Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 23: Countdown

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A general in a Far East country aims to gain power by detonating a nuclear bomb and taking out his country's government.  He recruits a female assassin to arm the bomb, but her loyalty is only to "The Holy One," an exiled religious leader who she wants to see return home.  The IMF team tricks her into thinking that The Holy One is in town and threatened by the bomb so that she will try and stop it.

Memorable Quote:
This ambulance needs a doctor.  ~Grant

I liked the scene in the hospital room where Grant is in the same room as Su Lin (no relation to Sue Ling) and pretending to be a patient.  Grant is a versatile character ably played by Phil Morris, and I find him to be the lifeblood of the team and the series.

There were a few plot holes in this one, but one that stood out to me was the team's use of the hospital ward. Jim says, "As far as the hospital staff are concerned, we're here to set up an inoculation program."  Really, Jim?  You stroll into a hospital in a foreign country and talk about setting up an inoculation program and the hospital will just say, "Sure, go ahead, and we don't need see any information on what you're doing and we won't check up on you at all."

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Our first shared Mission Impossible / MacGyver episode title!
  • What's the point of pretending to shoot Max as the ambulance driver?
  • The general's really going to set off a nuclear bomb in his own country?  And why is he still in the city right before the bomb is about to go off?
  • I like Max's little fold-up knockout gun.  If I were a nonviolent secret agent, I'd opt for one of those over MacGyver's method of punching them out.
  • The bomb is being housed in what looks to be a heavily guarded facility, but after Su Lin gets shot, Max radios Grant and tells him to get out of there -- and in the next scene we see Grant back in the hospital base, so it must have been an easy escape.

Julie Ow, who played Su Lin, is currently producing an urban teen cooking competition show called Teen Chef USA and looking for distribution, so if you're in the business and want to carry it, drop her a line!

Yes, lots of great memories and thanks for reaching out.  Phil Morris was wonderful to work with along with Peter Graves. I had watched Peter in the original MI as a child, so I was thrilled to meet and work with him. Phil is a very giving and knowledgable actor and put me at ease.  Phil and I were handcuffed together for a portion of this episode which was a lot of fun.  We also had a fight scene and Phil "let" me beat him up!  Filmed in Melbourne, Australia near Chinatown, I ate some of the best black bean sauce chicken's feet ever!  Some of the Australian Chinese background actors thought it was so unusual seeing my Chinese face combined with hearing my American accent. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith had a great train scene in the episode too! Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa plays such a scary bad guy, and he is such a friendly, supportive fellow actor in person. Thanks for taking me down memory lane, Nick.

Final Analysis:
Despite some critiques, I liked this one and it held my interest throughout (which is more than I could say for many of the first season episodes), and I enjoyed the interplay between Su Lin and Grant.  Season 2 continues its good start, as I'm ranking this one 5 out of 23.


  1. I shared your opinion in this one in that it was fun and have plenty of clever moments, but so much of what went on was so foolish and in defiance of logic. You pointed out a few examples such as Jim's easy access to the hospital and Grant's easy escape from the compound where the bomb was housed. Beyond that, I didn't understand the dynamic of the ending and why the revelation of "the holy one" and the hordes of his followers arriving was enough to drive the general to try to defuse the nuclear bomb he was willing to blow himself up for five minutes earlier. Wasn't it already established that he wasn't religious and was thus conning Su Lin? I tend to glaze over some of the early exposition so I probably missed some key information but much of the characters' motives puzzled me. And the wire that Su Lin exposed on Grant was placed in the exact spot where his fake injuries had been bandaged prior to the escape. How was he able to transmit messages before if it required a wire strapped to his chest after the escape?

    Obviously this one had a lot of eye-rollingly silly moments but I agree with you that it was entertaining with some good production values, particularly with the ambulance weaving in an out of the southeast Asian streets. I'll rank it between "Command Performance" and "The Devils".

  2. As for your interview with the actress who played Su Lin, it also helped me put the pieces together on where I had see the actor who played the general before. I knew I had seen him on "MacGyver" before and it turns out it was on an episode I just watched two days ago....he played the buyer of the cipher machine on "Dalton, Jack of Spies". That's an easy episode to try to forget so I can see why I overlooked him. The "MacGyver" was only the fourth IMDB credit on his page, the beginning of a very lucrative stretch where he was on other shows I watched such as "Miami Vice" (twice) and "Nash Bridges", where he was a semiregular in multiple episodes.

    1. I totally missed the Jack of Spies connection. I have one more day to rewatch that scene on Netflix.

    2. Back in 1990 and 1991, when USA first started airing "MacGyver" reruns, I didn't have any schedule to follow that listed the episodes but I remembered seeing a few episodes on weekends here and there when I went to my grandma's place as she had cable. I was able to work together what I was sure was USA's schedule of episodes and remembered them all in order....except one. I knew I was missing something in season 2. It was a couple of months that I was scratching my head wondering what the "MacGyver" episode I had completely forgotten about was. Then for some reason, late at night, the image of Jack Dalton riding that motorcycle with MacGyver in the side car popped in my head. The forgotten episode was "Dalton, Jack of Spies". So I have a storied track record of forgetting this episode....and of reminding myself why it was so easy to forget every time I get around to watching it again.

  3. One more observation of the odd coincidences between either characters or plot devices between "Mission: Impossible" and fellow ABC adventure series "MacGyver" in a very similar timeframe. The character Su Lin on this "Mission: Impossible" episode was aired on October 26, 1989. Su Ling was introduced on "MacGyver" episode "Children of Light" on November 6, 1989.