Van Wyck navigates through a dangerous electrical storm. A few minutes into the show everyone (except poor Nelson) knows that Van Wyck, as are most of the FS-1 passengers by this time, is either: a)insane or b)a supernatural being-early on he tries to stop the Admiral from returning to Seaview, only to suffer a karate chop at the hands of the admiral with the kung-fu grip!

Out of the blue (literally) stock footage of a Dutch square rigger complete with firing cannons appears in the sky and begins blasting away at the Flying Sub. Badly damaged (or so it seems) the sub emits a whine as it plummets seaward similar to the Jupiter 2's turbines. This same sound effect was used in the first Planet of the Apes film in a modified version as Charlton Heston's spaceship crashes into the sea and both were produced and filmed by Fox at the same time.

Crane and the Seaview crew search for Nelson and van Wyck as the 2 missing persons land on an uncharted island courtesy of a liferaft. There's a cave on the island (isn't there always?) complete with a Dutch curse neatly printed on the wall and a skeleton hanging with a dagger through its ribs. There are a lot of skeletons in this episode and one wonders why the ones that appear to Nelson manning the Seaview's controls are all naked later in the show!

"Obviously one of us is losing contact with reality!" Nelson shouts after Van Wyck denies he ever saw the Dutchman or any of the other ominous portents the Admiral witnessed. (perhaps it was the writer William Welch losing touch instead!) One thing proves the experiences were real-a dagger found on the island Nelson holds on to even after several visits from Van Wyck who demands possession of the knife. Van Wyck, excellently portrayed by veteran character actor Warren Stevens, pops in and out like the spirit that he is portraying, and in an especially chilling scene is chased by Chief Sharkey around a corner who then encounters a shelf full of equipment-and no Van Wyck.

Nelson wakes up in the sick bay after returning to the sub and after four seasons of this otherworldly insanity the poor Admiral is still not believed when he claims he's been cursed by the Flying Dutchman and so has the Seaview. Me I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt by this time. In an attempt to locate the wreck of the ancient Dutch square rigger Admiral Nelson takes the Diving Bell down but the cable lowering the bell runs out and drops the bell! Wouldn't the end of the cable be tied to something in a normal sub? This was stock footage repeated in several Diving Bell

episodes which perpetuated the error. The highlight of the show for Voyage special effects fans are the scenes where Sharkey and Crane descend in the Flying Sub, retrieve the Diving Bell cable and rescue Nelson using the small sub's landing gear and retractable claw. Many have claimed that this landing gear was never shown in the series but this episode proves otherwise. When the miniature FS-1 is on screen one can see the entire armature through the front windows instead of the two passengers in their seats.

Van Wyck is finally dispensed by falling on the cursed dagger and in another eerie scene turns into a skeleton, similar to Dracula's demise in many Hammer films.

At the episode's end, Lee and Nelson discuss how to file a report to the authorities based on the events of the last fifty-two minutes. Maybe an email to the X-Files would be appropriate...

A very interesting episode by fourth season standards with special attention, sixties-style to detail. As opposed to many of the episodes this late in the series it's worth a look.

WHAT WERE THE WRITERS THINKING DEPT:

Admiral Nelson and several crew members go back and forth between the Seaview, Flying Sub and the island cave, change from one suit to another and never arrive anywhere with even their hair wet!

Bruce Fedow


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