Mac and Jack take a trip down south and find themselves at odds with a tough mama and her bounty-hunter family in this week’s episode of MACGYVER, “Hook.” I’m especially in love with this episode featuring Sheryl Lee Ralph as the tough-but-compassionate “Mama.” The episode is playful, proving that MacGyver and his team aren’t perfect and can be out-maneuvered. It’s especially fun to watch when Mac and Jack are outsmarted by non-government people. Of course, the entire episode isn’t just Mac and the team back at Phoenix getting stumped by some bounty hunters. There’s plenty of tussle back and forth between the two parties.
Since the departure of Patricia and the installment of Matty as head of the Phoenix team, the episodes have also gained a certain chemistry between the characters that wasn’t there before. It’s added a nice balance to the show’s mix of action and backstory. This episode is no different, with Jack trying to reconcile his past with Matty.
The episodes have also been more fun, relaxing the characters a bit and letting their personalities shine a little more. It’s been particularly entertaining to watch the team get to know Matty, who always somehow manages to be one step ahead of the team. However, the show is still struggling to find more internal conflict with itself, as the first half of the season spent so long building upon the idea of perfection, but slowly the show is finding a better and more interesting dynamic.
Overall, the episode was yet again another improvement on the overall quality of episodes this season. The show has somehow managed – yet again – to take a ‘chase and run’ episode and make it feel new. No doubt the episode has the bounty hunter element to thank for that. Still, that’s an impressive writing feat and should definitely be acknowledged.
The only thing that really tripped me up this episode was the cold open: the show has made it clear that it doesn’t like to tie itself down to either a cold open or a teaser, but this week’s cold open had Mac and Jack stuck in a quicksand pit, and even Mac was out of ideas on how to escape. The joke (which I love) becomes Mac screaming for help because he can’t MacGyver his way out of this one, before we cut to the title sequence and the actual storyline. But we never find out how Mac and Jack escape! We don’t even know if Riley or Bozer or anyone else was around to save them. Now, obviously we see Mac and Jack in LA in the very next scene, which means of course they got out of the pit, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the current episode’s storyline, but I just want to know. It’s going to bug me.
The actual episode has the team hunting down a fugitive who is making a break for the Mexican border. When Jack and Mac come across the fugitive’s stolen car they discover that the man has been run off the road and presumably taken by another vehicle. They follow the road until they find the truck stopped at bar up the road. Mac and Jack think they’ve cleverly found a bounty hunter who has snatched their fugitive, but in fact, he’s led them into a trap to get them off his tail. Jack is barely able to fight off all the men in the bar while Mac tags the Bounty Hunter’s truck with a gps tracker. They then follow the bounty hunter to a diner, which also just happens to be the home base for the bounty hunter – turns out it’s a whole family business, run by a ‘Mama.’ After a little interrogation, Mac reveals that he and Jack work for the government, and offers to pay them double the bounty price if they turn the fugitive over to them. But Mama won’t accept their offer, because “it’s not good business to break your word.”
After another failed attempt by Mac and Jack to kidnap the fugitive, Matty sends in Riley and Bozer, as well as a stealth team to sneak the fugitive away into custody. However, after the fugitive has been taken in by Phoenix, Mac and the team realize that the real reason Mama wouldn’t accept their offer and turn the fugitive over was because they weren’t handing him into the authorities to begin with. Instead, the person who had hired them was the fugitive’s old gang boss. Mac realizes that Mama and her family will likely be killed, and the team devises a plan to keep the family safe.
With Mac and his team to thank for saving their lives, there seems to be no hard feelings between Mama and Mac. But Mama still wants the money Mac’s offered for the fugitive’s bounty, so Phoenix still has to pay up. Not the best win for Mac, but still a win.
Season 1, Episode 16 (S01E16)
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