Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 14: Spy

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
The IMF team heads to central Africa to take on Christie, a former British spy gone bad who is developing chemical weapons.  Everything goes according to plan until Christie identifies Phelps as an agent and shoots him, at which point the team is forced to adapt and recalibrate the mission.

Memorable Quote:
Someone from outside the team?  ~Shannon
Shannon, someone from way outside the team.  ~Jim

Whoa, it's an action sequence!  After seeing virtually no significant action scenes up to this point in the series, it's a little shocking to see a giant gun battle break out in the chemical factory with Grant and Max getting shot at by about 15 guys.  The scene is long and well done for a cable show, and while I'm fine with the series' general reliance on plot over action, it is nice to have a few bullets flying around every now and again.

The ending was abrupt, and it was disappointing that Christie got away (and odd that the team hadn't planned for his escape or that Phelps didn't seem that bothered by it).  It seemed like they might be setting up a return for his character, but according to IMDB the actor who plays Christie did not appear in any more MI episodes.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The man on Phelps's briefing disk gives Christie some unwarranted respect, calling him "the most dangerous adversary you've ever faced" just because he was a former spy.  There was nothing in the episode that made him seem any more dangerous than any of the other villains we've seen so far in the series.
  • If Christie was such a hardened criminal, there's no way he would have let a priest and a reporter into his private room to reminisce about the view from the window.  And that's one heck of a tracking bug if it can hear the ticks on a safe across the room.
  • "Break the seal and inhale.  Within 30 seconds your body temperature will drop, and your heartbeat will be imperceptible.  For the next 20 minutes, you'll be as close to death as you'll ever wish to be," the Russian guy tells Shannon, whose proceeds to have the most understated, nonplussed reaction possible.
  • Surprising moment at the end when Max and the big security guard put down their weapons for a boxing "rematch" while Grant and Nicholas let them go. 

Final Analysis:
Similar to the previous episode, I wouldn't call this episode great but it's better than average for the series. While I have some issues with it which I acknowledged above, I find that the African setting (which they did a nice job recreating) and the level of action differentiates this episode from some of the others.  And that's a good thing in an overly formulaic series where many of the episodes blend together. Ranking it 4 out of 14. 


  1. Our takeaways here were pretty similar. I watched this episode about 10 days ago so a lot of the details are a little fuzzy, but I agree that ending was abrupt and unsatisfying. But most of the episode was well above-average, particularly that lengthy action scene in the chemical plant which was hands-down the best action sequence the series has produced so far. I'm inclined to watch the episode again just to take in that scene which was very well done for this series. Max's victories in the fight with the professional boxer were entertaining but a tad hard to swallow. I'll have to rewatch the episode to recall the exact litany of events that led to Shannon's comatose state. Even so, I recall enjoying this episode enough to rank it #3 of the 14 so far.

  2. Just watched this one again and definitely think it's the third best of the 14 so far. Solid story combined with the great African setting, the great action scene at the chemical plant, and the epic pyrotechnics at the plant explosion in the end. If Christie returns, I don't recall it, but he was a better than usual villain. Despite Christie's escape, I was a little put off by the fact that presumably dozens of people were killed in the explosion, none of whom were the heavy but rather the peasants trying to scratch together a living. Definitely a contrast with "MacGyver" how casually the team was willing to put up with the deaths of innocents to accomplish their mission. Still a solid episode.

    1. Yeah I thought the same thing about the end when the plant blew up -- it was like the episode on the Greek guy's boat where the villains shot each other at the end while the team celebrated a job well done.