Laurence Heath pens the first two-parter of season four, and despite what I feel is the wrong point for the To Be Continued notice to be delivered, it ends up being a pretty solid story, with some real world parallels.
The episodes first aired on 12 October, 1969, and 19 October, 1969. Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team, Paris (Leonard Nimoy), Barney (Greg Morris), Willy (Peter Lupus) and this week’s female aide, Meredyth (Dina Merrill) need to slip into an Eastern Bloc country that is on the verge of perfecting a mind control drug (MK Ultra anyone?) with the intention of global domination.
Dr. Turek (David Sheiner), Lorkner (H.M. Wynant) and Colonel Borodin (Alfred Ryder) have recruited the aid of two American defectors, whom Phelps and Meredith have replaced, while Willy poses as a prisoner, who will be subjected to a competing drug that was designed by the American defectors. Paris slips in an out of costumes, as he takes on any role that is needed.
But Barney brings his A-game, and it’s time to give this character more respect. He spends the course of two episodes sneaking around an enemy installation, wiring things up, eluding guards, and delivering supplies, and computer programs, all completely unnoticed by the baddies – this guy is a pro.
The team’s initial plan has the baddies believing that the fake drug works better than the one they have almost perfected, and setting up Turek, who plans to use the drug on Phelps to get rid of him, and Borodin. So when the climax happens at the end of the first episode, Phelps, supposedly under the influence of the drug is ordered to kill Borodin, and then drive himself and the Colonel off a nearby cliff.
The episode concludes with Phelps racing his car towards firing guards to escape the installation.
The second part opens with a quick escape, but the realization that in the escape, Borodin has actually been killed, which completely pooches the plan. Phelps and the rest have to think on their feet, and improvise a new plan that will deliver evidence of Turek’s guilt, and stop the production of the mind control drug.
This leads to a bit of court room drama with Paris representing Phelps both in their respective undercover guises, while Barney works to get the mind control drug out of Willy’s prison cell and into the base’s water supply – all while remaining undetected, Barney is the BEST!
And despite the bumps along the way, the plan plays out exactly as the IMF wants and Turek is permanently taken out of the picture, with the implication that the mind control project has reached its end as well.
This is a story where everyone gets their moment to shine, and I can’t wait to see what my next assignment is as I explore more of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray now available from Paramount Canada!