Copyright ©2014 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.
MAIN PAGE • FIRST SEASON
S02E01 & S02E02. The Golden Serpent, Parts One and Two -- Disc Scenes
Original Broadcast Date: 21 & 28 September 1989
After yet another IMF agent is killed, this time during his investigation of a Southeast Asian drug organization called Golden Serpent, the IMF must resume where he left off. The leader of this outfit is not known, but Prince Selimun (Patrick Bishop) of the country of Benarli is heavily involved, using an island where he resides as headquarters for the manufacture and distribution of raw opium into heroin.
Described by Phelps as a "sociopath," Selimun originally had a twin brother who was born first; thus he is actually second in line to the throne of his country. But Selimun supposedly drowned his brother when they were nine years old. Shannon poses as Shannon Purcell, a socialite type who warns the Prince that his brother is still alive and gunning for him.
The IMF currently have an agent associating with the Prince undercover, and it turns out to be Barney Collier from the original series, with Greg Morris making his second appearance on the show. Barney plays Suliman's boss of shipping and receiving. He is unmasked during a lavish party at Suliman's island estate where the IMF is in attendance, including Grant, Barney's son, who passes him some electronic device. As a result, Barney is horribly tortured by one of Suliman's stooges using some laser device that projects images through his eyes directly into his brain. This leaves Barney almost near death, but he tells Suliman nothing.
Phelps plays the banker James Striker and Black is Nicholas Cortez, who was indicted twice for drug running, but never convicted. The two of them are working with Suliman's twin Jehani (Black in a mask, produced by the device like a 3-D printer) to have Suliman removed from power. Their plan is to make the big boss of the organization, later revealed to be an Australian businessman named Conrad Drago (Rod Mullinar), think that Suliman wants to break away on his own, and to make the Prince think that someone is out to get him as well.
Grant and Harte manage to sneak into the Suliman's underground grotto where the drug smuggling takes place. Barney, who has to open a gate for them, manages to struggle from his room to the grotto and push the appropriate button. When Grant and Harte arrive at the loading dock of the grotto where they are going to exchange the bottles of heroin in Vitamin C bottles for bottles of Vitamin C itself, Barney is in very bad shape, and it looks like he passes away. Grant is devastated, and is later comforted by the other members of the team back at their yacht. But Grant soon recovers.
To throw a scare into Suliman, who is appearing at a charity event at the Sydney Opera House in support of the International Bureau of Drug Rehabilitation (!), Harte, using a long-range rifle, takes shots at him from the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Suliman gets his right-hand man, a guy named Baal (Adrian Brown), who has a real serious hairdo problem, to go after Harte via helicopter. Baal rappels down a rope and the two of them fight it out on top of the bridge, Baal throwing shuriken (ninja stars) at Harte. Harte momentarily seems to prevail as Baal plunges to his death, but then Harte falls off the bridge when menaced by the helicopter. The special effects of the two men falling are very bad.
At the beginning of part two of the show, which picks up in the middle of Harte's fall, the IMF muscleman suddenly opens a parachute and floats down to a high-powered speedboat driven by Grant. This leads to a chase with some of Suliman's men, in an equally high-powered boat, shooting at them with machine guns, continuing what is almost like a sequence from a James Bond film. The bad guys' boat explodes when they run into a floating dock in the middle of the harbor.
Drago, who has been seen only briefly in part one of the show, is becoming very nervous, because, thanks to Grant, it looks like Suliman is draining Drago's account at the Australian Stock Bank. Harris (John Lee), who is Drago's banker who has been running all of his money laundering and other fishy financial affairs for years, cannot explain what is happening, and is knocked off by Drago's thuggish henchman Burrows (Max Fairchild).
Drago has another associate identified in the credits only as "Big Blonde" (Nadja Kostich) who is an expert with a crossbow. "Big" in several directions, she manages to infiltrate Suliman's harem-like entourage of bikinied babes, and puts the Prince out of action with her weapon.
After Grant figures out who Drago is in the organization, Phelps and Black pay him a visit in the guise of Striker and Cortez. They want to buy Drago's distribution network, offering him the bullion which Suliman amassed over the years, which is located in an underground room in the the grotto. This room does not really exist, it has been created by Grant using some kind of holographic projection.
Drago journeys with the two of them to the island, and in the grotto he opens up a secret panel which reveals all of the financial details behind his organization which are stored on a computer. Why these details are in the grotto is a mystery, because I thought that Drago and Suliman were kind of at arms' length. Somehow Grant manages to get all the details from this computer before the grotto explodes along with all of Suliman's residence above as the IMF beat a hasty retreat.
Much to everyone's surprise, Barney is still alive. He helps the team during the final sequence where Harte beats the crap out of Drago and Shannon and "Big Blonde" fall into the grotto where they fight it out in the water. Shannon manages to escape, but Blondie shoots her crossbow which hits a button on the grotto's control console which reactivates the protective laser beams that have been temporarily turned off. Still in the water, Blondie gets zapped by the laser beams and dies a horrible death in another scene highly reminiscent of James Bond movies.
- When Blondie kills Suliman, who is by the railing of his yacht, the captain of the boat is just standing there and acts totally clueless.
- Near the end of the show, Barney is in a room on Suliman's yacht and Shannon finds him totally by accident after Suliman is killed. Barney is taken off the boat to a room in Suliman's residence by some guard and Harte notices the two of them. Harte punches out the guard and Barney, who was probably familiar with the inside of the place, goes to some specific room. Later, Shannon knows exactly which room this is.
- The place in Sydney where the drugs (actually bottles of Vitamin C) are unloaded for Drago is almost right next door to the Opera House. Harte and Black attempt to follow a car from this area to determine where Drago lives, but they are confused by two more cars which appear which are the exact same color and have the exact same license numbers.
- The way Shannon gets the key to the room where she later finds Barney by brushing up against one of the boat's men in the hall is pretty lame.
- When Grant gives Barney the gizmo that is later Barney's undoing (this device seemingly makes a 3-D image of the Vitamin bottles which is transmitted back to the IMF), he asks him if he knows how to use the device. Barney replies, "I built the prototype when you were in preschool."
- Various codes are seen in the show. To scramble his phone calls to Drago, Suliman uses 1346*. Barney punches the code 57381 on his watch to call a phone in the lab and distract one of the workers. To open the door to the grotto, Barney uses 4913.
- The main credits have reverted to the "long version" used in Season One, where the main theme is repeated as the characters for the new IMF team are shown.
S02E03. The Princess -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 5 October 1989
This episode, which is pretty good, has the IMF assigned to stop the assassination of American-born Princess Elaine (Totti Goldsmith), wife of Prince Arkadi (John Orcsik), ruler of the European principality of Valance. The man under suspicion is Grigor Caron (Robert Coleby) the anti-American leader of the Valance Red Guard. There are parallels with Princess Diana, especially in a long shot of the princess walking at a past European Film Festival, where the blonde Elaine looks very similar to Diana. The upcoming film festival, where Elaine will appear in her role as patroness, is where the IMF feels the assassination attempt will be made.
As their front, the IMF set up a film studio in an abandoned warehouse in Valance under the name of Harry A. Palmer Productions. Phelps plays Palmer, who is producing a film starring Irina Curson (Shannon) titled Lady of Sin.
Black, using his actual name, ingratiates himself with Caron, saying he is an employee of a security company which handles the transport of cash from Valance's casino. Black needs Caron's help to steal the daily earnings, and Caron needs cash to help pay off the money he owes, some of which came from Libya, who, according to Phelps, don't like waiting around to be reimbursed.
The planned robbery goes well for the IMF, with Grant jumping on top of the armored car from an aerial work platform, drilling a hole in the top of the cab and then spraying debilitating gas inside. After the robbery, more of the gas is pumped in, knocking out Caron who is in the cab with Black. Caron is taken to the film studio where Harte plays the sadistic cop Steiger who, with Phelps, extracts info from Caron. Phelps, playing Harte's superior, is equally nasty, seeming to shoot Black's character dead.
Thoroughly rattled, Caron tells them that Elaine's murder is not going to be done by someone from his outfit, but by a professional killer named Coyote that they have hired. To contact Coyote, they deal with a woman who is his intermediary. However, it turns out that Coyote is a woman, the very sexy Dale Stevens.
