Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 10: The Lions

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
After the king of a Himalayan country dies, his young son prepares to take the throne but first must solve a deadly puzzle where lion statues are placed on a stone in a certain order.  The dead king's brother, however, wants the throne for himself and plants fake statues so that his nephew will fail.

Memorable Quote:
The hard part is, how do you value one of the virtues above the others?  ~Miklos
You just keep asking yourself that question.  You'll find the answer.   ~Jim

The "lower the guy down from the ceiling" maneuver is always fun, even if it's hard to believe that the guards wouldn't hear a thing.  And we'll see the famous stunt again in the first MI movie.

The boy's mother doesn't fit in well with the story.  Technically she's the Queen but she doesn't dress like a Queen and doesn't have any power or influence in the kingdom.  And she has some strange lines like when she tells Jim that her son will trust him because he's a teacher (even though he's known Jim for about 5 minutes), or when she discovers that Jim is not who he says he is but then assumes that he must be there for a good purpose.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's a dumb way to choose a king: make him solve some random puzzle which kills him if he gets it wrong.
  • And how did the puzzle solution stay secret for so long?  There were plenty of witnesses between the guards and monks when the boy was solving it.  I imagine word would get around before the next time the puzzle was attempted, although hopefully the boy king can issue an executive order to remove the dumb puzzle in his first 100 days in office.
  • The team gets really lucky at the end.  Even after things go according to plan with Ki going back to the safe to check on the now melted fake lions, he comes back and has the guards ready to take out the boy before inexplicably knocking off the real lions and getting stabbed.  If not for that stumble, I'm not sure what the team would have done. And then the guards turn their allegiance right away to the new king.  All in all, the ending is pretty cheesy. 

Final Analysis:
I give this episode some credit for a creative (albeit ridiculous) plot and an interesting locale which they did a decent job of recreating, but I still wasn't a huge fan.  The boy and the mother were out of place, and the ending was tough to overcome.  Ranking it 6 out of 10.


  1. What the hell was that?!??! I'd like to be as generous as you and give them credit for a "creative plot" but when the plot is as empty and agonizingly boring as this one, congratulations go out the window. At no point during the hour did I know or care what the hell was going on. And while they had some stellar imagery on occasion in the production, the early blue-screen work was at times cartoon-worthy. However, even worse blue-screen work is coming in one of the second season episodes. The set looked similar to an off-the-wall season 2 episode I enjoyed, and I will give the episode credit for an exotic look and have generally been impressed with the location work they've done in Australia. Still, this....oy vey! Like you I was briefly intrigued with Grant being lowered into the temple, but it could have been just a tad more clear what the hell he was doing adding golden nuggets to the butts of these lion statues. What a farce. It made Episode 9 look like high art. So far, the Saturday episodes have been clunkers. Perhaps ABC moved it to Saturday seeing these episodes and thinking the show was about to collapse. They were probably stunned when the ratings started going up on Saturday.

    Clearly #10 on my list. My first reaction when reading your review was the magnitude of shade you're showing "Holograms" and "The Cattle Herd" by rating them below this howler. But then I realized the real victim here is, once again, the "MacGyver" classic "Eye of Osiris", which featured a more elaborate temple scene with better special effects and a chamber puzzle that was infinitely more intelligent and well-crafted that the lions nonsense. Basically, "Eye of Osiris" was everything "The Lions" could have been with better writing, better mythology, and better special effects. Imagine my horror when "The Lions" gets a LESS critical review....with nary a gratuitous potshot from mom to be seen! :)

    1. You're asking me to bring up Eye of Osiris again -- are you trying to get yourself worked up?! I thought this episode did a nice job with the Himalayan market scene and the costuming. Clearly there was some matte and blue screen work but Osiris had all the pine trees so that's a wash. I'll give Osiris the edge in having a more impressive temple.

      Both episodes had a cheesy factor, and I wouldn't use intelligent and Osiris in the same sentence -- the Earth/Air/Fire/Water thing was interesting but I'd equate that to the 5 lions all at the same time thing, even though the knives coming out to kill the king was crazy. Now you have me partially defending this episode which I didn't even care for all that much -- just remember you were the one who brought up Osiris!

    2. Too late! Already worked up! Remember that Mr. Sheppard used the sleight of hand to explain that Alexander's tomb was actually in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey rather than the desserts of Egypt, which isn't historically unthinkable given Alexander's empire's geographic scope. That explains the pine trees and winter setting, and definitely doesn't put it on the same footing at the fourth-rate blue screen work here.

      Not sure what makes "Osiris" any more or less cheesy than anything else done on "MacGyver" so we'll clearly never see eye to eye on that....but there was no credible way to avoid a comparison given the surface-level similarities. I think we need a focus group of 100 viewers to see how many would put the superior "Osiris" on equal footing with a story about inserting golden nuggets up the butts of golden lion statues to add weight for some balancing game to determine a king.

    3. "The desserts of Egypt" -- that sounds tasty!

      And I never said I'd rate this episode as above or equal to Osiris -- just as your 100th best episode of MacGyver is still pretty good compared to other shows, I'm grading these things on a scale. You're practically begging for me to take potshots at Osiris but in my original review it's actually not too harsh, it's just one that I'm not too excited about, but I don't think it's terrible by any means.

    4. Ha! I caught that after I clicked "publish". Also made me wonder what kind of desserts Egyptians would partake in. Hopefully they'll all be shaped in the form of pyramids.

      Disagreements over "Osiris" aside, let's focus on the all-new episode of the reboot tomorrow night! First full episode from Maddie the Hun!

    5. I think Maddie might provide me with the knockout blow from the series! But I'll try to go into it with an open mind.

  2. Just a heads-up, I'm likely to fall behind on the reviews in the days ahead. Heading home to see the folks this weekend and since it's my mom's birthday and "24" is coming back, I probably won't be much "Mission: Impossible".

    1. Good timing, because I was planning on taking a little break from MI episodes and doing the first MI movie and also a MacGyver script.