Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 17: Reprisal

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A prisoner in a mental institution devises a system of breaking out with the help of a corrupt guard. The prisoner seeks to murder those who were involved in his capture, all while wearing a Jim Phelps mask with the goal of framing Phelps.

Memorable Quote:
Your mission, which I feel you must accept, will be to find the person who is framing you and stop him.  ~Voice on Disc

Interesting idea to have an "evil Jim Phelps" on the loose.

The IMF team's tactics make no sense here.  Once they realized he was breaking out of prison, why not install their own camera in his cell or station someone outside the prison?  After Acker calls Phelps before he murders his second victim, why not send someone back to the prison to wait for him to come back?  And at the very end when Acker walks on stage dressed as Phelps (and the team knows it), why not jump him right there and take his mask off?  That would be enough proof without subjecting the poor woman used as bait to possibly getting strangled.

The plot would have been better if the IMF did lock down the prison but his escape system was so slick that he got out anyway.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Definitely a "whoa" opening that took me by surprise.
  • Peter Graves seems like a friendly, Mr. Rogers type, but I gotta take him to task here. You'd get more of a reaction from a corpse than you get from Graves when he learns that his former teammate has been killed and that he is the prime suspect.
  • How did Acker hook up the camera, laser, and fake footage of himself?  And why wouldn't he just stay out of jail once he gets out the first time?  I guess his actions aren't supposed to be rational since he's a crazy man.
  • When Acker leaves the cell, wouldn't the prisoner in the cell next door say "WTF?"
  • Lisa's got some stones in the way that she confronts Acker in the prison and then meets him at the theater with no sign of nervousness whatsoever.

Final Analysis:
Despite some above critiques, this episode was pretty decent, especially compared with the rest of the episodes so far this season.  The plot was interesting with its Deadly Dreams vibe, and it held my attention.  Ranking it 4 out of 17.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #27

It's Season Finale Friday! Fans don't have to be sad, though: The show will come back for a second season!

Season 1 Finale Friday (via Meredith Eaton)

(SPOILER ALERT: You will get spoilered about the Season Finale and storylines in Season 2 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)

It's a wrap! Well, kind of?
Cast and crew had celebrated the official wrap party on March 19, although shooting wasn't done yet. 2nd Unit did some additional filming on March 21. 

Interestingly, Kevin Marshall (Stand-In for George Eads) was still shooting inserts on March 31. The crew was apparently awed by the location and posted several pics of the mansion and the swimming pool. Since the location doesn't fit very well with what we've already seen in the previews and sneak peeks, this could get interesting. Maybe something to do with MacGyver's father?

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via Kevin Marshall)

As always, there was still post-production-work to do. While Tristin Mays had been doing ADR (Automatic Dialogue Recording) for Episode 20 (Hole Puncher), David Dastmalchian posted a picture of Lucas being in the studio with him to do the necessary ADR work for the Season Finale. Executive Producer Peter Lenkov shared short videos while editing the last episode (e.g. MacGyver fighting off a knife attack and Riley again being attacked from behind, but this time being prepared).

Now that filming was over, the main cast and crew engaged more often on social media to tease us for the premieres of the last two episodes of the season. We got several BtS pictures with David Dastmalchian as Murdoc (e.g. in the Season Finale, with Assistant Director Cornell Willis or with Meredith Eaton's Stand-In Saundra Coller). Cornell Willis shared BtS pictures with Lucas Till and Meredith. Justin Hires posted a picture of his character Bozer lying on the floor with a bloody shirt, stating "I hope to God I survive this episode" (I don't think we have to worry too much about that).

(via Assistant Director Cornell Willis)

Some of the crew also shared BtS stuff from earlier episodes. Stunt Double Caine Sinclair shared a video of the window stunt scene in Episode 15 (Magnifying Glass) while Set Costumer Christopher Opopo posted the same stunt filmed from a different angle and a picture of that day.

