MACGYVER teams up with Hawaii Five-0 for this week’s episode, “Flashlight.” When a devastating earthquake hits Hilo, Hawaii, Mac and the gang are called in to lend a hand. The episode premise is a bit of a lax excuse to get the team in Hawaii for a show mashup, but it offers some fun scenes for Mac – and Boser! – to macgyver up some quick solutions. And, in typical MacGyver fashion, of course there’s something more going on than a simple relief effort.
The show starts out with the team on their way back from a successful mission. Jack is pestering MacGyver about his birthday plans. Apparently Mac doesn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, but Jack refuses to accept that. Matty calls in with the news that the team is being rerouted to Hawaii, but it’s not for a vacation. Kudos to the writer who decided to list ‘Hawaii” as “Paradise,” with the added note “Not today,” in the slugline.
Once in Hawaii, things start out slowly with the team focused simply on helping with the recovery teams. Riley works on getting a wireless network established for easier communication, and Bozer helps out the medical teams. Mac and Jack meanwhile are sent to a local building that’s on the verge of collapse with people still trapped inside.
Once there, they run into Kono and Chin from the Hawaii Five-0 team and start looking to save people from the building. But quickly into the relief effort, they run into two major problems. One, a team of around fifteen scientists are still trapped five floors beneath the surface, and two, a team of Chinese sniper-soldiers is attempting to steal something from a vault of highly confidential experiments located on the fourth floor of the collapsing building. Operating under severe time limits (the building is literally falling apart and could completely collapse at any moment) the four split up – Mac and Kono to find and save the scientists, and Jack and Chin to stop the Chinese soldiers.
Mac finds the scientists, but unfortunately the tunnel he created to get in collapses during an aftershock, and he has to find another way out for himself and the fifteen scientists. Meanwhile, Jack and Chin are having similar luck, having found the Chinese soldiers, but unable to stop them from getting into the vault and taking what they came to steal. With a little help from the scientists and a quick video call, Jack and Mac discover that the soldiers have stolen a smart bullet that can alter course mid flight, giving it a 99% accuracy. Lucky for Mac and Jack, Mac is able to get all the scientists to safety by creating a rope out of wires and having them climb the elevator shaft.
Meanwhile, Bozer has rescued a cute dog from the debris, and macgyvers a splint for the dog’s broken leg. This is a nice scene for Bozer, giving him a chance to be more than just the ditzy comic relief. However, the dog quickly turns into a device by which Bozer can distract himself from what’s really bothering him – Riley hitting it off with an attractive IT guy. The superficiality of the storyline is kind of sad, actually. I liked splint-macgyvering Bozer. He was more interesting.
Back with the relief effort, Mac and Jack are in pursuit of the Chinese soldiers. To say the jump from Mac being trapped underground with the scientists and having just macgyvered a way out, to being in hot pursuit of these soldiers isn’t jarring, would be to lie. It’s a flaw the show has frequently given in to, a symptom of the show having too much story and not enough time to tell it. In any other show it would be natural to see Mac make a plan to save these scientists, and then get to follow through as that plan is executed, runs into more problems, and then watch as more solutions are created to fix those problems. Instead, we get Mac coming up with a solution, and then jump to the next scene after the solution has already been completed. It was a bit deflating, even for the action-packed episode we were given. However, the show could have easily sped up the first part of the episode to make room for watching these people climb to safety. Perhaps the fault lies with the logistics of having fifteen extras climb up a fake elevator shaft only using electronic cords.
Mac and Jack, as well as Kono and Chin, follow the Chinese soldiers to the beach, where they have a standoff. Mac figures out a way to create a stronger laser to confuse the smart bullets, and using Mac’s trick, the team is able to gain the upperhand and prevent the soldiers from escaping with the bullets. The events of the day being what they were, Mac’s mind about birthdays is somehow changed, and he decides to give birthday celebrations a try again and let Jack throw him a party.
Overall, not the strongest structured episode the show has produced this season, but the action and the storyline was definitely of merit. Earthquake relief effort-turned sniper chase was definitely a new plot move for the show, and it is much appreciated. It’s clear that the show still struggles to fit into its role as somewhat of a mini-action movie, but there’s no doubt with each episode the essence of what this MacGyver reboot is gets stronger and more defined.
Season 1, Episode 18 (S01E18)
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