Mac goes back in this week’s episode of MACGYVER, “Pliers.” I realize the point of this episode was to give us a little glimpse into Mac’s past and feed us a little more information into why we don’t know more about Mac’s parents and childhood, but honestly this episode felt more like a massive attempt to increase Mac’s appeal to viewers by demonstrating that he’s good with kids. And I can’t say it didn’t work. Lucas Till is pretty cute with kids.
The episode does something completely out of pattern for itself: instead of a scene from the climax of a different mission, the episode throws us into the climactic car chase of this episode, then throws us back to the beginning of the mission to explain how we wound up where we did. It’s confusing, because it’s not really explained that that’s what’s happening, the show just does it. And because up to this point, the show has established a pattern of separating its opening scene from the storyline of the rest of the show, viewers are caught off guard by returning after the opening credits to the same van with Mac and Jack in the driver and passenger seats, only this time Riley and Bozer are also with them, and there is no talk or evidence of the car chase we’d just seen having happened.
I assume this is the writer’s hope that the audience will immediately draw on the realization that the car chase hasn’t happened yet, but it’s not immediately clear. As the episode moves along, it becomes more apparent and as I watched I rightly assumed that had become the case. However, it does pull you out of the actual story of the episode, when you spend so much time just trying to figure out at what point in the story’s timeline you actually are.
The plot of the episode itself was fine. After years of avoiding their hometown, Bozer gets Mac to visit their old stomping grounds while the team is on vacation. Mac presents to a science class at his old middle school, where he meets a smart young girl who knows a lot about engines and cars. While he’s helping her with her science project after school, a group of men who can best be describe as hoodlums, barge into the room and kidnap the girl. Looks like vacation time is over for Mac, Jack, and Riley as they try to figure out who took the girl and get her back.
After going to the young girl’s father and inquiring as to whether or not he knows the people who took his daught, Mac and Jack realize that there’s something her dad isn’t telling him – he’s either in on the kidnapping, or withholding information from them. Unfortunately for Jack and Mac, the dude is a retired race car driver and a current car mechanic who has decked out his car to be capable of off-road terrains at high speeds. The minivan Jack rented for this trip is no match.
However, what is lucky for them is that Mac remembers an old road on the edge of town that used to be used frequently for deliveries and is now all but abandoned. They check out the site, and sure enough, that’s where their suspect-father turns out to be. With a little quick-thinking on Mac’s part, he renders the dad’s car all but useless. Unfortunately for all of them, when the father confesses that he used to make drug runs for the men who kidnapped his daughter, and that he tried to quit and that’s why they’ve taken her, Mac and Jack realize they’ve got to use the minivan to make the run, which means massive speeding and trying to avoid cops.
And thus we come full circle to the opening of the episode. Mac and Jack trying to outrun a cop as they deliver the drug money before the drug dealers holding the little girl decide to hurt her. Fortunately for Mac, but not so fortunately for Jack’s rental deposit, Mac knows how to speed the car up and they make it to the drop in time. Of course, once there, they have to fight off the men, who aren’t so willing to let the little girl’s dad off the hook so easily after all, but of course they do and the little girl makes it back home safely.
Overall, not a bad episode, but not the strongest episode of the season so far, either. The series would benefit from making more consistent choices, storywise. The format doesn’t have to be exactly the same each time – especially when half of the time the show opens on Mac and Jack involved in some sort of car chase – but having a little more consistent variety would make every episode easier to follow. I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store for the next episode!
Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
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.
Keep up with all of Tasha’s reviews here.
Tasha Cerny | Contributor