Premieres of Episodes 19 and 20
Ratings have been falling again. Although the episode was written by Lee Zlotoff and well received by fans, Episode 19 (Compass) had the lowest ratings of the season so far with 6.56 million viewers (along with a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo group). Last week’s Episode 20 (Hole Puncher) did slightly better and garnered 6.62 million viewers (with 0.9 in demo). 

Nonetheless, the ratings are still pretty good. The Season Finale not included, the show had 7.79 million live-viewers per episode, along with a 1.09 rating in the 18-49-years demo group. The reruns (nine episodes so far) had 4.37 million viewers per episode (with 0.67 in demo).

I'm no expert, but I might look more closely into the ratings in another Update (just because I like to look at data, creating graphs and pretending to know what' I'm talking about *lol*).

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via SpoilerTV)

Stills, Previews and Sneak Peeks
After complaining about not getting an episode-related preview for Episode 19, we did get an official trailer for Episode 20. On the other hand, we didn't get any sneak peeks at all. The only other time this happened was for Episode 3 (Awl).

Thankfully, we got a trailer for Episode 21 as the Season Finale and a First Look by Entertainment Weekly on Mark Sheppard. Today, we also got two Sneak Peeks. One of these Sneak Peeks mentions MacGyver's father which didn't happen for a while. I'm pretty sure he will either play a part in tonight's plot twist or show up in person the next season.

In another Sneak Peek via Yahoo, we see MacGyver (plus robot) trying to save Bozer's life. Yahoo looks back at the original Dr. Zito and talks with Lucas about the differences between the two halves of the first season episodes.

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via Entertainment Weekly)

In an exclusive clip via Entertainment Weekly, we see MacGyver and Jack on that mission in Cairo they never want to talk about (and proof that Jack has no respect for Egyptian artifacts).

Interviews and Season Finale Promo
The impending Season Finale brought on another round of promo interviews and articles. An article by CGW (Computer Graphics World) about the sound editing of the reboot revealed one of the reason behind the constant background noise (music, sorry. it's music, of course): Atlanta has some very loudly chirping cicadas that "could betray the show’s real location".

I've dealt with snow in LA for Original MacGyver. I sure wouldn't mind some cicadas. I would even prefer them, actually. (Alas, it's not as if I know which countries shouldn't have cicadas.)

In an interview with Matt Carter, David Dastmalchian talked about Murdoc and his appearance in the last two episodes of the season.

Season Finale Promo (via The Wrap)

On April 11, Henry Winkler talked about what makes (Original and rebooted) MacGyver so special.

Tristin Mays did a short video interview and a photoshoot with The Wrap. She revealed that the season finale will give her character a wake up call - meaning "more training, maybe some weapons" next season. Hm. Good to know that MacGyver will soon have TWO members in his team that can wield weapons around him *ahem*. 

In another video interview with Young Hollywood, Tristin talked about her visit to Hawaii last week, the possibility of another crossover with Hawaii Five-0 and Riley's wardrobe. In the interview with TooFab, Tristin calls the Season Finale "outrageous" and mentions that she has to get into shape for next season because there will be more action.

Meredith Eaton and the rest of the cast talked about Matty and why she's the perfect boss for the Phoenix Foundation. They also talked about their favorite moments of this first season where George Eads revealed that a lot of the puns were added (and sometimes ad-libbed) by the cast.

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via Entertainment Weekly)

Cast and Character News
We already know that we get Murdoc and Dr. Zito for tonight's Season Finale, so probably no more surprises. Many fans hoped for an appearance by Patricia Thornton or Nikki Carpenter. Thornton seems unlikely, but Nikki was on the Cairo mission (as mentioned in the Pilot Episode). According to a recent interview, Tracy Spiridakos wouldn't mind to do another episode.

Peter Lenkov revealed that Season 2 will see Riley and Bozer having relationships - with other people. So we might be introduced to new recurring characters soon. Let's hope the writers keep the relationship drama at bay, though.

