Friday, January 3, 2014

#124: Two Times Trouble

Season: 5

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver and Pete are in Chicago to oversee an anti-drug music video with the help of Roxi, a singer and high school friend of MacGyver’s.  Mysterious things begin happening including an elevator malfunction and a murder, which Roxi attributes to her twin sister Carla.  MacGyver confronts Carla with the truth about her relationship to Roxi so she can get the mental help she needs. 

Memorable Quote:
"The devil’s always there to pull you down to the pool of drugs - he’ll watch you drown.  But we’re staying strong to get our dreams.  Party of life."   ~Roxi

I like the part where MacGyver is in Carla’s apartment and he sees her painting and uses it to figure out Carla’s secret (I won't spoil).   

Not one part stands out as the obvious lowlight.  I’ll go with MacGyver getting hit in the head with a wrench. 

Best MacGyverism:
As MacGyver gives Carla a hug, she hits him in the head with a wrench.  Then she ties him up and dumps him into a water tank that was used in the filming of the 80’s music video.  MacGyver kicks an underwater light and uses the jagged glass to break the ties that bind him.  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Some rockin’ 80’s music in the beginning.  MacGyver notes, "I’m impressed, it’s a catchy tune."  I agree.  Though I can’t tell what the chorus is.  Party of Life?  Party for Life?  Part of your life?
  • The music video includes a guy (credited as “The Devil”) taking a lady to the top of a water tank, tying her up, and dropping her in.  She looks legitimately terrified as she is bound and pushed down a slide into the tank.  Then the director somewhat non-chalantly says, "Cut!  OK, OK get her out of the tank," as she thrashes around wildly.  Brief screen time, but that actress earned her paycheck.
  • When Roxi and MacGyver’s elevator breaks down, they climb up through the opening in the elevator ceiling and into the shaft.  After the cables break and the elevator plummets, Roxi says, "Heights still get to you, huh?"  Geez, MacGyver, you’re only thirty stories above ground hanging from a pipe!  Grow a pair!        
  • Chi-town!  I think this is MacGyver’s only visit to Chicago in the series.
  • In hindsight MacGyver probably should have said, “Why don’t you come down from above the water tank” before playing armchair psychiatrist with Carla. 
  • So she throws a guy off a balcony to his death and tries to drown MacGyver and yet then gets to live in the nice nursing home?  Maybe there’s an insanity plea in there somewhere.  And we never did figure out what happened with the elevator – did she sabotage it herself?

Final Analysis:
It’s a clever plot (albeit bizarre) with good acting, suspense, and a creative plot twist. I have it ranked lower because there aren’t a lot of high points for me (i.e. scenes that I really enjoy and like to re-watch).  But there aren’t any real low points either and overall the episode is better than I remembered. 


  1. I personally would rank this one lower just because it gave me the creeps (I won't spoil the secret either...but, yipes!).

  2. It is nice that they set it in Chicago. I haven't seen the episode. Did they feature any good shots of the city?

    1. No shots of the city, just the Illinois license plate.

  3. "Though I can’t tell what the chorus is."

    Higher life
    We're living the
    Higher life
    Oh yeah
    We're staying clear, staying clean
    Because this life means everything...

  4. Awesome, thanks for clearing that up! Makes sense!

  5. When I first watched this episode I didn't care for it at all, but I've grown to really, really like it. I had an aunt that experienced major mental illness issues and she went through the same paranoia and role-playing proclivities that Carla did, and it helped increase the credibility of this episode's core premise. And it was a REALLY creepy episode...another reason I grew to love it. The creepiness factor really escalated in the second half with the painting and that bizarre incident with Carla seeing her reflection in the mirror. There were a couple sleights of hands in the craftsmanship of the story but overall it was very nicely done. I ranked it #51.

  6. Carla probably was deemed unfit to stand trial - if she had a decent lawyer, she would've been - and sentenced to hang out in the psych hospital rather than in jail. Which is the correct place for her.

    I like this episode quite a bit - always have.

  7. Fun Fact: Audrey Landers, who played Roxy/Carla, actually has an identical twin sister IRL; Judy, who is also in the business. She also had a regular/recurring role on 'Dallas', and appeared on an episode or two of the reboot.

    I remember being fascinated with the wild red Roxy hair when the episode first aired. Appropriate as big hair bands were all the rage during the 80's.

  8. This is another one of those I don't remember liking and was putting off. However on my third, I believe, viewing here, it is really good. The opening annoys me as I'm not a musical fan and this kind of is a musical, but it's a good episode altogether. Boy do i hate 80s hair. Carla is much better. How was that frizziness fashionable? Mullets are a bit better, but not much good come out of the 80s besides MacGyver.

    I rarely notice the music as much as you, but there were some great bits in here, particularly part of the song and when MacGyver was looking for the glass to take fingerprints. And some other parts. Some current electronica sounds similar.

    Id rank this higher than i would've before watching it, but I'm not sure it sticks out greatly. Well see seen, as i only have about 7 left to rewatch.

  9. "Anonymous says Fun Fact: Audrey Landers, who played Roxy/Carla, actually has an identical twin sister IRL; Judy."

    Yeah I thought so too that they were twins, but apparently they are not. On IMDB it says that Audrey is the older sister of Judy.

    1. You're right, thanks for the heads up! Have you been rewatching all these or are you commenting from memory?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. "Nicholas Sweedo says Have you been rewatching all these or are you commenting from memory?"

      No. It's from memory!!!! :) Proof right there that Macgyver was an amazing show, with awesome episodes! You don't forget! :)

  10. I love this episode. Love the song. I love the wild 80's hair. Love the twist at the end.. Great episode.

  11. I see another commenter already cleared up just having just read your review, the chorus to the 80s rock song was "Higher Life"....not "Party of Life". I'll admit I didn't get that until I saw the song title in the closing credits either. Dennis McCarthy co-wrote the song. The actress in the rock video who went into the pool was Kymberly Sheppard, who also played the bartender on "Collision Course" and Ralph Jerico's mistress on "Jerico Games". At one point, IMDB listed her as the sister of writer John Sheppard, but I believe in his interview, John Sheppard claimed that was not the case.

    Funny how the "studio" they're recording at in Chicago looks structurally identical to the Phoenix Foundation research building in Vancouver. It's uncanny! Still love this episode....very dark and creepy!

  12. Boom can be seen in the mirror in hotel penthouse scene at 28:04! Also did she change her hair style so quickly?