You have to admire the teaser open of MacGyver “Large Blade” just a little. Jack and Mac are struggling to move a huge prisoner across a roof. The big figure, with a black hood on its head, repeated headbutts Dalton, so much so that he is getting dizzy.
Midway through their struggle, their package gets loose and Mac breaks off to manufacture a better means of holding their prisoner as Jack gets roughed up some more. Grabbing a blue tarpaulin and some cord, along with a handy bungee cord, and a couple of belts, and Victor, aka Elvis for this mission, is “Hannibal Lector’d.”
After this long handled process they finally get the prisoner onto the helicopter just as the man’s friends arrive with guns blazing. This entire exercise has been set up for a number of reasons.
To introduce us to the chopper pilot, show how tough Jack is, how resourceful Mac is and to give Riley a chance to triumphantly shout that “Elvis has left the building.”
One has to admire the effort that went into an episode open that ends on a joke like that. That is part of the reason this iteration of MacGyver is so popular with the punters.
Although the swift and unforeseen removal of Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt) has a number of fans rather upset. Many are questioning just what happened there. Was Sandrine fired? Did she have another job offer elsewhere? (Which might just be the case, the woman is impressively talented.)
Still, at least her character was mentioned at the start of the episode. But so too was Amy Acker’s character from last week’s episode although, rather interestingly, Nikki (Tracy Spiridakos) was not. While it is all too easy to mourn the loss of London born Holt as a strong female character, this show does have a great many positive role models in the show.
Show creator Craig Siebels may have a MacGyver lousy with team members who surround his every move, but Siebels is not backward about filling the screen with capable female characters. For example:
Acker’s Sarah is one tough, capable and recurring character as is Nikki. Series regular Riley may not be tough as in able to leap buildings with a single bound strong, but she has plenty to keep up her end of things.
Even guest starring roles feature strong women. Cynthia the chopper pilot was no shrinking violet and did not let a fractured tibia keep her down for too long. The new Phoenix boss lady, the diminutive in size but not in stature, “Matty the Hun” (as Jack refers to her) is a tough cookie ready to pounce on anyone who does not get the point.
(She also looks like one of those bosses who might just be a bit of fun to work for. It should also be mentioned here that perhaps Siebels intended to replace the towering Holt (5’10” tall) with the 4’3″ tall Webber all along. As visual gags go it is amusing in a sort of Mutt and Jeff sort of way. Along with Jack’s build up as well, it made for an funny end to the episode.)
The main storyline has the chopper brought down in the most dangerous jungle in the world, which incidentally has no wildlife whatsoever, and when the aircraft crashes, Victor escapes. Cynthia fractures her tibia and Jack spends the entire episode with a red “circle” almost around his left eye.
(That red circle was another funny sight gag that brought back memories of Hugh Wilson’s 1985 comedy western Rustlers Rhapsody. A character who is the film’s sidekick, which Jack Dalton most definitely is in MacGyver, paints a circle around his mule’s eye. There may be no connection at all but with the “Mutt and Jeff” gag at the end and “Elvis has left the building” it feels right.)
Mac manages to make a crutch out of the chopper’s landing strip, make a battery with a plastic water bottle, some jungle water, a pair of chain handcuffs, a little root salt and some lightening. He also uses a satellite phone battery to start a fire and subdues the dangerous Victor all by himself.
MacGyver “Large Blade” turned out to be the funniest and best episode of the season thus far. The only characters who got the short end this week were Bozer and Riley. They were stuck at Phoenix plugging away at a laptop and worrying. (At least Riley got to worry prettily as that nasty hairdo did not make a reappearance in this episode.)
Those little subtitled montages have, apparently disappeared for good and while the V.O. has also seemingly been done away with, this change is for the better. Till is coming into his own as MacGyver and proved once again in this episode that he really does not need Jack.
(This is not a “get rid of George Eads” bit of schtick. We like George it is just that apart from a bit of comic relief, his character is a bit superfluous.)
MacGyver this week added a lot of humor, and poking fun at Mac’s ability to make things out of practically nothing, on top of using the entire episode to build up Thornton’s replacement. It will be interesting to see if Matty-the-Hun will cut Mac’s team down even further.
MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS.
- Lucas Till – Angus MacGyver
- George Eads – Jack Dalton
- Tristin Mays – Riley Davis
- Justin Hires – Wilt Bozer
- Meredith Eaton – Matty Webber