Mission: Impossible (1970) – Flight, and My Friend, My Enemy

Hey look! Sam Elliott is in the title credits, Willy (Peter Lupus) is nowhere to be seen, and John Colicos is back as a guest star in Flight. Written by Harold Livingston from a story by Leigh Vance, this episode first premiered on 17 October, 1970.

A coup is going to be attempted on a president from South of the Border. It is being led by Manuel Ferrar (Colicos) and it’s up to Phelps’ (Peter Graves) IMF team to capture Ferrar and sweat him to reveal the identity of the killer. While Paris (Leonard Nimoy), Phelps and Doug (Elliott) work on Ferrar’s abduction and work him over, Dana (Lesley Ann Warren) is working undercover until her identity gets rumbled and is captured.

And let’s just pause for me to complain once again that Dana is an IMF agent, she’s been trained in combat and spycraft, and yet, is so easily captured. Sigh.

Then both sides strive to beat the other to their respective goals – the IMF team uses a simulator rig of a private plane to attempt to trick Ferrar, a gag they’ve used before, but it’s fun as a glimpse behind the scenes. The scheme also has them making Ferrar believe they have crash landed on a remote island that has been overrun by prisoners (Phelps and company). It’s convoluted, but hey, its Mission: Impossible!

Can they figure out the truth, and who the killer is? Will Dana be able to make her escape?

Colicos is a delight as always, he’s just so much fun to watch.

And I know back in the day a number of fans with the way that Elliot’s Doug was obviously being prepared to replace Lupus’ Willy, but haven’t worked my way through the entire series so far, I have to tell you, I prefer Elliot to Lupus, he’s always been a fantastic actor.

My Friend, My Enemy sees Paris captured and brainwashed by enemy agents, and given a target to assassinate… Phelps. Written by Gene R. Kearney from a story by William Wood, this episode first debuted on 24 October, 1970.

While his friends, and fellow agents attempt to figure out how to defuse Paris, and learn what his trigger is, the enemy agents are working on orchestrating a situation that will cause Paris to kill Phelps.

It’s an interesting episode, and lets Nimoy do a lot more than he did on the first three seasons of Star Trek, though this episode seems to be the exception and not the rule for what he got to do with his character.

There are also some familiar looking faces in this episode, Peter Mark Richman, and Bruce Glover.

This one seems to be a high point for the season, the rest of the stories so far have been entertaining to be sure, but also typical of the fare we’ve seen from the series. This is a but of a stronger piece, and there is lots going on, making it feel like an actual spy story.

And then there is the wonderful distracting presence of Dana throughout the episode, she definitely has a measure of appeal that would have captured the attention of a lot of male viewers. Throw in Sam Elliott, and some great work by Nimoy, this is a solid tale.

The assignments will continue next week as I explore more of Paramount Pictures’ release of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now!

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