Sunday, November 23, 2014

#84: Jerico Games

Season: 6

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver and the Phoenix Foundation are helping to administer the Jerico Games, an international competition of sports including ice hockey.  MacGyver is surprised to see that his high school sweetheart, Ellen, is married to the Games founder, Ralph Jerico.  Ellen tells MacGyver that Ralph has been abusing her, and MacGyver learns that those are not her only wounds as Ellen has never recovered from their breakup over 20 years ago.  

Memorable Quote:
Sometimes innocent people get hurt.  I should know.   ~Ellen Jerico

Highlight:
I love the scene when MacGyver is lying on the couch watching the Jerico Games on live television and he sees himself on the screen in the background - a shock to the audience, and MacGyver.  

Lowlight:
It bothers me at the end when MacGyver gives Ellen a comforting hug.  She framed you for murder, pointed a gun in your face, and tried to incinerate you, MacGyver - this is not the time for a hug!    

Best MacGyverism:
Ties the drawstring from Nikolai's sweats into a loop and attaches to a metal rod, then goes fishing for the handle of the door to their locked room. 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • If MacGyver and Phoenix were heavily involved in the administration of the Jerico Games, you'd think he would have known already who the founder's wife was.  
  • It's obvious right from the beginning that Ellen has never fully gotten over MacGyver and is deeply scarred.  If she feels that strongly, wouldn't she have made an attempt to reconnect with him at some point in the last 20 years?
  • Ellen: "I've had 20 years to get over you.  OK, not exactly over you.  You're still one of my favorite memories."  At this point, MacGyver needs to immediately start running in the other direction.  Sprinting, in fact.  
  • Fun conversation at the 14:18 mark as Nikolai is eating a hot dog.
    • "Energy."  ~Nikolai
    • "Nikolai, do you have any idea what's in those?"  ~MacGyver
    • "No."  ~Nikolai
    • "Neither does anyone else!  It's weak!"  ~MacGyver
  • Nikolai seems less like a top Soviet hockey player and more like a goofy teenager. I'm not sure a future hockey superstar would be that excited upon receiving a free Jerico Games pin - "It's way cool!" he says.   I found an interview with the actor, Paul Haddad, who listed this episode when answering a question about if his work ever made him cringe. 
  • Kind of goofy how when MacGyver accuses Jerico of spousal abuse, he's still wearing the Jerico Games pin.  Though that pin does come in handy later.  
  • I wonder if RDA secretly was a little excited to finally get a chance to fire a gun and shoot somebody.  And cool use of the Mission Impossible-style masks - I always enjoyed those. 
  • After MacGyver escapes from the police car after being framed for murder, why is he just walking around the streets of town and in the same outfit?  
  • Nice use of the motorized, battering-ram looking thing to take out the bad guy (frequent guest star Madison Mason).  There are flashes of anger and determination in MacGyver's eyes as he drives it into Madison's chest.  But for Ellen, it's hugs all around. 
  • Nice ending where MacGyver pulls out his Class of '68 high school yearbook and looks at Ellen's Head Cheerleader page.  Though Ellen's signature is pretty weak: "Everyone says we're the perfect couple.  Forever and ever."  It's weak because it doesn't reveal any of her own feelings - it just reaffirms what other people think. Though no one ever said Ellen wasn't shallow. 

Final Analysis:
Decent episode here, especially the middle third with MacGyver's run-ins with Jerico and his being framed.  And Madison Mason plays a good henchman (though we never learn his name, in fact IMDB lists him as "Private Detective").  Good music, and I like Nikolai despite his goofiness. It's hard to imagine someone being that scarred by a high-school breakup from 20 years ago, but that doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the episode.  Next up, it's time to fly with MacGyver!  

