Mission: Impossible (1966) – Old Man Out: Part 2, and Odds On Evil

Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to rejoin the IMF team from last week as they continue with their assignment with Old Man Out: Part 2. Written by Ellis Marcus, the series’ first two-parter came to its conclusion on 15 October, 1966.

Rollin (Martin Landau) is advised by Dan (Steven Hill) to escape from the Eastern Bloc prison on his own, after they learn that the elderly, imprisoned Cardinal (Cyril Delevanti) has been moved to solitary. But that’s just so Dan can pose as a colonel, capture him, and take him back into the prison, so they can both conduct the breakout, while the rest of the team, still posing as a circus, provides distraction.

And while in the first episode they set up Crystal (Mary Ann Mobley) having a bit of a (possibly romantic) history with Dan, nothing is followed up on, and instead, everything focuses on the climax of the story, getting the Cardinal out, and getting across the border.

While a solid conclusion, it doesn’t feel quite as strong as its first half, there’s fewer character moments, and it feels like even less dialogue. While still enjoyable (and a delight to pick out when the stunt crew take over for the actors) it didn’t engage me as much as the first half.

It’s also very interesting how this fictional Eastern European country looks a lot like Southern California. It’s hard to portray those in the East as villains when they don’t look or dress so different from those in the West.

Dan and Rollin get a few solid action beats, and the episode ends with the escape across the border…

Odds On Evil sees the Mission: Impossible team go 007 with tuxes, baccarat, and even an Aston Martin DB6. Written by Allan Balter and William Read Woodfield this episode debuted on 22 October, 1966.

Dan sends his IMF team, along with Andre Malif (Nico Minardes) into a Middle Eastern country, where its’ ruler, Prince Kostas (Nehemiah Persoff), is planning on waging war on its oil rich neighbour. The team has a plan, to completely bankrupt the prince, by cleaning him out through his casino (where he cheats on a regular basis).

Using Malif and Cinammon (Barbara Bain) as a distraction to win away the casino’s money, Rollin uses their gains as a stake in baccarat, using marked cards that only he and the prince can read.

There are cons, and manipulation, lies and cards, and while perhaps not quite as glamorous as the sequences in a James Bond film, it’s cool to see the Mission: Impossible team showing the audience that they can do it too, and on a smaller budget.

There will be more missions next week as I continue to explore Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, now available from Paramount Pictures.

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