It’s in the jungle for MACGYVER in this week’s episode, “Large Blade.” With a new boss taking over Patricia’s position, and a mission gone wrong, the episode offers adventure into the unknown in the field and back at Phoenix. And with the team split between the field and Phoenix headquarters, it’s up to Riley and Bozer to locate the guys while Mac and Jack keep themselves and their injured pilot alive and hidden from the dangerous men hunting them in the jungle wilderness.
Unlike last week’s episode, this week’s episode is full of the tension and stakes that MacGyver has been striving for and missing this entire season. Without a doubt, this episode is the best MacGyver has done so far. It’s a classic dilemma: our heroes get marooned in some vast and undiscoverable place, and must figure a way out of the impossible, all while protecting themselves from the unseen dangers of their unintentional prison. Yet, despite its common depiction in stories, MacGyver finally figures out how to make the story its own, and it doesn’t come off as trope-y, overdone, or boring. I really felt something with this episode, and I was eager to watch Mac earn his way out of their dire situation as the problems kept toppling up.
What was so great about this episode was just that – the problems kept accumulating. This new MacGyver has often faced story troubles because the show has been too nice to its protagonist. In the show’s defense, it’s difficult to come up with a situation that would be overly troublesome for Mac to solve, without it being equally overdone. However, the stakes and tension in past storylines has been miniscule, which makes for a boring show and uninvested viewers. This episode, however, was not like that at all. From the get-go we are right there with Mac and Jack, trying to overcome each obstacle as it’s handed to them.
Another fun thing this episode did was play with the teaser opening, which the show has been morphing more and more into the main storyline and out of the frame of completely separate and unrelated stories. However, that is still the format the show leans towards, so when this episode opened on Mac and Jack trying to get a handle on their criminal catch, the immediate assumption was that this was a separate case from what the actual episode would deal with. It becomes clear only after our first complication in the helicopter that this isn’t a separate storyline – this is the episode. From there, the problems just keep coming and it’s an actual delight to watch.
There was one moment near the end of the episode where I was momentarily upset that the show was falling into its typical lazy solutions again. When Riley is finally able to locate the debris of the crashed helicopter and Phoenix sends out more helicopters to look for them, Jack notes that with Uncle Sam finally there to rescue them, and no sign of the other dangerous men hunting them, things are finally looking up. It’s of course supposed to be a false ending, set to surprise audiences. But the show has wrapped up its past storylines and problems so cleanly like this that it’s believable in a disappointing way. Needless to say, I was very pleased to find out the episode was not wrapping itself up in a neat little bow like that.
Overall, the episode was well worth the watch. I can’t believe I’m saying that about a MacGyver episode, but I am. It’s fun, it’s riveting, and the female guest star playing the pilot was great. I almost wish they’d make her a permanent part of the team. She has a lot of chemistry on screen with Mac and Jack. And speaking of onscreen chemistry, the team’s new boss is a totally unexpected but fantastic choice. I’m not sure what the game plan is – if Patricia is completely out of the picture now, or if there will be some sort of surprise in the season arc that brings her back, making this boss a temporary one, but either way, I’m excited to see how the writers play with this new character. It should be good, but knowing this show, nothing is for certain.
Season 1, Episode 13 (S01E13)
MacGyver airs Fridays at 8PM on CBS
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor