Monday, May 26, 2014

#114: On a Wing and a Prayer

Season: 4

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver and Jack Dalton fly to Latin America to rescue a wounded Pete and a nun who have been kidnapped by rebels.  Their plane is shot during the escape attempt, and they are forced to make an emergency landing where one of the rudders gets damaged.  As the rebels discover their location and head towards them, MacGyver must fix the plane to escape so Pete can get medical attention and so they can warn the country's president about a palace bomb. 

Memorable Quote:
"MacGyver!  What's happening?" ~Jack
"Your slip knot's not slipping!" ~MacGyver

I like the scene in the beginning in the sea harbor where MacGyver approaches Dalton and sheepishly asks him for a favor.  Always enjoy the interplay between the two of them, and this one is a reversal of the more typical bit where:
  1. Dalton asks MacGyver for help.
  2. MacGyver complains and gets frustrated.
  3. Jack continues to press.
  4. MacGyver relents and agrees to help.
To Jack's credit, he does not need any convincing--he happily jumps at the chance to help MacGyver.

There's not one jumping out at me--I guess I'll go with Pete getting shot. 

Best MacGyverism:
In order to seal the gash in the rudder, MacGyver heats up some rubber and nylon mixed with pieces of a life jacket in order to make a waterproof seal.  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • In this episode, Pete gets shot in the shoulder.  This is the first episode we've covered where either MacGyver or Pete gets shot.  I think we need to add a "shot chart" to keep track of all the times MacGyver and Pete get shot, so I'll add it to the rankings page.  At this point, you're thinking, "that's a little weird."  Let me explain.  When I was a kid, I played a game with my sisters that I called "Dodge the Bullet."  I liked to dodge things, and I was impressed with MacGyver's ability (or luck) to dodge bullets that were frequently whizzing by.  So when I was watching MacGyver with one of my sisters, we would play "Dodge the Bullet" during the commercials.  The rules of the game were that my sister had to sit on the sofa while holding a balloon.  Meanwhile, I would jump and dive around the room.  She would whack the balloon with her hand (like overhand hitting a volleyball) and try to hit me with the balloon, and I would try and dodge it.  As soon at the balloon hit something (like the floor, the window behind me, or the coffee table), the bullet was dead, so to speak, and I was free to pick it up and give it back to her.  Each time the balloon hit me first, however, I was "shot."  My goal was to get shot fewer times than MacGyver had gotten shot all-time in the series--if that happened, then I "won."  If I got hit greater than or equal to the number of times he got shot, then I "lost."  There were many times where it was very dramatic as I was on my last life and waiting for the commercial to end while having to dodge the balloon like my life depended on it.  Back then, there were still new episodes coming out and I was seeing older ones for the first time, so if there was a new one where he got shot, it was actually a good thing for me in the game, because it meant I got an extra life. Although of course I didn't like to see MacGyver get shot.  There you go. See, no weirdness at all.  
  • Good shake at 21:21--we'll add it to the list
  • Who knew Central America had so many evergreen trees?  I know, that's the tenth time I've made that joke. 
  • If Rafael (the rebel leader) wants to take power after the palace bomb goes off, wouldn't he be in town rather than in the middle of nowhere?  

Final Analysis:
This episode is ok--no real highlights or lowlights.  The rebel band is contrived and more silly than menacing.  But at least MacGyver has to do something creative--it's been about 4 episodes since we could say that.  Happy Memorial Day everyone! 


  1. This episode gets pretty great reviews by most fans so I'm surprised you didn't like it. It was a time in the series' run where the crew was getting very experimental with subject matter so it was nice that they had an old-fashioned globe-trotting adventure episode to bring the show back to its roots. The story along the craftiness and complexity of the MacGyverisms were solid and exciting throughout for me. I'll agree with you that Rafael's transparent power trip was easy to see through and didn't make him a particularly credible militia leader, but that was my only gripe with the episode. I like it more with further viewings though and rate it in the top #65.

  2. I like this episode a lot, altho the middle gives me a blah impression when I think about it. Its great to see a switch around for MacGyver and Jack, and them both working together on the MacGyverisms. They make a great team and partnership.

    Id like to note that there is a line we all probably miss. Sister Clara mentions Sister Margaret, perhaps referring to the earlier character. I remember the discussion on that page speculating that they wanted her in this one.

    1. Interesting, I must have missed that line -- I'll try and keep an ear out for it next time.

  3. Hahahaha cute game. :) Reminds me of the game I played with myself as a little kid. Remember the cartoon He-man? Well whenever he would do his punch in the credits, I would pretend he hit me and I would fall back. :) So anyway how many sisters do you have?

    1. I never saw He-Man but I like your game! I have two older sisters.

    2. "Nicholas Sweedo says I never saw He-Man"

      OH! Here is the opening theme.

      "but I like your game!"

      Thanks I like your game too!

      "I have two older sisters."

      I have 1 younger brother.

  4. I think this one is a classic. While watching the MeTV airings a big part of my judgement is how well I remember the episode, despite not having seen it in 20 years. This one would have to be near the top with memorable MacGyverisms getting the plane fixed, a fun and exciting plot, Santina, and some classic quips I still use ("your slip knot's not slipping!", "Oh, he's flying economy class").

    My complaint would be the unnecessary bomb sub-plot. They already had a time constraint to escape before the rebels arrived to kill them. The pressure of stopping the bombing didn't add anything.