Thursday, September 18, 2014

#100: Blood Brothers

Season: 4

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver is in his hometown of Mission City, Minnesota, to open a time capsule that he and his 3 friends made 25 years ago.  He has flashbacks of a terrible accident with a gun that claimed his friend's life.  Meanwhile, his surviving 2 friends' sons are mixed up with some drug dealers, and one of them has a gun accident of his own. 

Memorable Quote:
The best pals a guy ever had  ~Jesse
We miss you, Jesse  ~MacGyver

A fun, lighthearted moment when MacGyver is in the police station looking for his friend, and he happens upon an old cop who is having problems with a broken typewriter.  
  • "Oh I guess I should have given up on this old clunker years ago."  ~Cop
  • "Oh nonsense, let me have a look."  ~MacGyver, who then fixes it in 5 seconds with a pen
The cop then adds how there used to be a kid around here who fixed everything, and MacGyver smiles and says, "How you been, Sgt. Olson?"

An emotionally brutal scene when Jason Priestley runs down the stairs, trips over the bullets on the ground, and his gun goes off and he shoots himself.  At the same time, MacGyver flashes back to the moment from 25 years ago when they lose control of the gun and it goes off, shooting his friend Jesse in the chest.  More on this later. 

Best MacGyverism:
Mixes Phenolphtalein Solution and Drain Cleaner to get fake blood. 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Ramon Franco is back as a gang member - we also saw him in Final Approach.  Not sure why he's so mad at Priestley for ruining the car windshield.  Shouldn't cost too much to replace, and it's not that nice of a car anyway.  I guess rationality is not his strong suit.    
  • Hard to believe that MacGyver's friend Chuck (and Priestley's dad) can own a gun shop after the accident from his childhood.  Also hard to believe that Chuck and Neil (the other friend) both left the scene 25 years ago when Jesse got shot, leaving young MacGyver to try and save his friend.  I know they were only kids, but still. 
  • 21:27 - don't recall seeing a guy wear an earring quite like that 
  • 24:40 - I love when MacGyver yells at people to calm down.  "Calm down!!"
  • The denouement is weird as MacGyver, Chuck, and Neil dig up the time capsule and look at their old memories.  Just feels a little too happy to me.   
  • Interesting to see that the guy who plays young Jesse ended up becoming a star gymnast.  

Final Analysis:
In retrospect, I should have ranked this episode lower.  Like The Challenge, this is what I'd call an Academy Award episode.  Like if these episodes were voted on by the Academy, this one would rank highly because it is serious, thematic, and powerful. But fortunately I am not an academy voter!

I knew coming into it that I didn't enjoy watching this one, but I had reasoned that since it was a well done episode and also an important part of MacGyver's history (why he hates guns), it deserved a certain amount of respect in the form of a little higher ranking.  Well, after watching it, it was less well done than I had remembered.  It feels overly preachy, the supporting characters aren't that likable (except for Priestley), it's depressing as hell, and the flashback scenes are horrifying to watch. Amazing that Season 4 started with Parker House and then this one - talk about taking a dark turn right off the bat.  


  1. Here's another one we're way off on as I really enjoyed this episode. While the preachiness regarding the gun issue was a little strong at times, it paled in comparison the hyperpreachiness of the series' second anti-gun episode "The Gun" from Season 6. MacGyver's visceral aversion to guns needed a compelling back story and I felt the series really delivered with that. And unlike you, I found the characters really well drawn on this one, and also found compelling the loss of innocence of this idyllic little town at the hands of drugs which set the stage for the conflict with Danny. The suspense level was high during the chase through the abandoned hospital and I felt the whole hour was crafted nicely throughout. And I found the epilogue with the unearthing of the time capsule to be exceptional, beautifully capturing the mixed emotions of the moment. I rank this episode #42.

  2. "The denouement is weird as MacGyver, Chuck, and Neil dig up the time capsule and look at their old memories. Just feels a little too happy to me."

    Did you want the whole episode to be sad?

    "it's depressing as hell,"

    And that's why the ending is so happy! :)

  3. Spider wanted to kill Danny, not mainly because of the windshield but the LA connections he needed to impress. He wanted to cause fear among the people in town and a murder of an innocent young man, without any "good" reason, in pure daylight surely would have worked. Remember what Spider said to the other gang members in the car before the shooting? He wanted to show that Mission City was in his back pocket. Anyhow, I love this episode and your blog as well, I'm really enjoying it. Keep up the good work! Greetings from Finland!

  4. I wish I could figure out who was who a little better on the kids shooting accident. Who was the boy shooting at the bird? I guess MacGyver is the one who knocked the gun out of his hand?
    Was Jessy aiming the gun at the bird or just on the sidelines and got shot?

    1. MacGyver was the one who knocked the gun out of the hand, and Jesse was off on the sidelines. It was either Neil or Chuck who was doing the shooting.

  5. It was Neal who tried to shoot the bird. And Jesse didn't want to use the gun at all, he just kept score.

  6. I find it intriguing that you frequently rib "Mission: Impossible" and the "MacGyver" reboot for the characters' lack of emotional connection to the content, but when it comes to the most emotionally charged scenes from the original, including this scene from "Blood Brothers" as well as Booker's death in "The Challenge" and Dr. Milhouse and Ace's death in "Kill Zone", you cite how difficult they are to watch and place them in your lower tier because of their emotional resonance. Is there some sweet spot in the middle you're looking for? Also I thought Mike's death in "The Widowmaker" was a horrifying scene but that didn't seem to meet the same depressing plateau for you as the three scenes I cited.

    1. I'm not at all against emotional scenes -- I just want the rest of the episode to be good enough to make the emotional journey worthwhile. For example when the mother dies in The Prodigal, that's an emotional moment which is a journey worth going on because the rest of the episode is genius.