Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 9: The Haunting

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
The daughter of a Middle Eastern king is murdered in Hawaii by a wealthy playboy, but the police don't have quite enough evidence to put him away.  The IMF team tricks him into thinking that she may be alive in body or spirit, and he goes to her burial place to confirm her death thus implicating himself in the murder.

Memorable Quote:
He enjoys having a unique and bizarre outlook on life.  We thought it time he meet someone with a more bizarre perception of the world around him.  Someone who might make Mr. Foster redefine his meaning of the word "wacko".  ~Max

I liked how they timed it so that Max stole the other performer's truck just as Jim was in the office inquiring about a booking.

Max's cover as "Dwight Eisenhower," a crazy guy who wants to extort Champ, was too goofy.  He comes off as a complete nutjob whose motives are unclear, and yet Champ doesn't seem all that bothered by him and doesn't try too hard to exclude him from the family activities.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I wish they would have explained how Max was able to pick up the hot coal.
  • It's funny that this wealthy, cocky socialite and criminal lives at home with his mother.
  • When Nicholas first appears pretending to be a prince (and the brother of the deceased princess), I'm surprised that Champ is not more cautious upon meeting him since presumably the prince would know from talking to the police that Champ was the prime suspect.
  • Four of the last five episodes (including this one) have involved the IMF team using technology to perform some type of psychological manipulation on the subject. Probably time to move on to a different plot device.

Final Analysis:
I wasn't all that into this one.  It wasn't terrible, but there wasn't much in the way of highlights or memorable moments.  Ranking it 7 out of 9.


  1. This was easily the weakest episode yet for me. It surprised me that this was the episode they chose to kick of the series' tenure on Saturday nights. This was one of only a couple of season 1 episodes I had seen a portion of before. There was great potential for a good story with Grant's odor pellets, a decent Cape Fear-style rollout of Max's "Dwight Eisenhower" character when he was standing on Champ's boat outside his window, and the excellent setting that was the abandoned amusement park, particularly that great castle replica with the winding stairs. So much potential for greatness....all squandered by a goofy, incoherent story. As you said, Max's lunatic character was way too unhinged for both Champ and his mother to buy into at face value. Ditto for Max's superhuman threshold for pain, which could have been incorporated into last week's magician theme but ended up just seeming dumb. The superimposed image of the princess's ghost in the photo that was supposed to convince Champ she was still alive was laughable, and that before it hit bottom with the dopey seyonce scene at the end that motivated Champ to dig up the princess's grave. For me, this was everything you thought "Holograms" was...comically poor.

    Not sure if you're aware but the actor who played Champ--Parker Stevenson--was a pretty big deal. He was married to Kirstie Alley of "Cheers" at the time. In the 70s he played one of Hardy Boys in the TV "Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries" and was opposite David Hasselhoff as the original lifeguard twosome in the first season of "Baywatch", which premiered in September 1989 only nine months after this "Mission: Impossible" aired. He returned to "Baywatch" in its later seasons and was also a regular on "Melrose Place". He sure got a crummy script for his guest appearance on "M:I".

    1. I had never heard of Parker Stevenson before. I thought he did a good job as "Champ" despite the weak storyline.

    2. Yes, Stevenson was not the problem with this episode, the material was.

  2. And since this was an episode that heavily featured Max, and since it's a slow morning at work, I might as well convey the promised crazy story about Anthony Hamilton's role prior to "Mission: Impossible" in another series I watched. In 1984, Hamilton was a frontrunner for the role of Mac Harper on the action-adventure series "Cover-Up" but lost out to his buddy Jon-Erik Hexum. Both were rising stars in the early-to-mid 80s. "Cover-Up" was on Saturday nights and got good early ratings, but about seven episodes in, Hexum was goofing off on the set and fired his prop gun like an inch from his head, apparently not realizing prop guns still protrude something out the barrel when fired. Hexum's skull was cracked in multiple places and within a week or so, he died. Producers wanted to keep the show going with another actor and turned to the guy who was their second choice for the role--Anthony Hamilton. Hamilton was reportedly reluctant to take the role because of the circumstances but did. He did the final 14 episodes of "Cover-Up" in the 1984-85 season but the ratings, while not terrible, predictably dropped some after the actor switcheroo and was canceled at the end of the season.

    Hamilton was also competing with Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton for the role of James Bond in the mid-80s. He had a number of TV credits in the late 80s and early 90s but I believe "Mission: Impossible" was his longest-running series. Unfortunately, Hamilton's story had a sad ending as well as he died of AIDS in 1995 at only 42 years old.

    I enjoyed "Cover-Up" back in 1984-85 and watched it with both Jon-Erik Hexum and Anthony Hamilton, but revisiting the theme song now, the production values were hilariously low-rent. Have a look at both Hexum and Hamilton's opening intros.

    Hexum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQqH0dqHqKg

    Hamilton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2hL9qHlAX0

    1. I knew that he had died of AIDS but I didn't know anything else that you mentioned above. I had never heard of "Cover-Up" or that actor, and what a tragic accident. I've heard of the accident on The Crow when Brandon Lee was shot with what turned out to be a live gun. I watched those Cover-Up theme songs you linked to -- they're quite something.

      I also didn't know that Tony was up for James Bond. I like him as Max and I think he's got a lot of talent to able to play a tough guy but also with personality and charm.

    2. It was a crazy story. I had to reinvestigate to see if I remembered right because it was just so surreal, but the actual story was exactly as I remembered it. Producer Glen Larson made plenty of well-produced action shows in the 80s, so I have to think the production values in "Cover-Up" were generally better than the foolishness from those intros, but if those were the images they cut specifically for the intro it suggests that might have been the best they had!

    3. I didn't care about Cover-Up, but I was bummed to lose the star of Voyagers! That was a great time travel show - better than Quantum Leap.