Great use of all the team. A wonderful "gambling" episode with witty dialogue, a drunk Jim Phelps (who always plays a great drunk), handsome men, gorgeous Cinnamon, and a switch of identities that is nearly laugh inducing ... but in a good way. Well done.
This was a very elaborate con, particularly as two different players were involved. The first mark was Victor Tomar, who has possession of an emerald with important national security information added to it by a U.S. agent. The second mark was Communist agent Yorgi Petrosian, who was also assigned to capture the information on the emerald. The game is poker, and Rollin and Jim combine, with Barney's help, to allow Rollin to win the emerald when it appears to each of the marks that they are certain to win. The story is complicated even under Mission Impossible standards and the acting outstanding, with particular kudos to Ms. Bain and Mr. Graves. One of the more interesting episodes in the series.
"The Emerald" isn't necessarily a bad episode, but coming as it does so closely on the heels of "A Game of Chess," it feels like a rehash. We've just seen the IMF use a rigged game to help pull off a con, and scenes of Barney relaying the cards each player is holding to Jim aren't terribly exciting. It's also the second consecutive episode where the villains (in this case, the enemy agent who is after the emerald) are convinced by the IMF to participate in the rigged game to get the "third party," only to have the tables turned. This is a darker episode overall, with the team setting up the murder of their adversary (usually, they're content to let the bad guy's superiors off him for incompetence.) Rollin gets some good card shark moments in, and Jim's portrayal of a folksy gambler on the ship are funny ("just three little ol' kings"), but there's nothing to write home about in this episode.
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