MacGyver: Pliers – School Days (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

MacGyver “Pliers” sees Angus as the prodigal student returning to the school he first began his life as a high-powered nerd. Boze relives the old days with Riley as MacGyver talks to his old science teacher’s class. The spy meets a young, female version of himself.

After the class the youngster; Valerie, is kidnapped and Mac is told she will die if he interferes again. Jack and Angus speak to the girl’s father who refuses to let them help. They realize that the man is lying to them.

The mission then becomes a fact finding exercise with Boze coming through with some important information. Jack and Mac chase down Valerie’s dad and then free the little science prodigy from the bad guys.

While this version of MacGyver features an Angus who works with a team, there are enough fans of the show that a second season has already been approved by CBS.  Purists, those who remember a time when Angus MacGyver worked solo, are not quite enamored of this new show where the show’s hero is surrounded by people on every mission.

Till is slowly become more acceptable as the scientific spy who does not rely upon guns to complete an assignment. The show’s producers have followed the familiar theme of making something from nothing.

In this episode, Mac makes a small bomb, and a directional microphone. He also amps up Jack’s mini-van’s speed with a gallon jug of hydrogen peroxide. Boze and Riley make Mac a directional antenna so he can avoid the cops.

Angus and Jack rescue the little scientist and she is hidden away in Mac’s old treehouse lab. On a sidenote: Valerie; the scientific prodigy, sports glasses and an earnest look on her little face and is socially awkward. In essence the kid is a walking trope.

Despite being trapped in a cliché, Miller makes the most of her role and the interaction between her character and MacGyver works well. We learn more about Angus’ backstory along with a good look into what makes Boze tick.

This episode uses the science experiment that Angus does for Ericson’s class at the beginning of the episode to foil the baddies. It is a nice touch, as is Jack’s dubbing MacGyver “Geekachu.”

Jack explains that if Mac were a Pokemon character that would be his nickname. “It was either that or nerdasaur…What about Brainmander?”

The criminals are caught, Thornton finds out that they have been on an unsanctioned mission and Mac gives his old treehouse lab to Valerie. The implication is that the girl will grow up to become the next MacGyver.

It would have been nice if the kid scientist was more involved with helping her father out. Clearly the eighth grade prodigy is meant to be a future “Mac.” For some reason, rather than approaching the story from that angle, the show’s producers opted to keep to the backstory and team plotline.

While Eads does a good job as Jack, the man is, admittedly, good at all this “action hero” stuff, it would be much better if Angus worked more on his own.  The show has been working overtime to turn MacGyver into a “buddy” show.

The concept works to a degree but despite the effectiveness of the team members, Angus MacGyver worked better alone. (And yes we realize that we have mentioned this twice.) Team Phoenix are slowly growing on us but all these people serve to water down the potential of the show.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Tune in and see what you think. With a season average of 8.152 viewers per episode, they must be doing something right.


Guest starring John Heard as Arthur Ericson and Amiah Miller as Valerie Lawson.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

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