Grant investigates Coyote's past and discovers that "he" likes to kill people at public occasions where there is a large audience present. Phelps tells Grant to run a check through the computer and try and determine a pattern to predict where and when Elaine's killer might show up. Figuring that the awards night for the film festival will be the location, the IMF goad Coyote's ego by appearing on local TV saying that their film production company is making a film about the killer ... who, of course, just happens to be watching this broadcast.
Coyote goes to the film studio with the intention of knocking off Palmer, but instead seriously wounds Shannon, who is rushed to hospital. Coyote escapes from the film studio with several incredible stunts and then drives off in what looks like a Porsche. Phelps is shocked by this turn of events, and there is a touching scene between him and Shannon in the hospital. Shannon tells Phelps one word -- "Camion" -- which turns out to be a type of perfume which she smelled lingering in the air (obviously being worn by Coyote) just prior to being shot.
Grant quickly develops a gizmo similar to a spectrometer which can analyze perfume scents and match them to a known sample. He uses this at the film festival via some kind of long-distance laser beam (very obviously red) which can detect the smell of a specific perfume on a woman.
Only problem is ... Coyote doesn't attend the film festival as a woman. He disguises himself as a male member of the press corp named S. Ferguson and plants a bomb in a tape recorder very close to the princess and her husband, who are presenting awards at the festival's final ceremony.
It's only because of a fluke that Grant's gizmo figures out that Coyote has disguised herself as a man, and Grant manages to grab the bomb (figuring out very quickly that this is the method of assassination) and throw it out the window, the same window that Coyote jumped out only a few seconds before. The bomb blast kills her.
At the end of the show, Shannon and her IMF "boyfriends" hang out in her hospital room.
- The timer in the bomb Coyote plants takes 15 seconds to count down from 8 to 3 seconds (5 seconds).
- Long shots of Grant on the armored car cab when it stops look like it is not only not Phil Morris, but a white stunt man!
- Phelps has a good line when he and Harte are threatening Caron: "We don't like to inflict pain unless it's absolutely necessary."
- There are Vatican-like guards seen at the film festival.
- Prior to the film festival finale, Grant uses facial recognition on crowds with his computer to try and figure out who the assassin might be, but they come up with nothing.
S02E04. Command Performance -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 12 October 1989
This episode is similar to the two-part show Old Man Out of the original series (S01E04 and S01E05), where the IMF team had to rescue an elderly cardinal from prison in an Eastern European country where he had been incarcerated because of his political views. This time, the not-particularly-elderly Father Thomas Vallis (Ivar Kants) has been imprisoned by the very nasty unnamed-Baltic-country Defense Minister Ivan Savitch (Grigor Taylor) in an escape-proof prison known as the Tower. Savitch thinks the priest has knowledge about the Cross of St. Boniface, a priceless religious artifact which was stolen recently from the National Museum by a dissident who hid it before expiring in Vallis's church after being shot by Savitch's men. This cross contains a microchip which implausibly contains information about Savitch's attempts to crush his country's opposition, of which Vallis is a major spokesman.
Black disguises himself as Deven Kavalosky, an authority on religious artificacts with the Vatican. Introducing himself to Savitch, he runs into a wall of skepticism, not only from Savitch himself but also his nasty assistant Captain Braun (Nicholas Bell).
Phelps becomes Buck Van Zandt, a cowboy-hat-wearing Wild West showman type who is touring Europe with a "Travelling Museum of History" He wants to join Ashton's Circus, established in 1832, which is soon giving a command performance for the country's prime minister. Shannon is his hot wife Cleo, who shows a lot of cleavage. Using a circus for a cover during the priest's escape is something else parallel with the classic show.
Savitch suspects there is some connection between Phelps' and Black's characters, and that Van Zandt wants to buy the cross. Savitch charms Cleo in a very oily way, later having her brought to his office where he cuts off two buttons from the top of her blouse with a knife while telling her that he wants her to spy on her husband for him. When he kisses her passionately, she slaps his face.
Grant and Harte make their way to the Tower prison, which is located on top of a very high mountain (there are several matte and other paintings in this show, of which the prison is one). They arrive at the base of the mountain on motor bikes. They have some gizmo which will reduce rocks to rubble through sound waves that they use to get into a tunnel located on the side of a sheer cliff. This tunnel not only goes up inside the prison but conveniently ends up right next to the priest's cell. Grant has a schematic of the prison, which was moved from an old location to its present one years ago, rock-by-rock.
Braun, who is accompanying Black on the inside to Vallis's cell as all this is going on, is knocked out with a tranquilizer dart and made up to look like the priest. Then Vallis escapes with the IMF threesome after Grant and Harte emerge through the wall, presumably down the very perilous tunnel where Harte almost had his leg torn off by a device like a bear trap on the way up. When Savitch arrives at the cell, he shoots Braun, thinking that he is Vallis trying to escape. Why the first thing Braun does after waking up from the tranquilizer isn't remove his Vallis mask is strange. He pulls it off after he falls to the floor before dying.
Despite the fact that every soldier under Savitch's command is looking for him, Vallis goes with the IMF back to the circus where, in Phelps' tent, they figure out the location of the cross which is hidden in the statue of an eagle near Vallis's church. This is based on clues which the dissident gave at the beginning of the show that turn out to have Biblical significance. Grant and Harte find the cross by using a cover of cleaning the statue with high-pressure hoses. Their truck says in English "Antiquities Cleaning." DUH!
At the end of the show, Phelps takes over for the circus ringmaster and the IMF team members plus the priest go up through a hole in the roof of the tent, ostensibly part of the show. It is very obvious they are escaping, because they then slide down a zip-line-like rope to a nearby helicopter (something similar happens in the classic show) and the shadow of them doing this can be seen on the roof of the circus tent. Savitch, who is watching the performance with the country's prime minster (Charles Dance) becomes more and more hysterically infuriated as his troops, who are like the Keystone Cops, not only did not see Vallis returning earlier, but they didn't see Phelps, who they are supposedly after, when he was standing almost next to his tent!
- If there is this bear trap-like device to prevent people from coming into the tunnel under the prison, why wouldn't there be more traps? In fact, why is the tunnel there in the first place? Why wouldn't the people constructing the prison have just sealed it off?
- The clues given to locate the buried cross was the word "David" and the numbers 1769. This turns out to be Psalm 17 in the Bible (which is known as "A Prayer of David" -- at least this is not made up) and the text between verses 6 and 9:
6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings [this is interpreted as the statue of the eagle]
9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
- The 3-D printer which makes masks is seen.
- Savitch says that Braun "sometimes can have the manners of a pit bull."
- When Vallis wonders who the IMF team are, Black tells him, "We're the good guys."
- When Shannon gets called to Savitch's office, she plants this moon-shaped gizmo under his phone. Later, when Black wants to visit Vallis, presumably with Savitch's authorization, Braun doesn't believe him, so he calls Savitch to check. This gizmo is designed to tap into the phone line and provide generic responses to any questions to Savitch ... which, of course, are made exactly from that phone. When Braun asks if it is OK for Black to visit the priest, the response is words to the effect "Of course, it is, do you want me to have to come there to deal with this?"
- Ivor Kants, who plays Father Vallis, appeared briefly in season one's The Legacy as Von Schau.
S02E05. Countdown -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 26 October 1989
A pretty straightforward show, but with lots of topographic and time-logical questions.
Su Lin (Julie Ow) is a terrorist and religious zealot who is obsessed with an Asian spiritial leader known only as The Holy One. He has been exiled from the country of Kangji by its sinister strongman, General Xang Kai (well-played by the sinister Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Even pictures of The Holy One are forbidden in Kangji. This whole scenario is obviously modelled on the Dalai Lama and Tibet.
Su Lin makes a deal with Xang, giving him a nuclear warhead stolen from the French in exchange for allowing The Holy One to return home. She has already set the device to go off in the capital city's Shrine for Great Leaders of the Past. Xang, however, intends to use the explosion of the bomb to take over control of the government and blame the destruction on the United States. As soon as Su Lin leaves Xang's office, he tells his nasty head of security, Major Chung (John O'Brien), to get a munitions expert to change the detonator for the bomb. It is pretty obvious that Xang will use the nuke for some bad purpose, so you have to wonder why Su Lin makes this deal in the first place, since The Holy One will return to a country which has been contaminated by nuclear pollution.
