"Splashdown" is the final episode of seaQuest DSV`s second season. It was originally shown on May 21, 1995; however, due to a preemption by NBC, it was not aired as the final episode of the season. The preceding episode, "Blindsided", was later aired on September 13, 1995, which makes for severe continuity gaffes.
This episode was written under the belief that the series was not going to be renewed for a third season, thus the apparent destruction of the seaQuest and virtually the entire crew. The series was extended to a third season, but this episode does feature the final regular appearances of Dr. Wendy Smith, Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz, and Captain Nathan Bridger. The character of Dr. Smith had been unpopular with viewers, so the contract of Rosalind Allen was not renewed for the third season of the series. Marco Sanchez (Ortiz) was released because NBC wished to reduce the number of cast members for the following season. Roy Scheider had been very vocal about his displeasure with the show's new direction for the second season and requested to exit the show.
Quick Overview: When the image of Commander Scott Keller pleads with the seaQuest to meet him at the "Christmas Tree Trench", an enormous alien starship draws the boat from the water with a tractor beam and transports the crew millions of light years away to the planet Hyperion; a planet consumed in civil war; a war that may result in the destruction of the seaQuest and the death of the entire crew.
The episode begins with a recounting of the episode "Dream Weaver."
While trying to get Darwin to identify some unknown fish, Lucas is stunned to see the image of Scott Keller appear before him. Keller pleads with the crew for help and requests that they meet him at the "Christmas Tree" as fast as they can.
Captain Bridger orders the seaQuest to the right location, that being the Tonga Trench; Ford and Keller having nicknamed it the "Christmas Tree" the previous year when the original seaQuest rescued Keller's Mars probe. Upon arrival, Lieutenant O'Neill reports that no signal can be sent out; as if the ship's communication system was being jammed. Before the crew can investigate, it is suddenly rocked. With the ship's systems crashing, the WSKRS reveal that an enormous alien starship has locked onto the seaQuest with a tractor beam which draws the UEO flagship from the sea and into their ship. With the boat in their clutches, the aliens warp away from Earth.
On the seaQuest bridge, O'Neill receives a signal. When he puts it on the viewscreen, the crew is stunned at what they see; that of an alien world and the alien ship taking them into it. The aliens deposit seaQuest into the alien water and Bridger orders the boat to dive to the bottom. But, before the seaQuest can get their bearings, an alien submarine docks with their launch bay.
Rushing to the launch bay, Bridger and the crew are relieved to see the face of Tobias LeConte, the university professor who was in fact an alien in disguise who helped the crew fight an alien invader earlier in the year. Tobias welcomes the crew to the planet Hyperion and introduces them to some of the planet's natives, who beg for the crew's help.
LeConte explains that Hyperion is in a state of civil war, with the ruling party, the KrayTaks planning to wipe out the rebels with the use of a comet that they plan to crash into their colony. Bridger wonders why they could possibly need the seaQuest's help, seeing as how the Hyperion natives clearly have more advanced technology, however, the natives explain that Hyperion was formerly a desert world with no underwater technology; which makes seaQuest as alien to them as their ship is to the seaQuest crew.
The crew is not entirely sure of what to make of the situation, but they quickly come under attack by a ship that LeConte calls a "Kaden"; a warrior submarine. Bridger declares the ship hostile and seaQuest destroys them. A message is sent to the boat with a Stormer claiming that he has a gift for the crew; that being Keller, held hostage. Before Bridger can bargain for his release, the Stormer executes Keller.
Bridger is crushed and feels obligated to help LeConte's rebellion. The Hyperion natives claim they want seaQuest to defend their starship against underwater attack while they use their tractor beams on their ship to tear the comet apart; the debris would scatter the KrayTak space station out of orbit and destroy their hold over the planet.
Lucas is not entirely convinced, however, feeling that everything looks "improvised, but not quite fitting together"; as if everything was more alien than it appears to be. Bridger orders Piccolo and Darwin to investigate the wreckage of the Kaden ship they torpedoed earlier to find some kind of communications device. However, Piccolo and Darwin find more than they bargained for; they find the real Scott Keller, among the wreckage, running out of air in an environmental suit.
Dr. Smith scans him and finds that he's the real Keller; the execution tape having been faked. Keller explains that seaQuest has been fighting for the wrong side; the Hyperion natives they met earlier were in fact the KrayTaks themselves and they've been using the seaQuest to help them unwittingly crush the rebellion. Keller claims that once the KrayTaks destroy the rebels, they intend to come after Earth. He also claims that the real Tobias LeConte has been captured by the KrayTaks and that a Stormer has been impersonating him all along.
The Tobias-clone discovers the real Keller aboard and reverts to his true Stormer appearance. The crew attack him and render him unconscious. They find his communicator and learn that he's been checking in every hour with the KrayTaks. Bridger realizes they must destroy the KrayTaks before they destroy the rebels and seaQuest. He hands over his arming key to Commander Ford and orders him not to surrender the ship.
