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Mission Impossible 7: Who Dies & Why Their Deaths Are Important (For Better Or Worse)

Contains spoilers for "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One"

A new "Mission: Impossible" movie means the world is once again at stake, but for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), protecting those close to him is just as significant as preventing humanity's destruction. He's developed a close team over the years of people he can trust, and he'll regularly put himself in harm's way if it means protecting his friends. Unfortunately, not even Ethan can save everyone, and several deaths throughout "Dead Reckoning Part One" raise the stakes and shock the audience.

Of course, many faceless and nameless mercenaries meet their doom throughout the events of the film. Their demises obviously aren't meant to be dwelt upon too much; they function as mere action fodder. Still, there are a couple of deaths (and one character who appears dead at first but is actually alive) that could have serious ramifications for "Dead Reckoning Part Two" and beyond. 

Ilsa dies then lives then dies again

Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) has been one of the more welcome additions to the "Mission: Impossible" franchise. She came onto the scene in "Rogue Nation" and has been an ally to Ethan's team ever since. "Dead Reckoning Part One" initially makes it seem like Ilsa is getting killed off early when she's seemingly shot in the desert. Fortunately, it's soon revealed that Ethan helped her fake her death so that she could stop being a target and he can get away with half of the key. But as it turns out, it was too early to celebrate. 

Ilsa's later stabbed by Gabriel (Esai Morales), and her death seems permanent this time. She doesn't appear in the rest of the film, and while there's always a chance Ethan could've engaged in some more trickery to get her to safety, it doesn't seem likely. Ilsa's death showcases how much of a threat Gabriel is, but losing such a great character is a bit disappointing, especially when it feels like her death exists to make way for Grace (Hayley Atwell). 

It's clear Ethan and Ilsa had a bit of a will-they-won't-they relationship going on. There's even a deleted scene from "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" where the two share a kiss, cementing there's something between them. While one could argue Ilsa's death serves a story purpose, namely Ethan loses someone he trusts while combatting this new threat, it's hard not to view it as a way to remove a potential love triangle so that Ethan and Grace can become a thing at some point.

Paris is spared (for now)

Just when you think "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" is about to fridge another female character, they spare her at the last second. 

Paris (Pom Klementieff) is an intriguing new addition to the series. She's an assassin working with Gabriel until Ethan spares her life in a fight. Later, Gabriel tries to take her out because he assumes she'll side with Ethan at some point, owing him a debt. Turns out, that's exactly what she does, as she later saves both Ethan and Grace on the train. It's at this point she appears to succumb to her injuries, but not before telling Ethan where he needs to go next with the completed key. While it looks like she dies, another character states how she has a pulse, setting her up to appear in a future installment.

This makes Paris an interesting wild card going into "Dead Reckoning Part Two." It's possible she'll sit out the action, but she could return to ally with Ethan yet again to stop Gabriel's plan. Ultimately, it's for the best Paris was spared. Killing off a female character to bolster the male lead's motivation is problematic as is, but doing it twice may have come off as overkill. If Paris does die in a later "Mission: Impossible" movie, it should come with greater significance than what would've happened here. And hopefully, she gets more to do than just being a mostly silent assassin. 

Denlinger gets his comeuppance

It wouldn't be a "Mission: Impossible" movie without a double-cross, and that's precisely what audiences get when Gabriel meets with Denlinger (Cary Elwes) on the train. Denlinger is introduced earlier in the film during an intelligence briefing about the A.I. system known as The Entity. And he returns toward the end to once again dump a bunch of exposition, but this time, it's about how the United States played a hand in developing the A.I. and how the country wants to control it to ominously decide what's the truth.

Of course, Denlinger soon learns the first rule of doing business with a criminal — they have no problem killing you if it suits their needs. Gabriel quickly dispatches Denlinger once he's spouted all the pertinent information. Of all the supporting character deaths in "Dead Reckoning Part One," Denlinger's probably has the least pathos associated with it. The audience doesn't know him for very long, and the characters who live are unlikely to mourn him too long.

As a "Part One," the movie needs to set the stakes while keeping viewers invested enough to tune in for the next installment. A few deaths (and near-deaths) are just the ticket to accomplish that and showcase how no one is safe going into the sequel. "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" is playing in theaters now.