Saturday, January 12, 2019

MacGyver Script Analysis: The Enemy Within

It's time for part 9 of my 139 part series where I compare an original MacGyver script with the final episode. Considering that Part 8 was 18 months ago, at this rate you can look forward to my series finishing in 2215.

My script for The Enemy Within is a final draft dated 1/3/86, and the episode aired on 2/12. Contributing writers are David Abramowitz, Bruce David, and James Schmerer. I reached out to Abramowitz to see if he had any commentary to offer, and he replied, "Sorry...I was rewritten on that one...I don't remember it."

Below are some highlights from the script, where text in bold and italics is a direct quote. 
  • MacGyver speaks less gibberish German in the script than in the final episode, and there's no mention of applesuss or flugplatz. Esel! Ich bin eine Sovietische Offizier! Und sie ist mein Frau! 
  • Bannister is described as rugged, good-looking, 41.
  • The famous MacGyverism where he's hanging out the front of the car by his foot is mostly the same, but there's a spotter plane in the script, and the car gets its brakes back before it reaches the border. It's unclear how they make it across the border -- the script has the car turning on a side road.
  • When MacGyver enters the Federal Building, he has some banner with a very pretty receptionist, Judy:
    • Mornin', Judy.  ~MacGyver
    • MacGyver! You back for a while?  ~Judy
    • Back and gonna be resting my weary bones in about two minutes.  ~MacGyver
    • Hey...need somebody to help soothe those bones?  ~Judy
    • Judy, Judy, Judy...I need sleep, not action.  ~MacGyver
    • MacGyver, what's he got?  ~Roger (a guy at a desk), after MacGyver leaves
    • You wouldn't understand, Roger -- but I wish I had a little of it.  ~Judy
  • Ingrid is described as an extraordinarily beautiful young blonde.  At one point she says to MacGyver, The name is Ingrid. And already I think I like you, MacGyver...a lot... which prompts an Easy there from Bannister. And if you think Judy and Ingrid are being forward with MacGyver, wait until you get a load of "the Tomanova woman."
  • Pete Thornton is described: For the uninitiated, this is a character we have established in several prior episodes as a sort of liaison between the organization and MacGyver.
  • In the script, MacGyver is unpacking his new house instead of packing his old apartment. He calls it his first house, and it's a cottage by the beach. Some of his possessions include copies of Scientific America and various tomes on biology and ecology, a couple pairs of skis, tennis rackets, a basketball, scuba diving equipment, hockey sticks and pads, a lacrosse stick and anything else that seems athletic.
  • Viktoria Tomanova makes her entrance. 28. Sensuous, regal air, classic features. She wears a slightly over-large, uninspired dark dress, hair tied back in a sober bun. Little makeup. She's just arrived after a hard journey and looks it.  28!  That's about 30 years younger than she looks in the episode.
  • MacGyver takes an unprovoked, out-of-character pot-shot at Tomanova:
    • Pete, you absolutely can not do this!  ~MacGyver
    • I don't have a choice, Mac.  ~Pete
    • You're making this poor, dumb girl a human target!  ~MacGyver
  • Then, MacGyver jokingly says she go to the symposium disguised as Princess Diana. 
  • Viktoria enters the symposium in a reasonably breathtaking gown and is five-alarm gorgeous. Later, she's referred to by MacGyver as Gospods Viktoria Alexandrovna Tomanova (not sure how he knew all that). By the way, why did Pete need to bring Viktoria to the symposium and risk her safety and identity? Why not just take a bunch of pictures and show them to her later?
  • Reverend Mather aims the gun at Viktoria, and it's unclear how he knows who to aim at. And when someone goes for the gun, the reverend goes all Jason Bourne and chops the gun down and smashes the man's wrist.
  • There are two pathologists in the lab: a burly, middle-aged pathologist and his associate, a woman in her mid-twenties wearing a gown over jeans, sneakers, t-shirt who is washing off the other table and eating a sandwich.
  • In both the script and the episode, MacGyver says "Six, two, and even" in regards to Mather being murdered. I wasn't familiar with that expression, but I learned that it originates from horse racing.
  • Viktoria approaches the apartment and MacGyver, who hears someone outside, emits a harsh yell, yanks the door open, whips up the epee before he sees it's Viktoria.
  • In my initial review of this episode, I said that the lowlight was the hint of romance between MacGyver and Tomanova due to the fact that she seemed old enough to be his mother. Well, thank goodness they didn't film what was in the script or else this might have been ranked in Mountain of Youth territory. Get a load of this:
    • She turns and kisses him deliberately. A moment, he enters into the spirit of the thing. They break. She regards him with approval.
    • Also, I notice a...little excitement between us, MacGyver.  ~Viktoria
    • Yeah. I noticed too. And not all that little.  ~MacGyver
    • He kisses her. She's startled, then yields to it. Considerable enjoyment. They break.
    • Not at all. How many bedrooms do you have?  ~Viktoria
    • Just the one.  ~MacGyver
    • Good. Then should be no trouble finding it.  ~Viktoria
    • She smiles with slow, infinite promise. MacGyver hesitates -- eyes her thoughtfully.
    • Right this way.  ~MacGyver
    • MacGyver proceeds instead to take her to the kitchen and does the science experiment on Reverend Mather's heart sample that we see in the episode. Once that's over, it's back to the romance. She shivers again. MacGyver takes her into arms, comfortingly. She turns to face him -- suddenly kisses him fiercely, her arms about him.  That sound you just heard was me throwing up in my mouth.
  • When MacGyver takes Viktoria back to the symposium room to jog her memory, it's daytime instead of nighttime. For the word association exercise he does with her, when he says "MacGyver," she says "bed." Excuse me, I have some more vomit in my mouth.
  • The final scene is quite different between the script and the final episode. In the script, MacGyver distracts Bannister, Ingrid, and Lem by playing the VCR tape and putting the sound way up (not sure how he has time to do all that without getting shot). Next, he and Viktoria run outside and split up. He grabs a fire hose and somehow uses it as a rope to quickly swing down a flight of stairs. He ends up in a boiler room and takes out a guy named Chenkov who follows him. He goes back to the symposium where he talks Bannister down (like in the episode), but then Bannister shoots Lem. MacGyver blinds Ingrid with a mirror from the mirror exhibit, grabs her gun, and then tells her, "You've lost" as the police and Pete enter. There's no heart attack for Bannister, but I'm feeling one last pang of nausea as Viktoria moves toward MacGyver in a romantic way before the curtain mercifully falls. 

