Sunday, August 3, 2014

#110: The Eraser

Season: 2

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Pete asks MacGyver to intercept an American suspected of selling top-secret technology to the East Germans.  Simultaneously, a local mob boss asks Jimmy "the Eraser" to intercept the same man.  Jimmy befriends MacGyver and ultimately lets him and the suspect go, causing the mob boss to put a hit out on Jimmy. 

Memorable Quote:
"Whenever I see a car phone, I can’t help wondering whether the person who owns it is important or wants everyone else to think he’s important.  Simmons obviously fell into the latter category." ~MacGyver 

"Mmm, this is great.  Did you make this?"  ~Pete
"You’re supposed to heat it."  ~MacGyver
"Mmm, I like it cold."  ~Pete
"I didn’t think you’d go in for whipped bean curd."  ~MacGyver

This is the funniest moment we've had so far at the MacGyver Project.  I'm not normally a laugh-out-loud kind of person when watching tv/movies even when I think something is funny.  But this sequence made me burst out laughing.  The words alone don't do it justice, you have to see it (36:30 mark). 

How about MacGyver delivering a couple of cheap shots in the intro pickup hockey game?  After he talks about how fighting shouldn't be part of a game, he then body checks a guy (and then snarkily adds, "Keep your head up").  Then he elbows a guy and yells at the ref when he gets sent to the penalty box.  You're not supposed to be a cheap-shot artist, MacGyver!  (These aren't really lowlights in the traditional sense, but I couldn't think of anything else). 

Best MacGyverism:
Uses a mirror and reflective paper to give the illusion that the bad guys are shooting at Jimmy in the window, but in reality they are only shooting at his image. 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Not only are we still in Season 2 after the last review (The Wish Child), but it's the same DVD!  What are the odds?  I just saved myself from walking 5 feet to the DVD collection.  
  • Simmons, the corporate turncoat, says to his female accomplice, "We leave in 3 days," after stiffing the United States, the East Germans and the Mob.  Nice urgency there, Simmons.  
  • I'm a Jimmy "the Eraser" fan.  Good character, and good acting job.  Manages to be a bit goofy without being over the top like some of the season 7 characters I've discussed.  Also I like how the mob boss goes by "Papa Chuck". 
  • At the same time, I'm a little confused by Jimmy's motives.  Toward the end of the episode, he tells MacGyver,  "What, you wondering how it felt for me to pull the trigger?  I spent the last ten years thinking about that, seeing faces."  So he's had 10 years in prison to reflect on his sins, then he gets out and immediately volunteers to do a hit for Papa Chuck, but he doesn't go through with it.  Why volunteer in the first place?  Though Papa Chuck does make a comment about not wanting to call in any of his markers. 
  • 6:15 mark - Pete tells MacGyver about a man under surveillance.  MacGyver says, "Oh, you mean Simmons."  Pete asks how he knew that.  MacGyver doesn't say anything and just has a goofy smile, reminds me of the Tom Cruise face in Mission Impossible 2. 
  • 9:00 mark - great scene where MacGyver helps the female bartender fix her soda sprayer.  He asks for some green olives and then just eats the olive and uses the olive stick to fix the sprayer.  Very slick. 
  • 17:45.  Ugh, it's Ralph.  I despise and loath Ralph for reasons that will become clearer next review when I talk about The Eraser, Part II.  At this moment, I am gleeful when MacGyver throws a trash can at him and pins him against a tree. 
  • The MacGyver season 2 apartment is amazing.  There's a vaulted ceiling, a full size basketball hoop, a hockey net, and a hockey table.  Jimmy and MacGyver quickly become buddies there as they shoot a few baskets, have dinner, then play hockey. What a dream: just hanging out with MacGyver, playing table hockey, talking about old times.  Sigh.  
  • 21:50.  MacGyver explains, "I like Alfalfa sprouts for two reasons: lots of minerals and they don’t stain your clothes" and then proceeds to take a monstrous bite out of the alfalfa.  I'm pretty sure this is the only episode in the history of television to feature alfalfa sprouts and whipped bean curd. 
  • 35:50.  "Office hours are over, Pete, loosen your tie and grab a yogurt."  So many great quotes in this episode. 

Final Analysis:
I didn't remember this one too well, and turns out it's got some really good stuff.  The one I remember better (and don't care for) is the sequel and the one I'll review next time, Back From The Dead.  I thought it would make sense to do the two of them back to back, but it turns out I probably underrated this one.  See you next time for more Jimmy "The Eraser" and unfortunately, more Ralph.  


