Mission: Impossible (1967) – Shock!, and A Cube of Sugar

This week’s first mission feels very much familiar in that it hits a number of Mission: Impossible tropes, the mask, the con, the danger and then the resolution. Not that it isn’t fun!

Shock! was written by Laurence Heath and was first broadcast on 25 March, 1967. Dan Briggs (Steven Hill) and his usual team, Rollin (Martin Landau), Cinnamon (Barbara Bain), Barney (Greg Morris) and Willy (Peter Lupus) draw a tough assignment. A U.S. ambassador, Wilson (James Daly) has been abducted and replaced with a double, Gort (also Daly) and assigned a KGB aide, Kiri (Sorrell Booke) all in an attempt to discredit the United States down the line.

Dan and his team plan to replace Gort with a Wilson of their own, Dan in a mask as he’s similar in build to Wilson, which lets Rollin draw another part of the mission. Cinammon poses as Wilson’s niece, and helps abduct Gort where Barney has set up an apparent mental hospital (well a couple of rooms anyway) where they will get Gort to confess, and use some shock treatment to do it, all in the hopes that he will reveal the true plan at work.

Lives are on the line, as is the reputation of the States, will Dan and his team be able to keep Kiri at bay, and figure out what is going on before the KGB’s plan comes to fruition?

It’s fun, enjoyable, and has some, what will become, familiar Mission: Impossible beats, but it’s how it’s executed that makes it worthwhile, and consequently, this one plays out very well.

A Cube of Sugar was written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter. It first aired on 1 April, 1967.

This time around Dan and his usual team, have their work cut out for them, they have to recover a stolen microchip that has been hidden in 1 of 7 drug dosed cubes of sugar. Every one of these cubes are in the same place, and the team has to break into a foreign installation, where people are being interrogated and tortured with drugs, to recover it before it falls into the wrong hands.

To play their parts, both Cinnamon and Rollin have been injected that will prevent any narcotics or hallucinogenic compounds from having an effect on them for seventy two hours. As the clock is ticking Rollin ends up in the torture facility, for all appearances doped to the gills and ready to be tortured, while Cinnamon tries the front door approach, all while the rest of the team prepare for their escape.

This one is a fast-moving tale, and at this point by Woodfield and Balter have written enough episodes; they know how the story goes together, and they know what beats they have to hit before the credits. It does have a scene in a ‘swinging’ night club that feels like it was lifted for Austin Powers.

The series to date has been a fun romp with the occasional stumble, but next week, we come to the end of the first season, and the next season will see the team come together with a new leader… But that’s a couple weeks off yet. I have a couple more missions to accept before then as I continue to explore Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray available now from Paramount Pictures.

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