Mission: Impossible (1968) – The Bargain, and The Freeze

The IMF team take on organized crime, and a dictator, in The Bargain. Written by Robert E. Thompson, and having an original airdate of 15 December, 1968, Phelps (Peter Graves), Rollin (Martin Landau), Cinnamon (Barbara Bain), Barney (Greg Morris), and Willy (Peter Lupus) go undercover to stop a deal arising between a dictator looking to cement his power, and the mob.

General Neyron (Albert Paulsen) is in exile in Miami, surrounded by his loyal men, but he has a plan to return himself to power, but he needs Frank Layton (Warren Stevens) and his mob connections to help. If they will help reinstall him, then he will legalise gambling and give them the concession.

Rollin works behind the scenes in costume, setting the stage with the mob alongside Phelps, while Barney poses as Neyron’s new chef, bringing Cinnamon and Willy with him to set up Neyron.

The team does a nice job of making Neyron believe he is becoming increasingly unstable and possibly suddenly gifted with precognition, while Phelps and Rollin work to keep the mob busy.

This is a smart, and very well-crafted, and written episode. Sure some of the tech and plan are a bit questionable, but it’s played straight, and once again, we see the series play a little stronger when it really leans in to its spy thriller roots.

And it’s all going to play out perfectly as the team maneuvers Neyron and Layton against each other, culimating in a final confrontation between the two as our heroes make their undetected escape, yet again.

The Freeze features Donnelly Rhodes as a guest star in this episode that was penned by Paul Playdon and first aired on 22 December, 1968.

Rhodes plays Barrett, a criminal who changed his identity, and then elected to go to prison on a smaller sentence for a crime, allowing a statute of limitations to run out on a huge robbery that he pulled off. He’s hidden the money, and is just waiting on the rest of his sentence.

The government, through the IMF wants to recover the money, so they concoct an involved plan to make Barrett believe he is suffering from a terminal illness, but Rollin and Phelps, posing as doctors, offer him a glimmer of hope. He can be frozen and revived at a future date, cured.

So they put him under, and set up a hospital room, a viewing screen, and pretend to revive him in the far distant year of 1980 (!) so they can learn the location of the money (which is obviously the first thing he would want to find when he wakes), but that may all be part of a blind that that they are running on him, with all of it designed to make Barrett lead them to cash, while its still within the statute of limitations, allowing the team to see that he’s arrested, and sent away once and for all, and reclaim the stolen money!

The series look at the ‘future’ is rather amusing, but it’s also a very fun episode.

There are more assignments next week as I explore more of season three, while I work my way through Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Canada!

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