The IMF set up shop in a Kangji hospital as an inoculation team with only 22 hours left before the bomb goes off. Black befriends a monk at the local temple and finds out that The Holy One is currently staying in the nearby province of Mandung Tung. Figuring that Su Lin will be travelling there to guide The Holy One back to Kangji, Harte and Shannon beat a hasty retreat to the train station where Shannon tries to become chummy with Su Lin. Chung shows up and almost causes trouble, but Harte distracts him in a very clumsy way.
Meanwhile, Black and Grant have managed to get miles out of town where they set up a diversion on the train tracks so the train comes to an abrupt halt as Shannon, travelling in the same compartment with Su Lin, tranquilizes her. You have to wonder how they get Su Lin to a bogus hospital nearby set up by the IMF, or is this in the inoculation ward located back in the capital? Anyway, in this co-ed ward, Grant, who also survived the train wreck which supposedly brought Su Lin and him there, gets grilled by Black in disguise as Chung, who says words to the effect that Grant's character, George Clayton, is an American troublemaker and saboteur. Chung also harasses Su Lin for committing crimes against the state. A bogus TV broadcast shown in the ward has Xang saying -- thanks to some technology Grant developed that will reconstruct words and lip movements from words that Xang has uttered -- that he will welcome The Holy One back to the capital with open arms. Su Lin realizes that she has been betrayed, and that The Holy One will be killed as soon as he returns.
As Chung (Black) prepares to arrest Su Lin and Grant and take them back to town for their crimes, they escape after Grant stabs Chung, and the two of them, handcuffed together sort of like Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones, commandeer an ambulance after shooting its attendant, played by Harte. Su Lin and Grant race back to the capital (or are they already there?) where they manage to get into the Great Leaders Shrine despite the presence of lots of guards and climb up in the narrow space between two walls to get to the bomb upstairs.
BUT ... when they arrive at the bomb's location, Su Lin sees that Xang has changed the detonator. She says that they cannot tamper with this mechanism, or the bomb will explode. She freaks out, rushing to the shrine's balcony where she is shot dead by the guards outside.
The IMF is now very nervous, because they are at a loss to deal with the bomb after Su Lin's death. But Phelps quickly sets up a deception with a video of Su Lin taken during her stay in the hospital ward which is delivered to Xang by Shannon, warning Xang that the message on the tape is of the utmost importance. Again using the voice/lip modification software, Su Lin says that before she left the capital for Mandung Tung, she managed to overcome Xang's deactivation code for the bomb with one of her own.
Having seen the tape, Xang and Chung rush to the shrine where Xang observes that Su Lin did not tamper with the bomb, and since he and Chung have been locked in the shrine by Grant, Xang has only a few minutes to deactivate it using his own code. Obviously he (a) wants to live and (b) will use the bomb for some other evil purpose later.
The bomb is indeed disarmed, but Xang confessing his sinister intentions has been broadcast via speakers set up by Grant to followers of The Holy One who have been gathering outside the room. Grant unlocks the room remotely and the followers enter and perform a citizens' arrest on Xang and Chung, denouncing them as traitors. This whole finale is lame, but not as much as Phelps' closing comment that Xang's rule of the country ended not with a bang but a whimper. The subtitles actually have Xang "whimpering" as the citizens deal with him at the end.
- Considering Su Lin makes a big deal about how messing with the bomb's new mechanism will cause it to explode, how could Chung get the munitions expert to change the code from hers to Xang's? Wouldn't it also have exploded if he pushed the wrong buttons? Su Lin did not give Xang the code before she left town. She merely showed him a picture of where the bomb was located.
- Near the end, Black is seen in disguise as the Holy One, urging monks and followers to go to the Great Leaders' shrine. (There is a picture of a crowd behind this which looks matted in.) But then he is seen as himself a few minutes later communicating with the IMF that he has been beating the drum as himself to get people to go! Grant also manages to get into the shrine where he locks Xang and Chung in the room with the bomb, again bypassing the guards outside.
- More stupidity at the end. When Grant and Su Lin go to check out the bomb, they have to climb up to a high floor in the building, and Su Lin is shot on the balcony. But when Xang and Chung go into the building, they enter on the main floor, and while there are the sounds of feet going up steps, Grant then locks the door on the main floor. As Xang is disarming the bomb, Chung tries to get out the door which is very close by, not one which would be down at the bottom of a bunch of steps up to the top floor.
- There is an obvious No Parking sign (in English) seen on a building in Kangji as well as a Chinese Mission Church with a large sign in English.
- Phelps says that they have to get the video of Su Lin to Xang before the general leaves town prior to the bomb blast (presumably along with all of his troops). But how much time is left when Shannon delivers the tape? It's as if Xang goes immediately to the shrine, and when he arrives there are only four minutes left!
- There is interesting editing when Black applies the Chung mask and Phelps' character walks between them and the camera.
S02E06. War Games -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 2 November 1989
The IMF is assigned to make sure that General Eli Szabos (Kevin Miles), military head of the Eastern European country of Sardavia, does not use war games as a cover to invade the neighboring country of Bucaraine which has rich oil reserves. For the last several years, Sardavia has increased the size of its military far beyond what one would expect. The fear is that high-powered ballistic missiles are included in Szabos' arsenal.
Like his greatest war hero Hitler, Szabos is obsessed with astrology, and his every move is predicted by the stars. Shannon becomes Countess Elena Treyvi, who returns to her native country of Sardavia where her family were related to the country's royalty. She is a keen follower of astrological matters, and after she starts making comments about Szabos being a "tyrant and a bully" and his pals being "socialist bully boys," she is arrested and brought to Szabos where she laughs at predictions from his astrologer, saying it follows the Chaldean system which is popular in women's magazines and has been out of favor for over 600 years.
Harte attempts to infiltrate the base where the missiles for the war games are stored to disarm them, but he is discovered after cutting through a barbed war fence and brutally interrogated. Grant manages to help him escape. Phelps and Black are pretending to be U.N. observers to the war games, and Szabos does not treat them sympathetically.
Shannon tells Szabos that the missiles were disarmed by Captain Souchek, an American agent killed at the beginning of the show who she supposedly had a relationship with. The missiles have not been disarmed, but the hangar-like building where the missile launchers are located is opened by Szabos' men, allowing Black, using binoculars, to determine the passcode (7738942) to the place. He and Harte disarm the missiles later.
Despite the help that Shannon gives him, Szabos decides that she will die as the war games' first victim. He gets Lieutenant Udo (Alex Menglet) to drive Shannon out to the field where the games will soon commence and leave her there. But Harte has been hanging on to the bottom of the Jeep and when it stops, sneaks away, waiting for Udo to get lost. When he does, Harte drives her back to the base.
Meanwhile, Grant has snuck behind the huge war games computer screen in Szabos' headquarters, and is redirecting the barrage intended for Shannon on to the bunker occupied by Szabos' second-in-command Colonel Garva (Lewis Fiander). As well, Grant makes it look like the invasion of Bucaraine is taking place, whereas the missiles destined for the neighboring country are actually exploding in mid-air.
Szabos makes a televised speech when he thinks Bucaraine has fallen under his control, but Sardavia's Politburo big shots are viewing this, and take a very dim view of Szabos' ambitions. As the show ends, they arrive to arrest him.
- According to various WWW pages, the "Chaldean system" is a system of numerology, not astrology.
- There is a lot of filmed stock footage of military activity in this show to suggest the war games. Some of this footage is very scratched up.
- Grant is far too clever in manipulating all the icons on the giant war games board from his position right behind it.
- When Udo sees the barbed wire fence that Harte cut through, he immediately knows that Harte did this, even though Harte is far away from the fence. Despite the fact that Harte is held in a prison on the base from which he escapes, he gets back into the base with Black later to disarm the missiles with no problems.
- Phelps listens to the player on the back seat of a vintage Rolls-Royce which has been painstakingly restored. When he leaves, the player billows smoke on the seat, likely damaging it!
- Szabos refers to Shannon's character as a "reactionary mad woman" making "ridiculous assertions."
- When Szabos reveals his plans to take over Bucaraine in front of U.N. observers Black and Phelps, their reaction is not as outraged as one might expect. A camera crew suddenly appears to broadcast Szabos' rant to the people of both countries. When Phelps reveals that the large map is not showing what is really happening, Szabos caves in much too quickly. He doesn't make any attempt to verify the "truth," but just accepts what he sees. After all, the change in the map could have been the result of a computer glitch or maybe even the work of "foreign agents" -- like Phelps and Black!
