Mac and the team go Dutch in this week’s episode of MACGYVER, “Ruler.” When the team gets sent on a surveillance mission that goes sideways, Matty and Phoenix must cut all ties with Mac, Jack, Riley and Bozer, leaving them stranded in Amsterdam with foreign authorities after them. Making for an unintentionally dangerous first mission, it’s up to Bozer to get the team into a high-security government surveillance building to retrieve a video that will clear their names.
This week’s episode is, without a doubt, the best episode MacGyver has put forth to date. The stakes are high and Mac traverses new territory in this episode. The plot is new and refreshing, and there’s a fine balance between action and character building. The espionage mystery also adds a certain level of tension only achieved by a few other episodes this season.
When Matty receives CIA intelligence that a parliament member is working with terrorists in Amsterdam, Mac and the team are sent in on a surveillance mission to catch the treason in the act and document it so that the CIA can use it as evidence to convict this parliament member without getting caught spying in an ally country. Because this is a surveillance mission only, Matty sends Bozer along for his first official in-the-field mission and training.
Things start to go haywire, though, when, instead of meeting a supposed terrorist group leader, the parliament member receives a call to pick up a bag at the cafe where Mac and the team are surveilling her. Mac goes to intercept the woman and find out what’s in the bag, but when she sees Mac she drops the bag and runs. Inside, Mac sees that the bag contains a bomb that is about to go off. The team hops back in their surveillance van and drives to the nearest empty parking lot where the bomb can go off without harming anyone.
Things get worse, though, when the authorities show up, thinking that Mac and his team just set off a car bomb. Knowing that their undercover surveillance mission has just gone upside down and that if they are caught they’ll likely be imprisoned, either as terrorists or as spies breaking the espionage act, the team runs. Matty has no choice but to cut ties with the team in order to keep Phoenix from being shut down and to keep the US and the Netherlands relations afloat.
The team goes into hiding while they try to figure a way out of the country. Matty manages to send them a message letting them know that the Dutch government records all regular video and cell transmissions, and since Riley hid their communications as regular cell traffic to avoid suspicion, there’s still a chance they can recover the video-recorded evidence showing that Mac and the team didn’t make the bomb, they were just trying to prevent anyone from getting killed by it.
Using his prosthetics talents, Bozer makes fake noses for Riley and Mac that will help them get past the face-recognition security cameras placed around the city and within government buildings. They break into the government building that holds the servers where the video would be located. Mac makes Bozer wait outside with Jack, because Mac feels responsible for Bozer’s safety. However, when the heat from the servers starts melting away the fake noses keeping Riley and Mac from being discovered, Bozer turns himself into the authorities as a distraction so that Riley can finish uploading the video that will save their reputations. Thanks to Bozer, Riley is able to get the video uploaded and sent to the government official tracking them down, in order to clear their names. With all well and resolved, the team heads back to Los Angeles, where they’ve been reinstated at Phoenix.
As the team uncovers during the chaos of the rogue mission, the CIA intelligence was bad feed to begin with. Their surveillance mission was always meant to fail and frame them as terrorists, set up by “Chrysalis,” the code name Patricia was supposedly using. However, I’m suspicious that there might be more going on here. It all seems very easy that Patricia was arrested and Mac and the team so readily accept that she was the dirty agent the whole time. If there isn’t more at play here – if we get to the final episode of the season and no twists in this matter have been revealed, I’ll be disappointed in the lack of imagination the show has. Until then, I’ll just revel in how far the show has come in story quality since that first episode.
Season 1, Episode 17 (S01E17)
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