Crimson Tide/Fridge

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

  • The discussion that Captain Ramsey and Commander Hunter have about the Lipizzaner stallions seemed like a weird moment, until you go back and listen to what they're saying and realize that it's a perfect parallel to the situation. Both Ramsey and Hunter are correct in some aspects of the stallions that the other side didn't know, and both make mistakes that are either pointed out or ignored. Similarly, Ramsey and Hunter's actions were both right in some respects (Hunter being unwilling to launch without a confirmed message, Ramsey in that the situation was potentially desperate) and wrong in others (Ramsey attempting to circumvent the launch protocol, Hunter for disobeying what seemed to be a lawful order). In the end, Ramsey's admission that the Lipizzaner's are from Spain seems to also indicate his admission that he was wrong to try and launch the missiles.
    • Procedurally, Ramsay was correct. They had a validated order to launch (even if the process of launching was interrupted by the Akula attack) and therefore are required to launch at the earliest possible time they can break contact and get back to launch depth. The incomplete cancellation message does not affect this because until a message is completely received and validated, it does not exist (an invalidated message could potentially be a fake, from anyone). Ethically, Hunter was correct -- when the prize for guessing wrong is 'World War III' and a non-trivial reason to doubt the situation exists, an attempt should be made to clarify things before going past the point of no return if it is possible to do so. This conflict between duty and ethics could have made for the basis of a very powerful movie, if the execution hadn't been so badly bungled by clumsy setup and failure to do the research.