S02E07. Target Earth -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 9 November 1989
The Eurospace Consortium has leased a piece of the Australian outback from which they will attempt to launch Frontier One, the first private manned space flight in history. After Daniel Bergerac, the lead pilot for the project, goes missing, there is concern that someone is up to no good and intends to use this flight for sinister purposes. And they are right!
The IMF all play roles at the consortium's base. Phelps becomes Andrew Lyman, NASA executive, Grant is Lloyd Bell, a Canadian biologist, Shannon is Dr. Judith Rand, one of the test pilots, Black is Peter England, specialist in pilot response analysis and Harte is a technical safety supervisor.
When the show begins, we see Dr. Alina Sovolev (Gosia Dobrowolska), one of many international types at the station, dragging Bergerac (Richard Cordner) to the launch pad where she leaves him as the space shuttle-like ship's engines are tested, causing Bergerac's body to be fried to a crisp. Strangely, no one sees her doing this, even though cameras are focused on the launching platform.
Grant and Shannon are already at the base, and after the remaining IMF members arrive, Shannon has to compete for the role of lead pilot of the shuttle with Matthew Rhine (Lewis Fitz-Gerald). Grant, who is very clever as usual, is feeding Shannon information to help her play her role via a transmitter attached to her ear like an earring.
When the testing is completed, with Shannon getting the highest marks, Rhine causes the shuttle to take off early thanks to help from Alina, who programs an override system. Suddenly, a bunch of terrorist types suddenly break into the control room shooting guns. Their leader is General Robard (Eli Danker) of the "Liberation Forces." I have no idea where this guy comes from -- aren't we supposed to be in Australia?
Annoyed that Shannon is still alive, Robard blames Alina for this and shoots her dead. When Shannon freaks out that she is going into outer space, Rhine knocks her out. When she regains consciousness, Rhine makes her take a space walk to fix a problem with the laser that Robard's group has used to knock out a communication satellite. Shannon's tether gets tangled up, and when she detaches it, Rhine sends her flying off the shuttle into outer space. Fortunately, she manages to return because Grant tells her that the air supply in her space suit can be used as a jet to propel her back.
Fooling Robard into thinking he has been contaminated with radiation, the IMF substitute Black with a mask disgused as Robard for the terrorist leader. They take advantage of the fact that Robard is a chain smoker and put some tranquilizer in a cigarette that they give to him.
Back at NORAD in the USA, forces under General Josiah Ransom (David Ravenswood) are preparing to obliterate the Australian shuttle base with a major strike, albeit a non-nuclear one. Harte gets Robard's soldiers to go to a room in the basement of the control center because of this impending strike, and locks them all in.
Shannon, having returned to the ship, manages to get inside and deal with Rhine. She then manages to pilot the shuttle back to earth -- seemingly immediately -- and it lands at the Australian outback base where she is immediately welcomed by the members of the IMF team.
Despite the fact that the end of the show is ridiculous, the special effects of the shuttle flying around the earth and even of Shannon and Rhine moving inside and outside in slow motion are not too bad.
- An exterior shot of the base showing people walking around is used three times during the episode.
- As Robard checks through the résumés of the various people working on the project, he comments to Grant that "An educated man of color should not allow himself to be used."
- Phelps' top secret code that he uses to identify himself to General Ransom is Alpha - 7 - 6 - 1 - Charlie.
- Robard talks about using the shuttle and its laser beam to "protect our national borders and the rights of our own people." Again -- what country is this guy talking about? Surely it is not Australia!
- Eli Danker, with his pockmarked face, bears a strong resemblance to actor Robert Patterson, who appeared in two episodes of the original series.
- General Ransom says "damn" twice.
- Harte replaces a member of the Eurospace team who won a vacation in Hawaii. But Phelps has already talked about how the company obtained high quality people by paying them top money, giving them benefits and so forth. Why would someone give this up for a holiday?
- Phelps finds the disc player in what is presumably the San Francisco Public Library next to a book by Robert Louis Stevenson. Other books on this shelf include Appointment in Sarajevo and Shadows in the Afternoon by Robert Tyler Stevens, The Anvil Chorus by Shane Stevens and Mr. Tim Gets a Job by D.E. Stevenson.
S02E08. The Fuehrer's Children -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 16 November 1989
This episode is rank in a pushing-the-envelope way, as if to see what the writers could get away with. Unlike many episodes, it also references things in the real world, rather than just making up bogus countries and organizations.
Veteran character actor Albert Salmi, in one of his last roles, stars as Richard Kester, a neo-Nazi leader from Oregon. No doubt this is suggesting that Oregon is the home of similar wacky groups -- for example, the Rajneesh cult in the 1980s. At the beginning of the show, Kester addresses his White People's Coalition, full of militiamen types, saying things like "[White people] are being killed because the communist Jew-controlled media wants to see the niggers take our land." Seriously! This was actually on TV in 1989!
Kester's blonde wife Eva (as in Braun, played by Nancy Black) interrupts his tirade to whisper in his ear that among the crowd is a government agent named Gerard Mercer. Kester tells them "There is only one thing worse than a non-Aryan or the mongrels who would destroy us, and that is a race traitor." The crowd seizes Mercer and immediately executes him on a gallows which has been set up inside this log cabin.
The IMF travels to an out-of-the-way hotel near Hamburg where Kester will be meeting with several prominent neo-Nazis including
- Hans Fruger (Ross Thompson), whose Bavarian Nazi organization is being funded by Libya.
- Charles Pembroke (Chris Hallam) from The National Front in the UK, a real far-right political party for whites only, responsible for the not-real 1987 massacre of 9 nuns and 4 priests.
- Esteban Cortez, one of Manuel Noriega's chief money launderers and a cold-blooded killer. His outfit donated $3 million to the Ku Klux Klan.
- Gian-Carlo Tiamo, Italy's leading right-wing extremist.
Shannon plays Veronica Klopf, the manager of the hotel. Phelps becomes Frederick Van Olsen, an ex-government computer security expert from South Africa who wants to sell his services to Kester and the other leaders.
This show has several suspenseful moments, some of which I knew would happen because Grant is black. Sure enough, he gets caught by Kester's wife as he and Harte are snooping around Kester's hotel room (Harte escapes out the window). The wife suggests that not only was Grant trying to rob them, but, because she was taking a shower, he probably wanted to rape her as well. Describing him as "thieving trash," Kester tells Grant "Down on your knees, boy!" He is about to shoot Grant until Phelps intervenes, though Phelps as Olsen has to maintain a façade that he also hates Grant (he earlier expressed concerns that "apartheid is on the verge of collapse"). Grant is handcuffed and taken away to the hotel's wine cellar which Kester's wife inexplicably got the keys for earlier in the show.
Part of the IMF's mission is to figure out what is a "secret weapon" which Kester wants to demonstrate to his fellow neo-Nazis. It turns out this weapon is strictly out of The Boys From Brazil. Kester kidnapped a couple of dozen young Aryan boys and has kept them under wraps for the last 12 years, indoctrinating them on a ship he owns which has been floating in "the most remote parts of the South Pacific." Brought to Hamburg on this ship, these kids are going to be the new Hitler Youth. Black and Shannon, along with Harte, investigate the ship under the guise of an agricultural inspection. They are horrified to see the kids singing the Nazi-associated song Wenn Wir Marschieren and watching movies of Hitler making speeches.
Brought to the hotel by their supervisor Eric Vogel (John Bell), the kids' play time consists of tracking down Grant, who has been taken from the wine cellar and strung upside down from a tree, locating him using some kind of electronic devices, and killing him for sport with high-powered guns. Grant is saved only at the very last second by Harte and Black, who has assumed Vogel's persona thanks to a mask.
Phelps in his role as the security expert Olsen, using such terminology as "open key technology" and "salami technique" (the practice of stealing money repeatedly in extremely small quantities), convinces Kester that he can shadow Kester's network into the World Financial Network which "links all the leading banks and brokerage houses in the world." Olsen tells Kester that a computer network he would design will give them access to government and military files (suggesting either a lack of security typical of the times or, more likely, sloppiness on the part of the writers). Olsen also says they can tap into international financial organizations and set up a virus program to siphon off cash. He gets the now-freed Grant, hiding with the rest of the IMF in their hotel attic headquarters, to demonstrate a transfer of $100,000 using his "open key technology." This causes the Bavarian Fruger to threaten Phelps' life when there is a temporary glitch. More of Olsen's computer technology is demonstrated when Kester is to be inducted as world leader for the neo-Nazi group. To vote on this, the men must enter passwords via "keys on ... laser cards." The results do not meet with Pembroke's approval, since seemingly feels he is more worthy of being the leader.
