Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 31: The Assassin

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A doctor is brainwashing people and using them to assassinate world leaders.  When Nicholas goes undercover in the doctor's clinic, the doctor gets the upper hand and brainwashes him. Nicholas goes to a zoo to assassinate an African ruler, and the IMF team must stop him before it's too late.

Memorable Quote:
Have I missed something?   ~Nicholas
Welcome home, Nicholas.  ~Jim

The scene by the pool is really good when Max and Shannon begin to realize the extent of Nicholas's brainwashing.

For a villain who's described as having a genius-level IQ, Westerly is pretty stupid in a lot of ways, but primarily for showing up personally at the scene of each of his assassins' crimes. Wouldn't someone from law enforcement other than Grant have noticed him on video and charged him by now?  Some of his other tactics are also questionable, such as why he doesn't question Max and Shannon when they confront Nicholas by the pool, or why he sets up a decoy to draw out the IMF team but then doesn't take any action against them.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This is our second MI episode with an identical title to a MacGyver episode and includes elements of Brainwashed and DOA MacGyver
  • I've said before that this is one of the few episodes that I vaguely remembered: "an episode where Nick goes bad (and I vaguely remember a lion being involved?)".  
  • They didn't establish how Westerly knows Shannon's cover when she goes up to him at the racetrack and starts talking to him.
  • 19:21 mark: There's the lion -- I knew it!  I like the little drum beat that's played every time the lion is shown stalking its prey.
  • 31:40 - Why do they have Max shadowing Westerly considering that Westerly knows what Max looks like?  No matter, Westerly doesn't spot him even though they're about 20 feet apart.
  • Why wouldn't they tie Nicholas up after sedating him?  Or at least take off his watch that Westerly is using to manipulate him?
  • Pretty convenient that both the OPEC leader and the president of West Africa happen to be in Boston.

Final Analysis:
Great episode!  In a series where many of the episodes are formulaic and somewhat dull (especially in the first season), this one stands out as being original and character-driven.  I've said before how I generally prefer more of an emphasis on plot over character, but this series takes the plot emphasis to an extreme to the point where we don't know hardly anything about the characters' personal lives, histories, motivations, and feelings.  This episode by itself doesn't fill in those gaps, but at least it's a step in the right direction.  And despite the story being a little clunky and not always making sense, it's exciting and action-oriented.  Ranking it 2 out of 31.


  1. This one was entertaining and pretty solid overall. I didn't like it as well as you but it had some standout scenes, including the pool scene you mentioned (suddenly tough guy Max is even getting slapped around by Nicholas?!?!?) and the entire theme with the lion chasing the gazelle being the imagery with which they brainwashed Nicholas and ultimately having an assassination planned for the zoo to give added narrative resonance to the imagery. I generally dug the bug planted in the neck of the assassins as well but the glowing circle thing showing up on their flesh was pretty cheesy. Great acting by Thaao Penghlis in the scene where he awoke and was tossing Shannon around like a rag doll. He definitely looked like he was brainwashed out of his mind. LIke you, I wasn't overly impressed with Westerly for all the reasons you listed. The fact that he didn't seem to suspect Max and Shannon after watching the poolside incident was pretty pitiful. You mention the "MacGyver" connections to "Brainwashed" and "DOA: MacGYver" but I was also reminded of "For Love or Money" where the ending was at the zoo. I'm glad "MacGyver" didn't have the villain in his episode getting mauled by the zoo animals though as that was a bit distasteful. I'll rate this one between "Reprisal" and "The Fortune".

    I said before that "it would still be a few episodes before the one where Nick went bad" a couple of reviews ago because I always mix up this episode with being the second to last episode rather than the fourth to last episode.

    1. Yeah I thought the glowing circle in the flesh was cheesy also. And another MacGyver episode that I was reminded of was Cease Fire with the Swiss setting in the beginning.

    2. I forgot to mention that. In fact I had just watched "Cease Fire" an hour before watching this "M:I" episode and was struck that I was watching two shows in a row from the 1989-90 TV season set in Geneva, Switzerland.