The Nasty Argument: Orders are through to launch the USS Alabama's nuclear missiles… but then a second message comes through damaged and unreadable. XO Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington) calmly makes the case that it might be a retraction. Captain Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) wants to follow procedure, but is clearly rattled: "I'm Captain of this boat. Now shut the fuck up!"
Make-Up Or Break-Up: Repairs to the radio reveal that Hunter was right, but the authorities do the sensible thing by splitting up the team - Hunter gets his own boat, Ramsey takes early retirement.