While exploring the Mediterranean Sea, seaQuest stumbles upon ancient relics encompassing multiple cultures. Captain Nathan Bridger and the crew conclude it can’t be the wreckage of a ship, and as they further investigate the site they realize it is the lost Library of Alexandria. It’s not exactly known when and how the library was destroyed, but a fire was set by the army of Julius Caesar during Cleopatra’s reign It’s also presumed to have suffered an earthquake, which the show uses as an explanation as to why the library sunk to the sea.
Word gets around quickly about the historic find, and countries begin to stake their claim on the artifacts. But this begs the question: how did they know so quickly about the library? Admiral Noyce tells Bridger that he must have a leak on the ship and to uncover the leak, the UEO sends a small group of practitioners of ESP to investigate.
Meanwhile, a conference is arranged for the world leaders to hash out who will get dibs on the antiquities. Dr. Rafik Hassan (Topol, Fiddler on the Roof) is the idealist and was on the seaQuest when they made the discovery. He’s over the moon at the cultural find, and his enthusiasm is contagious. The Libyan representative probably looks familiar. Though he’s been in a ton of shows, I’ll always know him as Dr. Bey from The Mummy (Erick Avari)
Unfortunately, the psychics are no closer to finding the leak and give Bridger wrong information at the conference. He orders them off the boat. Savannah (Lindsay Frost, The Ring) asks to see the library before they leave. A chamber remained in an air pocket, untouched by water. Bridger agrees, and they join Lucas and the others at the site. Lucas removes a scroll and says that it’s possibly in Homer‘s handwriting. I think what they missed is The Iliad and The Odyssey were told via oral tradition possibly a century or two before being written down. I cringed when Lucas use his bare hands to lift the scroll and then Bridger touched it. Not only should that belong in a museum, but they need to wear gloves. Or something. Have they not taken Archaeology 101? Time for a visit to the classroom of Dr. Henry Jones.
Libyan divers manage to get past security and drill a hole into the chamber. Water begins to pour in, endangering the antiquities. Commander Ford and the crew send them a warning shot and get them to back down. Disaster averted. Bridger holds another conference and this time he means business. He smashes a vase--an amphora--to everyone's shock to prove his point that he would rather destroy everything at the site than see people go to war and lives be lost. They realize they need to work together to preserve the past when he gives the Libyan delegate a piece of artwork that depicts a peace talk.
The leak is revealed to be Dr. Westphalen, in a circuitous way. She sent UEO-sanctioned communications to her university, but someone there sold the information. The crew is cleared, and the psychics tell Bridger that they spoiled the initial conference simply because they want some peace and to retire. Three psychics, used almost against their will. Wanting nothing but peace and quiet. Two males and one female. Remind you of anything? Or am I just seeing Minority Report because I see Spielberg in all things? (yes I know the movie came out some time after seaQuest, but Spielberg announced the film only 5 years after this episode aired). And the short story version already existed, though admittedly with many differences.
Back to the recap. Bridger assures them that he will help them get off the radar for a bit, but they have to learn to stand up for themselves. Savannah bids him farewell, and life on seaQuest returns to normal.
“The deep sea is like a giant refrigerator that preserves our past,” says Bob Ballard over the end credits. With several amazing discoveries behind him, in 1993 (when this episode aired) he’s still looking to the future of exploration. And though it’s no Library of Alexandria, around 1999 he discovered extremely well-preserved shipwrecks from antiquity in the Black Sea.
The anoxic (without oxygen) waters were created by an influx of saltwater over freshwater. This helped preserve the wood of the ships, since the environment would be hostile to biological organisms that would deteriorate the wreckage.
Where are they now?
Don Franklin has appeared in the series Seven Days, Girlfriends, NCIS, and most recently was in 6 episodes of Insecure, currently on HBO. He’s also had a myriad of guest appearances on probably some of your favorite shows.