I read a bit of criticism about The Deep last week which claimed that it was ‘daft’. To which I reply – yes, but so are most Hollywood movies. There has to be an element of the extraordinary in order for there to be a story in the first place!
The Deep is doing something right. It’s what in Doctor Who territory we call the “base under siege” type of story. Those stories almost universally bore me to death – a bunch of people stuck in a remote, hostile environment with some life threatening event hanging over their heads. But The Deep actually manages to maintain a good level of tension and mystery throughout.
This, the middle episode of the five-part series managed to cram in a potential nuclear explosion, some more gun-toting Russians and a formerly-dead wife returning from her watery grave.
Right, where were we last week? That’s right, the Orpheus has had its motherboard fried and cannot start. Let’s give the crew a sense of urgency by chucking in an overheating nuclear reactor. Where’s nuclear safety expert Homer Simpson when you need him?
But of course, the nuclear reactor is too far gone and requires manual attention. But it’s also too strong for a radiation suit to be fully effective. Forced by the Russians to choose among the Orpheus crew for a martyr, Vince draws the short straw. However, after a bit of cretinous whinging, it’s clear that he’s not up to the task. Heroic Samson volunteers instead (probably figuring that the radiation is less dangerous than going back to his wife right now).
However, the part-Russian girl whose name no-one knows comes up with a better idea. Let’s find the wreckage of the Hermes and take the motherboard from that! Except this is the one story thread that flies in the face of all logic – you’re stranded 2,000 feet under water and the danger meter is already in the red zone. Do you really go out on an impromptu salvage mission when you’ve got seconds to spare before certain death?
Still, if it gives Clem an opportunity to see the interior of the Hermes and his wife’s memorabilia, then let’s give in to that. Sadly, Clem’s dithering about on the Hermes as his colleagues are in mortal danger aboard the Volos only serves to make the salvage plot seem more ludicrous. That’s the second time that Clem’s managed to daydream and tune out the peril of his friends.
But of course, it was all just an excuse to give Clem a different vantage of the Volos – during which time he spots his wife through a window. In a fever, he returns to the Volos and rushes to find the place he saw his wife. Frances and Samson try to stop him, but he’s made up his mind to chase a ghost. They, at gunpoint of the Russians, are forced to leave without Clem. Suspiciously, just after Clem meets another Russian aboard the Volos. Clearly they’e in a hurry to get away.
Note: I should just mention at this point that Raymond poured cold water on my theory that he was linked to the bearded guy on the support vessel. He put forward his own theory that the previous expedition could not have missed the Volos due to its sheer size and that someone on the vessel was turning a blind eye. Damn.
And finally, there she was…Catherine Donnelly. Alive and crouched in a locked room. Was she a prisoner? If so, was Clem wise to walk into the room with his back to the Russian dude? A hearty shove and he’s locked up too. WTF? We never got into the details of the miracle of Catherine being alive, so that’s a mystery for next week.
But one last miracle for our subaquatic explorers – the radiation levels mysteriously start to drop. Disaster averted? How? Well, during the episode Vince’s shame got the better of him and he slipped out of the Orpheus, donned the radiation suit and dropped in the rods. Cooking himself in the process.
Unfortunately, just as I was thinking about Vince’s noble self-sacrifice, the preview for next week played and it turns out he’s been charbroiled but remains alive. It’s not so noble if you don’t immediately die a dignified death afterward.
Still, there’s two episodes worth of mystery left to go, and I wonder if there’ll be any more deaths before the Orpheus crew return to the surface?
What’s your verdict on tonight’s episode of The Deep?