Home > Reviews > MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (S6) Reviews: “Run for the Money”/”The Connection” (spoilers)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (S6) Reviews: “Run for the Money”/”The Connection” (spoilers)

“Run for the Money”: Gangster Trask (Richard Jaeckel), who works for bigger gangster Mason (Herb Edelman), goes into a shop with a sign reading “TOBACCO’S” [sic], which is a front for an illegal gambling parlor.  Trask leaves his briefcase there, and it blows up the parlor and its occupants as he and Mason drive off (and their driver rather stupidly drives them right by the store two seconds before it blows up).  Jim then takes forever driving up to and walking through a miniature golf course before getting the tape out of the windmill and being tasked with breaking up the Mason-Trask partnership and ending their betting operation that funnels millions to the mob.  The team is assisted by jockey/trainer Nick (William Harmatz) and a champion racehorse named Lucky Lady.

To be honest, I had a hard time keeping track of the specific plot beats this time.  The plan is to convince Trask, who aspires to own a champion racehorse but doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to pick a winner, that a horse named Red Sand (actually Lucky Lady in disguise) is a champion out of nowhere.  Jim is the owner of the horse, and Casey is trying to buy it from him, though she turns out to be fronting for someone else.  All this is played out before Trask to catch his attention, and Casey arranges an involvement with Trask so she can be on hand to use a Barney gizmo in her purse to slow Trask’s stopwatch so he thinks the horse is a lot faster than it is, while Jim insists that the horse is no good.  (There’s a scene where they go on a date, interrupted by Trask taking her to the stables so he can take a sample of hair from Red Sand’s forehead mark, but the next day he talks about keeping her out late — could she have actually slept with him?)

Meanwhile, Barney breaks into Mason’s high-tech gambling parlor to swap out a computer circuit, making it look like a failed robbery to throw them off.  Trask finds out the hair sample was bleached, and determines that it’s actually Lucky Lady, who was reported stolen recently.  Also that Casey is fronting for someone, and she stages a meeting with Mason to make Trask think it’s him.  Trask wants the horse, so he has his goon threaten Casey into calling Jim and telling him that Mason withdrew his bid.  The odd thing here is that Trask was actually on the phone in Jim’s apartment, standing right next to Jim, when he instructed his goon to threaten Casey into lying to Jim.  Huh?  How is that supposed to have worked?

So anyway, Trask now owns the horse.  But Jim gets Mason’s attention by placing a big bet on Mason’s horse King’s Friend, and convinces him that Red Sand is a dud, admitting he gimmicked Trask’s stopwatch to con him.  Once Mason’s hooked, Jim triggers Barney’s planted computer circuit to explode, preventing them from altering the 40-to-1 odds on Red Sand after learning that someone (actually the team) has bet 100 grand on her (disguised as twenty $5000 bets in various cities).  Mason’s worried enough to have his goon be ready with a sniper rifle to shoot any horse (or jockey?) who comes close to rivalling King’s Friend.  Huh?  I guess the idea is that the race will be forfeit and nobody will get paid off, but still, it seems an oddly public action to take.

So anyway, Lucky Red Sand Lady takes the lead and sniper guy is ready to snipe, but Barney just coincidentally happened to see him climbing a ladder and manages to tackle him in time.  Redlucky Ladysand wins the race, to Trask’s delight.  Mason orders another goon — or actually a Thug, according to the credits — to call the betting parlor and halt the payoffs.  And let’s pause to acknowledge that the Thug is the only credited M:I role (though the second of three in all) for the great character actor Charles Napier, who sadly passed away not long ago.   Jim gets the drop on Charles Napier (who, this being the ’70s, is wearing a pink shirt under his suit jacket) and keeps him from stopping the payoff.  Mason has lost $4 million of the mob’s money, and he blames Trask.  The team watches as Mason and his men collect Trask and take him away to a no doubt grisly fate.  They then do the usual thing of getting into their own car and driving off into the final freeze-frame — except they seem to be driving directly toward a fence at some speed.

Well, this was a bit of a mess, which perhaps isn’t surprising from a script by Edward J. Lakso, author of the infamously bad Star Trek episode “And the Children Shall Lead.”  It was a fairly ordinary caper overall, but with some elements that didn’t make a lot of sense.  There’s not a lot of consistency to the character Casey plays; the script even comments on how mercurial and random her actions and choices seem to be, and the only defense she can offer is “Who understands women?”  And yet it’s her character who’s the linchpin of the entire plot — both in the sense of the IMF’s plot and the plot of the story we’re watching.  So it doesn’t have a very cohesive feel to it.  It also makes limited use of Barney and practically no use of Willy.  And one odd thing: it credits Robert Drasnin with a new score, but all the music sounded like familiar stock cues to me.