Having convinced the boys not to kill Grant, Black, in his Vogel disguise, insists the boys not regard Grant as a monster who has horns on his head and eats young children, as they have been taught. Then Grant gives them all a lecture on Martin Luther King and what a great guy he was! (This sequence was so cringeworthy that I just fast-forwarded it.)
The kids later totally humiliate Kester at a dinner where he and his neo-Nazi pals are all assembled by singing a song based on "Abraham, Martin and John" as images of MLK plus John and Robert Kennedy flash in the background. Despite the fact the kids have been indoctrinated with Nazi ways for most of their lives, this turnaround in their attitude has been accomplished in only a few hours.
The dinner degenerates into chaos, with the "race traitor" Kester being killed by his friends. At the end, Phelps suggests the kids will all be taken to the States for deprogramming.
- Kester's coalition has been associated with armored car and bank robberies, just like The Order, a white nationalist revolutionary organization active in the US in the 1980s. Harte describes the White People's Coalition as "kissing cousins to the Ku Klux Klan." Black later says that Kester's kids are "the most demented group I've ever come across."
- Kester's wife, along with the real Vogler, are both knocked out with the usual tranquilizer darts and put into the wine cellar. The wife later awakens and escapes and is fortunately caught by Shannon and re-tranquilized.
- When they are preparing the big final show which will overthrow Kester, Harte remaks that with all of the work they are doing, Kester will "think he's on MTV."
- Shannon's presence on the ship where the kids are located is dangerous, because Kester, who later shows up, could identify her from her hotel manager job. (She avoids him.) Black and Shannon complain that they cannot locate the room with the kids, but Kester and Fruger have no difficulty ... in fact, access to the room is very easy.
- Using a camera, Black snaps pictures of the kids in this room through a venetian blind in a very obvious way.
- I wonder if the producers of the show had to provide psychological counselling for all the young boys used in this episode after filming was finished?
S02E09. Banshee -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 30 November 1989
In the Irish town of Bally-Na-Gragh, Brian McCarron (Peter Adams), who has recently bought a hotel and pub, is an arms dealer. With the help of O'Rourke (Rob Steele), who works for him, he planted a bomb which killed a bus load of senior citizens on an outing in order to increase tensions and paranoia among people of the village, and increase his sales of weapons to both sides.
After the IMF sets up their headquarters in a local lighthouse, Shannon becomes a singer in McCarron's pub, belting out tunes like Whiskey in the Jar and Black Velvet Band. Shannon also talks to O'Rourke about the recent murder of the seniors, saying that it's not a good idea to kill old people in this way, that various bad things up to and including the "Coach of Death" will happen to you if you do.
Phelps, who has no Irish accent, arrives in the pub and makes a wager that Harte, who is with him, can lick any comers in a fight. Grant, who suddenly shows up in the pub, talks about a shady past and how he recently ran away from his job on a tramp freighter. He takes on the challenge and gives Harte a licking, which is very surprising.
Phelps then starts talking to McCarron about his shady past, which includes dealing with arms in various countries like Cuba, Colombia and El Salvador and how he wants to sell guns to McCarron. Of course McCarron is interested.
They suddenly realize that Grant, who was in on the conversation, knows too much, so Harte and O'Rourke go after Grant, who is "killed." Then Harte puts a bug in O'Rourke's ear, saying that "it's bad luck to shoot a black man."
Using holographic projection and other gimmicks, the IMF play further on O'Rourke's superstitious nature with visions of a banshee, a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the underworld.
To compound matters, the IMF get two men who are politically polar opposites to come to the lighthouse: Michael Skelton (Geoff Paine), a staunch Republican and James Kearney (Chris Gregory), who supports the government in Ulster. They handcuff the two of them together, basically forcing them to start talking to each other.
At the end of the show, O'Rourke totally freaks out because of all the spooky happenings and McCarron kills him. Then McCarron, who also turns out to be very superstitious in an Irish way, has to deal with the Death Coach (a real coach with real horses) which is driven by an ominously-voiced Phelps, who McCarron does not recognize.
During this time, McCarron blabs away a confession about all of his dealings, which, of course, the IMF is recording: "I killed the old people just to sell the guns." Skelton and Kearney are watching this via a video feed and realize that they have to overcome their differences and deal with McCarron, who took advantage of them.
Aside from some interesting special effects (which are hard to understand how they were created) and night time photography, this episode is pretty bad, perhaps the worst of any of the M:I reboot. The conflict in Ireland is reduced to a bunch of superstitious malarkey and simplistic solutions with a script that seems more like Darby O'Gill and The Little People.
- When he talks to Shannon, Skelton remarks that when the old folks were killed, they were singing Silver Threads Among the Gold. How would he know this?
- Black gets into the basement of the hotel where McCarron keeps all of his weapons stored. Not only can Black spy on McCarron's dealings through a window, but can get into the basement easily through a storm cellar-like door, and no one sees him. When in the armaments room, Black sabotages some of the rifles.
- One of the items that Phelps offers to make McCarron a deal with is the MAC-10 submarine gun, which he will sell for £1000 each, with a minimum of 50 ordered.
S02E10. For Art's Sake -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 14 December 1989
Daniel Travers is a big shot who has reportedly made his fortune by dealing in stolen works of art. In the teaser he is seen robbing the Manhattan Museum of Art of a priceless painting on loan from the country of San Marco and murdering a guard, then changing into formal wear, much like James Bond at the beginning of Goldfinger, and joining a swank reception at the museum where he is on the board of directors.
Travers, well played by American actor Jonas Cord, is in league with Rafael Ocha (David Bradshaw) the oily minister of culture from San Marco, who wants to use the painting's theft to embarrass the United States. In exchange, Travers wants the rights to build and operate a casino in Ocha's country.
Shannon gets to know Travers at an auction, forcing him to bid $3.8 million for a post-impressionist landscape painting by Picasso, more than Travers wanted to spend. The two of them subsequently hang out and Shannon tells him that she can come up with an unknown Degas, who just happens to be Travers' favorite painter.
Phelps, playing Grenier, has this painting, which he says is worth $18 million. It has been created by a "simulator" run by Grant which takes details from photos of other Degas art works such as subject, color choice, brush strokes, line and depth and makes it impossible for even an art expert like Travers' friend, the auctioneer Brian Danmeer (William Ten Eyck) to know the difference between it and a real Degas.
Grant and Harte sneak into Travers' penthouse trying to figure out where the stolen San Marco painting is. They extract information from Travers' fax machine and install a transmitting microphone which is hooked up to his phone. After Travers steals the Degas from Shannon's apartment, they track him via a GPS-like device in the painting to the basement of his apartment building where he has a special gallery of all the works he has stolen. But they don't figure out where the gallery is exactly until later when Black becomes Ocha and uses a small camera to capture information about the paintings in the gallery as well as the code that is needed to get into the room.
Using this information, Grant recreates all of the paintings in the room (and there are a lot of them). He and Harte go there, now that they have the entrance code, substitute these duplicates for the real paintings, and set up the room with an elaborate system of holograms and controlled fire like was done in S01E07, The Cattle King. Then they release the real Ocha (who has been "detained" while Black was investigating, disguised as him).
Shortly after Ocha arrives at Travers' place, a fire breaks out in the gallery. When he gets into the room, Ocha throws the Montoya painting into the fire as well as the Degas, causing Travers to go beserk and kill Ocha with his all-purpose cane that was used to transport paintings that were stolen and which also contains a switchblade-like knife that was used to cut the San Marco picture out of its frame and "kill" Shannon.
The IMF appear as the deception with the fire is turned off. They leave Travers screaming on the floor as the New York City cops arrive to arrest him.
- Phelps gets his instructions on a recorder in the piano bench at a ballet class. The piano is the Alex Steinbach brand, which was manufactured by the Samick Corporation specifically for sale in Australia.
- The painting of San Marco's patron saint Marcos stolen by Travers was done by Francisco de Montoya (1712-1786).
