Sunday, 8 September 2013
Mission: Impossible S4E22 - Orpheus
Orpheus is one of those pretty-good Mission: Impossible episodes. The team is pretty, the plot is good, you get to see Jim in distress as he puts in a stellar performance as a drug addict in withdrawal, and you also see Paris showing a little chest hair. It's not a very Nimoy-full episode, but it's not bad, and the Jim moments more than make up for it. There's also a highly sexy female lead who plays the kind of cool, controlled spy you'd want in an outfit like this.
Jim's at the docks again, trying not to look shifty as he retrieves a package from a life ring... You'd trust him, wouldn't you, in that suit and that polo neck?
He doesn't realise there's a hidden cameraman watching his every move from behind the stairs.
Jim listens pensively. I should be listening too, but I'm distracted. The mission's something to do with killing someone, or not killing someone, or spies. Jim has blue eyes and a pensive look, so I don't care.
He's doing that open-necked-shirt thing again. Oh my god, Jim.
Here's what Jim's reading. Doing a little research, it appears to be 'The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come,' by John Fox Jr. I'm not sure what this says about Jim. Apparently it's set during the American Civil War, but not having read it I don't know what this says about his taste.
I'd like to say that we're all looking marvellous during the briefing, but Paris appears to have some kind of perm. Oh dear, Paris.
On the other hand, Willy's looking fine, and we have a gorgeous female lead, Valerie (Jessica Walter), in a rather lovely dress.
Maybe I could get used to the perm, but it does make him look like a naughty little boy rather than a super-spy.
So, we get into the meat of the episode. Some guy is setting up a bomb in a light in a way reminiscent of Barney. This is the assassin the team are out to catch. They don't know who he's planning to kill...
Also meanwhile, the bad guy, Eric Bergman (who is played by the always wonderful Albert Paulsen), is enough of a supervillain to have his own cat. He's letting his cat drink milk off a photo of Jim's face. That's just how bad-ass he is.
He really is bad-ass. I mean, he has the cat, he also has a chess board set up in his office, and a minion with a weird face. How much more supervillain can you get?
Jim is going to be posing as Cochrane, an agent who was responsible for paying all the American agents in Western Europe. He's also a drug addict, but the bad guys don't know this. Barney has broken into the file room to get vital dates for him. Jim is writing them down, all sexy and left-handed.
Look at the way this guy strokes his cat, in his big leather chair, with his homoerotic statue behind him. Definitely a supervillain, as he tries to work out if he is buying a defector, or being sold one, in Jim.
When Jim knows that Bergman's man is about to arrive he takes the pill that will eventually cause the symptoms of drug withdrawal. He doesn't look too happy about it.
He plays the part of the nervous defector very nicely.
He's ready to record his information. He shouldn't look so nervous in front of one of these things. After all, he sees them all the time.
Nervous-Jim. Yum. He 'shoots' Willy, who is playing the part of an American agent who busts in on Jim's meeting, which means he's now at the mercy of Bergman's people, or face a charge of murder. All this is part of the plan to get Jim into the bad guys' hands, so that he can feed them information that makes them think that their assassin is a double agent.
Barney has very cleverly hacked into the fax machine type system so when Bergman requests information on Maria Engstrom (Valerie) he gets the right piece of paper. Unfortunately, Bergman's cat is doing a little spying of his own...
The cat (who, incidentally, is called Fritzy) loves Barney and all his wires so much that Barney has to scare him off with electricity when Bergman comes looking for him.
Valerie has to be one of the sexiest agents they have on their books (although I'm sure Lee Meriwether could have played this admirably.)
Dear god, that outfit.
And then we get Jim, being all big and nervous and scared. Mercy me...
Bergman is meeting Jim's demands by telling him, 'You're garbage. You are nothing.' If Jim really were a defector he'd be starting to realise what a nasty big hole he'd dug for himself.
Time is ticking away on that bomb. I'd forgotten about the bomb.
Just when we were wondering where Paris comes in, here he is. At least, a photo of him. Maria (Valerie) wants him picked up from the 'Western Zone.'
