Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Episode 30: The Captive - 11/28/67

A security guard is on patrol outside an embassy, but misses an intruder as he sneaks around outside with a flashlight. 

He easily breaks in to the embassy through a window. Once inside, he knows exactly where to find the hidden safe, and takes out a paper with the combination and opens the safe. He is apparently unaware that he has tripped a security system within the safe, and moments later, four men in fancy dress arrive. 

He pulls out a gun and fires on them, taking one down, but as he tries to make his way out, he is shot and falls to the ground. One of the men instructs another to get Dr. Serret. He goes through the intruder's wallet and sees from his license that he is Wesley J. Sanders.

Dr. Serret arrives and pronounces the man dead before going to check on the intruder. She determines that he has no pulse, but as he begins to move, she checks it again. She examines his chest and sees a hole where he was shot, but no blood. He tries to get up, but is held down while she uses her stethoscope to find a heartbeat. She removes it from her ears and asks, "Who are you? What are you?" The man next to her says he's a spy, and she says that may be, but he's also not a human being. 

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
Dana Wynter as Dr. Katherina Serret

Don Dubbins as Wesley J. Sanders

and Special Guest Star:
Fritz Weaver as Deputy Ambassador Peter Borke

Written by: Laurence Heath

Directed by: William Hale

Act I

In a confused and divided world, one thing remains certain—a man must earn his daily bread.  And so David Vincent takes advantage of a precious lull in his lonely war. 

Two men in suits find David Vincent at his drafting table, engaged in some rare architectural work. One introduces himself as Josef Dansk and asks if he might be able to help them with an alien they captured. He says they're keeping him at their UN headquarters and that he was caught going through their safe. Vincent agrees to go take a look.

Dr. Serret is peering through her microscope when Deputy Ambassador Peter Borke enters her lab. She asks him to cable home for a team of experts, but he says it's premature, that the fluoroscope he sent for should be enough. She tells him she's not expert enough to evaluate a creature with skin like cellulose, that has no blood or heartbeat. She says he is not of this Earth and she needs help. He tells her that if she is saying he's from outer space, then she really does need help. She says she sent for an American named Vincent, who may have had experience with these creatures. He asks her to have a full file ready for the ambassador when he arrives, as he wants him to be the one to make the decision. She asks if he's afraid to commit himself, and offers to cable home, but he says he's the one in charge and will be the one to send cables. He gets on the phone and asks that Sanders be sent to his office. 

David Vincent arrives at the embassy with Josef Dansk.

Borke tells Sanders he found out that he's held jobs that require medical examinations for insurance and asks how his peculiarities have escaped detection. Sanders does not respond. He asks where he's from, how many of them there are, and why he's interested in their troop dispositions in East Asia, but Sanders says he's not, and was hoping there'd be some cash. Borke says there was cash in plain sight, but he somehow didn't find it. He asks who sent him there, but gets no answer. He tells Sanders that if he's going to be difficult, he can be difficult too, but if he wants to be reasonable, he can be reasonable also. Sanders tells him not to pressure him, as he's been briefed on his people. Borke asks where he was born, but Sanders says he was manufactured. When Borke asks where, he begins to say somewhere over the rainbow, but is interrupted by Borke's goons, who start slapping him around. Sanders says, "This is the United States, Mister! I've got rights!" Borke says they have other ways.

David Vincent enters the embassy and Josef points out Sanders as he is being taken away. Sanders is brought to a room with a holding cell. He attempts escape, but gets a bottle broken on his head and tossed into the cell. 

David Vincent meets with Peter Borke and tells him Sanders must be from space from what he's told him. He advices Borke to get him out of there since they'll know he has him and won't let him keep him. Borke asks where he should send him, and Vincent suggests state department security or military intelligence. Borke says their scientists at home are interested in flying saucers, and that a popular view is that they are American made. Vincent says he's heard that theory, and Borke asks if he believes it. Vincent asks if he believes it after examining Sanders. Borke says it's arguable, noting that the nearest galaxy is 18 hundred trillion miles away, but that he could stand on the Potomac and throw rocks at half a dozen biological warfare projects. Vincent asks what that means, and he says, "The fault, dear Brutus, may not be in our stars, but in ourselves." Dr. Serret adds that they are underlings. 