An away team consisting of Captain Bridger, Keller, Brody, Dr. Smith, Ortiz, Henderson and Piccolo break aboard the KrayTak starship and find the real LeConte held hostage. Tobias claims that there is no time anymore to simply stop the ship; it has become too powerful, and must be destroyed. However, its destruction would mean that seaQuest would be stranded on Hyperion forever. Bridger puts it to a vote and everyone agrees that the ship must be destroyed.
The team sets explosive charges on the ship's power core and heads back to their shuttle. However, they are ambushed by a group of Stormers and KrayTaks, who open fire on the away team. The crew returns fire, but, in doing-so, they give the Stormers the opportunity to toss explosives into their shuttle, which destroys it, cutting the team off from the seaQuest.
Bridger contacts Ford and orders him to stop the KrayTak ship at all costs. Ford orders Darwin, Lucas and Dagwood to abandon ship in The Stinger. Lucas is reluctant, but Ford begs him to go. Lucas agrees and leaves the bridge. The commander inserts the launch keys and arms the lasers, the torpedoes and the nuclear weapons. As seaQuest heads for the starship, the WSKRS detect a massive barrier mine aiming for them. The weapon is launched and the seaQuest cannot evade it; it takes a direct hit in the forward ventral and goes down hard and fast.
Bridger tries to regain contact with his ship, but there is no response. In a last hope, he calls out to Lucas who responds. Lucas wants to come back to save Bridger, but the captain tells him there's nothing he can do. When he inquires as to seaQuest's fate, Lucas sadly informs him that the ship has been destroyed. Knowing that the away team is doomed, he says his farewells to Lucas and requests that he tell those who will listen the fate of their crew and ship. Bridger pulls out the detonator and activates the charges; destroying the ship's core and taking the ship with it. Lucas watches on from The Stinger in horror and disbelief; his home and his captain are gone.
On the Hyperion surface, Dagwood and Lucas sit in a lifeboat as Darwin swims beside them. Lucas realizes that since the comet passed over Hyperion without hitting the planet, it means that the rebels have won. Dagwood is uncertain as to what all this means, but Lucas knows; however, he reassures Dagwood that the entire crew of the seaQuest can't be dead. He intends to find fuel for The Stinger and search the sea for survivors. Dagwood wonders what will happen if they don't find any of their crew. All Lucas can suggest is that they help the rebels rebuild their world with the hope that someday they'll be able to return to Earth.
This episode was written under the belief that the series was not going to be renewed for a third season, hence why so many catastrophic events take place, such as the destruction of the seaQuest (which also happened in the first season finale), and the apparent deaths of the entire crew. By the time the episode was produced, both Roy Scheider and Edward Kerr had requested to exit the show, hence why Brody is wounded in the climax aboard the Hyperion ship. Ultimately, both actors would be required to make appearances in the third season after NBC decided to renew the show.
While the seaQuest was destroyed in both the first and second season finales, the Stinger survives both ships' annihilation.
Lucas' guess that seaQuest makes a "hyperspace jump" while inside the Hyperion ship is a reference to the faster than light mode of transportation used in Star Wars (among others). Guest star Mark Hamill famously portrayed Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. An earlier Star Wars reference was to a woman in Bridger's past named "Organa Scott", a reference to the Organa family of Alderaan that adopted Leia, Luke Skywalker's twin.
The scene where the Stormer fakes the execution of Scott was filmed on the holographics room set, previously seen in such episodes as "Vapors", "The Sincerest Form of Flattery" and "Watergate." After the transmission to the seaQuest ends, the post-production team deliberately omitted the UEO logo from the traditional "Transmission Ends" screen in order to better reinforce the idea that seaQuest was no longer on Earth.
- Tony Piccolo: That's fascinating, Lucas. I'll try to remember that the next time I date an ickyologist.
Lucas: That's icthyologist, Tony.
Tony Piccolo: Not where I'm from.
- Captain Bridger: Whatever you do, don't surrender the seaQuest.
- Lieutenant Brody: You're putting this to a vote? In the navy?
Captain Bridger: You're not in the navy now.
- Captain Bridger: Lucas, Lucas can you hear me?
Lucas: I hear you, Captain. I'm coming back.
Captain Bridger: No, no, there's nothing you can do for us. What's happened to the seaQuest?
Lucas: (sadly) She's down, Captain. She's been hulled.
Captain Bridger: (in shock) We've had it, kiddo. You're on your own now, Lucas. Just don't let them take away what you believe. Do you understand me? Not what you believe! You tell them what's happened here today!
- Lucas: They can't all be dead, Dagwood, okay? They can't be dead. We'll find them. I swear to God, we'll find them.
Dagwood: And if we don't?
Lucas: Then we'll rebuild here. Someday we'll carry their story back to Earth.