Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver is driving around looking for a lake to fish when he stops at a small airport to ask for directions. The airport has been commandeered by a band of criminals who are looking to make a getaway with 8 million dollars. A game of cat and mouse ensues as MacGyver tries to stop them from taking off in a plane with the money.
MacGyv-ah, wheyah ah yoo? ~Buddy
One word: Buddy. A phenomenal, Emmy-worthy performance by Lewis Van Bergen, who makes Buddy one of the most memorable bad guys we've seen. He's the guy we love to hate: a gruff, motorcycle-riding, chain smoking, beer drinking bully who owns every scene he's in, despite not being the leader of the group or the sharpest tool in the shed. I wish I knew more about the actor - there's not much online about him.
The storyline of Dave overcoming his past to fly the helicopter gets a little wearisome. And it ends up not being all that important to their escape that he flies it.
Grinds magnesium (from a bike) and ferric oxide (rusted iron) into powder, then puts it in a bike part to create a blowtorch, and ignites it with an emergency flare gun.
Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
- We start things off with MacGyver driving around looking for Sparrow Lake, a fishing hole he used to go to with his dad. He's in Arizona, which we can tell by seeing the Arizona state flag at the airport A few continuity issues here in that we learn later in the series that MacGyver is from Minnesota and his father died when he was 7, so it seems unlikely that his dad took him fishing in Arizona multiple times, but I guess it's possible.
- Another case of MacGyver being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's very good at that.
- 2:55 - love the entrance by Buddy. The camera starts at his motorcycle boots and scrolls up, and we see him drinking a beer. He doesn't say anything to MacGyver but just smiles, and then we see him shielding a large gun behind the corner. Awesome foreshadowing.
- Anthony Pena plays Elias, one of the henchmen. We also saw him as Hector Lopez in Bitter Harvest.
- 10:43 - famous shot of filing the bike's magnesium into powder. Hard to believe the bad guys would be all that patient while MacGyver is sitting around filing stuff down.
- Speaking of the bad guys, I don't really get what's happening or what their plan is. Two of them drove a truck all night from Dallas with a van in the back, and the van had a guy locked inside the whole night? And how did he get in there? And couldn't they have just driven the van? And where did the money come from? And why were they willing to blow up the money before MacGyver suggested using a torch? And with so much money, shouldn't they have a better escape route than to hijack a minuscule airstrip and commandeer a broken down charter plane? And why couldn't they all just have gone to Dallas and opened the van there? OK, I'll stop now.
- 17:20 - "Aw come on now Buddy, that's just bad taste. Picking on girls. Show a little class for a change." Now this is some swagger that I can get behind!
- "I just gotta take care of one thing before we split. MacGyver." Buddy's the best.
- Great moment at 20:40:
- "What's that?" ~Turk
- "Lateral. Cranial. Impact. Enhancer." ~MacGyver
- And nice job by Jackie Earle Haley falling backwards off the barrel - kind of an underrated tricky stunt.
- Nice little homemade bombs made from fertilizer and starting fluid and wrapped in newspaper. I wonder if anyone ever tried this at home because it looks so easy - hopefully this is one where the writers left out an ingredient.
- Couldn't they have all escaped in MacGyver's car instead of the big, slow water truck?
- 24:46 - take a seat, Buddy!
- Great leap by MacGyver and Dave off the water truck.
- 28:00 - good look at the plane from the opening credits (the shot where we see "Starring Richard Dean Anderson"). That particular pose where he stands over the wing must have been done separately because it doesn't appear in the episode itself.
- Nice escape from the freezer by melting the water with the light bulb and then refreezing it inside the lock where it expands.
- Big fan of the cook - he's a great character.
- Conversation at 42:30:
- "And I don't give a damn about the money." ~Dave
- "They killed a man. I give a damn about that." ~MacGyver
I wasn't a huge fan of this one as a kid - it's got a 1970's redneck ambience that I wasn't wild about. But as I've gotten older, I've grown to enjoy it more and more. Just a lot of fun from beginning to end with good MacGyverisms, lots of bad guys, and of course Buddy. And after all the globetrotting early on in the first season, it's nice to have an episode in the good ol' rural US of A. Of all the episodes in the whole series, this is the one that feels the most dated to me. Not in a bad way, but it really feels like we're in the 1970's. Coming up, my Season 1 streak can't possibly continue, can it?