Tristin Mays garnered some instagram attention on April 5 when Peter Lenkov posted a video of Tristin arriving in Hawaii with her brother. She enjoyed some well-earned vacation days, but also attended the Wrap Party of Hawaii Five-0 which raised questions of her appearing in the show as a guest star. Maybe it was Lenkov's way of apologizing for not getting her to Hawaii for the crossover episode (in fact, all of her and Justin's scenes had been shot in cold Atlanta).

Episode 15: Magnifying Glass (via Christopher Opopo)

What's going to happen now?
As mentioned above, the Season 1 Finale airs tonight. On April 21, there will be a rerun of Episode 10 (Pliers). Now that The Amazing Race doesn't air on Fridays as initially planned, they will probably air reruns of the other MacGyver episodes.

Although the reboot was one of the best sold shows at the upfronts last year, it is still waiting to be released in other countries. The season renewal might help with that, though. It will air in France soon and is set to premiere in Japan in June.

The premiere date of Season 2 is not set, but it's safe to assume it will be a Fall Premiere again; airing on Fridays before Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods. In her AMA on reddit, Tristin Mays revealed that filming the new episodes will begin on July 6. She's already mentally preparing for "Hotlanta".

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 16: The Plague

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A weapons trader steals a deadly strain of bacteria from a Parisian lab, and the IMF team goes to her nightclub to recover it before it harms anyone.

Memorable Quote:
Stay calm, friend.  ~Phelps

Shannon does a good job as a nightclub singer, even if I wonder how she was able to get the gig.

The subliminal messages were hard to take.  When I was a kid I remember watching what I thought was a cool video about advertisers using subliminal messages like spoken words underneath music in the grocery store telling you to buy expensive things, or a magazine advertisement with a hidden picture of Jesus in the corner.  I don't buy into that now that I'm older and wiser (or at least older), and I also don't buy into Catherine falling over at the sound of a subliminally received word.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Catherine is played by Swedish actress Maud Adams who starred in two Bond movies, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy.
  • Max's role in this caper was unnecessary and another example in the series where they force the plot so that everyone is involved.  His association with Phelps appears to offer Phelps an opportunity to approach the club as the professor who developed the bacteria, but he could have made the same approach without Max.
  • 28:16 mark - Nicholas, why are you letting go of the joysticks because you heard a sound?! After he loses control of the robot and cracks the glass, Grant tells him he has 15 seconds to transfer the bacteria before it becomes virulent, and 50 seconds later Nicholas completes the task to everyone's relief.
  • 30:31 - Catherine takes the unusual step of removing her earring when talking on the phone, and Shannon must have known that would happen because she is right there and ready to switch the earring out with a fake.
  • Wouldn't they have someone supervising Nicholas in the lab especially considering they just met him?

Final Analysis:
While it's an improvement over last episode (which scarred me to the point that I haven't written a post in almost a month), I didn't much care for this one either -- it was pretty boring and a hard story to get into.  Ranking it 12 out of 16.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #26

Filming of Season 1 has officially wrapped. Cast and crew members are moving back home or have started working on other projects. Some of them will come back to Atlanta, though: The show has been renewed for a second season!

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via SpoilerTV)

(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)

Working on the Season Finale
Due to March Madness, there were no premieres or reruns. Cast and crew continued to work on the last two episodes of Season 1. Most scenes were filmed inside, so we didn’t get to see much of the ongoing filming process.

Nearing the end of production, many crew members took the opportunity to thank the cast members (e.g. Guy D'Alema thanking George Eads) and to express their hope to see each other working on a second season. They also posted some BtS pictures of the Season Finale and their last day of filming (e.g. Brittany Lathan). Kait C. posted a picture of the crew wearing their MacGyver team jackets. If you remember, it was Anthony Kountz who had tweeted the emblem back in February. 

AD Departement (via Kait C.)

