Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#101: Twice Stung

Season: 2

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver's friend Kelly is duped out of his life savings by a flamboyant con artist named Crowe. To get Kelly's money back and enact revenge, MacGyver convinces Pete to "con the con," and they enact a plan called "The Toledo Twist."  The plan hits some snags, but eventually they trap Crowe in a police station where he has nowhere to run.  

Memorable Quote:
You don't go to people with your problems.  You come to your friends!  ~MacGyver
Well you don't always remember that!  ~Kelly

Highlight:
9:18 mark - great scene where MacGyver meets Joanne, the eager, young Phoenix employee who is an expert on cons.  She is excited to meet him and they have this fun exchange:
  • "Oh I've heard about you!  You're the guy who does the whatchamacalits, you know, MacGyverisms, turns one thing into another!"  ~Joanne
  • "MacGyverisms?!"  ~MacGyver, with a surprised yet smug expression

Lowlight:
It's sad when Kelly tries to gas himself.  

Best MacGyverism:
A few good ones to pick from here.  This one's not flashy, but I like when he ties one end of the fire hose to the elevator and another end to Kelly's door.  I like it because it's very clever and yet also relatable and something that I could do even though I'm not a science expert.  Of course if Dent were here, he could just throw his shoulder into the door and that would be that. 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This is one of those episodes where there's no point in trying to critique the plot or character motivations.  Let's just suspend disbelief, sit back, and enjoy the show!  
  • We open with MacGyver as a passenger on a high speed air force jet.  The plane lands, and we see MacGyver in a jeep and narrating, "It may not have been first class seating, but who cares with pilots like this," as the beautiful pilot takes of her helmet, tosses her hair, and smiles.  Easy there, MacGyver.  Turns out the pilot, Julie Moran, went on to work at Entertainment Tonight.  I wonder if this was one of those deleted scenes that was not on USA Network because it doesn't seem familiar to me.  
  • Another surprise birthday party at the Phoenix Foundation.  This time MacGyver's in a better mood. 
  • Awesome glasses from Joanne.  I like her - too bad she's not in any more episodes. And how cool would it be to be a con expert and know everything about scams like "The Philadelphia Flash" and "The Toledo Twist?"  Better yet, how great would it be to turn that knowledge into a research job with occasional field work?  Maybe that's why we don't see Joanne anymore - there weren't enough con men running 1930's-style cons for Phoenix to bust. 
  • 11:03 - "Pete. Guy. You're dying to do it." ~MacGyver, as he puts his arm around Pete.  It's always fun when MacGyver's in a playful mood.   
  • Awesome shirt MacGyver's got on.  Light pink and blue, and I can't tell what the shapes are.  Maybe whales or elephants?
  • Crowe is played by Richard Romanus of The Prodigal fame.  Great actor. 
  • 16:42 - fun scene where MacGyver asks Joanne for her bobby pins, buttons, and glasses.  She thinks he's doing a MacGyverism, but he's trying to make her look hotter. 
  • 18:12 - love MacGyver's face when Joanne improvises and ruins their plan for The Boston Bang.
  • 30:30 - kind of weird that Joanne takes pictures of fruit and hangs them up in her house.  And really, MacGyver, you bring a woman pastrami on rye to cheer her up?
  • 31:18 - some cool music, especially once we get to 32:36.  I know we hear this arrangement in another episode - maybe Partners?  Let's add it to the music list.  

Final Analysis:
A little corny, but clever and fun.  Reminds me of The Sting, one of my favorite movies, which happens to feature a young Dana Elcar.

In other news, we are now finished with the first 36 episodes!  That means that there are 100 left - the 100 best episodes of MacGyver.  Things have improved dramatically from 136 to 101.  And fortunately, the best is yet to come!  

10 comments:

  1. I like how you said "there's no point in trying to critique the plot or character motivations" in this one as for some reason I have more of a problem suspending disbelief in these "sting" episodes--of which this series had three--than I do when Murdoc comes back to life a dozen times. The example I always point to in this episode that lacks credibility is when Pete and MacGyver decide to pretend they didn't care about Joanne after Crowe kidnaps her, knowing that that would for some reason compel Crowe to demand he go inside the precinct with them just as they needed him to. And if Crowe hadn't responded that way? Then what? The whole plan would have come apart! Nitpicking aside, this was a fun episode for all the reasons you describe and you touched upon my favorite scenes in your writeup. I smiled when you brought up the musical score at 32:36 as I knew exactly the arrangement you were talking about, one that came up in several subsequent episodes (composer Dennis McCarthy loved to recycle his greatest hits), including "Partners" as you suggested. I think we're pretty close to being on the same page with this one. I rank it #96.

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    1. Nice to know I'm not the only MacGyver music aficionado!

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  2. I'm just glad there are other MacGyver geeks out there. If I start talking about the show around here, people look at me like I've completely lost my mind.

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  3. "too bad she's not in any more episodes. And how cool would it be to be a con expert and know everything about scams like "The Philadelphia Flash" and "The Toledo Twist?" Better yet, how great would it be to turn that knowledge into a research job with occasional field work?"

    Yeah I like Joanne too! Yeah she would have been perfect for the Phoenix Foundation! I want to learn more about The Philadelphia Flash and "The Toledo Twist? :)

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  4. The term “MacGyverism” is coined! And, nice as Pete was to Joanne in this scene when he introduced her credentials, in the subsequent ones the less annoying she was, the more rude they were to her, like when they completely ignore her when she’s talking to them :-/
    Ever since a psychologist told me most people want to commit suicide because they feel like people are better without them, I don’t like when it’s implied that they’re inconsiderate towards friends and family, so I wish MacGyver brought Kelly’s one up with some other question than “did you forget about them?”. I liked MacGyver’s “you don’t go to people with your problems, you come to your friends” and Kelly’s “Well, you don’t always remember that” answer as MacGyver certainly didn’t at The Widowmaker!
    The race track trick reminds me of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R5OWh7luL4 2008 special. He probably got the idea from a guy from his home town called Horace Batchelor. I must mention how friendly the two horses were at the stables, one sticks head out in perfects sync with MacGyver appearing from behind the corner. The subsequent “MacGyverism” was less dependent on luck than the circuit closer at Joanne’s but the evidence room’s doors, simple, quick and effective, second one a bit like the unlocking of the window and the door in The Gauntlet. I liked the full circle camera spin with iris at the end too but the rest of the episode either has bigger plot holes than I can ignore or I keep overlooking something obvious. To start with, it’s hard enough to believe Kelly’s and especially Crowe’s gullibility who so far had the brains to get rich on scams without getting in trouble with the law. Then, if Pete has to go in the room where the 2m is stored to get a trunk out of there the money is supposed to be fit in, why is Crowe’s 400 000 needed? And finally, what is going to happen to Pete and MacGyver once Crowe tells the coppers what happened to him? They broke the law so many times it’s hard to root for them!

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  5. Just wondering, is the cop in the evidence locker a famous comedian or actor? IMDb says that Michael Francis Kelly plays a cop. But I can't find any pictures.

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    1. Thank you for the prompt response.

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    2. So, I think I figured out the designs in MacGyver's shirt (Yes! I am watching this episode right now, and yes, I should get myself a life :-)). Anyway, it seems that the blue shades is ice, and the other figures are hockey players. I think that some of them are animals figures. The shirt also says Crash! Anyway, RDA wears this same shirt in at least two additional episodes.

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