MacGyver: Cigar Cutter – “If You Die, You’re Fired” (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

This episode of MacGyver “Cigar Cutter” brings everything together in terms of the team and the now not so new leader Matty Webber. With her threat to Bozer, “If you die, you’re fired,” and her handy take down of “Dr. Zito: Webber has proven to be as full of compassion as she is Queen of the bad arse’s.

David Dastmalchian returns as Murdoc and he turns out to be a partner of “Mr. Organization” (the splendid William Mapother). The two men have a third member in their little team, a mercenary type who fakes his way in with a prosthetic mask. (Played by busy English actor Mark Sheppard, the role is pretty impressive considering he does not have that much screen time.)

The flashback sequence at the start mentions Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt) yet again and it is looking more and more like she will be popping up in a future episode, if not this season, then the next. Sidenote: MacGyver has already been given the green light for a second season. Fans are, no doubt, overjoyed, although the original MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, who nixed appearing on the reboot, will be less than impressed…

Regardless of the little things that still annoy (For example, the titles that have no apparent connection to the episodes…Did anyone else struggle and fail to spot a “cigar cutter?” Answers in the comment section below, please and thank you.) the show does keep getting better in terms of character dynamics.

Another annoying aspect of the show’s plot line is that Tony Stark robot with AI and a very similar English accent to the “metal man Friday” who became a “real boy” in the films….

Matty Webber has taken on the mantle of Phoenix big boss capably and this episode shows why she was hired. Tough, caring, and a damned good shot, Webber is now firmly in the status of regular, and beloved, cast member in the new re-imaging of the ’80’s favorite. Dalton keeps his end up with enough comedic soft shoe movements and Riley, now that that horrid hairdo is gone, is the official heart throb of the show.

Bozer, in this episode, finally gets some sign that Riley cares about him. Of course that only happens after the fake Dr. Zito stabs Wilt in the stomach but it is clear that MacGyver’s bestie’s heart still throbs for Riley.

Dalton managest to “do a MacGyver” (almost) and, with a little help from Riley, makes some and Mac, makes a bomb that blows up the wall to the servers.

Along side the main plot of Murdoc teaching an evil mercenary new tricks in order to kill off all of Phoenix, there is the “Mac’s dad is missing” storyline. It would be beyond cool if the original MacGyver (Anderson) appeared  as Poppa MacGyver but Anderson has pretty much stated that he will have nothing to do with the new show…

Leaving aside the idea of a cameo by the first Mac, this episode proved that Till has grown into the shoes worn by the first hero of the series and that fans love it almost, if not as much, as the original.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Tune an and see what you think about this new “Mac.”

Cast:

MacGyver: Compass – DNA (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

“Compass” starts out with a bit of a disconnect by showing Bozer back in the field in the MacGyver teaser segment. Wilt made it pretty clear in an earlier episode that he preferred to stay back in the lab and would be doing so in the future.

The opening sequence had Jack and Mac in a garbage compactor and they were about to be crushed. While Dalton talks about Star Wars and the compactor scene, and solution in that film, Mac works out how they can really escape.

In the process, however, Jack is injured and later Matty questions whether or not Dalton should still be partnered with Mac. During the short conference, Mac learns that his best friend in Uni has been killed. He jets off to attend the funeral where he is met by Dalton.

Jack has his injured arm in a sling but he still manages to accompany his friend to the service. Later they spot someone taking pictures of the mourners and after some hacking by Riley, they learn that Mac’s friend Frankie is still alive.

Her project; a new DNA analyzer, has uncovered something that someone wants hidden. There are the usual MacGyver tricks and he even makes a centrifuge out of cardboard.  We learn that Frankie was a romance that he knew could never happen and that Matty really does care for Dalton.

On the romantic front, it appears that Bozer has to live with Riley falling for the Hawaiian Kalei that she met in the Hawaii Five-O crossover episode “Flashlight.” He is jealous of all the “text time” that the two are engaging in and later, after talking to Jack, decides to keep being friends with his crush.

This episode really brought nothing new to the table.  On the plus side, those annoying subtitled split screen “builds” have disappeared.  However, there is very little time spent with anything that Mac now manufactures for any particular storyline.

There needs to be some middle ground where we can actually see how clever MacGyver really is. Having other characters point out what he is making, in this episode it was Frankie who asked if he had really made a piece of lab equipment from a cardboard box, is going too much the other way.

MacGyver has always been about improvising and not using guns to take out the bad guys. Sure the series was annoying as hell in the beginning but with too much emphasis on what Mac was making but now it is beyond vague.

Complaints aside, the team are still working well together, Tristin Mays has been allowed to ditch that bird’s nest hairdo she was lumbered with in the beginning and Meredith Eaton has slid nicely into the position of severe but caring new boss at Phoenix.

