Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 3: Holograms

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
The IMF team attempts to lure General Usher, the president for life of an island nation that is a big cocaine exporter, onto U.S. territory where he can be arrested. They trick him into believing that his long-lost 15 year-old son is nearby, in part through the use of holograms.

Memorable Quote:
As head of security, I strongly advise against it.  ~Major Duvall
As head of the country, I strongly advise you to do as I say.  ~General Usher

Despite the characters taking great pains not to mention the name of the country they were in, I was able to figure it out.  Just take a look at the 25:04 mark:

Look at the sign -- they're in Dinoto!!!  MacGyver fans will remember the small military-run Latin American nation as the setting of Jack of Lies where MacGyver and Jack Dalton goes to rescue their botanist friend Mike from the clutches of Colonel Antunnez.  One of the writers of that episode, Kerry Lenhart, told me that Dinoto was named after his friend.

In fact, the shot above was taken from Jack of Lies (around the 23:32 mark).  I couldn't find the exact frame with the person walking in the foreground from right to left, but everyone else in the above shot appears as they do in MacGyver, including Elena the cantina owner.  You know what this means, right?  Proof that MacGyver and Mission: Impossible exist in the same story universe!!

The guy playing General Usher may be a fine actor, but he didn't at all fit the role of a Latin American dictator through his look, his voice, or his mannerisms.  As long as they were poaching from Jack of Lies, why couldn't they have just flown Gregory Sierra to Australia to play the role? They could have said it was General Antunnez's twin brother who took over after Antunnez bailed out of Jack's plane. And the Major Duvall portrayal is not much more convincing.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This is the first episode that is not based on one from the 1960's series, so the Writer's Strike must have ended. 
  • The beginning where Usher's political opponent gets shot is silly with:
    • the total lack of security as the assassination squad just drives up next to the plane.
    • everyone else hitting the deck at the sound of gunshots except for the target.
    • the high number of out-of-place looking Anglo reporters.
  • I'm all for suspending disbelief in adventure shows, but the idea that the U.S. owns a small piece of land right by this country is a bit too convenient.
  • Not sure what's more cheesy: the holograms or the general's headaches.  His reactions to both are comical.
  • Lots more Anglos at the house party, and Phelps gets in without any problem.  I thought this was supposed to be a fortress?
  • When Phelps took the general to the island with the fake pink house, why didn't he just take him to the U.S. island with the real pink house?

Final Analysis:
Not a good episode.  In fact, a borderline disaster.  The word I'd most use to describe it is cheesy -- everything involving the general, the 15 year-old boy, the holograms, and the headaches.  Hopefully there won't be too many duds like this one to come.


  1. I liked this one quite a bit more than you. It was by no means perfect but I didn't think the holograms or the general's reactions to them were all that ridiculous given the context of the holograms coming just after he woke up or after his headaches. I'll agree on the lax security at his compound though. For the kid to just walk up to the general and have nobody but the general notice was nutty, although I thought the kid's underwater escape was kind of cool. Excellent catch on the "Jack of Lies" scene....I must confess I missed it. Now I'm gonna be looking closer for more stock footage lifted from "MacGyver". Since it's the same network, there's liable to be more. I'll have to look into it closer but I'm not sure it's that uncommon for the U.S. to own random islands all over the globe that they use for military operations, so I actually liked the ending when they lured the general there and then arrested him.

    Where did you read that this was not lifted from an older episode? I had read that the first four episodes were all retreads of the original. Anyway, it's starting to look like you might have a big problem here. I know of at least a couple other episodes coming up that used holograms and at least one of them was infinitely cheesier than anything seen here. Three episodes in and you're pretty sour on everything....and if you couldn't even give the pilot an unconditional thumbs-up, I'm skeptical there will be too much more here you'll love. Then again, I need to get out of the predictions business. Maybe the hologram-heavy episode coming up in season 2 that I'm thinking of will blow your mind more than anything else that's ever been on television. Whatever the case, I'll rate this one in the middle of the three so far.

    1. Yeah I am a bit sour so far -- 3 episodes in and the show hasn't been as good as I was anticipating. But it's still early and shows normally improve with time, and even if it doesn't fully light my fire I wouldn't call it a "big problem" since it's only 2 seasons and I like it enough so far that I don't see it becoming unwatchable (unlike another series which shall not be named).

      I believe this is an original episode because unlike the first two, there's no identically titled episode from the original series and the episode writer doesn't have a credit in the original series.

    2. Completely changing the subject, I've been watching reruns of "The Commish" on Saturday nights on the Heroes and Icons network. It was filmed in Vancouver during its 1991-1995 run and I'm seeing a ton of familiar faces from "MacGyver". On tonight's episode, a bigshot doctor who killed a woman while drunk driving looked very familiar and in a couple of minutes I recognized William Brand, the Nazi Congressman from "The Ten Percent Solution". The actor's name is Barry Mickelson. Then I notice another familiar face that will be close to your heart....Tamsin Kelsey, who played Lulu on "The Lost Amadeus". Turns out she has a recurring bit role as a prosecutor on "The Commish". And keep in mind that "MacGyver" alums Theresa Saldana and Kaj-Erik Eriksen were regular cast members. It's worth watching these Vancouver shows just for the surprise "MacGyver" guest-star drop-ins.