Mission: Impossible: Season 4, Episode 16

The Falcon: Part 3 (18 Jan. 1970)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime
8.3
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Barney and Phelps use an optical illusion to help them free Stephan from his cell. But, everything goes haywire when an assassination attempt against Sabattini fails and unmasks Paris in ... See full summary »

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Title: The Falcon: Part 3 (18 Jan 1970)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Nicolai
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Francesca
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Logan Ramsey ...
Colonel Vargas
Joseph Reale ...
Prince Stephan
Dal Jenkins ...
Rousek
Tony Giorgio ...
Foyer Guard
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William Visteen ...
Maintenance Room Officer
John Rose ...
Upstairs Officer
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Storyline

Barney and Phelps use an optical illusion to help them free Stephan from his cell. But, everything goes haywire when an assassination attempt against Sabattini fails and unmasks Paris in the process. Sabattini and his men begin to figure out the plan. Phelps must stay one step ahead if he's to get everyone out alive. Written by EEM

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18 January 1970 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The shots depicting Barney (Greg Morris) climbing down an elevator shaft in this segment are actually a rare example of the re-use of existing footage on the show - most of it was taken from the Season 3 episode "Doomsday," which also involved the extensive use of an elevator shaft. See more »

Quotes

James Phelps: Stephan, it won't cost you anything to find out whether I'm lying or not. The only cooperation I want from you now is your silence.
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User Reviews

 
Topkapi meets The Third Man
8 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Falcon was the only episode in the Mission:Impossible series to run to three parts. Three parts were definitely necessary, because the stew of palace and diplomatic intrigue was easily enough for a 135-minute motion picture. And even when the story is finished, it leaves a lot of loose ends untied, with a lot for an imaginative viewer to wonder about.

The mission parameters are simple enough: Prince Stephan (Joseph Reale), the rightful ruler of an unnamed Balkan country, is believed killed. But he is not dead. His chief-of-staff, General Sabattini (John Vernon), is holding him to force his fiancée, Francesca (Diane Baker), to marry him. This will give him a legitimate claim to the throne, whose present occupant, Prince Regent Nicolai (Noel Harrison), is a child-like fop who spends all his time (and much of the country's treasury) indulging his hobby of clock-making. (If that sounds familiar, it should. Louis XV indulged in his own hobbies of lock-making and masonry while pre-Revolutionary France descended to rack and ruin. No wonder France exploded in bloody violence later on!) Here simplicity ends. Sabattini's second-in-command, Manuel Vargas (Logan Ramsey), thinks Sabattini is a fool for not cutting an easy deal with the Chinese. Vargas also knows that selling off the crown jewels, as Sabattini plans to do, won't make a dent in the country's debt. So Vargas and Buccaro (Jack Donner) would love to bump Sabattini off and run things on their own.

What a stew! And into that stew jump Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) and company, with both feet each.

Regrettably, Peter Graves never does the impersonation thing well. He's always wooden and one-dimensional, and this is no exception. Leonard Nimoy's Paris is much better. Reale, Baker, and Harrison are in top form, portraying their respective characters--or IMF team members who have taken their places.

The IMF plays the evil Sabattini, Vargas and Buccaro like violins. Before they finish, the have Sabattini thinking that Stephan managed to scam him and steal the crown jewels before he, Sabattini, could put the bag on Stephan. Worse yet, they get Vargas and Buccaro thinking that Sabattini is planning to shoot them the first chance he gets. (Which might not be so far from the truth.) And, as is required in a long, drawn-out story like this, things go sour. Not just in incidental fashion--like Barney (Greg Morris) bumping his head, losing his eyesight, and needing Jim to talk him through so that he can free Francesca after she has been buried alive. Oh, no--when they go sour, they go S-O-U-R. Vargas and Buccaro try to bump Sabattini off, all right--only they not only fail, but manage to implicate two IMF agents, though nobody knows who they really are. Of course, Sabattini is the paranoiac's paranoiac, and, as you might expect, he shoots his officers. But his is a total downward spiral. His final scene, when he sees that even his prize prisoner has gotten away from him, is one of the best villain-death scenes in the whole franchise.

So, again as expected, the good guys get out with their skins intact, and the royal family is safe and sound. But hey, dude, where's the money? The country is still broke at the end. Can Stephan manage to get his country out of the hole, after his own cousin spent the public's money on clock parts? Will the people be glad to have Stephan back--or will they run riot when they hear about Nicolai's excesses? Will Stephan wind up coming to America, hat in hand, for a loan from the OTHER IMF--International Monetary Fund? Considering the current (2011) controversy on that line, it is perhaps just as well that the writer of this script never talks about the solution. But what a shame. After doing such an excellent job of laying out the problem, the story ends with clearly unfinished business. Exit Impossible Missions Force, enter Nice International Bankers. So long, it's been good to know ya, but we're outta here! Hmmm--somehow that doesn't satisfy.

But give the writer this much credit: he pulls no gods out of the machine to solve that. And by the time you watch the whole thing, you at least have something to wonder about, something that isn't too absurd for words. You HOPE that King Stephan will have sense enough not to let, say, George Soros advise him how to solve his country's financial problems--but you have no trouble believing that a Stephan might be real, along with the mess he still will have to clean up by himself. Some missions really are impossible--for other people to do for you.


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