Till and Eads are a respectable double act, although Eads manages to fit in well with whomever he works with, and Hires as Wilt feels as comfy as an old pair of shoes.  While the original MacGyver was less about teamwork and more about Mac’s going it alone, this new iteration is hitting the mark with a good cast and some standard scripts.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Head on over and check it out and see what you think. Good or mediocre?

Cast:

Guest starring Aly Michalka as Frankie and François Chau as Richard Sang.

Elementary: Wrong Side of the Road – Cliffhanger (Review)

Elementary logo

Elementary “Wrong Side of the Road” is, clearly, a two-parter that ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. Sherlock is arrested by the red-headed man from DIA and Kitty, who arrived with a tiny tot named Archie, learns that the murder spree she assumed was the work of the paraplegic ex con will continue without its latest victim; the ex con.

This was a splendid episode from its start to the open ended finish. The return of Kitty, who as usual is somewhat fey and more than a little eclectic, marked another chance for the duo of Holmes and Watson to become a trio again.

Kitty Winter, who has definitely moved on from being Holmes’ protege, left under somewhat of a cloud when she shoved her assailant into a vat of  acid. She has returned with news that an another old case that she and Sherlock worked on has crossed the pond to start murdering people in America.

After convincing Holmes of the validity of her claim, he, Watson and Kitty start zeroing in on their suspect, Eli Kotite. The American struck and killed a lady in England and served three years of a four year sentence. Three of the players who put the man behind bars have turned up dead.

While the official causes of death are all “natural” Kitty believes that the man in the wheelchair has hired someone to kill them all. She also believes that she and Holmes are next.

The latest victim was the barrister who prosecuted Kotite and as they question the doctor who signed off on his death certificate, the barrister’s body is dug up and burnt to a cinder.  Meanwhile, Kotite believes that he is now on the “hit-list.”

A red-headed man is a suspect, he was seen by Holmes and by the barrister’s widow, and later in the episode he turns up at Sherlock’s apartment. The ginger haired fellow turns out to be a member of the intelligence community and he places Holmes under arrest.

The chemistry between Miller and Lovibond is, as usual, spot on. Ophelia brings the same level of focus and charm to the character from before. The addition of the child and the German nanny who nearly chokes Watson to death, allows the actress even more in terms of performance. Her character is still somewhat murky and mysterious and this adds to the aura of vagueness and elusiveness she emits.

Elementary ends with the feeling that someone, either Holmes or Kitty, has stumbled into some nefarious government plot where a trio of Englishmen have been murdered, not by Kotite – who is thrown off a building – but by some international assassin. Clearly the DIA agent believes Holmes to be the killer, although in Sherlock’s mind the agent is the villain.

Miller and Lucy Liu continue to spark well of one another, although the exchanges between Liu, Miller and Lovibond are also spot on. The whole “no one needs pizza and pasta” was amusing and so Holmes.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. The second half of this cliffhanger will air on March 12.

Cast:

Guest starring Ophelia Lovibond as Kitty Winter, Regina Taylor as Dr. Wilkinson and  Michael Patrick Thornton as Eli Kotite. 

MacGyver: Ruler – Thrown Under the Bus (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

As opined in an earlier review, the specter of Patricia Thornton will not rest easy behind bars as she reaches out to endanger the entire team in MacGyver “Ruler.” In this episode, which takes place in “Amsterdam,” Mac and the entire team are in the field when they are thrown under the bus after a bomb they intercept explodes in the town “centrum.”

This is Boze’s first international field mission and it was supposed to be fairly simple and straightforward.  The group are put in jeopardy when the bomb they take from Olivia Prior explodes destroying property in the city. The CCTV footage in Amsterdam show all four operatives and the Dutch intelligence community and the cops are all after the team.

In the field, as the agents fend for themselves, we learn that Jack has an old girlfriend in Amsterdam and that he can speak Dutch and French. Boze can actually make passible prosthetics on the fly and that when the chips are down the “scientist” can be as brave as anyone on the team.

At the start of the episode Boze daydreams about saving the entire team while on assignment. He reluctantly reveals his aspirations to be a field operative to the robot that Mac built. Later, after almost dying in his first assignment, Wilt realizes that he is perfectly happy back in the lab.

This was an interesting episode. The sets all looked Dutch (Mike’s Film Talk would know, we lived there for some time) and the scenes were tightly filmed enough that there were no real “give-aways” as to where the location might actually be.

Apparently The Netherlands has increased their CCTV capability to match the paranoid extent of England’s CCTV coverage. In this storyline it seems that in Amsterdam the cameras are everywhere.  There is a smattering of Dutch spoken by the odd player and Christopher Heyerdahl does a brilliant job with his introductory line, as he enters the control room.