This woman is just glorious. She reminds me of Captain Janeway and the Romulan Commander, and other women I can't remember the names of right now, and of ripe autumn berries. She was also in the Route 66 episode 'A Long Way From St Louie,' which is relevant to me, but not to all those people who haven't heard of Route 66.
They've detected something odd about the American defector... I'd say that's odd.
Poor Jim's not feeling so good.
Not so good at all. (But he has pointy elbows.)
And he does have a moderately flashy jacket lining.
Oh, poor Jim...
We're going to see a lot of Jim being desperate for heroin. Bergman offers him a fix in return for the information he wants.
He manages to grab the syringe...
But they wrestle him and his rather fine rear to the floor...
This isn't his best look.
Then they stand on his arm to make him drop the syringe.
He really is putting it all into this part. Look at those veins in his neck!
Meanwhile, Paris! This look suits him.
How to catch a Nimoy. All it takes is two car doors and a loaded gun.
Oh lord, Jim... (They're getting the information out of him.) Look at that hand!
Good frigging lord...
I'm losing the power of speech.
And then we get Paris strapped into a lie detector. Good lord.
He may still have the silly perm, but he's got a lovely shirt and sleeveless cardigan.
They're pretending that Paris is actually Norvan Koenig, a brilliant chemist who was supposedly killed by the assassin Stravos, the man they're looking for. He's posing as Emile Van Drist a worker in a ball bearings factory, while actually continuing Koenig's work.
He's actually looking quite yummy. The perm seems to have settled out a bit.
What impeccable hands he has. He also has a ring designed to make it look like he's lying to the lie detector. So there they are, setting it up to look like Stravos is a double agent who must be exposed.
Yup, still hot.
So, they're trying to get the dates that the double agent was paid out of Jim. Valerie looks simultaneously hot and cool as she watches.
Is this what his hair looks like when he wakes up in the morning?
Then Valerie, as Engstrom, insists that he continue his withdrawal from heroin. This makes him look rather desperate. I wonder if they put something in his eyes to make them look red?
What he doesn't bargain for is Bergman's mercy. Once Valerie has left, he tells the doctor to give him some heroin. Jim has been told that if they give him the real thing it will kill him, but there isn't any way Jim can protest. This is a wonderful plot detail that's probably there to increase the sense of Jim's peril, but it adds a wonderful dimension to Bergman's character.
You'll have to forgive the continuing Jim-in-peril spam...
...but I quite like this shot.
Luckily Valerie comes back just in time to stop them. To the bad guys it probably looks like Jim is slumping as he gives up hope of getting his fix, but to us we can see that Jim is slumping from relief.
I love these phone calls they make in Mission: Impossible. Here Valerie supposedly calling in details of the two men they have with a request to move them to prison. Actually it's just to a silent Willy and Barney, and a ploy to get Jim and Paris out of custody. I always wonder why they don't talk back to make it sound more realistic?
Meanwhile, the bomb is still ticking as Valerie persuades Bergman to set up a meeting with Stravos. Will there be time to save the victim?
Jim and Paris get taken out by the fake prison guards to a fake prison van. Poor Jim still looks ill.
Stravos is being awkward about setting up the meeting. He calls Bergman from a very blue hotel to organise where it will be. Luckily Jim can hear the proposed meeting place through a receiver in Valerie's glasses.
Jim's feeling all better. I guess they had some kind of antidote for him?
Jim starts to look worried when he hears that Stravos will meet only Bergman, and that they have an arranged password.
Paris is listening too, worried, all dressed up as Bergman.
The IMF are equal to that, though. It's a simple matter to change the room Bergman is going to, get the password (Lexicon. Swans. Scorpio) from him, stun him with a fun moment when he sees himself sitting in the chair, and then overpower him and go to meet Stravos in the original room.
Jim is listening through Paris/Bergman's lapel pin. Stravos insists there isn't time to stop the plan...
The clock's ticking! Eek!
Just in time, they get the info! The bomb is in an office in the Neurological Centre, where the proposed victim will be visiting. Willy's doing a Christine Keeler, and straddling his chair.
Boom! The men are got out of the office just in time.
Paris reveals himself.
Stravos is astounded.
Yay team! Stravos is hauled off by the police. Jim is open-necked and sexy.
And they all get into the car, another seamless mission accomplished!