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: Hook – Dog the Bounty Hunter With Pie (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyverMacGyver  “Hook” takes the Matty and Jack storyline out of backstory status and moves ahead with a reconciliation of sorts. It also gives the team a chance to come up against a familial set of bounty hunters a’la Dog the Bounty Hunter but with buttermilk pie.

The long running problem of new boss Matty and her history with Jack consumes much of the episode. Mac and his shadow Jack are sent to collect an agent who was seen in the custody of a bounty hunter.

They head off to catch the man but find that the agent has been secreted in a bus while the bounty hunter plays pool in a bar. Jack and Mac follow the bounty hunter as he runs with his prisoner. They catch up to him in a cafe run by his mother, Mama Colton.

The family run business, both the cafe and the bounty hunter business, is headed up by Mama who is one part Ma Barker, one part Jesse James’ mum (the Colton’s even have a Frank and Jesse in their midst) but the rest of this pie baking mother is all “Dog.”

Riley and Boze are sent out into the field as a sign of Matty’s disgust at the failure of her two top men to bring the wanted agent in. Jack and Mac end up on the bottom end every time they deal with Mama and her family.

The two newer agents of Phoenix also have a run in with Mama Colton and her brood of bounty hunters but manage to get out pretty much unscathed despite Boze going “off script.” (He calls Riley by a number of pet names that get worse as the conversation continues with the Colton’s.)

Eventually, amidst eating enough buttermilk pie to founder an elephant, Mac and his team retrieve the wanted agent and thwart the Armenian bad buys who want the man, and the Colton’s dead. It does cost Phoenix $4 million but in the end the mission results in Jack and Matty burying the hatchet.

This episode focused on the team and how the friction between two members of the organization threatened their effectiveness. Something similar was taking place in the Colton family business, with Mama’s anger at Billy taking on a job without clearing it with her.

The schism between Billy and Mama allowed Mac and his team an “in” and it allows them to win. MacGyver points out to his friend and teammate that the issues between Matty Webber and Jack leaves them vulnerable. He tells Dalton to sort things out between them and he does.

Later Matty joins her team members in another game of “Truth or Dare” and as she knows all of Jack’s secrets he suggests getting out a bottle of hot sauce as he will be doing dare’s all evening.

“Hook” moved back from shoving the new boss of Phoenix down the audience’s throat and moved to a more comedic line with the bounty hunting family. It had shades of Midnight Run along with that clear homage to “Dog” and it was funny.

The Colton’s were a brilliant addition to the episode and it would be surprising if some sharp-eyed writer or network exec, or even show creator Peter M. Lenkov, do not jump on a spin-off show here.

“Mama the Bounty Hunter,” anyone?

Macgyver airs Fridays on CBS.  The new boss, Matty Webber, is fitting in nicely. Head on over and check this ’80’s homage out and see what you think. Is it catching up to the original?

Cast:

Guest starring Lance Gross as Billy Colton, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Mama Colton, Javicia Leslie as Jessie Colton and Jermaine Rivers as Frank Colton

MacGyver: Magnifying Glass – Zodiac (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

It seems that show creators Peter M. Lenkov, Lee David Zlotoff may just have had an idea about how badly their replacement for Patricia Thornton was going to be received by fans. MacGyver “Magnifying Glass” does not put new boss Matty in jeopardy, but it strives to make us see her more human side. 

A zodiac copycat kills the diminutive leader’s goddaughter and boyfriend. Matty calls on her team to step outside the purview of Phoenix and catch the killer. The group agree and even Jack Dalton steps up smartly to catch the serial killer copycat.

The main problem with this scenario is that we audience do not know Matty well enough to connect with her grief. As bad as it sounds, she is not yet a character that we care about, ergo, all this has been an exercise in futility.

It does not, in any way, prove this new boss to be a solid replacement to Thornton.  She is, ultimately, still unlikeable. When MacGyver, whose trademark is his improvisational skills in the field, helps to solve the case, Matty reluctantly agrees to let him continue.

Thus far the new boss is nothing like the old boss (See what we did there?) and it is not a good fit. The plot line also worked to re-establish the group as a team.

Jack notices that the address they inspect is too perfect after Mac’s remark about the place being too “Leave It to Beaver.” Riley is abducted by the killer just as she is about to crack the code on his emails. Boze helps by known Riley’s password.

Once again those annoying subtitles, or screen titles, were missing. At one point Matty prompts Mac to explain the device he is manufacturing in the abandoned apartments. So far so good…but…

The formula is still not right. The voice overs by Mac are still needed here and the fact that they are missing takes away from the “magic” of MacGyver.

