Saturday, 20 December 2014

Mission: Impossible S5E13 - The Hostage

I’m not sure what to say about this episode, The Hostage. It’s neither pretty, nor useful. It doesn’t have interesting (to me) guest stars. It’s an episode that sadly lacks the presence of Willy and has the non-presence of Doug instead. In it, due to a case of mistaken identity, Paris becomes a hostage. I suppose mistaken identity has to happen sooner or later in his line of work. He doesn’t really spend his captive time prettily or excitingly, and the villains are ugly. With a mixture of improbable medical knowledge and cunning Paris manipulates his captors so that Jim will be able to find him, and somehow it all works out. The episode is set in a kind of Grecian-Spanish-South-American country that looks curiously like southern California, and really I think they could have stayed home instead. Why did I screencap this? Honestly, because I picked a disc at random and put it in, and this was my sad fate. Don’t worry about the plot and just try to enjoy the pretties.

Mission: Impossible, where every location is just outside of LA, and Paris is in the newspaper in a rather lovely press shot. I love looking at the headlines and text in these things. It seems to be a Spanish newspaper that’s entirely in English. I think the paper that’s flat in the foreground might say ‘los angeles’ on it. Or it might not.

Here you go. You can see how the text in this one is just the same stuff cycled over and over. I love this kind of stuff. Don’t worry, I resisted screencapping the made-up maps. Anyway, the gist is that the bad guys think Paris really is Walter Phelan, hotel magnate.

Just to rub it in we get a rather loud and stilted conversation between Paris and his contact in the country about what a marvellous job Paris has done. Subtlety, Paris! Shh!! You’re a spy! Don’t talk about it on the steps of hotels!

He wasn’t loud enough because the bad guys still think he’s a powerful hotel magnate, and the ‘taxi’ driver locks the doors automatically, leaving us some nice shots of Paris’s hand...

And he almost does the Vulcan salute as he beats on the window while gas is jetted into the car. Oh dear, Paris. You thought the mission was over. Now everything’s gone to hell.

It wouldn’t be fair to show you too many grimacing-and-falling-unconscious pictures.

I think he’s wearing Spock’s boots. You get some fun jacket lining and ass-jiggle as he’s carried from the taxi to the following van.

Meanwhile the nasty instigator of all this, Robert Siomney, a baby-faced little wretch, calls the police to give his terms for Phelan’s return. Paris is coming round, and confused. There’s a little bit of eyebrow action. Not a lot, because he’s addled.

That’s quite a Spockish look we get. No, trust me, it is.

So... After the titles, and Paris is in handcuffs and taken out of the van. Because he’s a clever chappie he spots some berries on some rather dead looking foliage on the way in to the building, recognises exactly what they are, knows what their effects will be if eaten, stumbles, and picks himself a handful without anyone noticing.

Yum, Spock – I mean, Paris – is in jail.

Hands! (Remember, kids, don’t eat berries if you don’t know what they are!)

Don’t. Don’t do it. Just don’t. I once had to spend a night in hospital for doing this. They gave me orange juice that made me sick. They put me behind bars. Well, it was a cot, but... still...

Meanwhile... with a setting scene to show we’re in a kind of Greek island location, Jim is on the phone, and worried... You can tell he’s worried. He has the worried face.

Look how hip everyone’s looking. Look at Barney! I could sob for the suave Season 2 gatherings in Jim’s apartment. And no Willy, either. It’s Doug all the way this episode.

Oh, Barney. Not pretty.

Jim is definitely Worried, but not so worried that he has his tie undone, more’s the pity.

Ahh, the faces of pain. The berries are taking effect. Robert Siomney is a failed medical student, so of course he fancies himself as a doctor.

Pain... Paaaaaiinnnnn.... Since Siomney fancies himself as a doctor he can pick out a drug to give Paris with five seconds of seeing him.

‘You’re gonna have a very dead hostage on your hands,’ Paris tells him smugly. He has Hodgkin’s Disease, which lucky Paris seems to know all about.

Dana seems to be wearing a bassinet cover. Meanwhile, outside the window, a small Greek island has been changed to an architecturally complicated city rendered purely in black and white. Now we find out why Paris knows about Hodgkin’s. He’s had a talk with Doug about it, luckily. Isn’t it good we’ve got a doctor on staff now instead of Willy? (No.)

Jim’s still worried. This is just an excuse to get a screencap of Jim. There isn’t enough Jim in here. They’re going to send Paris medicine with a transmitter in the cap, but the authorities are adamant that Jim’s team have to capture Siomney.