Vincent asks if there's anyone higher up Borke could ask, but he says he wants to weigh all possibilities. Vincent says he's wasting time, that they'll kill to get him back, and he must get him out of there. Borke says he's listened, but he's not satisfied. He instructs his goons to take him downstairs, but Vincent says he's offered his help and if he doesn't want it, he's leaving. Josef points a gun at him and Borke repeats his instruction to take him downstairs. Vincent asks if it matters that he's an American citizen, and Borke says that until he learns who Sanders is and who he represents, he wants Vincent to be his guest.

After he is led away, Dr. Serret says that he's risking Vincent's life by putting him in with the alien. Borke tells her to keep an open mind for five minutes. He opens a drawer and presses the record button on a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

Vincent is led downstairs and placed in the holding cell with Sanders, who begins to ask loudly how they got him and says that they didn't get anything out of him. Vincent asks what he's talking about, and then realizes that someone is listening, as we see Borke and Serret listening to them while the tape records the conversation. Sanders continues the ruse, asking if there's a way to notify intelligence, saying it could blow the whole operation, as Vincent searches the room. He finds the recording device, ripping it out from under the mattress. Sanders says he thinks they heard enough, but Vincent says they won't believe it. Sanders tells him he'd better pray he finds a way out since he doesn't know how long his people will wait before they blow the place up, and his government will be blamed for it. He adds that he thinks he knows what will happen then.

The Invaders enter the Cold War! If their intent is to get two world powers to destroy each other, they may be on to something, though it won't leave much of a planet to inhabit if they do. Fritz Weaver marks another character to appear on the show from one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, "Third from the Sun," along with Edward Andrews, who appeared in "The Mutation," and Joe Maross, who was in "Valley of the Shadow." Dana Wynter is another character from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to appear, along with Kevin McCarthy making his appearance in The Watchers. I love the way they include so many actors associated with alien invasion in film or TV. Incidentally, the last time we saw David Vincent engaged in architectural work was in Summit Meeting: Part I, to respond to anyone who questions how DV finances his Invaders war.

Act II

Two police officers arrive at the embassy and are permitted entry.

David Vincent is brought into Dr. Serret's lab. He asks her if Borke believed what he heard on the bugging device. She says yes and he tells her that after he found the microphone, Sanders admitted that his people are going to blow the place sky high if he's not released soon. He asks her to convince Borke to let him go, but she says she's a subordinate and can't talk him into anything. She says Borke is a nervous man and doesn't know if he has the ultimate weapon created to do American's bidding, or a creature from outer space here to do God knows what, but will sit tight, do nothing, and wait for someone else make a decision. She says she'll try to change the ambassador's mind, but if she can't they have no choice but to follow him. He says, "To the grave?"

Borke is scooping up caviar pouring himself liquor as he invites the plainclothes police officers to join him, questioning why they don't drink on duty, saying it's one of the pleasant prerogatives of diplomacy, and that some of their hardest work is done at cocktail parties. The officer describes the man they are looking for, saying he goes by Sanders and was seen near the compound. He asks to see their credentials and they provide them. He says that someone tried to break into their safe the night before, but the thief had gone through the window. 

They ask if they can look around, and he says it's a foreign embassy, but when they say it's for his safety, he allows it. They ask what's upstairs and he tells them there are sleeping quarters. They suggest starting in the basement. He says it's not American territory and begins to protest until they pull out their guns and point them at him, repeating the order to go downstairs. 

When they reach the basement, Borke loudly says there's no-one in there, alerting the men inside guarding Sanders to take up position next to the door. As they enter, the men shoot the police imposters, who fall to the ground and burn up. 

