MacGyver heats up – literally – in this week’s episode, “Jet Engine + Pick Up Truck.” The show continues to nail its action pacing, but doesn’t manage to ground this week’s episode in enough reality. Instead, we get an episode that feels almost like a Disney fairytale ending, the way every aspect of the episode gets tied up neatly and sweetly.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a happy ending as much as the next person, but MacGyver tends to be happy-ending…happy, shoving in as many happy tie-ups as possible, and the end result is less endearing and more just cheesy and unrealistic. All of these happy endings don’t even get an emotional response from me, because they haven’t been earned.
Take the father in the village in this episode as a prime example. He tells Bozer about how his daughter was taken a couple of years ago in order to fight in a sort of child-militia for the rebels. He believes that one day she will be rescued and returned home to him. It’s a touching story that puts a tiny light on the real child militias currently being used around the world.
But in the end of the episode, the show sort of pretends as though Mac putting out this oil fire somehow ends the entire conflict budding between the Nigerian government and the rebels, and before Mac and the team are even done helping out the village that didn’t evacuate because of the oil fire, there is magically a government truck that shows up with several children being returned to their village, and on it is the father’s daughter.
It’s another one of those things that this show has a tendency to do where we, as an audience are like, “oh, that’s a nice idea,” but the sheer coincidence/unlikelihood/impossibility of it pulls us out of the story for a moment and waives our ability to suspend disbelief.
The episode does do a good job of keeping us on our toes, though. Mac starts out with a plan that, while a bit difficult to acquire the needed tools and accomplish, is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. However, that plan hits a few complications that first make it even more difficult to accomplish, and then make it impossible altogether. Mac has to quickly think on his feet and comes up with a few half-plans that eventually leads the team to their end solution: cutting out the fire with the strength of a jet engine strapped to the back of a truck.
It’s difficult, and possibly the most risky stunt Mac and his team have attempted thus far, but it’s believable enough, and actually a really cool application of science.
And now, for some Dad Thoughts on the episode:
Goodness! Did you see this week’s episode? What am I saying, of course you did. How neat was that? Putting a fire out with fire. I guess it goes to show you really can fight fire with fire! And think about all that oil gone to waste. Can you imagine what that would have smelled like? I can’t believe that village could be so close and people weren’t getting sick from the fumes and the heat. But still, it was a great episode. Except, did you notice how the rebel fighters conveniently only shot at Mac in the pick-up truck when they didn’t have a clear shot? That seemed a bit unrealistic. But it was pretty cool when Mac started the jet engine and they outran the rebel fighters in the pickup because of it. Could you imagine riding in a pickup going that fast and no crash? Incredible!
Well there you have it, folks, a detail in this week’s episode that even my dad thought was a bit too unbelievable. Not that he loves this show any less for it. They’ve been doing a lot of build up towards Mac searching for his father, though, and this episode was particularly full of references to Mac’s dad, so I’m hoping that’s a sign that we’ll have an episode more fully addressing that sometime soon. I guess we’ll all just have to keep watching with my dad to find out for sure, though.
Season 2, Episode 6 (S02E06)
MacGyver airs Fridays at 8PM on CBS
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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.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor
The episode got a lot of things wrong.
1: People in the Niger Delta know how to refine oil locally. In fact, villagers in the region refine oil in their communities and homes, since they are mostly surrounded water and there aren’t any patrol stations around. Mac teaching the black man about refining oil was laughable.
2. Nigeria is a big place. A militant group in the Niger Delta can’t topple the government. It’s just impossible.
3. The Boko Haram sect, which operates in the north, can’t even do topple Nigeria. A militant group in the Niger Delta toppling Nigeria is laughable. Have you heard of the Nigerian Civil War? The Igbos, one of the three major ethnic groups (that’s out of over 250 ethnic groups), tried to gain their independence. They fought and lost. And they were made up of the Niger Delta and many other Nigerian states. Yet, they still lost. A common militant group can’t even make a dent.
4. Boko Haram have only managed to destabilize a few communities in the north and that’s it. And crossing to the south, for them, is more or less impossible. While they are the ones that kidnap and use children, they operate in the far north, not in the south were the oil is.
3. Also no matter the size of the explosion, it can’t consume the whole of Nigeria. It can’t even consume a tenth of the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta, by the way, is just a small region of Nigeria.
4. I’m Nigerian, and it pains me that the showrunner didn’t do their research before releasing this pathetic episode.
5. You said you can’t imagine why people weren’t getting sick in the village. Well, you should come spend some time in that part of Nigeria and you will understand why. Getting sick because of common fumes, people here would ask you. This is a place everyday people sneak around oil pipelines with buckets, scoops, and axes. They burst the pipes and steal oil/petrol using the buckets. Sometimes a spark creates an explosion, some people die, some get burnt, but as soon as they heal, then venture there tomorrow to continue bursting pipe.
6. After stealing oil, they refine it and hawk the petrol.
7. The accent of the black people in the movie was Nigerian. Stay here long enough and you’d know.
The episode was a caricature at best.
Also, Mac and his team shouldn’t have been able to survive that trip dressed like that. That part of Nigeria is swarming with tiny mosquitos. Dressed like that, their bodies should have been spotted with red spots within hours. Nigerians are used to mosquitos and malaria. White people aren’t. Going there dressed like that is a death wish.
Also, somehow, the militants don’t know how to aim in the movie. They were busy wasting bullets even when Mac was right in front of them. Now, why is that?
I absolutely loved the reference to Red Adair by Jack(I believe).