  1. I liked both of the Jimmy "The Eraser" episodes but narrowly prefer this one because the episode had charm and a sense of humor as you mentioned. Unlike you, I could have done without the constant voiceovers in this one but Jimmy was a good character and his hustle on MacGyver was quite convincing. The finale with the execution mirage and the faking of a police siren with a comb and a piece of plastic was simultaneously eye-rollingly ridiculous and cleverly amusing. In one respect, some of the more grating aspects of season 2 were on full display for me with this one yet it still worked for me. I ranked it #72.

  2. I had really enjoyed Back From The Dead and so it was nice to see Jimmy's preceding episode and the background to his character. The story of a Mafia hitman coming good and changing his identity was intriguing and Jimmy was a good foil for MacGyver. I'm not well versed in American sports but I liked the camaraderie they shared over ice hockey and baseball, you could see Richard was in his element on the ice. Pete also had a few good moments too, particularly the bean curd as mentioned by Nicholas! It does seem funny seeing the sudden change to vegan MacGyver after he ate that meat sandwich in a season 1 episode!

    1. The whipped bean curd is one of the funniest moments from the series in my opinion!

  3. I regret to inform that Ralph finally got Jimmy. Joe Santos is dead at 84.

    1. It is very sad to read this. Jimmy is one of my favourite characters from the whole series because Joe's acting was absolutely top class. Rest in peace Mr Santos.

    2. Yea he was a great character that made for two solid episodes. Itd be nice to have seen him a third time. I like the recurring guests.

  4. It was nice to see MacGyver on ice but he sure needs to polish up his manners a little! And how is that only him and the goalie had helmets and Macyver’s one wasn’t even strapped on? I don’t think it’s for decoration!
    He dries up pretty well in ten seconds when Pete arrives.
    Jimmy was a likeable character, though as a hitman he probably shouldn’t have been, so I take it all those he killed were people the world is safer without. His story about Simmons is convincing and strikes a sympathetic chord with MacGyver through his backstory with his own father we don’t even know about yet.
    I liked the fixing of the soda sprayer (pity it’s missing from the short version) and the “when you visit some place, make sure you leave it the same way you found it”, and that he gets punched just as he thinks no-one would ever know he’d been there. It was a great set-up from Jimmy and it again reminds me of something I read in The Brotherhood of the Rose. For me the most interesting part was about the orphanage that trained children up for special forces, including two of the then five year-old main characters, they watch war movies, learn martial arts etc. Ten years later, on an occasion when they sneak out of the institute to see girls, ordinary-looking street thugs beat them up in spite of their extensive boxing experience. They only find out years later that this was arranged by their CIA-agent mentor to prompt them into accept special training from him so they eventually grew up to be hitmen.
    MacGyver’s car hacker personality was almost as good as the tow truck driver one and I liked the alfalfa part as a possible exception from his apparent tendency to favour diets and foods that are commonly advertised – usually, by those with a vested interest – as healthy, while in fact they’re anything but. Humans are omnivores. Soy (tofu, bean curd) is so full of antinutrients (they inhibit protein digestion and mineral absorption, just to name a couple of effects) that the heavy thermal and chemical processing needed to reduce its toxicity turns it carcinogenic. And, while as Jack says three episodes later, breast fed babies are the best fed babies, after weaning age not even our milk is healthy, and for drinking another species’ one, check out what Tommy says in Snatch, he’s spot on!
    “If this works, it will keep us from getting caught, if it doesn’t, it will keep us from getting old”. Runner-up for memorable quote.
    I liked the trick with the mylar, Rollie pulled off something very similar in F/X (released a few months before this episode), also to redirect a shot. Great film, I recommend MacGyver fans to check it out if you haven’t seen it already!

    1. You really know your stuff on these medical issues. I've long been skeptical about some of the food items promoted as "healthy" as it seems to be more successful marketing by industry leaders than anything related to reality, but you've enhanced my hunches with some serious scientific language to back up my skepticism!

  5. Thanks, you’re welcome! I’m not an expert but I think it’s becoming more and more important to be aware of what we put in ourselves as opposed to the older times when there was no junk food around.

  6. I remember this episode from before, and although I've never been a fan, there are one or two funny moments, and some entertaining ones. For some reason I'm not that fond of Jimmy (has probably nothing to do with the actor) - the way he talks and acts just gets on my nerves. An okay episode with some okay MacGyverisms - I'm not sure about the one with the car phone, though! BTW, I hope everyone here has seen the music video for Julian Smith's "Car Phone" - hilarious!