The Time Tunnel, "Kill Two by Two"
Written by Bob and Wanda Duncan
Directed by Herschel Daugherty
Twentieth Century Fox, 2002, 49 min., Video
Each week Doctors Tony Newman and Doug Phillips visited another time and
place in this science fiction television series from the late 1960s. In the
episode "Kill Two by Two" (originally broadcast on January 6, 1967), Tony and Doug land on
a small island near Iwo
Jima just a few days before the planned American invasion there in
February 1945. They discover a Japanese Army sergeant and another man
described as a "sadist" and "psychopath." About halfway
through the episode, the personnel in the time tunnel control room find out this
other man is a Navy lieutenant and kamikaze pilot.
Dr. Nakamura, a Japanese expert living in the U.S., visits the time tunnel
control room to explain that the lieutenant on the island is his son. Dr.
Nakamura explains the story of his son from more than two decades before :
He was a kamikaze pilot, ordered to attack the battleship shelling us. But at
the last moment he could not do it. He crash landed. My men pulled him ashore,
but I could not help him. He had dishonored us. I left him behind when we left.
He spent too much time in the States. He came to value his own life too much. He
forgot the teachings of his childhood.
Lieutenant Nakamura uses a gun to hunt down Tony and Doug on
the small island, and his reckless actions show that he wants to die. He
realizes that he cannot return home since he has shamed his family by his cowardly
action. He stands over a grenade thrown at him by one of the Americans, but the
grenade turns out to be a dud. The two Americans think he has gone out of his
mind. The Japanese sergeant asks him, "will you die honorably or live in
shame?" Finally, American troops invade the island and shoot Nakamura dead.
The Time Tunnel presents an extremely distorted view
of a kamikaze pilot. Although a couple of statements regarding honor in dying
reflect Japanese beliefs at the time, the program's portrayal of a kamikaze
pilot with a psychotic death wish does not correspond with historical facts.
There is no documented case of a pilot pulling away on purpose from a suicide
attack at the last minute and crash landing. Even if a kamikaze pilot wanted to
do this, it probably would have been impossible in the midst of antiaircraft
fire from American ships. This program incorrectly makes it seem like suicide
itself was the ultimate goal, even though most actual pilots considered a
kamikaze attack to be a battle tactic employed in defense of their country and
families with the primary goal being destruction of enemy ships.
Dr. Newman makes the final comment about Nakamura, "he
was a man who was fighting his own private war, and I think he found his
victory" . Tony and Doug are then transported
through the time tunnel to an alien spaceship invading Earth for the next
episode included on this two-episode video.
1. From 32:15 to 32:35 in video.
2. At 45:30 in video.