Sunday, December 21, 2014

#75: Dalton, Jack of Spies

Season: 2

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver goes to Jack Dalton's funeral and is shocked to see that Jack is still alive in the coffin. Dalton has gotten mixed up in CIA business, and now MacGyver's involvement means that they are both targets.  They meet up with "Shadow," one of Jack's CIA contacts, and attempt to retrieve a cipher machine that could destroy American communication security if it were to fall into the wrong hands. 

Memorable Quote:
Uh-oh.  Light's out.  ~Jack Dalton

Fun moment when MacGyver is paying his respects to Jack lying in a coffin only to be stunned when Jack starts twitching, even if it doesn't make total sense why Jack would go through this elaborate charade to begin with and also not let MacGyver know ahead of time.  And why didn't he tell MacGyver when he made it back to the U.S.? 

A lot to choose from.  I'll go with the moment when MacGyver, Jack, and Shadow are first loaded into the back of the garbage truck and all three start yelling things in an overly goofy manner. "AHH!  Watch your legs!  Watch your feet!  AHH!  Get away from the scoop!  Climb over the lift, quick!  Turn the channel!  Watch yourself!  Jump!  Get out of the way!"  I only made one of those up. 

Best MacGyverism:
Finds a piece of metal in the trash compactor and uses it to hook the arm that opens the door.  He was actually trying to hook the arm that stopped the wall from moving, but actually opening the door was better because it gives them a better chance of sneaking up on the bad guys.   

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Other likable things about this episode include Jack Dalton, Jack's motorcycle/sidecar, and Jack's ride-in elevator that opens from the sidewalk.  It's a short list. 
  • Another episode where the bad guy has a clue to his location stuck to the bottom of his shoe, like Fraternity of Thieves.  
  • Not sure why Shadow shows up at the warehouse in a blue dress and heels.  She had plenty of time to change out of her stripper's outfit into anything she wanted.  
  • Still not clear on how the cipher machine works.  You have a special card that has a secret message on it, then you put it in the machine, type in a code, and then the card comes back out.   Does it now have the message on the card in un-secret form?  And where do you go to read the card?  And how do you get this card in the first place?
  • Shake at 42:24.  We're now up to 9 shakes - I originally predicted 42 and that might have been too high, but I know there are more coming. 
  • I like how the police just start instantly arresting the bad guys before questioning why MacGyver and Jack were intentionally speeding and running red lights. 

Final Analysis:
Normally the plots to MacGyver aren't hard to understand, but in this one I have no clue what's going on half the time.  I'd try and write more about my questions and the plot holes, but I don't even know where to begin and simply don't have the energy.  Plus it's the Christmas season, so I'm just gonna mail this one in straight to Santa.  For that, I apologize to the MacGyver Project Nation, and I also apologize for ranking this one way too high.  I like Dalton and it is somewhat fun to watch, but the plot holes, incompetent criminals, and convoluted storyline make this one a borderline disaster.  Next up, the episode which I showed a clip of in high school Physics class to illustrate Newton's First Law.  If I don't post again before Christmas, I wish everyone a happy holiday!  


  1. This was an episode where I always scratched my head when I talked to other fans who really liked it. I never cared for it, and ironically the scene you consider the lowlight was what I found to be the most interesting scene.....the back of the garbage truck. Jack's motorcycle and side car chase was fun too I guess. It was generally a mess beyond that though, and I'm not sure if it was a matter of you not understanding the story as much as the fact that there was no story to understand.

    There's a lot of low points to pick from. Even at age 9, I shrugged about why this "gee whiz" cipher machine was any more sophisticated than a telephone answering machine. The scene where MacGyver and Jack headfaked trained CIA G-men to distraction by pontificating on the connection to a Fay Dunaway movie and then rammed Jack's bike into their car was just awful. But the worst of the worst for me was the strip joint scene, where everything was just amateur hour with the CIA guys letting Jack, Mac, and Shadow go (even though they stand there watching for 10 seconds during the melee before it occurs to them that they should flee the guys with guns pointed at them), then they try to capture the CIA guys but manage to let them slip away. Jack Dalton had a few stinkers during his run with the series but this was the worst in my opinion. I rank this one #134.

    Merry Christmas if you don't post another episode before the holiday.

    1. Thanks Mark, Merry Christmas to you too. I actually like the garbage truck scene too, it's just the beginning when they're all yelling that jumped out at me as overly goofy/slapstick. And good call on the strip joint scene, that is pretty funny: "they're after us, let's go! no wait, let's go back and grab one of them! wait, now they're running away!"

  2. I'm running way behind, can't keep up with your postings- still haven't got round to commenting on legend of the Holy Rose! I agree with you both on this one. some of the scenes are really amateurish especially the stumbling around in the nightclub. I couldn't make sense of the cipher machine either and thought the only good bit was the motorcycle chase. A turkey all round, ranked 100++. Will try to catch up with some of the other listings but there's not much chance over Christmas. Merry Christmas to you, thanks for your great analyses and keep em coming!

    1. Thanks Al, Merry Christmas to you also. And take your time, the posts aren't going anywhere!