Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 21: The Princess

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A princess of a small European country is targeted for assassination by a group called the Red Guard that dislikes her western influence on the prince. The Guard hires an experienced assassin code-named Coyote who infiltrates the IMF team's hideout and shoots Shannon, critically injuring her.  Now the team must stop Coyote from completing her mission, with their only known clue to her identity that she is a woman.

Memorable Quote:
Did you guys buy me all these?  ~Shannon
Well now just how many boyfriends do you need?  ~Phelps
Mmm, I suppose four [is] enough.  ~Shannon

The spectrometer scent identifier is crazy as bananas, but I loved it.  So there's a machine that you can use to fire a laser at a woman from a distance and it picks up her scent, and then the machine compares it to a benchmark scent? And Grant just happened to have this machine with him on this mission?  Nevertheless, it made for a great final scene as Grant scanned the room looking for a match and only found it when Coyote walked in front of the scanner.

Interestingly, once I saw the perfume scanner, I got a major case of deja vu.  I haven't seen this episode in almost 30 years, but somehow this part was familiar, and I even had a notion of Coyote walking in the path of the scanner.  Amazing how memories can remain untapped in the mind for so long. 

I didn't understand why from Caron's perspective it was necessary to go along with Nicholas's plan to steal an armored car if he had already hired an assassin.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Caron, the Red Guard leader, blows up his accomplice along with the money that he just gave him -- I'm guessing that money was fake, then.
  • Phelps is really rocking the outfits early in this episode -- first a large bright yellow sweater, and then a gray suit with white turtleneck ensemble.
  • It shouldn't be that easy to go undercover as a Hollywood producer that no one's ever heard of.
  • I had thought that the guy Nicholas meets in the bar was the assassin, but turns out he's the Red Guard leader, Caron, who has hired the assassin Coyote.  When Phelps shoots Nicholas (with blanks), Caron is surprisingly shocked at seeing someone get shot in cold blood.
  • Funny exchange at 26:35 mark where Jim laments the dearth of witnesses to Coyote's assassinations, to which Grant responds that the killings are all done in public in front of thousands of people.
  • Jim says at the hospital that if Shannon didn't push him aside, "it would have been me," but Shannon never pushed him aside (I went back and watched).  It's also hard to see how Shannon would have survived a direct shot to the chest.  And why was the team not prepared for Coyote to come to the studio -- wasn't that the whole point of their plan?
  • Even though she's lying critically injured in her hospital bed, Shannon was able to get her makeup on.
  • I mentioned in my recent Bayou post that the villain did a Victoria James style jump at the end, but in this episode is even more Victoria-like since it's a woman jumping through a window to her death.  And Grant pulls a Sam Beckett in Animal Frat by throwing the bomb out the window without having any idea what's below (other than Coyote).

I sent Tottie Goldsmith (aka the Princess) a link to the episode and she watched it.

To be honest I had never seen this episode and I LOVED it. It was gripping!! Thank you for sending it.  I was such a baby face, god love!!! 

Ok, what I remember was all the wonderful chaos in the building. The beautiful staircase and foyer filled with the buzz of… for the time… glamorously dressed people. The vibe was electric and it must have been a nightmare for the crew. :)  The assassination scene took much rehearsing and really paid off I think seeing it now.

I met Jane Badler in the trailer and we struck up a friendship that we still share today, and I actually introduced her to her now husband so I was definitely meant to play the Princess.

Final Analysis:
Excellent episode!  The first half is slow and a little confusing, but the second half is great once Coyote gets involved.  Ranking it 3 out of 21.

We're off to a good start here in Season 2 -- let's hope it continues this way.


  1. This episode was certainly above-average, but I agree with you that the first half was confusing as Caron was definitely being set up to look like the hit man. I was confused when "Coyote" was doing her yoga routine and it wasn't until she took her gun out of the case that I made the connection that she was the real heavy. As a side note, I've never understood the Hollywood meme of women burglars/killers slinking around in the dark dressed from head to toe in black leather. It's certainly a cool image, but wouldn't the lack of flexibility in the leather hinder your mobility far more than it camouflages your appearance. Obviously it's a mindless gimmick entirely for visual appeal, but Hollywood tropes need to be called out for their foolishness sometimes!

    By now none of us should be shocked by the comprehensiveness of Grant's tech devices so his ability to match the perfume scent of Coyote with some sort of "stock odor" was right in his wheelhouse. They really did do a good job of making Coyote look like a young boy rather than a woman in the end before she went all Victoria James. Agreed that Shannon "taking a bullet for Phelps" was eye-rollingly melodramatic. Overall a good hour though. I'll rate it between "The Fortune" and "The Golden Serpent".

    I forgot to mention in the "Golden Serpent" review that the series moved to Thursday nights at the beginning of season 2. The series was getting passable ratings for the network on Saturday nights for the first time in years in 1989 so naturally they decided to move it to another suicide slot! Seriously though, the show had an opening on Thursday night as a counterprogramming alternative to "The Cosby Show", which was starting season 6 in September 1989 and losing some steam. It dropped from the #1 show to the #2 show that season, which doesn't sound like a lot but the 55+ audience share that "Cosby" was pulling in its 1985-1987 heyday was long gone by 1989 when it was getting more like a 35 audience share. Nonetheless, "Mission: Impossible" did not do well on Thursday nights and was moved back to Saturdays before Christmas. It was finishing a distant third place even losing to "48 Hours" on CBS (yes, the same "48 Hours" that's still on 27 years later....although back then it was a respectable newsmagazine rather than the tabloid BS it is now). Just some historical perspective. Curiously, "Mission: Impossible" was replaced on Thursday nights in January 1990 but Tom Bosley's "Father Dowling Mysteries", which got considerably better ratings than "M:I".

    1. Thanks for the ratings info. I couldn't tell you a thing about 48 Hours -- weird that it's been on for so long. And who would have thought that Victoria James would have spawned a legacy of villains jumping to their death.

  2. "48 Hours" premiered in January 1988. It used to profile a given news item with reporters on the scene for....48 consecutive hours. They had some excellent journalistic work. Over the years, the quality deteriorated and now it's just a clunky "real life crime mystery" shlock that co-opted the "48 Hours" name from when there was actual context for the title.