Thoughts From the Gilligan's Island Episode Chain of Command (1965)
Synopsis: With the island under the threat of a headhunter attack, the castaways prepare to defend themselves. However, when the Skipper (Alan Hale, Jr.) is almost killed by a falling tree, he feels it is important to find a second in command. He reluctantly picks Gilligan (Bob Denver) and his first mate is thrust into duty sooner than expected when the Skipper goes missing.
It's interesting the Skipper thinks he's the one in charge. Not only has that never actually been established at any given point in the series (if anything, it's been challenged), Skipper has never even acted as though he was the one calling the shots. If anything, I think the Professor (Russell Johnson) makes more decisions for the castaways than anyone else.
The timing of his second-in-command training is also questionable. With the castaways facing an imminent threat, it seems like his time would be better served focusing on their defenses. The training seems like more of a distraction than anything.
Why not just arm the castaways? The scene involving the Skipper and Gilligan drilling their "troops" and getting them to collect their weapons in a set order really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If they think they are about to be attacked, they should have the weapons already. Again, the drill seems like a big waste of time.
Shouldn't Gilligan already have military training? He did serve in the Navy. In fact, he is the Skipper's first mate because he saved the Skipper's life during the war. Even taking his overall incompetence into account, you would think some of that training would still be in his memory.
All things considered, Gilligan was actually a surprisingly good leader. Actually, this shouldn't have been that much of a surprise considering he already showed his leadership skills in President Gilligan. His plan, once he gained control, was fairly sound - look for the Skipper and set traps for the headhunters. Maybe he should just be the one in charge to begin with.
Final Opinion: The episode has some funny moments, but the overall plot is kind of weak considering none of the other episodes do a good job of establishing the Skipper as the island's undisputed leader, making his second in command a bit of a moot point.
My Grade: C
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