Borke asks Vincent what happens when the aliens die, and he describes the process that Borke just witnessed. He asks if they were made in one of their biological warfare projects if they wouldn't be designed to burn up to leave no evidence. Vincent says they can't build them. Borke apologizes for locking him up and Vincent suggests he let both he and Sanders go. Borke says he has to be sure of the truth. He says that in 1944 as he was beginning his intelligence work in America, it wasn't possible for anyone to build an atomic bomb in time to affect the outcome of the war, which was what he reported to his government. He tells him he paid for his misjudgment after Hiroshima and doesn't want to make that mistake again. Vincent says he doesn't blame him for playing it safe, but it's not safe, and he could get them all killed. 

Sanders is in the lab while Borke's men describe how the aliens went up like a magnesium flare to Dr. Serret. She asks if he would burn up in the same way and asks what causes it. Borke and Vincent arrive and Borke gives the go ahead to put Sanders behind a fluoroscope. Sander's X-ray image is consistent with the X-rays in the last episode. Borke asks what she makes of it, and she says there's no chance he's from this Earth. Borke asks Sanders if that's right, and he says, "Go take a flying leap, Jack!" 

Borke has Josef begin playing the recording of his conversation with Vincent, and then asks Sanders where he was made. He says Langley, Virginia, and Dr. Serret scoffs. Sanders says he'll tell him anything he wants, but that he has to make a deal first. Borke says any deals he makes will be back in his country. As he is being led out, he breaks free and grabs an oxygen mask, putting it on his face. Vincent gets to him, pushing him away from the oxygen tank, and the men grab him and lead him away. 

Dr. Serret asks what he was trying to do, and Vincent says he was trying to kill himself. She says pure oxygen must be fatal to an organism like that, and Vincent tells Borke that if they made them, they wouldn't make them vulnerable to oxygen. Borke says there will be a courier plane at Kennedy airport tomorrow morning and that he and Sanders will be on it. 

After Borke leaves, Dr. Serret tells him he may welcome that, since her government will help him and he won't be alone anymore. He asks if he can talk to her alone, saying Borke may not entirely be wrong. She tells Josef to wait outside. Once he leaves, Vincent restrains her and says he's sorry about it.

Borke is in the basement and gives instructions that Sanders is not to be moved without his order. 

Vincent sneaks out of the lab, leaving Serret tied to a chair, and escapes the embassy building through a window. 

Dr. Serret manages to knock over a tray, which alerts the men outside.

Vincent continues to make his way across the grounds of the embassy.

Josef tells Borke that Vincent's on the grounds. He calls the guard at the gate and instructs him to electrify the fence. 

Vincent sneaks through bushes and tests the gate with a piece of metal, determining that it's electrified. He grabs a handy board with pegs from the garden and leans it against the fence, climbing up and over. As he makes it to the field outside the embassy, a group of aliens with phasers approach from all sides. 

I had to revisit Wall of Crystal for a little review of Invaders 101, since it didn't make a lot of sense that pure oxygen would kill Sanders, while he would be okay breathing the oxygen in the air. In that episode, we learn that oxygen makes it difficult for the aliens to live, requiring them to regenerate often. In that case, Sanders should eventually burn up on his own without regeneration and the situation should take care of itself, though I suppose the aliens don't want anyone with a lab to make careful studies of their unique anatomy. Speaking of which, Sanders appears to have the exact same X-ray as the alien in Labyrinth, including the same arm wound. Or at least I thought that was supposed to be an arm wound. I am amused by Sanders' command of American colloquialisms. Those funny aliens have really done their homework to try and fit in. Borke being paralyzed by his 1944 misjudgment of the United States' atomic capabilities makes for some interesting historical notes in this episode. 


Vincent is riding in the back of a car full of aliens with a phaser pointed at him from the alien in the front seat. The alien next to him asks if he was sure they were incinerated and what Borke thought about that. He says that Borke thinks Sanders is a super weapon made in America. The alien marvels at their animosity for one another. He says they'll have to destroy the compound. Vincent says he thought they didn't want to inherit a radioactive world, stressing that it could cause a nuclear war. The alien says he left them no alternative. Vincent suggests they let Sanders incinerate as a way to destroy the evidence. The alien says he has nine days before he needs to regenerate, which is enough time for him to be revealed to Borke's government or to his. Vincent says he may be able to get him out since he knows the house and may be able to get help from a doctor there. The alien says he'll give him two hours, and if Sanders is not free by 5 o'clock, a helicopter will be sent to obliterate the compound. He lowers the phaser of the alien in the front seat, and reiterates to David Vincent that there is no alternative. They let him out of the car and drive away.

