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We see Jim Phelps murder his wife, needlessly, and yet, only give Ethan what amounts to a glancing blow.

Why wouldn't he just kill Ethan and try to escape with his wife instead of taking the risk of leaving him alive?

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I guess it's a plot hole. Of course, originally Jim killed Ethan. But then directors remind the writer of how much sequels they'll be losing money for. Also Ethan can dodge bullet and cast shield barrier and hence got to be elbowed instead. Makes perfect sense. – Jim Thio May 21 '12 at 7:19
Unless you have better explanation :)? – Jim Thio May 21 '12 at 12:34
I still don't understand why he had to kill the wife.. Doesn't make any sense to me.. – Basim Rauf Aug 1 '15 at 20:23
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The only valid explanation that comes to mind is that Jim Phelps wanted to frame someone so the file could be closed instead of an open-end investigation that could lead to his capture ultimately!

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Jim just wanted to leave as soon as possible after taking the money. He had killed his wife because she was ordering him to not kill Ethan and also because it seemed she was soft/ taking a liking to Ethan.

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If possible elobrate the answer – Panther Aug 9 '15 at 8:03

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