The only complaint about the language is when another actor talks of Schiphol Airport. They do not pronounce it properly. The Dutch basically growl the first part and no one, not even Heyerdahl say the word correctly.

The team manage to turn the tables on Harlan, who is the real bad guy here and escape. Boze tells the robot that he is pleased to be back with the geeks and alls well that ends well.

In terms of humor, this one delivered a number of chuckle worthy moments. Jack’s girlfriend and his previous CIA cover story, “Call me Bryce,” were amusing enough to make Dalton even more fun than usual.

Boze’s impromptu prosthetics, that began to melt off of Mac’s and Riley’s faces in front of the overly hot servers was clearly a nod to Inspector Clouseau  and his melting nose in the 1976 comedy “The Pink Panther Strikes Again.”

Both Mac’s oversized proboscis and Riley’s fake nose begin to fall apart as the two operatives sweat buckets trying to recover incrimination footage that Harlan’s agents covered up. It was an almost perfect moment of strained comedy as the two race to avoid detection.

(Ironically, Boze does save the day just as he did in his daydream by distracting the Dutch cops who are closing in on his two friends.)

While “Ruler” was entertaining it has to be mentioned that the robot, with its “Jarvis” type delivery a’la Iron Man, is annoying. Another one of those “points off for lack of originality” moments. The AI concept with an English butler character as the robotic sidekick has been done before.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Head on over and catch this one. The new boss, so different from the old one, has well and truly settled in and the team are bonding very well. This re-imaging is well worth a look.

Cast:

Guest starring Christopher Heyerdahl as Harlan Wolff, Svetlana Efremova as Olivia Prior and Deborah Mace as Jenaveev.

Elementary: Rekt in Real Life – eSports, Gangsters and Global Warming (Review)

Elementary logo

Elementary “Rekt in Real Live” was clever and interesting. Yet for all its intricacies it was ultimately unsatisfying. Whether it was down to Christine Taylor playing against type (she was a murderous villain in the episode) or the sour ending to Shinwell’s short-lived reunion with his daughter; the episode was not overly enjoyable.

Ultimately the plot was very well done. On top of the eSports agent being murdered to learn the location of an up and coming professional “eJock” there was Shinwell and his story.  The murdered gaming agent leads Holmes, Watson and Marcus to another gaming area run by Joey Ng.

The new suspect; Ng, has just hired Tendu (the eJock) to play for his team in an upcoming tournament. Ng has Chechnian escorts to keep his professional players happy and later Holmes and Watson learn that Tendu has fallen in love with the model/hooker a’la “Pretty Woman.”

As Sherlock, Watson and Marcus follow the clues they learn that Tendu was a celebrity, via Instagram apparently, for his “sealfies.” The young man is an Inuit from a small village who took the snaps to fight an animal rights activist.

His counter move to stop the activist from killing off seal hunting in his village made him a star before becoming a professional gamer. It is this link, his village, that leads Holmes and Watson to catch his killer.

Initially they believe that Raina, the activist, had a hand in the torture and death of gaming agent O.G. Pwnzr (Bobby Moreno). Ms. Lindquist, the activist’s lawyer turns out to be more than involved with the agent’s death and putting Tendu on a hit list to die. 

The motive turns out to have everything to do with global warming and nothing to do with the gaming world, Chechnian hookers or seal hunting.  Elementary “Rekt in Real Life” manages to give us a mystery that twists and turns quite satisfactorily until it is solved by Holmes.

As all the clue following occurs Shinwell finds that his daughter Chivonne reaches out to the undercover agent working to take down his old gang; SBK. A young gangster has decided that he wants the 14 year old girl as his girlfriend.

The thug’s way of courting is to have fellow gang members follow the victim and make their life a misery. Chivonne asks her ex-con father to help get Lucien (Andrew Manningoff her back.

Shinwell agrees to help but has to stop short of actually killing the young thug. He decides instead, after a chat with Watson, to offer the criminal a boost up in his material world in exchange for leaving Chivonne alone…forever.

The plan works but when Shinwell tries to get closer to his daughter she tells him point blank that this is not what she wants. She asked for his help because of his criminal past and it is his past that she wants no part of.

Ending Shinwell’s storyline on such a sour note brought down the overall tone of the episode. Still, despite the massive downer induced because Chivonne used her father, this was one of the better mysteries on offer this season.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring James Kyson as Joey Ng, Connor Johnston as Tendu, Madaí Chakell  as Chivonne, Rachel York as Carla Giovani, Kathy Najimy as Raina and Christine Taylor as Ms. Lindquist.