Retro Recap: seaQuest DSV S1, E8 ‘Knight of Shadows’


Knight of Shadows aired on Halloween night, 1993. To coincide with the holiday, the producers obviously thought a story about a ghost ship would be just the thing. And while a bit cheesy, the story was certainly appropriate for the time of year. The episode’s opening credits appear with a black background with lightning, setting it apart from other episodes. 

While reading in bed, Captain Bridger’s hologram activates by itself and repeats a series of directions. He wakes Lucas up to ask him to troubleshoot, and the teen tells him that the repeat button was stuck. But the hologram turns on again after Lucas leaves, and Bridge sees a woman asking for help and a sinister-looking man.

Unable to get the coordinates out of his mind, Bridger orders has the crew to follow the directions. It leads them straight to the wreckage of the RMS King George, a vessel that sank just before World War I with almost no fatalities. Imaging reveals air pockets and lights inside the ship, and they decide to investigate.

But before they leave, Lt. Krieg shares uncovered footage from the day the ship set sail. Bridger recognizes the woman that he saw in the projection. The rest of the crew is hesitant to believe him, but they ask questions, eager to find answers to the connection between the hologram’s messages and what they’ve just discovered. At the end of the footage, the captain appears to look menacingly into the camera. At them. 

They ask Lucas to join them, since he’s the youngest person onboard and may be less susceptible to any paranormal tricks. Chief Crocker utilizes all the sailor superstitions in his arsenal, from spitting to laying down salt. Keeps the devil from the door and all that. Dr. Westphalen warns them all to be alert for nitrogen narcosis. They’ve all been provided special badges to alert them if the air is bad in an area.

While searching the ship, Hitchcock encounters three skeletons that are unaccounted for. And Dr. Westphalen becomes locked in a room where she briefly sees an image of a woman dressed in an evening gown. She’s then knocked to the ground, causing a diary to open to a page that reads “I hate him.” The spirit of the captain of the ship threatens her while the others try to open the door, but the knob becomes alternately fiery hot and freezing cold to the touch.

When they finally manage to enter, they find Dr. Westphalen disoriented, referring to the fallen book as “my diary.” Later, she leaves and returns to the room dressed in the same evening gown as the apparition she saw.

Bridger and Hitchcock find another skeleton and,while communicating with the others watching over Dr. Westphalen, they learn that the young woman, Lillian, was meant to marry her beloved Robert onboard the ship. But the jealous captain, in love with her, allegedly sabotaged the ship, causing it to sink. The skeletons in the locked room that Hitchcock found were unfortunate stowaways. Everyone else but the captain and the young couple made it off the ship. Lillian believed the captain killed her fiance, and she was left alone on the ship with him. He ultimately killed himself, and their tormented spirits were left to wander. 

Lucas is the only one able to enter the captain’s quarters to retrieve the log that contains the captain’s final entry. He resists the flames that appear around him, more curious than scared at the appearance of the captain. Finally, the flames die down, and the captain reveals that what they seek is in the ballroom. Lucas asks if he’s ever asked Lillian for forgiveness, so that their restless spirits can move on.

There everyone gathers and discovers Lillian’s corpse. Her spirit appears again, and at the same time a confused Dr. Westphalen comes back to her senses. The captain arrives with Lucas, and he asks for forgiveness and tells her to go to her Robert. A bright light appears with Robert waiting for her. But before they leave, they turn to the captain, holding out their hands. He joins them, and they all disappear.

The crew returns to the ship, but did any of it really happen? Or did nitrogen narcosis cause them to have strange hallucinations?


The Science

Nitrogen narcosis occurs when gasses, under pressure, are altered. When breathed in, a person can appear to be drunk and exhibits a variety of symptoms, including disorientation, hallucinations, euphoria, and reduced nerve function. Fortunately, it’s usually a temporary condition, and after returning to the surface the symptoms subside. It’s still very dangerous, however, since someone suffering from it may not be aware and won’t take steps to reverse the effect, causing them to behave erratically in an unpredictable environment.


Where are They Now?

Marco Sanchez portrays Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz. He has most recently had recurring television roles in Get Shorty and NCIS, as well as roles on MacGyver and Lucifer. He has also had small roles in Super 8 and Star Trek: Into Darkness.