Monday, September 8, 2014

#103: Friends

Season: 2

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
After returning home from Central America on a tough mission, MacGyver finds a surprise birthday party waiting for him at the Phoenix Foundation.  As he reflects on the stress of the day and recalls close shaves in former adventures, he decides to retire.  After talking with Grandpa Harry and seeing all his friends, he changes his mind and rips up the letter of resignation that he had earlier signed. 

Memorable Quote:
Listen to me.  There is no one else in the world like you.  You're a cat.  You've got 9 lives!  ~Pete
I've already lived 8 of 'em!  ~MacGyver  

Great facial expression of shock by MacGyver (24:24 mark) when he first sees a pregnant Kate of The Gauntlet fame.  At this point, he's wondering if perhaps that is his baby.  He subsequently is relieved to learn that that is not the case.  However, in another 5 years he will discover the result of his relationship with a different photojournalist named Kate, but that is a story for a later time. 

Speaking of The Gauntlet, they replay the desert/hot air balloon scene without the original music. That's a crime, and whoever made that decision should have at least been fired, mabye even arrested.  There's a lot I could say about this scene, but this isn't the appropriate time.  We'll get to it later.  Much later.   

Best MacGyverism:

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • MacGyver returns to his apartment and tells us about an adventure he just had.  In Central America, he stole a floppy disk guarded by some tribesmen.  The disk contained evidence linking a major drug dealer to the flow of cocaine into the U.S. MacGyver almost died 3 times, in fact it was as close to dying as he'd ever been, which made him think "real hard."  Then he had a turbulent 12 hour flight.  Then in the apartment, Jack Dalton (in disguise as a bad guy) surprises MacGyver and orders him to the Phoenix Foundation where a surprise birthday party is awaiting.  A few thoughts:
    • If they already know about the existence of a major drug dealer in Central America, what is the value of having a disk that proves he is selling drugs? Later in the episode, Bannister says that as a result of the information, "the legal wheels will start humming" against the drug dealer.  How exactly will that work?  Will they call in Judge Judy?
    • How could this be the closest MacGyver has ever been to dying?  What about the 159 other times from the previous episodes.  
    • That whole story with the drug dealer and the tribesmen sounds like an awesome episode.  Too bad we didn't get to see it. 
    • Not sure how his flight to L.A. took 12 hours unless it was on the plane he built himself out of bamboo.  
    • Probably not the best evening to throw MacGyver a surprise birthday party. Couldn't they have waited one day?
    • And couldn't they have found a way to get him to the Phoenix Foundation that didn't involve holding him up at knife point?  And wouldn't MacGyver have resisted instead of taking a criminal in there?  OK, I'm done now.  
  • "I guess it just proves that a good map will always get you where you want to go." ~Grandpa Harry.  Nicely done, recalling the original episode. 
  • This episode is an inverse of Early Retirement, a future episode on the countdown.  In that episode, Pete wants to retire and MacGyver is trying to talk him out of it.  It's like the old saying, where you stand depends on where you sit.  And in both episodes, MacGyver is pretty stubborn!  
  • 28:38 - nice "Exactly!" from Jack Dalton.
  • 34:00 - we catch a glimpse of the date on the resignation letter = March 23, 1987. Which means MacGyver's birthday is March 23.  
  • In reality, MacGyver's rationale for wanting to quit makes total sense.  Sure, he's a talented guy, but he's as lucky as can be to still be alive, and this is only Season 2. Maybe he should have just gone back to Minnesota, found a gal, and settle down. But then there wouldn't be a show.  

Final Analysis:
Like Hind-Sight, this is an episode that contains many flashbacks.  This episode, though, has more substance around the flashbacks, including a great, nuanced performance by RDA.  In other news, this blog has just passed the 5000 view mark - thank you for reading!     


  1. I suspect you may be the only MacGyver fan in the world to rank the clip show "Friends" higher than "Hell Week". Of course not all clip shows are created equal and this one is clearly better than the steaming pile of manure that was "Hind-Sight". Still, an uneven hour at best. The idea of Jack Dalton holding MacGyver at knifepoint for an entire drive to the Phoenix Foundation and not getting meleed was goofy, and Jack and Penny's elementary playground caliber banter was cringeworthy all around. And as you said, replacing Randy Edelman's classic scores from the opening gambits with generic Dennis McCarthy music was a crime against my ears. On the upside, Pete and MacGyver had some great exchanges here, and the birthday theme was a good moment of inflection for MacGyver to ponder the rest of his life and decide he needed a change. And the Kate Connelly pregnancy bit was one of the most hilarious moments in seven years of MacGyver. Compliments aside, this was a low-budget clip show with a predictable--if satisfying--ending and doesn't hold up well with the series' body of work. I rank it #137.

  2. Just saw this one now. An interesting insight into what kind of person MacGyver is, and how he feels deep down. But largely a completely unnecessary flashback episode. (Used to get a lot of those. 🤔)