MACGYVER Review: “Toothpick”

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Mac does his best to get over Nikki in this week’s episode of , “Toothpick.”  We’re to a point in the series now where I’m just going to have to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to traveling across the world, Mac’s team can do it in the time it takes for you or me to walk to the bathroom. The episodes continue to get stronger in terms of cohesiveness and storytelling, though, so I’m willing to forgive the giant leap in reality – I mean, if CSI can solve a case in under an hour, Mac’s team can get to Germany in under four, I suppose.

The series is more and more starting to feel like Hawaii Five-0, which isn’t much of a surprise, since Peter Lenkov is running the show. That’s not to say this is necessarily a bad thing – Hawaii Five-0 is a relatively good reboot, in my opinion, but it’d be nice if MacGyver could solidly land its own voice. The show has improved so much since its first two episodes, though, that I’m willing to give it more time to do so.

Perhaps my biggest complaint about “Toothpick” is still MacGyver himself. Don’t get me wrong, despite the critical response he’s been getting in other reviews, I honestly like Lucas Till as MacGyver. There’s a certain charm that Till has, and he plays the young-but-seasoned aspect of MacGyver that this reboot is going for well. But I still feel nothing from him when it comes to Nikki. And this whole episode was about him getting over Nikki! Perhaps there was no true chemistry between Till and Tracy Spiridakos, the actress who plays Nikki, and so my lackluster feelings towards his relationship is a result of being unconvinced of their feelings in the first place.

"Toothpick" -- Using only an armrest, a curtain rod and a toothpick, MacGyver must fix a sabotaged train in order to protect a whistleblower who has proof that her boss is selling weapons to U.S. enemies, on MACGYVER, Friday, Oct. 21 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Lucas Till, Kasha Kropinski. Photo: Guy D'Alema/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I like this theory only because there was a bit of a spark between Mac and Katarina, a young German Executive Assistant the team is in charge of protecting in this episode. In fact, if this episode was good for nothing else, it at least proved that Mac does indeed have actual emotions, and that Lucas Till can portray them. I’m not exactly sure why there seems to be so much emotional detachment around Nikki, but at least now I know that there’s hope for romance in other places for Mac in future episodes.

As stated before, despite her complete absence from the show, this episode was all about Nikki. Phoenix was given a tip about Nikki’s whereabouts, and Mac and Jack have gone to investigate. After staking out the apartment for more than a day, they see movement inside the apartment. When they go in to confront Nikki, they find a terrified civilian who Nikki has paid to deliver a package to “Angus MacGyver.” Mac takes the package – it’s a key, but he’s not sure what to. Jack and Mac don’t have much time to find out, though, as they get a call from Patricia – there’s trouble in Germany, and they need to get there ASAP.

It seems that the Executive Assistant to a corrupt business man and major crime boss has turned over evidence that could incriminate her now ex-boss. She gets a message from the Interpol agent she’s in contact with to get on a train to Frankfurt. Except, what she doesn’t know is that said agent has been dead for two hours when she gets this message, meaning some unknown person is waiting for her in Frankfurt, and probably not for good reasons.

"Toothpick" -- Using only an armrest, a curtain rod and a toothpick, MacGyver must fix a sabotaged train in order to protect a whistleblower who has proof that her boss is selling weapons to U.S. enemies, on MACGYVER, Friday, Oct. 21 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Sandrine Holt, Photo: Guy D'Alema/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Patricia tells the team to get on that train with Katarina, and make sure she stays safe at all costs, while Patricia goes to Frankfurt to try and neutralize the situation before they arrive. Unfortunately for everyone, the situation is much larger than Patricia expects when she arrives at the train station, and their cover is quickly blown, meaning that the assassins are likely coming to Mac and the team on the train.

Sure enough, a helicopter delivers a band of assassins to the train mid journey. Using some stealth and some smart macgyvering, the team manages to whittle their opponents down to three men, but not before the cronies kill the train conductor and tear out the navigational system and fail-safe brakes. They depart in their helicopter, leaving the team, Katarina, and a train full of civilians to crash and burn in a fiery death.

Mac is left on a time crunch to figure out a way to stop the train and keep everyone on board safe. The team gets the entire train full of passengers to regroup in the back three cars, which Mac decouples from the front train cars using a cool torch he macgyvers with an armrest from one of the train chairs. In order to get the cars to separate, however, Mac and Jack have to stay on the speeding front cars. So to stop the front cars from speeding into the Frankfurt station and crashing to their doom, Mac has to crawl underneath the speeding train and rewire the engine. As the train comes to a speeding halt, all Mac can do is hold on for dear life. Lucky for him and Jack, though, the train stops and they make it out alive.

"Toothpick" -- Using only an armrest, a curtain rod and a toothpick, MacGyver must fix a sabotaged train in order to protect a whistleblower who has proof that her boss is selling weapons to U.S. enemies, on MACGYVER, Friday, Oct. 21 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Lucas Till. Photo: CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

With Katarina in safe hands, the team returns to LA. Though the spark between Katarina and Mac was brief, Mac is feeling better about moving on from Nikki. He stops blaming himself for Nikki’s wrongdoing, though he’s still determined to find her and lock her away. He goes to her apartment to see if the key Nikki left him unlocks anything among her possessions. It doesn’t, but he’s not deterred. He’s going to find her, and he’s going to bring her down.

Will we ever see Nikki again, and when we do, will we finally feel any emotion from Mac? I’m not sure, but I’ll be here next week to find out all the same!

TB-TV-Grade-B

Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)
MacGyver airs Fridays at 8PM on CBS

Read all of our reviews of MacGyver here. 
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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.
Keep up with all of Tasha’s reviews here.

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Still quiet here.sas

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