Lloyd Bridges as Professor X? Sadly not. In this episode, we are to witness ‘the world’s first experiment in underwater psychic archaeology,’ near Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California. Sounds goofy. Let’s go!
We see some very pretty underwater photography of divers and sunken wrecks, while Nimoy talks about how difficult underwater archaeology is. Standing in front of undersea exploration equipment, he explains that even with all this equipment it’s still hard to find stuff on the sea floor. But if psychics could find stuff, why then, surely that would be peachy.
Off to the Institute for Marine and Coastal Studies at Catalina, where we see a bunch of people get on a boat. Basically, a bunch of scientists and psychics got together to form the Moebius Group, in order to do a psychic sea hunt.
With me so far?
At the head of the group is Dr Steven Schwartz, a ‘philosopher and parapsychologist’. And buddy, he rocks a safari suit. We see him doing research from a huge book. Good for him. Nimoy tells us that Schwartz researched psychic discoveries in land-based archaeology, so I guess that’s what the book is about? Maybe?
Anyway, Schwartz set up ‘Deep Quest’. He explains his thinking – which is basically that a psychic sea hunt is a good idea and might find things. Deep Quest has access to a sweet submarine, which will check the work of the psychic sea-hunters. Nearly five minutes into this episode, and we haven’t gone very far past the premise.
Next up is Schwartz and the submarine guy pointing at a map and wondering where they should do their psychic sea-hunting. The submarine guy says that he thought the idea was silly, but hey, maybe. Worth a try?
The island of Santa Catalina looks kind of pretty.
Anyway, the psychic guy is selected because he’s supposedly good at remote viewing. He’s a painter (of starscapes, apparently). Nimoy also claims he can deactivate electronics through concrete barriers and accurately describe the surface of Mars (it’s red). We watch him paint for a bit while he explains that he was okay with being on a psychic sea hunt.
I’m starting to think this episode is a little thin on, you know, actual things.
The next psychic is a photographer woman. She talks vaguely about being psychic. She marks the map at places that feels ‘heavy’.
The next person we talk to Dr Anne Kael, who has worked with NASA satellites. She’s meant to be watching to make sure the testing is scientifically valid. The head submarine guy compiles the charts made by the psychics. Nimoy explains what the submarine guy is doing in stultifying detail. We’re told that the psychics predict that the wreck that they’re looking for will include such unlikely items as winches, chains and an ‘enigmatic’ block.
Psychic Sea Hunt!
So much padding! The sub is prepared. Long sequence of the sub diving. Footage of sub descending. So slow! Sometimes this show just flips between nonsensical ideas so fast I can hardly keep up with it. This one has one idea (Psychic Sea Hunt) and it doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere with it.
Long, long sequence of the sub supposedly maneuvering to the target area. I think it’s meant to be suspenseful, but… Oh! Something happening! The psychic guy points at something, and the sub picks up an artefact where he points.
Nimoy rightly points out that one object doesn’t automatically mean a shipwreck. “The search intensifies,” and they find a shipwreck. Well done them! Oh, and it includes a big stone block. Everyone is stunned – especially Schwartz, who is particularly impressed.
Now, about this point I start caring enough to think of objections, but to my surprise Nimoy is there ahead of me. Was this a known wreck? Could the psychics have learned about it through mundane means? A guy from the California Bureau of Land Management, who says that finding wrecks is difficult. He also casually mentions that there are 53 known wrecks in the Catalina Island area, but says that this type of ship was not a known wreck.
Now we talk to the Director of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Studies at the University of Southern California, Don Walsh. He says that it would be hard to put together the wreck they found fraudulently. Which I don’t think anyone accused them of anyway.
Anyway, putting that aside, this one is a thin episode. Basically, the setup is a) there’s going to be a psychic sea hunt and the payoff is b) they found a block. Whether you believe in ESP or not, that’s not really enough to fill twenty five minutes of television.
“Man was not made to recover history underwater.” – Nimoy
Nimoyness 7/10, Underwater filming 7/10, Actual substance 2/10, Weird block 10/10, Lloyd Bridges 0/10. Overall 26/50. Pass