Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver is in Utah to follow a pair of golden eagles and find their nest in order to protect it. While hang gliding, he sees a helicopter with poachers who shoot down one of the eagles, and he meets a young boy and his mother who are living in the mountains. MacGyver goes climbing to find the other eagle, and then he takes down the poachers who have come back to eliminate the witnesses to their crime.
That grindstone seemed like a pretty easy target. Till I tried to hit it. ~MacGyver
I like the use of a hang glider as part of the story. I'm a fan of hang gliders in general. I've always thought it would be fun to take one up and soar over a highway and look down and laugh at the people who are stuck in traffic. As long as the hang glider didn't fall down into the traffic - then it wouldn't be a laughing matter.
Usually I'll point out the stock footage in an episode without being too critical of it, given that production costs were high and it's not any worse than the cheesy CGI of today's day and age. But in this episode it is disastrous, first the opening hang gliding scene and then the mountain climbing scene halfway through. It's hard to get lost in the story or take it seriously when you see grainy stock footage that looks like it's from the 1950's interspersed with MacGyver's head shots. At a certain point, if you as the producer can't get the shots you need, you should move on and choose a different story line. I also find it interesting how there is no mention of anything in the credits (I looked) like a movie or documentary. Though it is funny how they dressed MacGyver up to look like the character in whatever show they took this from, including white stockings to give him a Swiss Alpine look.
Uses ball bearings, a bicycle (slingshot), a grindstone, and a portable stove with a propane tank to create an explosion.
Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
- I'd think the odds of finding an eagle in a state park without knowing where exactly to look would be rather slim.
- I've said before that I'm a big fan of the voiceovers (i.e. when MacGyver is talking to himself). Yet in this episode, even I think that it's way overdone. I understand they have a lot of dead time to fill as he's hang gliding or mountain climbing, but I only like to hear him talk when he has something of value to say, like how his MacGyverism works. In this episode he rambles on and on with meaningless platitudes like "It may seem cruel, but one animal's death means another will live. All a part of nature's balancing act."
- The acting by the poachers in the helicopter is not the best. And I know the other eagle is "in shock", but it's hard for me to believe it wouldn't be able to avoid hitting the helicopter rudder.
- Why does MacGyver give Danny his pocketknife after seeing that the mom clearly didn't want Danny to have it? Though the mom is really not much fun at all.
- I'm all for animal rights, but is it really worth MacGyver risking his life to climb the mountain and look for the eagle on the North Face when he doesn't even know for sure the eagle is there?
- Isn't the mom suspicious at all when the bad guys come to the cabin saying that MacGyver's jeep was crushed, and then they're willing to stay until nightfall just to give him that information?
- 37:20 - finally, a shake! We haven't one of these in a while. And this is a good one too - he really milks it for all it's worth.
- In a case of life imitating art, here's an article I found about the release of 2 golden eagles earlier this year at Dead Horse Point.
- According to Google Maps, Dead Horse Point (where MacGyver starts out) and Monument Valley (location of the eagle nest) is 176 miles away. That's a decent amount of hang gliding!
- So the mom doesn't let Danny have a pocketknife, but she lets him hang glide with MacGyver?
In retrospect I had this one way too high. I had to rack my brain to come up with a highlight, but there were plenty of lowlights to choose from. It feels more like a nature documentary than an episode of MacGyver and seems like something that would appeal more to a 10-year old than an adult (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Maybe I had it higher because I liked it more when I was 10. Up next, we're staying in Season 2 for some international adventure!