- Why does Travers steal the Degas from Shannon's room? (She is taking a bath, and he stabs her using his "cane"). The Degas was owned by Grenier, not her.
- Ocha's accent is very bad. It's hard to tell if he is Spanish, Australian, English or what...
- The code to get into Travers' subterranean gallery is 4193. It is also used to get into the barred area where the Montoya is stored. But Black when he is playing Ocha seemingly does not record the code to get into the Montoya area. When he is showing this area to Black, Travers warns him that there is more to getting in this room than just a code ... if someone is not careful, they will get blown up when they try to retrieve the painting. So how do Grant and Harte get this painting out of the room near the end of the show?
- Another similarity with The Cattle King is that the lead guest actor in both shows is a macho type with a thick Tom Selleck-like moustache.
S02E11. Deadly Harvest -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 6 January 1990
Working for Jouseff K. (Ritchie Singer), minister for science and development in the nation of Orambaq, a scientist named Jared (Nick Carrafa), while doing research in the States, has created a virulent genetic virus capable of destroying a nation's entire wheat production. Aside from ingratiating Jouseff with his superiors, this sinister plan is obviously designed to be used to bring countries like the USA to their knees.
After his geneticist girlfriend and lab assistant Laurel Taylor (Tracey Callander) overhears Jared talking to Jouseff on the phone, Jared attacks and kills her, but not before she pushes him into a chamber where the seeds containing the virus are being irradiated over and over with lasers in cycles lasting 130 seconds and slams the door shut.
The IMF are delegated to destroy the seeds and all of Jared's research. Amazingly, Jared is still alive in a Washington, D.C. hospital. Jouseff arrives shortly by plane and insists that Jared go back to their home country with him immediately even though, according to Grant, posing as Jared's plastic surgeon, Jared's entire face was reconstructed with laser surgery, grafting and regenerative drugs.
Black stands in for Jared, and when the bandages are taken off back home, Jouseff and others are incredulous that this is the same person (so is the viewing audience). Aside from what look like a couple of pieces of skin hanging off his face, Black looks pretty healthy, and no other parts of his body seem to have been affected. Black doesn't even attempt to disguise his voice, which surgeon Grant said might have changed. Jouseff expectedly checks out Jared's fingerprints, but Black is wearing glove-like plastic on his finger tips which are duplicates of the real McCoy. Shannon takes the place of the now-dead Laurel, whom Jouseff has never met.
To communicate with the IM Force, Black wears these cool Google-like glasses which contain a micro-camera and a transmitter, and show messages which only Black can see.
In the back of a truck full of grain, Grant smuggles Harte into the Orambaq military compound where Black is doing research. Harte is almost perforated as the thuggish enforcer Mukhta (George Vidalis) penetrates the wheat with a pitchfork in several places. On his way out, Grant sneaks into Mukhta's office and steals a 5-1/4" disc containing a listing of personnel on the base (he does this in record time). This disc just happens to have pictures of all the people on the base who Grant can flash to Black via his Google glasses combined with facial recognition.
One of these people is Ismahan Farad, Jared's old girl friend/assistant who says that the "new" Jared looks more handsome. She gives Shannon glaring looks and later locks Shannon in the radiation chamber after the latter sneaks in to replace the infected seeds with duds. Shannon escapes only in the nick of time after Black causes a short circuit in the chamber's electrical wiring.
Shannon and Black erase all of Jared's research from the base's computer. When Jouseff finds out about this, he accuses Ismahan of negligence for not keeping tabs on the two of them and locks her in the radiation chamber.
The ending of the show is ridiculous. Black and Shannon are both arrested and put on trial in a court convened by General Hakim (Leo Taylor), who is at odds with Jouseff. Phelps suddenly shows up as a lawyer named Wilson acting on behalf of Amnesty International! He just walks into the courtroom and the evil dictator-like Hakim lets him put on a defense of the two co-conspirators. In the ensuing bafflegab (Black/Jared: "Jouseff said to destroy the research so that our people could never have it"), and as the compound outside explodes thanks to Harte, who connected a tank of high-octane fuel to the laboratory's sprinkler system, Jouseff becomes the one who is eventually taken away for not acting in the best interests of the state.
- I find it incredulous that there is no door handle on the inside of the radiation chamber to allow people to escape.
- Phelps listens to the disc in a room at the San Francisco Zoo.
- When Jouseff picks up the cup with "Jared's" fingerprints on it, he uses the tried and true technique of using a handkefchief to supposedly not smudge the prints.
- This episode has a shorter version of the main credits, approximately 40 seconds long, which does not repeat the main theme when the actors after Peter Graves are shown.
S02E12. Cargo Cult -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 13 January 1990
This episode is very bad. The IMF is supposed to stop the genocidal policies of a mining company in the Southeast Asian country of New Belgium which has killed hundreds of members of a Stone Age society who have been exposed to cyanide used in an illegal fashion to extract gold.
"Cargo cult" is an actual term which, according to Wikipedia, involves charismatic individuals developing cults among remote Melanesian populations that promise to bestow on their followers benefits of Western ways and goods.
In the case of this show, a former geologist named Lon Regehr (Adrian Wright) ends up in the jungle and becomes the leader of the native tribe, wearing a gas mask with feathers around its edges and an airplane mechanic's overalls. But Regehr is in league with Michael Otagi (Lani Tupu), the corrupt commissioner of the province who has his fingers in the running of the gold company, from which he hopes to make a huge profit. There is no indication how Regehr, who is revered by the tribespeople as the son of Obi Katu, the local volcano, managed to crash his airplane in the jungle. Did he really aim it specifically into the tribe's village? Was this all done intentionally with Otagi's knowledge?
The central premise of this show of Regehr as god is seriously flawed, because he speaks English to this tribe who have supposedly had no contact with civilization and they understand him perfectly as well as those who are exploiting them to work extracting the gold.
The show also has major problems with topography and logic. There are five main locations in the show: a base camp for Otagi and his company of rough and ready workers, including a very tough guy named "Bull" (Mike Bishop), who is like the foreman; a bridge that is being constructed across the Katu Gorge to move heavy machinery into the jungle to increase the mine's capability; the native village, where Regehr is the leader; a place on the river, where the villagers slave away to their deaths, exposed to the cyanide; and the volcano Obi Katu.
Phelps plays Philip Child, a black marketeer and money launderer who comes to the base camp to exchange the labourers' payments in gold for cash -- American, British, Australian or even Japanese currency. Grant plays Child's bodyguard who annoys Bull with his cocky ways. Black and Shannon pretend to be vulcanologists investigating Obi Katu with government approval in order to get beyond the area of the current shaky bridge, which the one under construction will replace. Otagi has forbidden the camp workers to go across this bridge into the gold mining area, which makes you wonder how he and Bull can run the entire operation there themselves. Harte has been undercover as one of the workers in the camp prior to the others arriving.
Shannon encounters serious sexism among the horny workers at the base camp who haven't seen a woman for many months. To get to the native village, the IMF have to cross the shaky bridge (to be replaced by the one under construction) which is reminiscent of the film Wages of Fear. When she and Black along with Harte who Otagi has delegated as their guide (how convenient) finally get across the bridge to investigate the volcano (actually the conditions of the natives), the three of them are taken prisoner by the tribe. Black and Harte are tied to propellers from Regehr's plane and taken to the top of the volcano where they are to be thrown in as a sacrifice. Regehr keeps Shannon for himself, saying she is "a goddess for their [the natives'] revered god ... The volcano god might just order you to share my bed ... become my wife." (This dialogue seems kind of rank.) She tells him he is a dreamer. Actress Jane Badler actually gives a very good performance in this show, despite the mediocre script.
Despite being forbidden to go the village, Grant sneaks to that location in the back of Otagi's truck behind several large barrels of sodium cynanide. Upon arrival, he locates the vehicle the IMF trio used to get there and takes a "laser gun" which, for some unknown reason, was among the equipment Black and Shannon brought with them. Despite the fact he seems to be totally at the wrong angle to do so, he uses this gun to flash a message in Morse code for Black and Harte on the chest of one of the natives who are about to throw them into Obi Katu (this is serious). Then he uses this gun, which also shoots darts (!), to knock out three of the natives. The other tribesmen flee back to the village in terror because of this "magic," and Grant frees Black and Harte.