Is that a plot twist I see?
On March 19, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov provided the “last shot of the season”. Interestingly, it reminds me of the deleted scene in the pilot episode with MacGyver being in Antarctica… Reading the pilot script, I always thought it was a neat little scene that showed an important character trait of MacGyver (which fits the original, but we never really got to experience in the reboot). It will be interesting to see if they actually reshot the deleted scene (which happens near the end of the pilot) as a flashback scene, reinvented it for the season finale or if it’s an entirely new scene as some sort of plot twist in form of a little teaser (since the episode was written before the season renewal).

It's a wrap! Well, kind of.
Justin Hires hosted a "Wrap Party Comedy Show" on March 18. On the next evening, cast and crew celebrated the official wrap party at Terminal West. We got several pics of the crew posing with Lucas Till, Justin or Meredith Eaton; e.g. of Justin with his Stand-In Kevin Marshall Pinkney or of Lucas with one of his Stand-Ins Kirk Riley. They also had a caricaturist at the party who turned the caricatures into badges as a take-home-gift.

Wrap Party / Comedy Show Collage

Both Tristin Mays and George Eads were absent for both events while Lucas wasn't seen at Justin's Comedy show. It's possible that Lucas and George were still filming that day while Tristin visited her "Reboot Mom" (Michael Michele) in New York.

They did some additional filming after these events. Aden Stay posted a picture of the 2nd Unit on March 21. Also, the post-production work is not done yet. Peter Lenkov posted a short Instagram Live Video of the editing process for Episode 19 (Compass) that's airing today. He also praised David Dastmalchian's performance as Murdoc while editing Episode 20 (Hole Puncher)

Season Renewal and other Press Releases
On March 23, CBS released the news about a season renewal on CBS ExpressIt’s not clear yet if the show gets a full season order of 22 episodes right away (or an initial half-season-order like last year). The schedule should be revealed on the CBS Upfronts in May. Since both Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods have been renewed as well, it’s safe to say that the show will probably air on Fridays again as part of the successful "Trifecta".

Season 2 Logo (via Craig O'Neill)

Both the writing team and Executive Producer Craig O'Neill posted a Season 2 logo. It's not clear if one of these will turn out to be the official one. I guess they quickly put one together individually to share the news on social media. Co-Executive Producer David Slack did some paperclip art of his own for the occasion.

We also got the press releases for the remaining Season-1-Episodes: For tonight's Episode 1x19 (Compass) that was written by Lee David Zlotoff, for 1x20 (Hole Puncher, airing April 7) and 1x21 (Cigar Cutterairing April 14). There will be a rerun of Episode 1x10 (Pliers) on April 21.

Stills and Previews
We got stills for both Episodes 1x19 and 1x20 plus a first still for Episode 1x21 with the press release.

Episode 19: Compass (via SpoilerTV)

Sadly, we only got generic previews again for the premiere of Episode 19, but at least they both were new ones featuring scenes from different angles. On the other hand, we got a lot of clips for this one. On March 30, CBS granted 3 Sneak Peeks. I'm sensing some minor drama coming up because in Sneak Peek 2, Matty questions if "Mac and Jack" should continue to work together as a team. (It will be probably resolved as quickly as Matty questioning Mac's MacGyvering.) George Eads will make some fun of his former hit-show CSI. Additionally, we got an exclusive clip by The Wrap (which weirdly consists of the whole opening gambit sequence).

Cast and Character News
Central Casting Georgia has been looking for a lot of Extras for the Season Finale. They reinforced their search for Extras several times. Additionally, they were looking for some photo doubles for March 22. 

Episode 20: Hole Puncher (via CBS Express)

As noted in an earlier update, tonight's Episode 1x19 has another Original MacGyver Alum (François Chau) in it. Episodes 20 and 21 might work as a two-parter because both will feature Murdoc. Additionally, Episode 21 will feature Dr. Zito. It is interesting to note that none other than Mark Sheppard - the son of the original Dr. Zito (William Morgan Sheppard) - will have a role in the season finale.

