Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#128: There But For The Grace

Season: 6

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Father Jim, a priest and an old friend of MacGyver’s, is mugged in a dark alley and later dies in the hospital.  MacGyver goes “undercover” in the homeless community to gain the trust of Danny, a witness who is mute.  MacGyver learns that Father Jim had discovered a scam that took advantage of the homeless, and with Danny’s help, they catch the crooked businessman behind it all.    

Memorable Quote:
The only difference between you and me is a little bit of luck.  That’s all.  Aside from that, we’re both people.  We’re made from the same stuff. ~MacGyver 

Slim pickings here.  I’ll go with MacGyver taking down a goon and then looking for a way to tie him up.  He finds a nearby staple gun and immobilizes the goon by stapling his jacket into the ground.  Not sure how that’s possible but it’s cool.

Everything from minute 8 to minute 24.  Let’s set the scene.  The police have come up empty on finding Father Jim’s killer.  MacGyver reasons that the homeless talk to each other, so maybe they might know something.  When night falls, he dresses up like a homeless person and goes to their community under a bridge.

For the next sixteen minutes, he meets several homeless people and tries to get information  while talking in a voice that I can’t accurately describe, almost like a bastardized New York City accent.  Glaciers formed Lake Michigan faster than this scene unfolds.  It’s one minute of plot that somehow turned into sixteen minutes of actual show.  

Best MacGyverism: 
See Highlight.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Not too many thoughts to offer here.  My mind has been numbed by watching this episode.
  • There’s something about hearing Danny’s voice at the end (saying “Thank you”) that’s a little jarring.  Is it too high-pitched?  Does it sound too normal?  I can’t put my finger on it.
  • Like Twenty Questions, this is a Season 6 Issue Episode where the plot centered on a social issue (in this case, homelessness).  Preachy dialogue is in abundance this season.  
    • MacGyver:  I still can’t help but wonder about those people out there that fall through that so-called (pause) safety net. 
    • Rachel:  It’s just a sad fact of life today.  What can you do? 
    • MacGyver:  Refuse to accept it.  
  • One thing all these weak episodes have in common: lousy villains.  A quick check of the Top 5 and somehow Samad from The Mountain of Youth is still number 1.  Just goes to show how bad these episodes have been. 

Final Analysis:
This is probably the slowest, most boring episode of the series.  They could have had MacGyver paint the houseboat and watch it dry and it would have been more exciting. 

Only two more episodes to slog through and then things take a definite turn for the better! 


  1. At one level I get why some people--including yourself--don't like this episode and it was definitely slow at times and preachy at other times, but I really liked the main homeless characters of Doc and Danny, both of whom humanized homelessness nicely and helped convey the extent to which mental illness is the driving force behind homelessness that the Rooter/Sandler character so cleverly took advantage of with his scam to steal their checks. If you give the story and characters the time they deserve this one is quite well-crafted despite the slow build. And I think I'm most disappointed with your review of this episode of all the ones I read so far for another reason....that you didn't acknowledge the rubber glove hydrogen fireball bit at the end, which I would put up there amongst the top-five MacGyverisms of all time. It's not as though I "love" this episode--I ranked it 98th--but I certainly more to like about it than you did.

    1. Good point about the rubber glove! I should have at least included that as the top MacGyverism of the episode.

    2. For years my mother was a charge nurse at a Lakeshore Mental inst. The state shut it down. Some of the former residents live under a bridge in the same city. Others were moved to a hospital called Moccasin Bend. Others were put in prison. It was very hard on her to see her patients taken away. She loved her patients .

  2. There might not be much action but there is a strong message and story to this episode. I agree with Mark about the characters of Doc and Danny, both of whom were likeable whilst conveying their unfortunate situation really well. MacGyver has always been a champion for people down on their luck and he integrated perfectly with the homeless community to dig up the information about Father Jim. I didn't even mind his strange accent because it fitted the persona he was trying to be. The highlight of the episode was during the campfire scene when MacGyver brings back the foraged food. How could this passage not be the most memorable quote: Grandpa taught me how to forage for food, one time we're on a camping trip, this bear ate all our food. I got all wimpy scared but my Grandpa he said to me, he says; "Bud"... My Grandpa called me Bud, I could never figure that out, but he says; "Bud... We'll just go grazing"! Richard's impression of Grandpa Harry was absolutely perfect.

    1. It was a great impression of Grandpa Harry. Made me wonder if John Anderson's voice was dubbed in it was spot-on.

    2. I wonder how they arrived at using the the bathtub, sink comode manufacturing plant to film the take down of the bad guy. Anyone know?

  3. "Memorable Quote:
    The only difference between you and me is a little bit of luck. That’s all. Aside from that, we’re both people. We’re made from the same stuff. ~MacGyver"

    Awwww Macgyver. :( So true!

    1. I liked what the character named Rachel said: "He taught me the value of service. He always used to say there are no great things to accomplish in this life. Just small things done with great love."

  4. Father Jim was played by an actor named Murdoch. When pickings are slim, that could be worth mentioning ;-)