"The Chain of Command"
Season 2, Episode 11
If hostile natives attack - and the Skipper is missing - Gilligan becomes the leader! Are the castaways still doomed?
Basic Info
Air Date: December 2, 1965
Written By: Arnold and Lois Peyser
Directed By: Leslie Goodwins
Guest Cast: ???
Episode guide
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The Chain of Command is the eleventh episode of the second season and forty-seventh overall episode in the series. It first aired December 2, 1965.


After the Professor finds what he suspects to be a Papuan headdress, he and the Skipper fear it might be an indication of a native attack. They start fortifying the Island to defend the castaways, but an accident with a palm tree leaves the Skipper worried about who will be left to replace him when he's gone. Gilligan tries to live up to his standards even as the Skipper considers the Professor and Mr. Howell as potential replacements, but the Professor is too analytical and Mr. Howell is too careful in his decisions. With no choices left, the Skipper turns to Gilligan, who is unable to take his lessons seriously and too insecure in his faith to replace the Skipper. Disgruntled with his effort, the Skipper departs to clear his head and vanishes near the Lagoon. In his absence, Gilligan runs into the same problems trying to motivate the Professor and Mr. Howell as the Skipper did; it is only when he takes charge that they start taking him seriously. Ginger is impressed by him and claims she can lure a native into a trap set by the Professor, but the only person they catch is the Skipper, who reveals he disappeared to test Gilligan. He further reveals there was never any attack - that the so-called Papuan headdress is actually one of Mrs. Howell's expensive Paris pieces. Still thinking he's in charge, Gilligan rallies the Castaways together, marching them into the wrong direction as he stumbles off a cliff, catching a limb on the way down. Back at camp, however, the Skipper, Professor and Mr. Howell watch as Gilligan's gorilla teaches him how to be a lackey once more.


  • "Sometimes it's the unlikeliest person turns out to be the hero."


  • Gilligan wears the Skipper's hat.
  • Mary Ann lifts Gilligan's morale.


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • Syndicated versions of this episode don't include the tag scene with Gilligan being marched through the jungle by the gorilla.
  • Gilligan, the Skipper and the Professor are the only characters seen during the first quarter of the episode.
  • The Castaways are quite well-armed in preparation of their attack. They have coconut catapult, coconut clubs, spears, shields and helmets made from wooden baskets.
  • In the cliff scene, Gilligan tumbles off wearing the Skipper's cap which he loses, but when he's found holding on to the branch, he's wearing his sailor's hat.


  • Skipper - "Gilligan, I could have been killed by that tree."
    Gilligan - "Well I shouted to you and you said, "Don't bother me.""
    Skipper - "Well, if you ever see that I'm about to be killed again it's okay to bother me."

  • Gilligan - "Yeah, it would have been rotten for all of us if you'd been killed."
    Skipper - "It wouldn't have been exactly fun and games for me, either."

  • Mr. Howell - "Do you think these Oxford shirts are too informal?"
    Mrs. Howell - "We must be sure not to upset them, Dear. They might get nasty and drop us into one of those pots of boiling water."
    Mr. Howell - "In that case, drip-dry."

  • Gilligan - "Hey, Skipper. Skipper, look at this new longbow I invented."
    Skipper - "Gilligan, didn't anybody ever tell you not to point?"
    Gilligan - "I thought that meant just for fingers."

  • Skipper - "Well, the fact is, Gilligan, if anything happened to me, there's only one logical replacement, and that's you."
    Gilligan - "Yeah, I thought you might say... Me? Oh, this is my first promotion since grammar school."

  • Mr. Howell - "Are you through playing with your boats in the bathtub?"

  • Mr. Howell - "I'm working on an entirely different theory. Now take this note..."
    (Gilligan snatches the paper from Mr. Howell's hands)
    Mr. Howell - "I didn't mean that! I meant it as a figure of speech. Don't take it. Refer to it."

  • Gilligan - "What about the Skipper?"
    Mr. Howell - "The Skipper? Oh yes. Once I get this on a business-like basis, we'll find him at once."
    Professor - "We are not forming a corporation."
    Mr. Howell - "And we are not forming an FBI of the South Sea Islands."

  • Professor - "I will not be intimidated by your wealth."
    Mr. Howell - "I will not be intimidated by your intellectual propaganda."
    Professor - "I wish you would listen to someone else for a change. You're always so positive!"
    Mr. Howell - "That is not true! I'm positive that I'm not always positive."

  • Ginger - "Captain, may I volunteer?"
    Gilligan - "A woman's place is in her hut."
    Ginger - "I bet I'd be a very good spy."
    Gilligan - "I'm sorry. I issued my orders."
    Ginger - "Oh, come on, Gilligan, you're not being fair."
    Gilligan - "All's fair in war and love, or all's love in fair and war."

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