Mission: Impossible (1973) – The Question, and The Fountain

The IMF get back to spycraft this week with The Question. Written by Stephen Kandel it first aired on 19 January, 1973.

When a foreign assassin, Nicholas Varsi (holy crap, it’s Gary Lockwood!) defects, the IMF is unsure if he’s legit or a mole, so they are tasked with kidnapping him from his safe house, and discovering whether he’s actually defecting or if it’s just a gambit by a foreign power.

Barney (Greg Morris), Phelps (Peter Graves), and Willy (Peter Lupus) are joined by Andrea (Elizabeth Ashley). They have to figure out a way to get into the safe house, and then how they plan to get the truth out of Varsi.

Unfortunately, to learn the truth, Andrea will have to put her life in danger as a hostage when the team’s plan involves letting him go to see if he delivers her to the embassy or kills her.

As the episode races to the climax, Varsi learns that he has been played, and that another person will commit the assassination and use Varsi as the patsy.

Can the team stop the assassination, rescue Andrea, and resolve the Varsi issue? You bet they can! Even if it means Phelps has to climb the side of a building to reach his target.

It’s a fast-moving episode, well written and executed, and casting someone like Lockwood really forced the cast to elevate their performances to hold their own.

Sadly, I feel Barney is a little underused, but it’s still a very good episode, and arguably a stand-out of the final season.

The Fountain was written by Stephen Kandel and debuted on 26 January, 1973. It also puts us back in IMF vs. the mafia territory. Sigh. The previous episode was so good, and we’re going back to organized crime AGAIN?

Thomas Bachman (George Maharis) is a Syndicate hood who has stolen some incriminating computer tapes from his rival, Matthew Drake (Cameron Mitchell). He’s also gone on the run and disappeared south of the border in Mexico.

When he resurfaces and plans to return to the States, he is on the prowl for a pilot to fly him to a new hidden location. Enter Barney as the pilot.

Phelps and his team, rejoined by Casey (Lynda Day George) abduct Bachman and hold him in a remote house in the hopes of learning the location of the stolen tapes so that the IMF can use them to put a crimp on the Syndicate. Of course, that makes it all sound easy, but at the mansion, they set up a bit of a cult, and the possibility of rejuvenated youth with Casey supposedly being very very old but looking very young.

Can they recover the tapes before Drake hunts Bachman down? And will Bachman fall for the Fountain of Eternal Youth story the team is floating?

We’re coming up on the last few episodes of Mission: Impossible, but make sure you check out The Complete Series on blu-ray available now from Paramount Canada.

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