What's going to happen now?
As mentioned above, there are 3 Episodes left for Season 1. There will be more promo before the Season Finale since CBS46 was on set and did interviews with the cast.

The premiere for Season 2 is not set. We can assume it will be a Fall Premiere again, so cast and crew should be back on set in Summer while the writers probably start working on new scripts soon.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dashboard's MacGyver Reboot Update #25

Production of Season 1 has partially wrapped. There are 3 more episodes left for us to watch. We don't know much what's going to happen in these, so expectations are high.

BtS of Episode 18: Flashlight (via Simon Rhee)

(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided!)

It's a wrap. I think?
Justin Hires has wrapped and will be hosting a "Wrap Party Comedy Show" tomorrow. Tristin Mays also seems to have finished her part while some of the actors were still filming the Season Finale today. Although there is a new casting call for a photo double for next week, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov just posted an instagram picture with the announcement of the end of Season 1

Of course, the post-production work is not done yet. But since the next episode won't air until March 31, Lenkov has a bit more time than usual to edit the remaining episodes.

End of Season 1 (via Peter Lenkov)

Working on the Season Finale
There was a lot of promo going on for the Crossover Episode with Hawaii Five-0. Otherwise, it's been quiet again. Cast and crew have been working on the last two episodes of the season and started filming the season finale last week. The few times they found a minute or two to post on social media, it was mainly Instagram Live Stories (which disappear after 24 hours) or pictures that didn't reveal very much (e.g. of the barbecue grill at MacGyver's home).

One thing for sure: There will be a lot of fire power, action scenes (e.g. a car chasing scene) and blood. We've seen several pics of Matty pointing a gun. There is also a tac team and military guys. Lucas Till posted a picture of Lee David Zlotoff visiting the set and posing with the cast. The picture reveals that Bozer will probably get hurt (and Riley might get bloody in the process). Tristin Mays showed us the proper way to put fake blood on your chest (hint: you use a straw).

Lee Zlotoff visiting the set (via Lucas Till)

Also, Bozer's robot will make a comeback. It cuddled with Stunt Coordinator Jeff Wolfe and took a ride in Jack Dalton's car (as seen on Robert Ratner's Instagram Live Story). I'm assuming Jack won't like that very much.

Premiere of the Crossover Episode
The last episode (Ruler) had earned the lowest ratings of the entire season so far (6.93 million viewers). The crossover episode (Flashlight) did better (7.73 million viewers), but lost a bit in the 18-49 demo group (1.0 instead of Ruler's 1.1). Overall, the ratings were good - but not as good as the promo cycle promised. Nevertheless, the Hashtag #MacGyver trended very fast on Twitter and continued to trend hours after the episode had aired. It also trended again on the weekend and on Monday in other countries (e.g. New Zealand).

The cast had joined the crossover promotion; sharing the stills, trailers, clips and articles or posting an "expensive selfie" (via Lucas Till) or a picture of Meredith Eaton with Taylor Wily. Peter Lenkov went live on Facebook to answer fan questions. The writers of Hawaii Five-0 tweeted along with the MacGyver writers.

BtS of Episode 18: Flashlight (via MSN)

During and after the premiere, the extras shared some more BtS pictures. Simon Rhee provided a picture of the main cast with their stunt doubles. Nik Kash (who played the scientist hanging onto a window ledge until he got rescued by Jack Dalton) posted a BtS picture of that scene and one of him posing with George Eads. Rome Flynn (Bozer's rival) posted a BtS picture of him with Tristin Mays. We also got an adorable picture of dog Mila posing on the crossover set at the beach.

Stills, Sneak Peeks and Crossover Interviews
A day before the crossover premiere, we got some exclusive pics by MSN. After 3 episodes without any trailer previews, we got a lot of material for the crossover; e.g. ET Canada asking Lucas Till and George Eads which Hawaii Five-0 star would be the best at macgyvering himself out of a situation (apparently Daniel Dae Kim). We also got to see an exclusive trailer by Entertainment Weekly, a sneak peek by Yahoo, an exclusive clip by Mashable, a sneak peek by TV Guide and another one by Entertainment Weekly. ET Online additionally aired a short BtS sequence just before the premiere.

