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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Old pro Albert Paulsen, whom you may remember as the humorless Communist agent in the original "Manchurian Candidate," steals this one out from under the regulars. As an alcoholic whose memory somehow remains phenomenal, he is pretty much on his own as a prisoner trying to get the goods on his captors despite beatings and humiliation. Apparently the rather heartless Briggs is going to leave him to his fate until he finds out that his "Mr. Memory" has found and memorized an essential list of enemy agents. The final rescue makes up the climax. But the Brigss character had a couple of these rather nasty hard-boiled moments. I was just as happy when they replaced him with the upright Jim Phelps.
Albert Paulsen made a career out of playing evil folks--particularly on
"Mission: Impossible". So, when I saw him playing a member of the IM
Force, I was sure surprised! Yep, one of the perennial baddies plays a
good guy in "Memory"! I sure wish Anthony Zerbe or John Calicos had
gotten a similar opportunity--two of my other favorite baddies from the
1960s and 70s TV shows (and frequent "Mission: Impossible" guests).
In this episode, the plan is to pretend that Baresh (Paulsen) is a wanted man code named 'Sparrow'. He is to let himself be captured by an enemy nation and the evil Soska (Leonard Stone) will interrogate him. However, Baresh is really a memory expert and his mission is to eventually betray Soska--and do it so convincingly that Soska's days will be numbered. An unusual plot--and what is more unusual is that near the end, Willy and Barney machine gun some folks in order to get away. This show almost always avoided having the good guys do the actual killing but here they cheerfully mow down a few soldiers! All in all, an interesting but not especially outstanding episode. However, considering that it's only the second show in the series, it sure seemed to his its stride quickly.
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