MacGyver: Wire Cutter – Field Trip (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

This week’s MacGyver “Wire Cutter” sees Mac, Jack, Riley and Patricia out in the field. The team take two trips, one back home at the start and another to Mother Russia.

They must find two older Russian versions of MacGyver and Dalton who can shut down a nuclear “cold war” device built by a “MacGyver” type scientist who defected back in the day.

First, however, Wilt organizes an intervention for Mac after finding that his BFF and housemate has been searching for his “dead” ex, Nikki online.  Bozer does not know that Nikki is a baddie and still alive.

At the start of the episode all four are in flight as their cover has been blown. MacGyver has stayed behind while Thornton, Dalton and Riley scarper. He has to finish uploading a virus.

To buy more time, he makes a bomb out of baking soda, vinegar (and a “little agitation”) and does so without those annoying subtitles, or text cards.

On a sidenote: Someone dropped the ball in this opening scene as Jack says that Mac told the team they had till 0400.  Clearly, with the daylight and all the traffic on the roads, he meant 1600, i.e. four in the afternoon and not four in the morning (0400) which would have been dark and pretty much deserted.

The main mission starts in the middle of MacGyver’s intervention. Team Phoenix return to their headquarters and see an Agent Bannister discover an old Russian nuclear weapon. They also watch as the woman is shot dead by Sevchenko a Russian zealot.

The weapon is very old and uses a computer operating system that no longer exists. The man who made the nuke must be found and made to shut down the weapon.

Soon after they find Orlov, aka firebird, they contact his old handler and the two men will help the team to shutdown the nuclear weapon.

The point of the the episode is the comparison between the Russian scientist and his old handler and Mac with his handler, Jack.  The “older MacGyver” is known as Firebird and of course Mac’s organization is called “Phoenix.”

Get it?

The episode is amusing but it feels like a crib from the 2002 Clint Eastwood film Space CowboysIn the Eastwood flick, Clint plays a retired engineer who was part of the pre NASA space program. He developed hardware back in the day that Russians are using in  one of their satellites. The spacecraft has developed severe issues and may crash to the earth.

Eastwood’s character is the only man who can sort the problem out and he, along with his former teammates, head to outer space to fix the satellite.

“Wire Cutter” also feels a tad like RED, where retired spooks, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman have to reform their band to stop an old mission from killing them all.

There is a fairly impressive body count in this episode and the cold blooded killing of Bannister was pretty hard core, even if it did occur off camera.

MacGyver makes a number of devices, including one using another household product; flour.  None of these on-the-fly inventions used those annoying  subtitles, so well done to the show’s makers.

(Another couple of complaints here though. One: No one stores white vinegar in the fridge…no one. Two: Riley walks off without her heavy duty laptop. Even without it’s battery, there is no way it would have been left behind.)

The episode continues promoting strong female characters, which is good. Thornton gets to avenge her agent’s death with Dalton providing backup. Riley, apart from making wisecracks about older men and picking on Jack, also continues to be a strong character.

MacGyver is still, despite the higher than usual bodycount, pretty light hearted in terms of action. While the show is amusing in all the right places and the cast have a splendid chemistry on screen, it still feels like MacGyver for kids.

Lucas Till is starting to fill Harry Dean Anderson’s MacGyver shoes however  and George Eads is becoming a personal favorite.

The series airs Fridays on CBS. Tune in and see if Riley ever does something with that bird’s nest she calls hair.


Guest starring  Elya Baskin as Alexander Orlov, Olek Krupa as Victor, Yorgo Constantine as Sevchenko and Bianca Malinowski as Penny Parker.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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