Mission: Impossible

Season 2 Episode 12

Cargo Cult

0
Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Jan 13, 1990 on ABC
8.3
out of 10
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11 votes
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Cargo Cult
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The IMF take on a criminal organization that is using the image of a volcano-god and his prophet to scare a primitive tribe into mining gold for them.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This episode differs from others. They manage to pull off the mission, but basically they do so only in passing--the main emphasis is in extricating themselves from a sticky situation.

    6.7
    Gold fever is a worldwide phenomenon. The plot against the hapless native culture is horrifying--the more so because I can easily see real people committing such atrocities in order to make a fortune for themselves. So who came first--Otagi or Regehr? It would be interesting to know just how they set up their operation. Did Otagi somehow come across "Riga", comfortably ensconced as the son of the local god, and persuade him to use his influence to get gold? Or was Regehr, a geologist, working on Otagi's behalf to find gold when he crashed his plane and got installed as a deity?



    The whole mission was set up awkwardly. They had too many unexpected complications that they had not allowed for. Shannon, for example. Jim set her up to accompany Nicholas into the region where they were building the bridge. It never occurred to him--until she was walking in the door--to consider the effect she would have on men who had not seen a woman in months. This led to a nice little mini-riot.



    Not even Jim, though, could have foreseen the situation with the native people, putting Shannon, Nicholas, and Max into terrible danger. Nicholas put the clues together, but knowing the reasoning behind the cult behavior didn't do them a lick of good. "Riga" decided not to let Shannon go to waste, leading to her facing the proverbial "fate worse than death". Nicholas and Max might have argued that point.



    By the way, the distance shots of Nicholas and Max being carried on the propeller blades were not distant enough--it was obvious that the figures were dummies.



    Having deduced that something was wrong on the other side of the bridge, Grant managed to smuggle himself over in one of the shipments of cyanide. (There was no real explanation of why Jim elected to stay on the "civilized" side until Grant rescued Nicholas and Max.)



    That scene on the edge of the volcano was rather ludicrous, with Nicholas and Max aiming their fingers like little boys playing at having guns. Considering that the natives were standing behind them, how could they even see that their two sacrifices were aiming at them?



    There is a plot hole big enough to drive a truck through, and they just brushed past it. The whole point was that there was only one way over to the "native" side--the bridge that Otagi was building. He did not allow anyone, including his workers, to cross the bridge to see what was over there, which was why the team had no inkling of what was going on. However, after Grant had taken out three warriors and the natives had abandoned Nicholas and Max, Jim casually states that he will meet Grant and the others at the "old bridge". What old bridge? If there was another bridge, why hadn't Max slipped across it at some point for a look-see? And since Otagi was determined not to let anyone across, wouldn't such a bridge be carefully guarded? Once Nicholas and Max had been rescued, they bounced back and forth with no one noticing them at all.



    The confrontation scene in the native camp was well done. "Riga's" voice when he presents Shannon as a witch, and shortly after, Jim as a sorcerer, shows that he is stretching to the breaking point, frantically ad-libbing while trying to sound as though he is in control. He got even worse after the three unconcious warriors "magically" revived.



    Grant finally got his chance to play around with his gadgets, first setting up a fake volcanic eruption, and then his really nifty holographic projection onto the resulting cloud of smoke and dust. Couple points, though--Nicholas used Regehr's sound equipment to record the message from Obi-Katu. How was Grant able to turn it on? And why didn't the natives think it peculiar that their own god spoke a foreign language?



    The closing comments were better done than usual. They allowed Nicholas to speak of the "Bridge between the stone-age and the twentieth century"--and he always manages to sound more thoughtful than pompous.moreless
Phil Morris

Phil Morris

Grant Collier

Peter Graves

Peter Graves

Jim Phelps

Jane Badler

Jane Badler

Shannon Reed (1989-90)

Antony Hamilton

Antony Hamilton

Max Harte

Thaao Penghlis

Thaao Penghlis

Nicholas Black

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson

IMF Voice on Disc (uncredited)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • After Nicholas, Max, and Shannon are thrown into the cage, Max's line "A god who lives in an airplane, huh?" is clearly dubbed.  Max's lip movements don't match the words. 

    • It's unusual that the natives could understand English, but could not speak English at all.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Otagi: (to Bull) Give us a glass so that he join me in a drink.
      Inspector: You must be crazy. I'd sooner die than drink with you!
      Otagi: That's exactly what I had in mind.

    • Jim: Nicholas and Shannon just arrived. We could be in more trouble than we bargained for,
      Max: Jim, some of these guys haven't seen a woman in six months!
      Jim: You better keep Shannon out of this.

    • Max: What the hell are you playing at?
      Regehr: Being a god. I thought you might have figured that out.
      Shannon: Why?
      Regehr: Call it a golden opportunity. I started out a geologist, but then I got promoted.

    • Regehr: And what happens when those volcanologists don't return to their base?
      Otagi: This is the jungle, Regehr. People get lost, people die. The jungle devours them without a trace.

    • Nicholas: The bridge between the Stone Age and the 20th Century is gone.
      Shannon: Hopefully it'll stay that way.
      Jim: Unspoiled by man. Now that really would be progress.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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