7 comments:

  1. There were quite a few MacGyver episodes that I was lukewarm about when I first watched them but grew to really like them....."Two Times Trouble" and "The Escape" were two prominent examples of episodes you've already reviewed. But "Jerico Games" stands out as an episode that I like less upon further viewings. Reading your review, you touch upon what worked and what didn't for me in the episode. My favorite scene was the same as yours....MacGyver seeing "himself" on TV during the hockey pre-game. I'm a little less of a fan of the "Scooby Doo" mask bit though, especially when the villains laughably take the thing off out in the open before they make a clean getaway where anybody and everybody can identify them. I enjoyed the incinerator scene as well, despite the absurdity of a random metal rod lying around inside and a plexiglass window close to the flame that never melts! But the lowlight for me was all about Ellen, a character I found unlikable even in the beginning of the episode but found insufferable in the second half, turning into a mass murderer to avenge a high school relationship she's 20 years removed from. The final scene with the hug was awful enough, but for MacGyver to be pondering over Ellen's quote in his yearbook in a "what if...." manner was really eyebrow-raising. I've always let women walk all over me, but I think if my girlfriend tried to fry me in an incinerator, I'd get over my nostalgia for her!

    Agreed completely on Nikolai. He was way too juvenile but still undeniably likable with some funny lines thrown in. This episode isn't without its attractions but the core premise of Ellen viewing MacGyver as the source of her midlife crisis was highly unappealing to me. I ranked it #108.

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    1. Good point about the villain taking off the mask in public - I noticed that too and was wondering why he couldn't have waited a few minutes until he was by himself. And Ellen really is unlikable in every way - I didn't even think of adding her to the Love Interest page.

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  2. I think I agree with Mark, I liked this less second time around but still rated it as a pretty good one. Yet another High school/college sweetheart where it all went wrong...horribly.Like you both, I didn't like Ellen and can't see why she would have wanted to frame/kill MacGyver if she still hadn't got over him but I guess unrequited love mixed with greed is a heady cocktail! But would MacGyver have gone for the Cheerleader type in the first place? His other old flames have tended to be tomboyish, capable and get-out-there-and-make-a -difference types. Boy, he got it so wrong with crazy Ellen. Poor MacGyver.. its hard to have all her ills for the next 20 years blamed squarely on on him but but he does seem to have given a lot of girls the run-around in his early days! Still for her to accuse him of only thinking of himself, gun control and the environment.... the latter two, ok, but selfish.... MacGyver?.. hardly, he's always the first to try to rescue someone else with no thought for himself. Highlights for me were, like you both, the relaxing on the sofa and seeing his double, the nice, simple, lock-pick escape (how incompetent were those cops to leave a suspected murderer unattended?) and the implausible incinerator Macgyverism. The P.I. punching Macgyver just when you think he's just going to leave quietly was a surprise and, I agree, Nikolai is too puppyish, but a likeable guy. All in all, quite a dark episode here but a reasonable mix of action and angst. I always enjoy these episodes where we get a deeper glimpse into Macgyver's persona and his background ( even though past events aren't always consistent throughout the series). His character does develop over time as he confronts his demons and its good to have a complex, and often vulnerable, hero. (I'm sure there's a PhD in there somewhere!). One last point; not sure I interpreted his final look at the yearbook in the same way as Mark; I saw it more as sad and regretful over the way it all turned out.

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    1. That is pretty funny when she accuses him of being selfish and throws gun control and the environment at him!

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  3. So how does Ellen get hold of a plaster cast of Mac's face? Or is she just a fantastic sculptor ;-)

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    1. They mentioned she was an artist and went to art school when she gives them the pins.

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  4. "Highlight:
    I love the scene when MacGyver is lying on the couch watching the Jerico Games on live television and he sees himself on the screen in the background - a shock to the audience, and MacGyver."


    YES! That is a HUGE highlight for me! Awesome!!!! Very shocking indeed!

    "Lowlight:
    It bothers me at the end when MacGyver gives Ellen a comforting hug. She framed you for murder, pointed a gun in your face, and tried to incinerate you, MacGyver - this is not the time for a hug!"

    ROFL! He is a big ol softy! And yeah he forgives her way too fast.

    "I wonder if RDA secretly was a little excited to finally get a chance to fire a gun and shoot somebody."

    ROFL! Good question! :) He probably was! :)

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