4 comments:

  1. Yikes! This was never one of my favorite episodes but they certainly fixed it up laudably from the draft you got. I'm surprised they didn't have the young woman pathologist make crude sexual innuendos towards MacGyver as well. It was really a sign of the times as women in 80s shows were all too often portrayed as single-minded sex maniacs, their only role on the screen being to distract the male protagonists with their bodies and raging libidos. "MacGyver" flirted with being that kind of show in season 1 as well, but at least cooler heads prevailed in the end with this episode. Nonetheless, even in the final product, MacGyver had some oddball, out-of-character moments in this episode.

    I also laughed at the notion that Viktoria Tominova was supposed to be 28. I always got the sense they were trying to portray the character as around 40, even though she seemed even more mature than that. I looked up the actress and she was indeed 40 back in 1986. She and MacGyver were not at all believable as a couple and the banter they did have in this episode was saccharine enough. Thank God they got rid of that dialogue that sounded like what you'd hear between two drunks at the bar looking for a hookup in the final moments before last call.

    I got an early draft for "Nightmares" two years ago and while it certainly improved greatly between the script and read and what was ultimately produced, it still seemed like Tolstoy compared some of the cringeworthy glop you found with a draft of this episode that was further along. Interesting how much different the various scripts you've purchased have been compared to what's on screen....some with little deviation and others where you barely recognize the episode.

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    1. Yeah I thought it was interesting that the script was as descriptive as it was about the 2nd pathologist, going so far as to say it was a female in her mid-twenties and then describing her outfit. It's a wonder that it didn't mention her as a smoking-hot blonde who was eyeing MacGyver while seductively eating her sandwich.

      In my original review, I wrote that the actress playing Viktoria seemed like a grandmother to me when I watched it as a kid, and so even the slightest hint of romance between her and MacGyver made me cringe. Thank goodness they didn't film what was written in this script. Since the script was a final draft that was written so close to the episode air date, I was surprised to see all the differences between the script and the final episode, but thankfully the editors improved on what was in this script.

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    2. Makes you wonder how many other "final drafts" were wildly different than what was actually produced. Thank goodness somebody was there to realize how needlessly cheesy the dialogue was.

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  2. Those "loves scenes" are worse than FanFiction *lol*

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