|The Only Way to Die|
|Original Air Date||October 8, 1966|
|Previous Episode||A Spy for a Spy|
|Next Episode||Maxwell Smart, Alias Jimmy Ballantine|
At a cafe, two KAOS agents, Stromberg and Christopher meet up to discuss about the annual visit of a KAOS agent known as "The Blaster" who blows up one of Washington's national monuments each year. This year he plans on blowing up the Internal Revenue building within a week, which would throw the U.S economy into disarray, and is sneaking into the country on "The Lover." The agents soon discover a microphone disguised as a flower near them, and follow the wire to a table where they find Maxwell Smart, who has been eavesdropping on their conversation. Stromberg destroys the mic, and Christopher forces Max to get up and walk away at gunpoint. After a brief skirmish, Max appears to be fatally shot by the two men.
A funeral is held for Max, though only the Chief, 99 and Fang attend. 99 is distraught over Max's "death" and wants to find the men that "killed" him, but the Chief assigns her to look after Antonio Carlos Carioca, a wealthy, Spanish playboy who visits Washington yearly, and whom she has been assigned to in those past years, believing it will help with her grief. After 99 and Fang leave, the Chief sees a mysterious figure, clad in all black, wandering the cemetery, who reveals himself to be Max, having survived his ordeal. Since Max had overheard KAOS's plan, the Chief had faked his death so they'll proceed as usual, and they can finally capture The Blaster, who has constantly evaded them. The Chief, however, is furious at Max for showing up and risking his cover being blown. To ensure his cover, the Chief has Max stay in a small, run-down apartment, with Agent 13 stationed outside in a mailbox. Max feels cramped inside the small place and is upset at 99 being with Carioca.
After a couple days, The Blaster is set to strike the Revenue Building at midnight, but neither the Chief or the other agents have managed find "The Lover." Instead, they have all the records in the building removed, and have McKlutsky, the foreman, who has a large team of construction workers, on emergency standby. Max points out to the Chief that Carioca is always around at the same time as The Blaster, but the Chief tells him that, according to 99, he had been on his yacht partying around those times, and wouldn't be able to sneak away to plant and detonate the bombs. While watching a news broadcast, Max learns that the name of Carioca's yacht is El Amador and realizes that it is "The Lover" in Spanish. He tries to contact the Chief, but only gets Hobson, the CONTROL secretary, who believes Smart to be dead, so he goes outside to tell 13, only to find he's been forcibly removed from his post by a policeman. With only minutes til midnight, Smart heads to the yacht.
On the vessel, as Carioca tries to cheer up a still grieving 99, Max sneaks on board and reveals himself, causing 99 to faint. He confronts Carioca, who turns out to, in fact, be The Blaster, about his plan, but Carioca reveals that he has already planted the bomb in the Internal Revenue Building while on a sight-seeing tour. He then reveals to Smart that his bomb operates on a secret, undetectable sound-wave, which is released by a lever in the bar when he cranks it three times, (the first two blowing the ship's foghorn), allowing him to destroy the buildings without leaving the yacht, while also having a perfect alibi. A fight breaks out as Max tries to stop Carioca from pulling the lever. Christopher comes down and also fights Max. During the fight, Carioca manages to pull the lever two times, but before he can pull it a third time, Smart knocks him down. Carioca and Christopher try to shoot Max, but he dodges and they end up hitting each other.
The Chief and two other agents arrive on the yacht as 99 regains consciousness. After Max explains everything to them, they believe they've finally stopped the Blaster. Unfortunately, Max indirectly pulls the lever (for the third time), resulting in the destruction of the Internal Revenue Building.
- Maxwell Smart - Don Adams
- Agent 99 - Barbara Feldon
- The Chief - Edward Platt
- Agent 13 - David Ketchum
At one point Max complains that his confinement makes him "feel like The Prisoner of Zenda". He will get a chance to experience that story even more closely in Episode #74: "The King Lives?".
The title is a play on the famous slogan, "It's the only way to fly", used by Western Airlines.