Grant gets Phelps to come to the river location, which makes no sense at all, because Phelps also has been forbidden to go there, and has no means of transportation to get there that I can determine. Then suddenly Phelps is back at the base camp where Otagi and Bull reveal that they are on to the IMF's deception. They take Phelps back to the village, where Regehr tries to get the natives to execute him and Shannon because the volcano is angry.
But Regehr the god is having credibility problems because the volcano explodes thanks to some dynamite that Black, Harte and Grant planted there. (The IMF got this dynamite by somehow rushing back to the base camp where it is kept in a shed. As earlier in the show, when Phelps and Grant went into this shed to see what was in there, none of the workers noticed this.) As well, Grant projects a ridiculous hologram-like image on the smoke pouring from the volcano thanks to yet another gizmo taken from Black and Shannon's vehicle and Black has recorded an ominous voice which is played back through a speaker system that Regehr has in the village to accompany this image. This speaker system is usually used to broadcast low rumblings to scare the natives that the volcano is angry. (Where does the electricity for this speaker system come from?) And Phelps, identified by Otagi as a white-haired sorcerer, manages to bring the three natives knocked out by the darts back to life. The anaesthetic in the darts only has a life of four hours, and it's exactly four hours since it took effect, you understand.
At the end of the film, more dynamite is used to destroy the shaky bridge and the under construction new one, thanks to Harte who took yet more explosives from the base camp shed. Otagi and Regehr, trying to escape the disbelieving and angered natives who have already murdered Bull, are driving across this bridge trying to escape when the dynamite explodes, sending them to their death and supposedly ensuring the tribe will remain in the Stone Age. The miniature work as the bridge collapses is actually not bad.
- Gold's value is $200 an ounce, which Bull says is about half the value in New York and London. Despite this, he still exchanges his gold for cash.
- Despite the fact that the volcano-like rumblings through Regehr's speakers at the native village are not particularly loud, Phelps can hear them back at the base camp, which is very far-fetched, especially if the sounds are low or subliminal.
- At the beginning of the show, a territorial health inspector complains to Otagi and Bull about the working conditions of the natives. They force him to drink a sample of the cyanide-contaminated water, and he dies immediately.
- Phelps wears a Citizen Quartz watch. He uses it to determine the four-hour time limit for the dart gun's knockout capability.
- I don't even want to think about how the cyanide which is killing the workers does so, and how cyanide is really used in this kind of a mining operation.
S02E13. The Assassin -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 20 January 1990
Several assassinations of high-level government leaders have taken place recently, and all of the killers were patients at the private Westerly Stress Clinic near Boston, run by Doctor Phillip Westerly (Peter Curtin). Through a combination of hypnotherapy and a thought-triggering device made of living tissue inserted under the skin, Westerly has created Manchurian Candidate-like assassins whose services he sells to the highest bidder.
In order to infiltrate the clinic, Shannon pretends to be well-heeled Patricia Barwing, whose husband, played by Harte, has a serious gambling problem at the horse races. Black arrives at the clinic as Brian Carmody, a writer for Global Review Magazine. He is hitting the sauce and in an aggressive mood because he has recently received a demotion at work.
Westerly immediately sizes up Black as a suitable candidate for his assassin program, hypnotizing him as well as pumping him with drugs and making him watch videos of lions in Africa attacking animals like gazelles. Black becomes zombie-like, and when he runs into Shannon and Harte, who are staying at the clinic's residential wing, he doesn't know what they are talking about when they start asking questions about is going on with his investigation. They start addressing him by his real name in a loud voice and he and Harte end up falling into a swimming pool while fighting, all of which is witnessed by Westerly from his office. As a result, Shannon and Harte are forced to leave the clinic.
Phelps and Grant follow Black to the horse race where they think he is going to kill Sheik Faroud Abdul, who Westerly met earlier in the show. Harte tranquilizes Black and takes him back to a ship where the IMF team have set up their headquarters.
Using a tunnel going from outside the clinic into the grounds which Harte discovered earlier, Grant gets into the clinic and snoops around Westerly's office, getting an idea of how his program works.
Later, Black wakes up and manages to escape from the ship, punching out Shannon and taking the 3-D face mask machine (this makes no sense, see below).
Black manages to get to the Boston Zoo where he changes roles with one of the zoo keepers and the real victim to be assassinated is revealed: Chief Leopold Kumbutu, president of the Republic of West Africa, who is Chairman of the Commission Against Apartheid, hated by the South African regime. Kumbutu is at the zoo to give them a lion from his country.
Black's disguise is uncovered only at the last minute, and Westerly flees, pursued by police, and falls into the lion's den where he is chewed to pieces. All of this somehow makes Black snap out of his hypnotized state and return completely to normal.
- The ending of the show is dumb. After he knocks out Shannon, who falls down a flight of stairs, Black leaves. But then he returns to the ship and picks up a metal suitcase which contains the 3-D mask maker which he uses at the zoo to assume the attendant's identity. But how does Westerly know that (a) this suitcase is on the ship; (b) that it contains the mask making machine; and (c) that the IMF uses this disguise technique during their missions?
- Grant analyzes the tape of African animals used to program Black and tells everyone there were subliminal messages on this tape. His explanation for this is far-fetched. Grant also figures out a number Westerly is calling from the clinic on a line that the IMF have tapped into by analyzing the dial tones. (Westerly is calling someone in South Africa.)
- Phelps plays Jack Skrinsky, the boss of Black's character, who confirms that Black works for his magazine during a rerouted phone call.
- Westerly says that Black's character is going "down into catalepsy," but this term is not strictly correct. According to Wikipedia, it is "a nervous condition characterized by muscular rigidity and fixity of posture regardless of external stimuli, as well as decreased sensitivity to pain."
S02E14. Gunslinger -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 3 February 1990
Former U.S. Congressman Ian McClintock (Michael Greene) runs a tourist trap modeled on an Old West gold mining town in Pontiac, Nevada. After Abel Russell (D.J. Foster), an FBI agent investigating American support for foreign terrorists, disappears while in Pontiac, the IMF is assigned to investigate what happened to him and determine if McClintock is involved with the sale of weapons to said terrorists.
Harte, Black and Grant show up in Pontiac as horse wranglers, driving animals from Arizona to the town (they use the expression "down" from Arizona, though, which is odd). Their job completed, they ask for work from Carter (Andrew Clarke), the foreman and Slade (Patrick Ward), the head "gunslinger." Carter is revealed to be kind of slow-minded, while Slade, a slimy character, is suspicious that the IMF trio are investigating what happened to Russell -- who Slade shot dead after his cover was blown.
While the three are supposed to bunk in the stables, they are soon staying in a room above the town's saloon where Shannon has gotten a job as a bartender. Phelps, playing Sutton, a poker player, arrives to give McClintock, a man whose passion is gambling, a run for the money. All the members of the IMF team go in and out of this room during the show without arousing anyone's suspicion.
Shannon becomes chummy with Carter, doping one of his drinks. She later tells him that while they were "doing it" in the stables (which Carter has totally forgotten), he blabbed information about not only the mine (for example, the word "rods") and Russell's death.
Black, Harte and Grant investigate the mine. One of the employees, who is later murdered by Slade, was overheard saying work in this place is dangerous. Further investigation suggests that the mine is tunnelling north of the town into government land which has some top-secret significance, later determined to be the disposal of nuclear waste.
With the tunnelling complete, nuclear rods from this location that can be recycled into bombs are loaded on to carts by men dressed in white hazmat suits. At the end of the show, Black and Harte sneak into the mine and sabotage it. The real science behind this, i.e., the handling, storage and processing of nuclear material is something I don't want to think about.
The techno-gimmick in this show is a set a of playing cards which can be controlled remotely by Grant so the numbers and suits can be changed to Phelps' advantage. Phelps plays a showdown game with McClintock, revealing him to be a cheat.
This leads to a High Noon style shootout on the town's main street, with Phelps being much more proficient with a gun than one might expect. (But then, don't forget, Peter Graves' brother was James Arness, the star of Gunsmoke.) Phelps is not shooting real bullets, though, but the usual tranquilizer darts which have been modified to look like bullets. During the showdown, Slade, whose drink has also been doped by Shannon, misses Phelps completely. McClintock is also shot "dead," but before this, confesses his involvement in murder in front of the crowd of employees and tourist onlookers.
As the show ends, Shannon says that the FBI will be there "in a few minutes."
