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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The President of the United States has fallen and a subdural hematoma,
a blood clot, is in need of special attention, quick-like as a NATO
convention, set to feature all the important major powers of the world
in attendance, the Commander-in-Chief's presence is essential in
maintaining peace treaties that have kept WWIII from breaking out. A
new type of machine, designed to dissolve tumors, clots, etc without
the need of surgery, the MQ-G, could be of use to the President.
Surgery might still be an option, but the MQ-G machine, its magnetic
rays, is the safest, or so those among the President's treasured staff
are led to believe. When the main architect of this machine is run down
by one of The Enemy's agents, the doctor's secretary, Laura (Viveca
Lindfors), will be in charge of using it on the Presidentexactly
according to plan as Laura is a member of The Enemy and plans to use
the MQ-G as a death ray, the President's death would be attributed to
natural causes. When the Seaview, a civilian sub (not commissioned by
the military, but built and operated by Nelson's research institute),
is called upon to transport the MQ-G machine, surgical staff, and
eventually the President himself, they are unaware that Laura is in
cahoots with one of the country's most diabolical enemies. One flaw
Laura wasn't expecting is that when she turns on the death ray (one
check to see if the equipment was functioning properly sets off alarms)
it throws the controls of the Seaview out of whack, resulting in a near
catastrophe as a specific valve is stuck after the sub rams into
underwater mountainous terrain. This episode has another one of those
intricately designed plots regarding the political landscape of the
world and how there are those countries wanting total anarchy,
threatening the life of the US President as his presence is important
in maintaining the structure of peace. It was always cool how the
Seaview, its main intent in studying and exploring the ocean depths for
unique life and answers to potential mysteries yet undiscovered, gets
brought into all of the political intrigue. Lindfors is quite good as a
sophisticated, yet devious foe, her comfortable explanation of how her
machine would change the inside of a raw egg and kill the US President
certainly one of the most memorable scenes in the episode, all told to
her (Russian?) superior. I was amused at how carefully/exquisitely
these nefarious types smoke their cigarettes, a certain style and flair
and the dialogue rolls off their tongues
a delicate method of delivery
is also part of this style. Anyway, the token suspense scene in regards
to the Seaview's danger is a stuck valve inside the ventilation pipes,
and how a crew member will have to risk his life to loosen it, with
Capt Crane having to come to his rescue when his arm gets stuck.
It's a spotfest in regards to the recognizable faces of several guest stars such as John Hoyt as General Beeker, Malcolm Atterbury as Commander Jamison, Edward Platt as Morgan, and Star Trek's Scotty himself, James Doohan as a White House aide. Lindfors is really the standout, though. Kowalski even gets involved in the plot as he must carry microfilm in an arm device, is knocked out, the film photographed, disturbing what was supposed to be a level of top secrecy. Susan Flattery is a stenographer who works for The Enemy using eye glasses to listen in on the White House Top Brass meeting and communicate back to her superiors what has taken place.
The Seaview must transport the sick President (aka Chief).
There is no question that this hour is loaded with known male and female guest stars, but you can play guest-star-watch with many TV shows of this period, it takes more than that to make a really good Voyage hour.
Seaman Kowalski (Del Monroe) gets more to do than usual, which is a help to any Voyage hour, but there is a lack of suspense in the episode which makes me call it average-to-good but not great.
The footage of Clark repairing the damaged Seaview would all be reused in the third season hour titled: No Escape From Death.
If you get a bit bored by Hail To The Chief at least you have a funny line from Nelson, in the last seconds of the show, to look forward to.
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