Borke tells his man to keep searching and he leaves. Dr. Serret says she didn't help him and Borke says they still have the one that really counts. He asks what she thinks of her friend, Mr. Vincent now, and she says nobody likes to be made a fool of, and Borke agrees. He asks if they can do things his way now, and she says yes.

An alien observes Vincent entering the State Department Office of Security. Inside, an official asks him if the man he says is being held prisoner is an American, and Vincent says he's not. The clock on his desk shows that it's just after 4pm. He asks what he is, saying he's been beating around the bush for five minutes. Another man enters and says he can understand why he's not being specific, since he called Washington and found out he's the one who's been so persistent about UFOs and alien creatures. The official surmises that the prisoner is an alien, and Vincent says yes, but that he was also a prisoner there, and since he's an American, it makes it his business. The other man explains that the embassy is technically foreign territory and the only way they can get in there is if they ask for help. The official says they could give them a call and picks up the phone. 

Josef answers the phone at the embassy and the official identifies himself as James Rogers from the Security Office at the State Department. He motions to Borke, who picks up the other line to listen in, and then says the Deputy Ambassador is not available. Rogers says they have reason to believe that the prisoner they're holding is a threat to their safety. Vincent begins to write something down for him as Josef says that they have no prisoner. He then says that Dr. Serret is not available either. The State Department official says they gave it a shot and leaves the room. Vincent begins to leave, but Rogers stops him, talking about odds, and asks if he can stand some company. They leave together. 

In the car, Vincent asks if he has any thoughts of how to get inside, but Rogers says not yet. The car starts making a funny noise and Rogers remarks on how he just got it back from the shop. He stops the car and says it will only take a second to have it fixed. Meanwhile, a car creeps by, pulls ahead and stops. Two men exit and begin walking toward the car as Rogers works under the hood. Vincent checks his watch and gets out of the car to find him slumped over the engine. He observes the two aliens getting back into their car and driving off. 

Vincent punches out the guard at the gate and opens the gate to let himself in. The guard comes to, and sees that his weapon is missing. He calls the embassy, letting them know David Vincent is on the grounds and is armed. He closes the gate. 

How did David Vincent miss a car creeping by with aliens inside, or fail to hear their footsteps approaching the car? He really is slipping. I'm surprised he would have wasted a whole hour going to the State Department rather than just heading back to the compound on his own, as he ended up having to do anyway. I wonder if he may become a suspect in Rogers' death. 

Act IV

Vincent climbs the bushes back to the window leading to Dr. Serret's lab. She sees him enter and heads for the door, but he beats her to it, begging her in a whisper not to scream until she's heard him out. She says they've given them an ultimatum and that Borke has ten minutes to let Sanders go or the entire compound will be bombed at 5 o'clock. She says he has to tell Borke right now, but she doesn't move. He heads for the door and she says he'll be shot if he goes out there. He says he'd rather take his chances out there than be bombed where he is. 

She asks how they know they'll be bombed and Vincent says they told him. She asks him to give her a reason to believe him and he leads her to the window where a helicopter is flying overhead. She asks what she wants him to do, and he says to get Sanders up there. She says Borke gave orders not to have him moved and he says to force him, asking if she has a gun. She says she does, but won't commit treason. He says she has five minutes to save her country. She goes to her desk and takes out a gun.

A guard runs outside to see the helicopter hovering over the compound. The alien inside it begins to arm a bombing device. 

In the embassy, Josef and Borke are observing the helicopter and Borke says they're entering their territory and goes to the phone to make a protest. Dr. Serret enters and says she just saw Vincent running toward the fence. Josef runs out of the room and she goes to the window. 

When Josef exits the embassy, Vincent appears out of the bushes and knocks him out. He enters the embassy. 

