The Darkest Fathoms

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The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
"The Darkest Fathoms"
Episode no. H00616-94004
Airdate August 26, 1996
Chief locations Bermuda Island 65.27W, 33.04N (1,080 miles)
Vehicle(s) Questor
Sea Slug
Questor's Whaler
Writer(s) Peter Lawrence
Harv Zimmel
Guest roles Michael Benyaer (Charlie)
Jim Meskimen (Black Jack Lee Impostor / Pirates)
Jeffrey Tambor (Black Jack Lee)
Jeff Bennett (Gun Captain / Diver)
Jim Cummings (Lacey / Pirate)
Paul Mercier (Diver / Technician)
Nick Tate (Pirate)
Paxton Whitehead (Commander)
Episode sequence -> Escape to Questworld
Other episodes

Centuries ago, ruthless pirate Black Jack Lee rode The Ivory Web to the Bermuda sea floor. When oil explorers are assaulted by a ghost ship under his apparent captaincy, Dr. Quest prepares the Questor for an investigation.

Plot Summary


A vicious naval battle is in progress between Captain Horatio's British vessel and the pirate galley of Black Jack Lee. Faced with destruction, Lee personally prepares a cannon and fires at the enemy commander, causing him to sink Lee's ship, the Ivory Web without hesitation. The Web leans over and threatens to take the British ship with it by way of the rigging, but Horatio's men cut it free. As the Web sinks, Lee stands by the descending crow's nest and promises that "In life or death, no one shall have with is Black Jack Lee's."

Act One

Benton takes the case in the laboratory

In Bermuda, an exploratory oil diving ship is conducting an expedition with two divers combing the sea floor. They divers find the wreck of The Ivory Web as a thick fog rolls over the ship; a pirate vessel emerges with Black Jack Lee commanding. The oil ship is quickly boarded and a technician accidentally turns off the hot water to the divers after being assaulted. The captain struggles to pull them up, but Black Jack Lee smashes his sword into the device, dooming them to death below. Days later, the captain visits Dr. Benton Quest at the Quest Compound to discuss the incident. Dr. Quest pulls a file from British naval records, showing that John Milton Lee was a British privateer born of an aristocratic family who became cruel and ruthless on the seas. Benton doubts that an actual ghost attacked the boat, but notes that the wreck would be a historic find and agrees to explore. He finds Jonny Quest and Hadji Singh, practicing Yoga atop the lighthouse, and asks them to come along. They take the Questor catamaran to the site, and with Race Bannon, Hadji, and Jonny aboard, the Sea Slug begins descending to the sea floor while Dr. Quest and Jessie Bannon control it from above. The wreck is in sight, though perched precariously near a canyon. Jonny and Race investigate; as they enter the ruins, fog suddenly rolls in and the Questor comes under attack. Dr. Quest and Jessie are abducted, and the pirates damage the Questor's computer systems.

Act Two

Jonny lures the pirates

Hot water is gone for the Sea Slug and Jonny and Race's diving suits, prompting them to make their way back to the diving bell as quickly as possible. Jonny's cord is tangled with the sea floor; Race moves in to save him, but in the process looses a piece of debris, which knocks him out. Jonny struggles to carry Race back, and Hadji drops the recovery hook. Jonny fastens it to Race's suit, and hangs on to Race as they're pulled up. At the top, he passes out and loses his grip, but Hadji quickly grabs his hand and pulls him in. One slap across the face later, and Jonny wakes up in time for Hadji to pull the emergency retrieve lever. Back on the Questor, the team cannot find Benton or Jessie, and Jonny decides to take the Questor's Whaler to a weather station on Goblin Cay for help. He hits a reef while sailing, and the engine dies. Expecting rescue from an oncoming ship, he bails after seeing pirates fast approaching. He feigns helplessness while standing on a reef, and lures the pirate motorboat into hitting the rock and erupting in flames.

The team prepare to escape the fake ship

He swims to a small island nearby, and turns around after making landfall to see Black Jack Lee, who knocks him unconscious. He awakes in the hold of a ship, and remembering what Hadji said to him at the lighthouse, slips out of his ropes. He eavesdrops on several men in conference, who declare that they will use Dr. Quest and his sea craft to remove the treasure, then eliminate him and the rest of his team. Jonny slips through corridors to find Jessie and Dr. Quest, and the three go to the bridge to locate the fog machinery and other ship controls. Dr. Quest activates the theatrical devices, and then chops through a moon pool to flood the ship. The Black Jack Lee impostor arrives and challenges Dr. Quest, who tells Jonny and Jessie to flee. Benton breaks away from the fight, but the impostor is close behind with the axe. The crew begin to abandon ship, and as the recording of Lee's speech plays on the failing equipment, the vessel sinks beneath the sea in a fireball. The next day, Dr. Quest and the team try again to visit the wreck with Jonny and Jessie leading. As they approach, the ship slips off the edge of the gorge and falls to the murky depths of the ocean. Jonny spots the figure of Black Jack Lee, still hanging on to the crow's nest with an axe triumphantly in hand.



  • Black Jack Lee Impostor - "Over waves of blood sails the Ivory Web, filling all hearts with fear and dread. Though time has passed since I've ravaged these seas, no one will have what is Black Jack Lee's!"


  • Dr. Quest - "And I suppose it's useless to add, no heroics."
  • Hadji - "A quite hopeless exhortation, Dr. Quest. It was your own great poet Emerson who said, 'heroism always feels, and never reasons.'"


  • Jessie - "I thought you yogis could control your body temperature."
  • Hadji - "Yuyogis can. But I am a wiyogi, in training. Now is not the time to put it to the test."


  • Jessie - "You don't really believe in the ghost of Black Jack Lee, do you Dr. Quest?"
  • Dr. Quest - "I'm not really certain what I believe. But I can't think of a ghost that would get the better of your father."


  • Hadji - "Come on, come on! In 90 seconds you'll go hypothermic!"
  • Jonny - "I heard that, Hadji."
  • Hadji - "Oh...sorry."


  • Jonny - "If those were ghosts, I'll eat my sneakers."


  • Dr. Quest - "Perhaps we may be able to hoist our pirate friends with their own petard."


  • Dr. Quest's hair is all brown and no gray.
  • A scene probably cut for time shows the Questor sailing by a small island on the way to the wreck site. The scene was included in Cover-Up At Roswell; you can download it here.
  • The helium oxygen mixture raises the voices of Jonny and Race for about three or four lines only.
  • The pirates wreck the Questor's computer and water systems, but apparently they're restored the next day (as evidenced by Race's still-fresh wounds).
  • The axe blade is missing on the close-up of the real Black Jack Lee's figure at the end, though it is present in a previous scene.


  • This episode does not feature a Quest Byte.

From: Episodes