Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mission: Impossible -- Episode 29: Deadly Harvest

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
A Middle Eastern country's science minister and top scientist are working to create a genetic virus which they plan to use to attack America's wheat crop.  When the scientist gets badly burned in a radiation accident, the team seizes the opening and replaces him with Nicholas.  He and Shannon go to the country in order to destroy the bad seeds and the research.

Memorable Quote:
What are you to him, are you his lover?  ~Ishmahan
That's my business.  ~Shannon
12 months ago it was my business.  Possibly it will be again.  ~Ishmahan

The scene where Shannon gets trapped in the radiation chamber is some good drama.

Poor Shannon, she's assuming a lot of the risk this season.  And if it was part of the plan for Nicholas to get caught and go on trial, he should have opened the chamber door right away to save Shannon even if he was seen.  Instead he burns some wiring which shorts out the lab, but that was a risky play with less than 20 seconds left on the radiation timer.

The ending with Nicholas's trial is breathtakingly preposterous.  Jim walks in the courtroom off the street and interrupts the proceedings by claiming that he's a lawyer for Amnesty International. The ruling general of this Middle Eastern dictatorship is presiding over the trial, and he allows Jim to represent Nicholas and start cross-examining his science minister!  We've seen a few crazy things lately, but this might be the unbelievable moment from the series thus far.

And I haven't even gotten to the part where after the minister is arrested, the five team members walk out of the courtroom completely unsupervised and free as birds (much like the end of War Games).

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I'm still waiting for the episode where Nicholas goes bad -- one of the few I remember (albeit vaguely) from when I was a kid.  Each time the last few episodes have started, I've been waiting to see if it will be the episode.  Now there's only 5 episodes left so it'll come up sooner rather than later.
  • The entire opening is well filmed and relatively intense as far as this show goes.
  • Amazing that the Middle Eastern scientist survives the radiation blast, and even more amazing that his name is Jared.
  • The radiation accident occurs in Kansas, but he's taken to a hospital in Washington DC -- apparently no good hospitals between those two spots.
  • 8:23 mark -- "We've got 30 minutes before the real surgeon makes his rounds," Jim says.  So they're doing this whole switcheroo at the hospital without anyone on the staff knowing or discovering what's going on?
  • I don't see how Nicholas could get away with pretending to be Jared for too long -- even if he looked the same (and I wonder why they couldn't have just put a mask on him), wouldn't he reveal himself at some point by his lack of knowledge, or wouldn't the science minister quiz him to make sure he was the real guy?  And how did Nicholas know that they were going to check the teacup for fingerprints as opposed to checking something else?
  • How does Grant know where they're keeping the personnel disk?
  • Just as in The Golden Serpent, the explosions and pyrotechnics are quite impressive.

Final Analysis:
This one's ok but not great.  The production value was pretty good and the story held my attention, but there were some plot issues throughout and then it totally went off the rails at the end. Ranking it 16 out of 29.


  1. Would you have rated this one better except for the last five minutes? I agree it was absurd and took away from what was otherwise a standout episode of this series. I can't believe they couldn't come up with something better to wrap this one up because everything else in the hour was very tightly put together by this series' standards. But you may have missed that Grant and Max were covered up in Arab headdresses and pretending to be bailiffs as they led Nicholas and Shannon out of the "courtroom", so their exit wasn't entirely unsupervised. But let's talk about what I liked....everything except for the courtroom scenes basically. The story was compelling and not since "The Killer" have I been fully engaged with every scene of an episode of this series. The production value was exceptional at a time when this kind of production value on a weekly TV series was getting harder and harder to come by. Not sure where in Australia they filmed this to capture such an authentic Middle Eastern look. The pyrotechnics were great and the suspense was off the charts in the radiation chamber scene with Shannon. Nicholas was really quick on his feet when alerted that Shannon was in dire of the most exciting moments of this series. I didn't remember the ending beyond the fact that I didn't like it much....but it really was a letdown with the momentum built up. I'm still ranking it #4 behind "Target Earth" though because the rest of it was so good.....the paragon of what action-adventure TV should be like.

    You still have a few episodes to wait before "Nick goes bad". This was the first episode to air in 1990, back on Saturday nights for the series' final two months when its goose was basically already cooked. I mentioned how it lost its momentum in the ratings on Thursday nights, which is interesting since I started watching the show in season 2 right away with "The Golden Serpent" and stuck with it throughout Season 2. Judging by as many stinkers as the series aired in season 1, I'd say I picked a good time to start regularly viewing the series. The result was I walked away with a pretty solid memory of it, so much so that I purchased the season 2 DVD four years ago. If I had started watching in February 1989 during season 1, I suspect I wouldn't have watched as long and my memory of the show would have been tarnished.

    1. Except they took their wraps off at the end! And there was no further jail time or even questioning or investigation, just "you're free to go because this Amnesty lawyer said so." I would have rated this one a little better if not for the last five minutes but not significantly -- I didn't care for it as much as you, but as I said it wasn't bad.