Mission: Impossible (1967) – The Survivors, and The Bank

The second season of Mission: Impossible continues to up its game with The Survivors. In fact, three episodes in, and I feel this second season has a completely different feel from the first. Sure, there’s the arrival of Phelps (Peter Graves) but, so far, the stories feel sharper, arguably more tense, and pretty damned enjoyable.

If only they could figure out what to do with Willy (Peter Lupus), who I think has about four lines in this one.

When an enemy agent, Eric Stavak (Albert Paulsen) grabs two scientists, and their wives, he still needs their third to get the formula for an ultimate weapon in this episode written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter. It debuted on 24 September, 1967 and Phelps poses as the third scientist.

Held in Chinatown by Stavak and his men, Phelps simply has to string them along long enough for the rest of the IMF team, Rollin (Martin Landau), Cinnamon (Barbara Bain), Barney (Greg Morris) and Willy to convince them that a disastrous earthquake has struck the city.

This gets attention off Phelps, who really doesn’t know any portion of the formula, as the group, trapped in a sub basement must figure out a way to the surface. Of course, the villains can’t be trusted, and the IMF is counting on that as they lay a trap to capture the enemy agents, and rescue the scientists and their spouses.

Phelps is definitely keen to throw himself into the action, and this ended up being a mission I quite enjoyed, especially the look on Stavak’s face at the climax of the episode when he realises he’s been had.

A lot of fun.

The Bank sees that ever old reliable villain, Nazis, making another appearance. This time the baddies is Alfred Belzig (James Daly), a bank manager, who is using his position, and his bank to con a select set of people out of their money, by promising to keep it safe and then keeping it all after they are killed – inside a tunnel in the vault, that is designed to ‘take care’ of them, posing as an exit. Written by Brad Radnitz, this episode first aired on 1 October, 1967.

The team goes undercover to put a stop to Belzig’s efforts, and stop his financial plan to resurrect the Nazis. It’s a fun, fast moving story, and I like anytime that Barney gets to be all cool, and show off the gadgets. Rollin has to dye his hair a bit to pull of a role as one of Belzig’s customers. Cinnamon slips into the bank as an employee, and Phelps with Willy, poses as a police investigator.

The story moves quickly and despite the lack of location changes, everything feels like it’s set inside the bank, the story still has a great sense of movement and excitement to it, and of course, by depicting the bad guy being intent on being a Nazi, you have a ready made character to dislike.

The missions keep coming as I continue the exploration of the second season of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Canada.

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