“The Connection”: We meet Dolan (Anthony Zerbe) as he takes over a meeting that New York mobster Clegg (Joe Maross) was supposed to have with another heroin supplier whom Dolan has killed in order to take over his operation.  He’s taking over the heroin trade for the entire East Coast, getting his supplies from Malot, an island off Northwest Africa.  Jim is informed of this in the announcer’s booth at what looks like a college running track — and for the first time in a couple of seasons, he gets the message on a phonograph record rather than a tape!  Now, there’s a blast from the past.

Clegg gives Dolan a million bucks to pay his supplier on Malot, a woman Dolan hasn’t met, and whose identity Casey assumes.  Dolan flies to Rome to catch a private plane to Malot, so for the first time this season, the IMF travels abroad in order to meet Dolan at Rome.  But their flight will actually take him to a part of Georgia that matches Malot’s climate; they gas Dolan and his men and reset their watches to conceal the flight time (though, oddly, they set their watches forward rather than back).  Unknown to them, though, Clegg has sent his man Finch (Bruce Watson) to keep tabs on Dolan, and he’s hidden aboard the plane.  The gas knocked him out too, but his watch didn’t get reset, so he’s suspicious as soon as they arrive.

Casey, quite fetching in a short red wig and a reasonably good (or at least nice-sounding) French accent,  provides Dolan and his men with the equipment to process opium poppies into heroin, and once he’s satisfied, he calls his supplier, a call which Jim has traced with the help of Simone (Francoise Ruggieri), a local telephone operator whose French accent is part of the illusion that Dolan is in Francophone territory.  The Rome police intercept the shipment and Barney delivers it to the house in “Malot.”  They also track down Dolan’s employer in Istanbul when he calls.

But Finch intercepts one of Dolan’s men, questioning him about the time discrepancy, then killing him when it turns out he knows nothing.  The team is alerted that there’s a wild card in the mix and begins searching.  Eventually Finch attacks Casey in her room and Jim drives him off.

Once Dolan’s satisfied with the drugs, he contacts Clegg in New York, and the team tracks the call.  They send Willy to Clegg to try to make a separate deal, and Clegg learns that Dolan’s boss in Istanbul never got the money Dolan sent him — Clegg’s money.  Or something — I’m probably misremembering the order these things happened in, but the gist is that the team is making Clegg think that Dolan’s double-crossed him.  Willy takes a beating until he finally “breaks” and admits he got the drugs from Dolan’s supplier (the one Casey’s impersonating).  Clegg accompanies Willy to Rome where they meet Barney’s plane to go to “Malot”/Georgia (courtesy of more knockout gas).

So Clegg coming to confront and accuse Dolan goes as planned, but Finch has figured out it’s a scam, courtesy of a gas station he came across that just happened to be festooned with signs declaring it to be in Georgia.  (Now, really, what are the odds?  A small-town gas station like that, off the beaten path, probably wouldn’t get many customers who weren’t local.  So there’d be no need to announce what state it was in.)  So Finch breaks in and confronts Jim in the basement processing lab, holding him at gunpoint and interrogating him.  Luckily, operator Simone is in the next room and overhears this, so she rings the phone in the lab, distracting Finch enough for Jim to jump him.  A fight ensues until we get the old “gun goes off between them” gag, and naturally Finch is the one killed.  Jim flees through the window as Dolan and Clegg come down and find the body.  Then they hear the police sirens converging on them.  The team (not counting Simone) assembles at the airstrip and flies away.

A fairly average episode — another one by Edward Lakso, along with Ken Pettus this time — but with some nice touches.  It’s good to see an episode with at least a slightly international flavor again, and Finch poses a persistent and credible threat to the team’s plans.  It’s unclear why they had to base the scam in Georgia, except to serve the season’s mandate to keep things domestic.  They had the cooperation of several countries’ law enforcement agencies, so couldn’t they have mounted the scam somewhere closer to Malot?  And the endgame isn’t very strong.  The key successes are gained simply by tracing Dolan’s calls and identifying the members of the drug network.  I’m not sure what getting Clegg to accuse Dolan of a double-cross actually accomplishes, since their relationship was brand new and it’s not like Clegg had a lot of trust in him to begin with.  And with the police coming at the end — what will they be arrested for?  Neither of them shot Finch.  I guess being found with the drug equipment could be pretty damning, except that the IMF set up that drug equipment for them, so it’s entrapment.  It could be that they were going to be arrested anyway for the crimes they’d already been linked to through the phone traces, but again, that means the important stuff happened without ceremony earlier in the episode and the climax doesn’t really amount to much.

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  1. February 4, 2012 at 2:42 am

    As for Drasnin’s score sounding familiar, I have a possible explanation. I read somewhere that when tv shows reuse music, if the majority of the music they use in that episode is by one composer, the he gets an onscreen ‘music by’ credit. I think I also heard that in one of the DVD commentary tracks for Thriller.

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