Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sunday 18 October 1964

It's a shame ITV's schedulers couldn't have waited a week or two to show tonight's episode, as it's perfect Hallowe'en fare (not that Hallowe'en was celebrated much in Britain at the time), getting off to a marvellously spooky start with a seemingly uninhabited galleon rising from the depths...

The mysterious appearance of the galleon coincides with the sinking of a super-duper new jet liner in the same area of the Pacific.  Could the two things be connected? Commander Shore thinks so, so he sends Stingray out to investigate.  But this time, he's decided to come along for the ride too (at the moment the sub's gaining a new crew member every week - at this week they'll have Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all aboard by the end of the series).

The shots of the galleon looming out of the fog are tremendously eerie (did John Carpenter see this episode?), as is the sequence of Phones and Shore investigating the ship, with spooky noises alarming them from all directions.

The pair come across a half-eaten meal, but before they can say Marie Celeste, the floor beneath them begins to sink...

Guns fire at Phones and Shore from all over the place on the lower deck, and creepiness is traded for the usual campy hi-jinks as they're met by this week's silver-skinned villain.   "You Terrainians cannot resist the lure of an ancient galleon, can you?" he sneers (it's funny cos it's true).   This gentleman's name, apparently, is Of No Consequence.  It seems quite an unusual name, but who knows what's normal for these people?

Well, that's just the kind of flip remark that this chap would probably take offence to.  He's retooled the galleon in order to capture Shore and Tempest and make them pay for "crimes against the advancement of the underwater people," (clearly he's at the head of the Silver Power movement).  Once again, it should be noted, poor Phones gets none of the credit but suffers all the punishment.

Commander Shore (who sounds especially gravelly this week), refuses the baddie's request to call Troy over to the ship, instead telling Stingray's captain to open fire on the galleon.

But Mr Of No Consequence proves to have some impressive firepower of his own, and Shore and Troy have a lengthy row about whether or not Troy should kill his commander.  "You are wasting your time, Commander!" interjects the baddie.  And the viewer's as well.

The baddie announces he will kill Shore and Troy in 20 minutes time unless Troy joins them.  "Gee, what a situation!" he complains to Marina, who, as always, doesn't seem especially interested.  "I've got to think - think fast!"  He eventually decides to try out a risky "new aqualung procedure".

Meanwhile, things are pretty quiet back at Marineville, where Atlanta and Lieutenant Whatsisname are enjoying a cup of coffee and a read of the paper.

Aboard the galleon, Shore and Troy are chained up with a pair of harpoons pointing right at them, which will be released when 20 marine minutes have elapsed on the baddie's delightful marine clock.

Aboard Stingray, there's one of those deeply disorientating shots where real human limbs stand in for those of the puppets, as Marina gives Troy some kind of pill.

Troy swims over to the galleon, where the villain gloats to his captives that he "will be taken to my underwater city, and his death will be even more prolonged than yours!" But Troy turns a dial on his aqualung and, while he remains stony-faced, everybody else collapses laughing.

Yes, he brought over a load of laughing gas, and the pill he took was an antidote to it.  The baddie's secured ready to be taken to Marineville prison, and Shore and Troy chortle away as the harpoons go off, only narrowly missing them.

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