- The subtitles identify the music played by the pianist in Pontiac's saloon as "ragtime," but this is not correct. This refers to music like that featured in the 1973 film "The Sting." The music in the show consists more of typical tunes of the times, like those composed by Stephen Foster.
- Grant has to endure racist abuse from Slade who refers to him as "boy" several times when Grant is about to prove himself by riding a bucking bronco named Bolero.
- When he wakes up after his night in the stables with Shannon, Carter is only wearing his long underwear. He takes his cowboy hat and places it over his groin area, as if he had a boner!
- Grant uses an "atomic absorption spectrometer" to analyze some water from the mine, hoping to find evidence of minerals, but he finds nothing. Considering he and the other two arrived at the town with a minimum of possessions, the IMF have a lot of equipment in their room above the bar.
- Bicycle playing cards get product placement -- this is the brand of the cards modified by Grant. These cards are kept behind the bar, and Phelps asks for them to be used during his big game with McClintock. For his use during the shootout, Phelps is given a gun which is also kept behind the bar, which just happens to be the one with the tranquilizer dart bullets.
- Harte gets to give Shannon a huge smooch in the bar and also stuffs some money down her cleavage.
S02E15. Church Bells in Bogotá -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 10 February 1990
Drug baron Esteban Magdalena is considered The Godfather of Colombia, responsible for a campaign of terror including the kidnapping and murder of a federal judge, as well as a connection to the flow of cocaine into the United States. The IMF's mission is to return Magdalena to the United States where he can be put on trial, though the word "return" is peculiar, because there is nothing said about Magdalena being from the USA in the first place.
Shannon becomes singer Sarah Parsons, who auditions for a job in Magdalena's Blue Orchid Nightclub in Bogotá at a talent agency in Los Angeles. None other than Magdalena's nephew Luis is there to check out her pipes. He is played by Tony Xauet, who has a vague resemblance to Antonio Banderas. Because he is returning to Colombia by private jet and a storm is brewing, he hires Shannon immediately and the two of them leave for the airport. Shannon is very concerned about the storm, because, as we suddenly find out after almost two seasons of the show, she is nervous about flying. (This was never mentioned in connection with any of her other IMF gigs.) This sounds like the remake of Hawaii Five-0 where Danno, one of the main characters, did not reveal he was claustrophobic until the show's fourth season.
Shannon's fears become reality as the plane taking the two of them is struck by lightning, and it crashes in the jungle near its destination. Shannon is not seriously injured, but she is now suffering from amnesia. When Phelps manages to get into her San Miguel Hospital room posing as a doctor, she does not recognize him. Shannon ends up falling in love with Luis, who asks her to marry him.
Phelps later poses as Simpson, a disgruntled defense contractor who wants to sell security-related business solutions to Magdalena. Just before the wedding ceremony, he manages to get Shannon to wear some brain-scan-like gizmo which Grant can tap into. It determines that her amnesia is only psychological, not neurological. Phelps also makes her wear a video player like a Viewmaster which shows the IMF team celebrating her birthday previously, which finally snaps her back to reality. However, Shannon wants to go ahead with the wedding ceremony, figuring that is a way that she can escape from her "captivity" and they can also kidnap Magdalena and spirit him to the States.
Despite the fact the show gives an interesting glimpse into the "human side" of Phelps' IMF team, especially the scenes dealing with Shannon's amnesia dilemma and her romance with Louis, the ending of the show is stupid.
Phelps, who has already been in Magdalena's villa, becomes the driver of a florist's truck which is delivering bouquets to the wedding and no one recognizes him. Despite the villa being crawling with tons of heavily-armed security types, Grant, who is along for the ride, rappels up a wall to Shannon's room where Black, pretending to be the priest for the ceremony, wants to have a word with Shannon and her husband-to-be's uncle. Magdalena is tranquilized, lowered by ropes and placed in the florist's truck and Shannon escapes as well. It doesn't take long for Luis and the security types to figure out what is going on. But Harte, who has been hired to train mercenaries by Magdalena's sub-boss Sanchez (Michael Long), blows up the helicopter that will be pursuing them from the villa, using a rocket launcher.
Although Harte is very close to the helicopter when he does this (as are the guards who will be using it), there is no explanation as to how he gets back to the airport where the IMF team beats a hasty retreat to the States via a Lear Jet with Magdalena on board. Shannon is sad at having to leave Luis behind.
- The IMF has prepared an extensive résumé for Shannon's singer persona. Her date of birth is October 27, 1960 (real birth date of Jane Badler is December 31, 1953); Weight = 52 kg (114 lb.); Eyes = Hazel; Height = 5'3" (actual height = 5' 4½"); Build = Slim; Hair = Brown. Theater productions she has appeared in include: The Man Who Came To Dinner; A Boy For Me, A Girl For You ; A Fortunate Life; Alice in Wonderland; A Threepenny Opera; and The Entertainer. Under the "Music Hall" category are: 18 months residency "Marius Hotel"; 12 weeks as special guest at the "Last Wave" Hotel; and Regular appearances at the "Rock and Roll Cafe."
- At the beginning of the show, Magdalena, flying in a helicopter, returns the live kidnapped judge in a canvas bag which is dropped from high up, killing him instantly. This scene is reminiscent of one in the 1980 movie Scarface.
- Although she is suffering from amnesia, Shannon is able to remember that she is a singer. She performs two songs in the Blue Orchid Club: Someone to Watch Over Me and Tangerine. Her salary if she was to be working in the club full time was supposed to be $3,000 a week.
- A Pontiac racing car is seen before the tape scene. Product placement?
S02E16. The Sands of Seth -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 24 February 1990
In this, the final episode of the rebooted M:I series, the writers seem to be rehashing various tropes from previous shows. There are at least some suspenseful moments where the team seem to be put in peril in mid-show.
Horus Selim (Tim Elliott), boss of the Museum of the Ancients in Cairo, is obsessed with the ancient Egyptian god Seth (also known as Set), described in the show as "the greatest of the gods of Egypt" and "the god of darkness." Seth's role in Egyptian mythology is somewhat more complicated than this if you read the Wikipedia page on him, though. Selim talks of a "new order" which will "give birth to a new Egypt," of which he will be Pharaoh.
Selim has a hit list of the leaders of modern day Egypt, including politicians, businessmen and influence peddlers. He knocks these people off with the help of his right-hand man Karnak Zabkar (Gerard Kennedy), describing them as "weak when compared to the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt." In an underground temple where Selim dresses in a getup like Tutkanhamen and rants in front of hooded followers, his enemies are strangled with a cord known as a setant and their bodies are dumped in a pool of sand which consumes their bodies like quicksand. (If this is the case, it is odd that the police know how many people have been murdered, presumably by Selim's cult.)
The IMF team set up shop in a tomb with typical Egyptian hieroglyphics on the wall. Shannon plays Shannon Dobson and her archaeologist father is played by Phelps (!). Phelps tells Selim that he is on to the discovery of a burial site associated with Seth, thanks to the "scroll of Seth" which Grant has manufactured, printing characters on ancient Egyptian papyrus with a laser printer.
Predictably someone gets locked in this tomb by Selim and it is Phelps and Shannon, who almost run out of oxygen before they are saved at the last minute by Grant. Grant later freaks out Karnak using holograms in a pool of water, and Karnak, who expressed reservations about his participation in the murders earlier on in the show, tries to get Selim's followers to abandon their following of Seth. Harte, on the other hand, is fed up working for "Professor Dobson," and instead becomes initiated into the cult. His first task is to strangle Black, who has been caught snooping around the museum.
Phelps and Shannon find the temple where Selim and his followers hang out by Shannon falling through its roof (there is no indication how the people get into the temple through something like a door). Thanks to some innovation by Grant which causes the walls of the temple to disintegrate because of subsonic frequencies from their communicators, as well as an Indiana Jones-like ray of sun beaming from the top of the temple, it looks as if the curse of Seth, predicted on Dobson's scroll, has finally arrived, and Selim's followers attack and kill him as the place collapses.
- Matte paintings of pyramids and the Sphinx are seen.
- Both Tim Elliott and Gerard Kennedy engage in some serious overacting.
- Like episode 10, this show has a shorter version of the main credits. As well, it is also the only episode in the rebooted series where Phelps is greeted by the disc announcer saying "Good afternoon" as opposed to "Good morning."
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