Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#80: Collision Course



Season: 4

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver's college friend Jeff is a professional race car driver, and MacGyver is part of his pit crew for a big race.  One of the rival drivers, whom MacGyver has a history with, conspires to sabotage Jeff's car, and Jeff crashes badly enough in the time trial that he ends up in the hospital. MacGyver fills in at the last minute as the driver for the race while Pete attempts to prove that a murder took place.      

Memorable Quote:
Well, it's like you said, good ol' clever MacGyver, he can fix anything.  Maybe it's time he fixed himself.     ~Pete

Highlight:
Good scene at 21:23 where MacGyver and Pete go into the satellite truck and meet Moe, the video technician, and together they find the video and identify the saboteur of Jeff's car using a bitmap.  Moe has a Jamaican accent and is a fun character - a nice touch and some good comic relief. 

Lowlight:
Not too much jumping out at me.  I guess I'll go with Jeff's daughter telling MacGyver she hates him. 

Best MacGyverism:
Uses antiseptic containing silver nitrate to detect chlorine from the water in O'Malley's lungs.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • On the Richard Dean Anderson home page, there's a story in the archives from 5/10/94 where RDA is asked what MacGyver episode was his favorite.  He says, "It's kind of tough to pinpoint one episode out of 139 as my favorite, but one that's closest to my heart is the one where I raced cars.  I love to race, and in this episode, we orchestrated an actual race, and I got to do my own racing on camera."  
  • Fun fact: the actor playing Jeff Stone is Patrick Wayne, the son of John Wayne. According to IMDB he's 10 years older than RDA - I wouldn't have guessed that from the episode. 
  • When I was a teenager, I remember going to Blockbuster Video one day with my friend Joe to pick out a few movie rentals.  As we scoured the store looking for the perfect movie, Joe passed by a Hugh Grant film and quipped, "Look, it's Hugh Grant in a surprising and unexpected role as a charming English gentleman!"  Well, all I can say about this episode is, "Look, it's G. Gordon Liddy in a surprising and unexpected role as a crook!"
  • Good to know that MacGyver used to professionally race cars on the European Formula One circuit.  Why not. 
  • In case you missed it, here's a link to my conversation with Jerry Wasserman, who appears twice in this episode to threaten Liddy as a representative of Japanese investors.  
  • 30:35 mark - Pete reacts with amazement when he finds the stone from Visser's ring in the fountain.  It ends up being an important clue, but Pete doesn't know what exactly it is at the time, so it's unclear how he would know it's significant and not just a stone in a fountain.  And once Visser realizes the stone is missing from his ring, you'd think he'd have enough sense to take the ring off.  
  • Not sure the nitrous oxide in Visser's car was necessary for the story.  MacGyver is out of practice and is driving a second-hand car that was built the night before, so we don't need Visser's cheating to be impressed by MacGyver's feat.  And how come Visser doesn't use more nitrous right at the end?  Maybe he was all out at that point. And I like how upon winning MacGyver coolly says, "Yeah, right!" 

Final Analysis:
I liked this one more than I remembered.  Nice buildup, good acting, and the race scene is impressively choreographed and filmed.  Also a strong episode for Pete as he helps solve the crime and pulls no punches in being frank with MacGyver. Next up, it's time for some more Season 4 excitement!  

4 comments:

  1. This is one of those episodes I don't really have anything against but it didn't hold a great deal of appeal for me so I ranked it low. If I was a racing fan I'd probably be more excited about it but I've never really been into racing. I'll admit to being impressed with your bit of trivia though as I had no idea guest star Patrick Wayne was John Wayne's son! Anyway, one of this shows more amusing/annoying gimmicks is to pull from completely out of the blue this giant revelation of MacGyver's younger days for plot convenience no matter if it conflicts with the previously established narrative (the love of MacGyver's life was Deborah...no wait it was Amy Austin....no wait it was Karen...no wait it was Kate Malloy!). And when MacGyver was in college he was a logger...no wait he was a crack bomb defusal expert in Vietnam....no wait he was a professional auto racer in Europe! Just thought this was a perfect episode to comment on this pattern. And while I usually overlook dated cultural references and technology, the supposedly "gee-whiz" nature of the "bit map" function on the video was pretty eyebrow-raising for how far removed we are from 1988 when that was considered the bee's knees. Agreed though that the Jamaican guy was fun.

    Kai Wulff was fantastic as always as a villain and I liked the nitrous oxide gimmick on his car. In general though I didn't care for the second half of the episode in particular. The way Pete stumbled into the stone from Visser's ring that led to exposing him and Strickland and murderers was just WAY too convenient and the last-to-first nature of MacGyver's race amidst a field of professional drivers in practice was more than a touch hard to swallow. The race itself was reasonably exciting I guess but was nonetheless in keeping with my general feeling that the whole hour seemed less than "MacGyver"-worthy to me. I ranked it #128.

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    1. I'm with you on MacGyver's complicated "younger days" narrative. I thought about mentioning it but didn't think I could remember all the things he did. I do remember another one in Jack of Lies which I just watched about how he, Jack, and Mike traveled the world together, so there's another one to add to the list!

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  2. Just watched this one today. I knew that would be the memorable quote.

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  3. Just saw this episode, and agree with all the above comments, but I would like to add: technical error with the brake tampering, slicing the cover gasket of the master cylinder would not cause brake failure, nor would putting a flag pennant under the cover fix it.

    Also curious as to what the "plastic engine" was supposed to be. During the episode, under hood shots showed ordinary 305 Tuned Port Injection engines, even when Mac was installing the engine in the car he drove.

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