There were other issues with this episode. The beginning of the episode, the prologue piece, has Mac and Boze building a robot. This prompts Jack to go into a mini diatribe about the The Terminator and how robots are bad. Cute and amusing but it was done a few weeks ago on Agents of SHIELD.

Mack and Yo-Yo had a long discussion about the franchise and it was very funny. (One gets the feeling that writers on these shows spend too much time emailing one another about ideas.)

The bad guy, aka the zodiac copycat killer, turned to be the guy they first talked to at the start of the episode.  “Magnifying Glass” worked to show just how well the group are fitting together as a team. It tried too hard to make Matty, the very unpopular replacement for Thornton, more acceptable to the MacGyver fan base.

MacGyver  is still doing well in the ratings stakes but that could well be down to its lack of competition on a Friday night. Rosewood recently made the move from Thursdays to go up against the CBS series.

Tune in and see what you think of this re-imaging of an ’80’s classic and let us know if you like Matty or whether they should bring back Patricia Thornton.

Cast:

MacGyver: Fish Scaler – Call Me Matty (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

After weeks of complaining about those annoying screen titles telling us what every little thing is that MacGyver is using to build his “miracle” devices, “Fish Scaler” drops the “let’s treat the audience like idiots and goes the other direction. They reveal nothing at all.

To be fair Mac only “built” two items in the show last night. A bolo, made from a bit of rope and two bottles of fluid, and a detection device that allowed Mac and his captive, Douglas to hear the SWAT team about to invade their hotel room.

MacGyver did get to show off his intelligence factor by working out where Douglas was hiding out by taking a picture of a bird sketch made by the fugitive. But that is not a “device.”

Overall, the entire premise of MacGyver, past and  present, was ignored. The show’s raison d’etre was left out of the mix almost entirely.

Why?

Well, it could be that regardless of the splendid job that Frank Whaley did as the lonely fall guy for the crooked FBI agent, and the fun little bit of weird romance between his character and Ilene Preskin (played by the brilliant Siobhan Fallon Hogan) this episode was all about Matty Webber.

Patriotic Thornton’s replacement (very unpopular with fans of the show) while somewhat diminutive in stature has a big attitude in her dealings with underlings and a long running feud with Jack Dalton.

“Call me Matty” she tells everyone on the team, except Dalton, and they are so intimidated they have problems meeting her request. There are problems with the new boss that has little to do with the actress chosen.

(Some fans do have issue with the decision to cast Meredith Eaton.  This appears to be more to do with her size rather than her ability to act.)

Most are annoyed and puzzled at the removal of a character that was the female equivalent (replacement) of the original MacGyver boss Pete Thornton (played by fan favorite Dana Elcar). Other issues have to do with the fact that, as played by Sandrine Holt Patricia was a kick-arse boss who went into the field and was more than capable when she did so. 

The old boss, besides being one tall and imposing figure, proved precisely why she was the big boss. Matty Webber, on the other hand, despite her history with Dalton has only proven that she is a manager, full stop.

It is hard to imagine this prickly woman, who presumably has a soft center, as an equivalent to Patricia Thornton.  This is an office bound pencil pusher, not an action figure with attitude like her predecessor.

All comparisons aside, this could well be a long and involved plot line in this re-imagining of the ’80’s series. If one looks carefully at Thornton’s face back when those cuffs are being snapped onto her wrists, the Phoenix leader looks a little stunned.

Patricia may have been framed…wait for it…by Nikki. It makes a certain amount of sense. The entire “I’m an undercover agent for the CIA” storyline was a bit too pat.  Looking into the television crystal ball for just a moment one can almost see Thornton busting out of captivity and going all out to prove her innocence.

Truth be told, Matty Webber feels like a short-term character (definitely no pun intended here Meredith…) she seems like filler. A temporary leader with no real backstory, apart from that “mythical” falling out she had with Jack “back in the day.”

MacGyver “Fish Scaler” finished with Boze working out who the crooked Fed was and Matty accepting her least experienced agent as an asset. Douglas will go to prison but he can see his “girlfriend” Ilene on Thursdays. We still do not know why Jack and Matty hate one another though. (And probably never will.)

If there could be one complaint about this episode, leaving Matty Webber out of the equation, it would be the ambivalence with Mac’s creations. A bolo and a desk fan alarm were pretty unimpressive guys and dolls. Let us find  happy medium between the “see Spot run” drill and no explanation at all.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Stop by and check out Mac’s new boss and see what you think.

Cast:

Guest starring Frank Whaley as Douglas Bishop, Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Ilene Preskin, Pat Dortch as FBI Director Martin Dryer and Gary Weeks as Agent Brooks.

MacGyver: Large Blade – New Boss (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

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.

Cast:

Guest starring Zulay Henao as Cynthia and Keith Jardine as Victor.