Apparently Doug’s also a helicopter pilot. What’s Barney here? A trained monkey? Last I knew Barney was the hot-shot helicopter pilot. Maybe they just don’t trust Doug to drop the medicine in the right place. After all, they’re supposed to be in Greece and they’re flying over pine-flanked lakes.

Jim still hasn’t taken his tie off. Why, Jim, why?

Jim also had pretty hands, and he’s not afraid to use them.

Meanwhile, Paris is about to have his medicine...

Paris counters Jim’s pretty hand with a whole arm. We could have had either his face or his hand in this shot but not both, so I went for the hand.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile, Jim is getting into uniform. Really this isn’t the most interesting episode. We take high points when we can, like Jim doing a buckle up.

Jim is pretending to be a Spanish-named officer. Spanish by way of the fjords, perhaps... In order to force the bad guys’ hands Jim basically says that the three guys in their custody will be executed unless Paris, as Phelan, is released. One of them is the rebel leader’s son. Gah, how do I explain this? The rebel leader is Jorge Cabal. His son Luis Cabal is in prison. Jorge Cabal is supposedly in charge but it’s this Robert Siomney dick who is orchestrating everything. I don’t call him a dick lightly. He is a dick.

Paris gets to wander about without a tie. Why not Jim? And he’s wearing eye makeup.

Another Spock expression. And hands. Always hands.

Paris really is with it. He’s allowed to send out a taped message, and flawlessly tells Jim and the team exactly where he’s being held.

So Dana is – gosh, I’m too tired for this – Dana is pretending to be the rebel leader’s son’s girlfriend, because – um – she can get close to the guy and try to get Paris out, I think. Jim is concerned for her safety and puts his hand on her back in a lingering way that – well, I wish I were Dana...

Jim’s still worried. If this were Cinnamon I don’t think he’d be half as worried. But Dana’s like a daughter. A sexy, nubile, braless daughter.

Meanwhile, they’re staging the execution for the three men to put pressure on the rebel leader. Not Siomney, but Cabal, the older rebel leader that Siomney’s supposed to be supporting, the father of one of the men about to be executed.

But it’s all a trick. They replace the first man about to be killed with a not-so-convincing dummy and shoot that instead.

Jim looks masterful. Who cares about plot? But about plot – Barney and Doug are still flying about, and Barney gets dropped off to – um... do something dressed as a soldier. Still with his hip sunglasses on though. He takes them off to drop onto a military lorry that passing. At the same time Dana is driving up in her car. Or not her car, but her supposed-boyfriend’s car.

Cunning old Dana gets herself locked up next to Paris... There’s something about their interaction that makes me feel that they’re sleeping together.

Now released, Dana’s doing a lot of puppy eyes and tantruming to get senior rebel guy on her side. She’s good at that.

Jim and Doug are trying to convince the rebel leader’s son to appeal to his father, or he will be executed...

Dana’s looking all pretty and little-girl-pious in the church, when rebel dad comes in to talk to her.

After rebel-dad’s left Siomney’s sidekick comes in to knife Dana. Luckily, Super-Barney is there to knock him out and drug him for twenty four hours. Barney, having shoved his helicopter-piloting knowledge out of his brain, is now an expert mask and disguise maker, and will take the guy’s place. I think even Rollin would be hard pushed to do this in the three minutes he’s got.

Paris looks a bit out of it and shellshocked when Barney comes in in his disguise to free him. Barney gives him a ‘curare compound’ to simulate death.

Meanwhile, Jim is looking masterful again as he orders the rebel son’s execution. Of course, there’s a last minute stay.

Aha, it was all a plot to pit Siomney against the rebel dad. Siomney’s just had Paris ‘killed,’ just as a stay was granted for rebel son in exchange for Paris’s life. But hey, Jim will accept Siomney instead of the return of Paris. Isn’t that good? Do I mention the fact that they don’t think it’s odd Jim knows the name of the guy who just a second ago shot Paris, asking for him (since he’s Barney) to be brought too?

So here are Jim and Doug, bringing Paris back into the world. Jim probably sympathises. After all, he knows what curare feels like.

Finally, finally, Jim gets to have his collar open. And his coat collar turned up. We get to see stunned gaping looks on Siomney’s face as the plot is all revealed, but we don’t want to see that. Let’s just leave it with Jim’s collar-glory.


  1. I don't know if you still maintain this, but I'm surprised you didn't recognize Ben Murphy as one of the half-white/half-black aliens from "Let This Be Your Last Battleground". (One of ST:TOS more unfortunate episodes.)

    1. I have a certain degree of prosopagnosia, so I have a lot of trouble recognising faces. I tend to rely on my husband to point these things out :-)