Mission: Impossible (1966) – Zubrovnik’s Ghost, and Fakeout

Who ya gonna call?

Apparently, this time, it’s the IMF team of Rollin (Martin Landau) and Barney (Greg Morris) as I accept the mission from Paramount Pictures to explore Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray.

Rollin and Barney are joined by a psychic consultant, Ariana Domi (Martine Bartlett) in Zubrovnik’s Ghost. Written by Robert Lewin, this episode debuted on 26 November, 1966.

Dan (Steven Hill) selects this team to go to a remote house to speak with Dr. Martha Zubrovnik (Beatrice Straight) who is continuing the work of her late husband, and has come to believe he is visiting her and urging her to continue her work behind the Iron Curtain – all of which is done through a ‘medium’ named Poljac (Donald Davis).

Rollin and Barney are convinced everything is hogwash, though they seem able to pose as a psychic research team easily enough.

So begins the dueling psychics and research teams – there are seances, ghost photography, malevolent spirits, and a big spooky house. And the bees! The bees!

I’m not opposed to a slightly spook episode, as I’m sure this one may have bothered the kids, but for a show that has tried to ground itself in a sense of ‘reality’ filled with spycraft and the like, the story doesn’t really try to walk a balancing line between belief and scepticism. Without a rational explanation for everything as well as a supernatural one the show is unbalanced, and while it’s a fun spooky ghost story, it’s not really the best episode of the series so far.

Fakeout sees Dan, Barney and Cinnamon (Barbara Bain) working to entrap guest star Lloyd Bridges in this episode written by Leigh Chapman. First airing on 3 December, 1966. Bridges gets to be the baddie as he takes on the role of Poltroni, an international drug dealer living in a country with no extradition to the United States.

But Dan has a team to pull off this impossible mission, as the government rejects the idea of kidnapping. Instead, Cinnamon is used as bait, and she ups her seduction game with Poltroni, while Dan takes on the role of jealous husband, with Barney playing back-up.

The plan is to draw Poltroni across the border of his own volition, and then capture him, and the plan entangles him so much that he has no choice but to pursue. They uses Cinnamon’s wiles, Poltroni’s stash, and a protracted chase to move him across the border in a fun, and surprisingly adult episode given the era.

Bridges is fantastic, and seems to enjoy being the baddie, and Bain easily holds her own in the scenes she shares with him.

The missions continue next week (if I choose to accept them) as I take more assignments with the IMF when I explore more of Paramount Canada’s Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now.

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