Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 12: The Fortune

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Casey is captured and killed while in the Florida Keys investigating an exiled dictator and his power-hungry wife who are living comfortably in a heavily guarded mansion.  The dictator had stolen millions of dollars from his country, and the IMF team's goal is to steal the funds back and return them to the impoverished nation.  In the middle of the mission, the team learns about Casey's death and must come to grips with the loss of their teammate.

Memorable Quote:
Oh, Jim, she can't be dead.  ~Nicholas

The part where the normally stoic Phelps reacts to the picture of Casey on tv as part of a news report on an unidentified body. The moment is really poignant and well done, especially since the others in the room don't know what's going on.  It was a good choice the writer made to have the team go into the operation not knowing that Casey was dead because it allows us to see their reactions to the news.

The reveal at the end left a little to be desired.  For one thing, how did they just stroll off of the heavily guarded property?  And why did they just leave and give the Berezans with an opportunity to escape?  And why did Mrs. Berezan start giving a speech at the podium to no one?

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • So we bid a fond farewell to Terry Markwell as Casey Randall.  Apparently by episode 12 she was either ready to move on from the show or the show was ready to move on from her.  The image of her being cornered at the fence is one of the few moments from the series that I remember from when I was a kid.  
  • The entire opening scene is excellent between the acting, the heightened suspense, and the music (the "Anything Goes" show tune in the background is a great contrast to the dark events going on inside the room). It's certainly by far the most powerful opening yet in the series.
  • Another strong scene when Jim tells the team that Casey died, and there's even some uncharacteristic snappiness from Max toward Grant.
  • Good thing that Berezan didn't have any numbers or special characters in his password.  Calls to mind MacGyver pulling the "Ugly Duckling" guess out of his rear.  

Final Analysis:
Strong episode.  The surprise death of a main character on any show would presumably tend to be memorable and emotional, so it's not surprising that this one was more impactful than your average MI episode.  Even forgetting about Casey's death for a moment, the rest of the episode was pretty good with a strong villain (Madame Berezan), an interesting setting (the mansion in the Keys), and a clever plot.  Ranking it 3 out of 12. 


  1. I knew that Casey's character was killed off halfway through season 1 but had never seen the episode when it happened. The departure was so abrupt that I figured it was probably voluntary at first, but the fact that Casey's replacement was already immersed with the team in the same episode that Casey disappeared suggests it may have been a production decision. You mentioned you reached out to Terry Markwell for comment and I hope she still connects with you as I'd love to get that mystery resolved. Anyway, I agree that the death scene was well done, dramatic and dark with the classic music as a backdrop. "Mission: Impossible" was never a show built on emotional resonance so I was curious how broken up the team would get over Casey's death. I also liked Phelps' reaction to seeing her on TV, but generally thought the rest of the team's response was a little too subdued. I suppose it can be argued that spies of that caliber are by nature relatively cold, largely out of necessity given that by hour's end they had to disavow her very existence, but I had hoped to see some genuine and intense emotion from at least one team member.

    All in all though, it was a good episode and I'll go along with #3 ranking. Madame Berazan was a charismatic villain and reminded me of Edith Mantu from "Brainwashed", which aired only two months after this "Mission: Impossible" episode. All of the members of the team were doing their own thing with compelling operations for each, the kind of format that works best for this series. The closing scene had some outstanding atmosphere watching Madame Berezan become unhinged, but I agree that the sting portion did not close well and their departure from the guarded compound went unanswered. I'd put my two favorite episodes in a different category of enjoyment than this one, but this was still my third favorite thus far.

    1. I agree with you on the subdued reaction of the team members, and I think I overstated it by calling it a "strong" scene. It was emotional by this show's standards since we normally don't see any kind of emotion on the part of the characters, but that scene could have been a lot better.

    2. Do you concur with my Edith Mantu comparison to Madame Berezan?