He goes to the basement and checks his watch, seeing that it's 4:55pm.

Borke asks Dr. Serret about speaking to Vincent. She says the helicopter is going to bomb the compound if he doesn't let Sanders go. She says Vincent risked his life to tell her and Borke says it's a bluff. He says if the Americans want to start a war, then let them. She says it's not the Americans and there isn't time for him to play it safe. She tells him to forget 1944 and that he needs to take a chance and commit himself. He slaps her hard, knocking her backwards. She pulls out her gun and points it at him, demanding him to order that Sanders be brought up. He is surprised that she would commit treason. She repeats to have him come up or she'll kill him. He goes to the phone and asks that Sanders be brought to his office. 

The guard unlocks Sanders's cell. When he is brought out, Vincent points his gun at the guards and tells Sanders he's going to get him out. 

Meanwhile, the helicopter hovers menacingly above. 

Borke tells Serret he'll have her executed for this, and she says if they both live long enough. The clock shows one minute to 5pm. 

The alien in the helicopter holds the bomb.

Vincent locks the guards in the cell and brings Sanders out of the embassy. He says he'll cover him as Sanders runs across the grounds to the helicopter and waves to his alien buddies.  

Borke makes like he's going to the phone and then wrestles the gun from Serret as her attention is drawn to the helicopter outside. He runs outside as she yells after him not to stop it.

Sanders is making his way to the helicopter when he sees a guard heading for him, and begins to run. Vincent runs up behind the guard and knocks him out. Sanders makes it to the helicopter just as Borke runs out across the grass and fires on the helicopter. Vincent says to let him go, but as he attempts to fire again, the alien inside fires his phaser at him. Vincent pulls him out of the way of the phaser blast, which incinerates a potted plant. The helicopter flies away. 

Dr. Serret runs out and asks if he's alright. Borke goes to where the bush was standing. He says no weapon on Earth could have done that. He admits that Vincent was right and he'll mention the incident in his report. Serret says they might laugh at him, but he says a man does what he has to, regardless of consequences. They make their way back to the embassy. 

Borke was able to believe the Americans could fabricate a weapon that looks like a human that incinerates when it dies, but is convinced that a phaser that could incinerate a topiary had to be alien? Okay. 


Dr. Serret arrives by taxi at David Vincent's architectural firm. 

She finds him inside and tells him the courier plane taking Borke and the others home is 6 hours overdue. She asks if he thinks his aliens are responsible. He asks if she does. She says, "Poor Peter. Just as he was going home to be a man." He asks if she's planning on going home and she says she is, but will take a commercial flight. He advises her not to take it, staying out of sight for a few days, and then take a boat or stay in this country. She says she feels close to David, but someone has to go home to warn them. He wishes her luck and she leaves. 

A long and lonely war. And yet, the Invaders, seeking to take advantage of the differences between nations, have provided David Vincent with an ally, half a world away.

Lawrence Dane as Josef
Douglas Henderson as Martin
Jock Gaynor as Conner

Tom Palmer...Dorian
Peter Coe...Leo
Dallas Mitchell...Rogers
Robert Patten...Murphy
Alex Rodine...Guard

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:
Duane Tatro

I really enjoyed this episode, which allows me to overlook its flaws. It was interesting to see Cold War suspicions lead the Deputy Ambassador to believe the alien could have been a fabricated weapon. It's unclear why the Invaders were attempting to steal documents that tell of their troop dispositions, though one might imagine they intended to pose as soldiers in order to begin their takeover. At any rate, it was odd that they were willing to risk a scorched earth rather than have one of their own be discovered, and surprising that Sanders didn't have any suicide pills on him. One of the most glaring flaws in this episode is how Sanders survived being shot in the chest at the beginning after we've seen Invader after Invader easily incinerated by one shot. Does anyone believe Dr. Serret will live long enough to inform her countrymen about alien invaders, and if she does, who will believe her anyway? 

Don't miss next week's episode with Carol Lynley, Anthony Eisley, and Kent Smith as David Vincent hooks up with "The Believers."

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