Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#106: For Love or Money

Season: 2

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver teams up with Diana, an agent guided by money, to rescue a human rights advocate in Czechoslovakia.  They break into a hospital and free the man, and they also rescue his wife.  The GRU follows them to the US, where they have a showdown at the LA zoo.  

Memorable Quote:
"Well, which you save rather save, MacGyver?  Your pride, or a man’s life?"  ~Pete

I enjoy the part (29:00 mark) where they get the jump on the two GRU agents in the countryside. First, MacGyver sneaks up behind one goon and wraps duct tape around his eyes.  Then, after having captured the second one, MacGyver covers his mouth with duct tape while he is in mid-sentence.  

Weird scene at the 39:40 mark.  While MacGyver and Diana are waiting for the @#$@ to hit the fan at the zoo, Diana brings up a guy who she met after their embassy mission 3 years ago.  She fell for him, but "he wasn't my lover, he was KGB, trying to get those papers back.  I found out and he tried to kill me.  I was faster, and I killed him."  Then she starts to cry and MacGyver hugs her, but then she pushes him away.  It's a strange, out of place minute that has no real point or relevance to the rest of the episode.   

Best MacGyverism:
Puts carbon black and helium inside a rubber glove.  Then duct tapes the glove inside a tray of potatoes.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I love the Season 2 Phoenix Foundation where you see lots of people working outside Pete's office in the shadow of a big, orange map of the world.  What a cool place to work!  
  • I'm not sure that "private investors" would really pay half a million dollars to bring a human rights leader to the US, but it's a nice thought. 
  • I like Diana, despite her greedy nature.  She’s cute, capable, a little spunky, and has a good heart.   I'm not going to add her to the love interest list because there's no indication of any past or present romance between her and MacGyver, but I will add her to the wingman list, or in this case, wingwoman.  It's too bad she's not in more episodes - she and MacGyver have some fun back and forth moments. 
  • A few times it is mentioned that MacGyver broke someone out of this particular hospital last year.  I had remembered that and had thought that it was the same place from A Prisoner of Conscience, but it's clear to me now that that's not the case since that was Russia and this is Czechoslovakia.  
  • Runner-up for memorable quote:
    • "I wanted something [car] that wouldn't attract attention.  ~Diana
    • "Even when they see us pushing it down a highway?  ~MacGyver
  • When I was 9 or 10, I was playing 2nd base in an evening baseball game when a ground ball took a bad hop and bopped me in the nose.  I left the game to go home and remember that this episode was on as a re-run.  Not sure why I remember that, but I do.  
  • Once they get Dubcek in the van, he says they need to go back or else his wife will be in trouble, yet for some reason he doesn't say a word up to that point.  
  • 33:20 mark - Nice move from MacGyver taking the explosive out of the grenade.  As Dubcek says, you trick them instead of killing them. 
  • Is it really worth the GRU's time and effort to come to America to kidnap/kill a human rights leader?  I guess it is.  And couldn't Viera have just done it at any time without the two guys having to get involved?  And why do they choose to meet at a zoo, the most public place imaginable? 
  • 33:20 - good use of the bullet proof vest.  I was very intrigued by bullet proof vests as a kid and wondered why more people like MacGyver didn't wear them.  In fact, I still wonder why MacGyver doesn't always wear one.
  • 44:06 - quite simply, an incredible move by MacGyver as he swims through the air while free falling and then landing on the bad guys.  If you only watch one 10 second segment of this episode, make it this one.  
  • Actually, the next 10 seconds are pretty good too as Diana lays out Viera in an open field tackle. I think the Eagles' defense could use her. 
  • OK, now the next 10 seconds are good too!  A GRU agent on the overpass yells down at MacGyver.
    • "Freeze!" ~GRU agent
    • "Take 'em Pete."  ~MacGyver
    • "And I'm supposed to look, eh?" ~GRU agent
    • MacGyver shrugs as Pete comes from behind and whacks him. 
  • Finally, this fun scene ends as MacGyver picks up a yellow plastic toy and battles the other agent who has a knife.  Meanwhile Pete just calmly watches the whole thing from above.  
  • During the denouement, MacGyver mentions how the Phoenix Foundation takes care of all his expenses.  How awesome would that be?  I love the Phoenix Foundation.

Final Analysis:
Fun episode here.  I didn't remember it too well, and in retrospect, I should have had it ranked higher.  I like Diana, and there's some good dialogue and witty banter.  Also it moves at a good pace and there's not a dull moment (except for the minute described in the lowlight).  This was the finale of season 2, and as I mentioned in my Hind-Sight review, it is funny how much more pedestrian season finales were in the 80's.  If this were today, there'd be some explosive, dramatic cliffhanger to try and keep people interested for 3 months.  

Also I've started posting a "guess the quote" to the next episode in my countdown a day or two before my post over at this forum on Kate Ritter's RDA site.  It's a fun forum with some very knowledgable MacGyver fans!  


  1. I enjoyed this one too as it definitely fit the adventure show mold of the early seasons with a clever jail break and a race for the border. I definitely liked the Czechoslovakia portion of the episode more than the LA portion at the zoo but the story came together decently in the end anyway. I also really liked the epilogue. In general, I'm glad that the epilogue has been tossed in the ash heap of TV history in modern shows as most of them were goofy and syrupy but MacGyver's generous gift compelling Diana to part with a portion of her reward money was a great scene. I ranked this one #80.

    1. D'oh! Screwed up again. This was my #79, not #80.

  2. I enjoyed this one. A lot of twists and turns, and it did hearken back to season 1. I wasn't sure about Diana in the beginning but warmed to her a bit by the end.

    My top 5 episodes of season 2 (in DVD order):
    The Human Factor
    Three for the Road
    Phoenix Under Siege
    Family Matter
    Out in the Cold

    But there are many other great episodes in this season.

    1. Congrats on making it to the end of Season 2, and thanks for reading and commenting!