BtS of Episode 18: Flashlight (via Lucas Till)

In an interview with TVLine, Peter Lenkov talked about the connection between Jack Dalton and Steve McGarrett and that he would love to do more crossovers. He talked about the difficulties of doing a crossover with ET Online (it's the logistics) and why - to the disappointment of many Hawaii-Five-0-Fans - only a part of the H50-Team made it into the episode.

Lenkov also wrote an article for the Hollywood Reporter; explaining why TV loves a good crossover and about what crossovers he personally deems the best.

Cast and Character News
Central Casting Georgia has been looking for a lot of Extras the last few weeks; e.g. for Baseball Fans, Techs and Agents (young, attractive and smart-looking), men with real military or tactical experience, English Mercenaries and for Arab looking men to portray Egyptians (Cairo, anyone?). They put up a new casting call today for a photo double of a caucasian woman with light brown hair. 

Episode 21: Cigar Cutter (via Randall Goltzman)

What's going to happen now?
We don't know much about the remaining episodes. We finally got the title for Episode 19 (Compass) and its airdate (March 31). There are no press releases or stills so far. They have been filming on a baseball field (probably for Episode 20: Hole Puncher) and inside the same building that was used for Episode 17 (Ruler) as the CIA headquarters in Amsterdam. 

There will be more promo before the Season Finale since CBS46 was on set and did interviews with the cast.

We still don't know yet if there will be another season, but most sites are still predicting a season renewal (e.g. Movie Pilot, SpoilerTV or TV Grim Reaper).

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 15: The Devils

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
The team heads to an English estate where a House of Lords member is leading secret Satanic rites ceremonies and performing human sacrifices.

Memorable Quote:
What does it prophet a man if he gained the whole world?  ~Nicholas
And lose his immortal soul.  ~Phelps

Shannon's capture and threatened sacrifice adds some gravity to the final scene, not that it was enough to redeem it.

I'm generally fine with Grant's role as an electronic genius and gadget man, but the scene where his contraption saw moving pictures from inside another person's brain was a bridge too far to say the least. In fact, it's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen on television.

A more minor critique of the scene is that Jim and Grant don't seem at all concerned for the poor guy's welfare as he passes out from the stress of the memories that they induced.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • What in the world was up with the dozens of hippies hanging out on the field outside the manor? Why would Lord Holman put up with them? And when he rides up on his horse and threatens them if they misbehave, wouldn't at least a few of the hippies start spouting off?
  • Speaking of Holman, he looks like Lucius Malfoy crossed with Howard Dean.
  • What's the point of Grant posing as an American policeman?
  • The scene where Jim and Max surprise Holman in his study and pretend to be devils is tremendous.  As in tremendously atrocious.  In any other episode not involving a machine that can take pictures of other people's thoughts, this part would have been the lowlight.  Not only is the whole bit with the red eyes incredibly cheesy, but Holman's blasé reaction kills the scene. Either he should have believed them and been scared to death (which also would have been cheesy, don't get me wrong), or else he should have not believed them at all and defiantly gotten rid of them.  Instead he takes this weird middle ground where he kind of doesn't believe them but then he kind of does, and if he does then shouldn't he be a little more disturbed about the fact that Lucifer himself is standing there talking to him?  Instead he is catatonic for most of the scene.
  • Somehow the whole IMF team is able to walk around this house undetected for most of the episode.
  • Whoa, Grant's dumping kerosene in the stream?!  Call Toberman!
  • Their plan is cutting it pretty close with Shannon at the end.  Once Holman has the knife raised above her, I'd say it's time to move in.

Final Analysis:
My goodness.  It's hard to put into words how bad this one was.  I'll just settle for very, very bad. Ranking it 15 out of 15, and hopefully we won't see any more episodes worse than this one.

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.