Thursday, September 25, 2014

#98: Off The Wall

Season: 7

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Lobo, a street graffiti artist and a friend of MacGyver's, has a grandmother who is being evicted by an urban developer working with the slumlord owner.  When the slumlord is found dead in the apartments, MacGyver suspects foul play and sets out to prove that the building inspections were forged.  After turning a small bomb back on the bad guys, the developer agrees to pay for Lobo's grandmother's new housing.  

Memorable Quote:
Mr. Lawton, your new complex is gonna look awfully funny with a tenement stuck in the middle of it.   ~MacGyver

I gotta admit, I like the rooftop chase bit.  Who knew Jason Bourne owes his inspiration to MacGyver? Cool music, too.  

I had originally been planning to go with the scene where MacGyver goes to the handwriting expert because I had remembered thinking it was cool.  But it let me down a little bit - there was less analysis than I remembered and more of, "Yep, it's the same guy writing all these checks."

The first 3 minutes include a guy snooping around the legal office.  This part could have been 20 seconds, but the producers probably got to the end of the episode and realized, "We need to fill more time, let's have the snooper look through everything!"

Best MacGyverism:
Burns through plastic hand-ties using electric heating coil.  Though it's not clear why after he frees his hands, he continues to use the coil on his feet and Lobo.  Is he not carrying his pocketknife?!

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I'm a big Lobo fan.  In fact, this episode should have just been called The Lobo Show. A socially conscious graffiti artist who cares about his grandma, is charismatic, and has a cool name - what more do you need?  Well, if he provided a little muscle, he'd be a better wingman.  I'll still add him to the list since he's a fun guy to have around.  
  • A John Considine sighting!  We've seen him before, and we'll see him again.  
  • I wrote in my last review that I got The Prometheus Syndrome confused with Off The Wall since the abandoned apartment buildings looked similar.  I didn't realize that Off The Wall happened to be next on my list.  And yes, the buildings do look similar.  I checked the shooting locations on Kate Ritter's RDA site, and yes, they are the same.
  • I like the old lady lawyers.  Though I gotta ask, if the evidence they had stolen was so important, couldn't they have secured it a bit more?
  • 15:25 - one of the most incredible mullets I've ever seen
  • 30:30 - strange how the bad guys watch from the shadows as MacGyver enters and leaves the slumlord's office at night, yet they don't confront him.  Seems like it would have been a good time to knock him off.  Though once again as my mother says, if they did that, then there wouldn't be a show.  This episode was 3rd from the end of the series, so soon after, there was not a show.   
  • 37:00 - MacGyver using a cordless car phone, and rocking some interesting shades
  • 42:44 mark - we hear for the first time in The MacGyver Project what I call the "Minor MacGyver."  This is my 9th favorite MacGyver tune, and I'll add it to the list.  We'll hear it many times throughout the countdown, usually in the later years when he is figuring something out. It's a great tune and one that I wish I had on a CD that I could play when I was trying to solve a problem.  
  • I like the bomb scene where MacGyver simply says "Dang," after setting the bomb for 1 minute, and then he also gives a great low-key raise of the eyebrows after the bomb hits the getaway car. 
  • Fun Fact - the actor who plays Ferris was married to Robin Curtis, aka Kate Connelly

Final Analysis:
I like this one.  Not spectacular, and a little light on action, but Lobo is great and there are some good moments.  


  1. This episode is not a particularly popular one with most MacGyver fans but I have a soft spot for it. MacGyver had aired on Monday nights for its final six seasons and this was the last one before it went on hiatus, airing during Christmas break 1991. I really savored the whole MacGyver experience that one last Monday night probably give this episode a little bit more acclaim than it may deserve because of it. But it is a decent episode by most metrics. Lobo was a fantastic sidekick as you say, the music was great all-around, and the story was cleverly put together. As for John Considine, did you know he also wrote four episodes of the series along with one of the two TV movies? Within the realm of seven years of MacGyver awesomeness, this episode is admittedly a minor pleasure with lots of dull filler scenes dragging things out, but I still think it's far better than its numerous critics--who believe it was one of the series' weakest episodes--suggest. I rank it #91.

    1. I did not know that John Considine was a writer! I like him as an actor, I think he did a nice job in all his roles on the show.

  2. Considine wrote for two other syndicated series after MacGyver that were produced by Stephen Downing, the executive producer of MacGyver. They were "Robocop: The Series", which I thought was awful....and "FX: The Series", which I enjoyed. He had fantastic bad guy appeal as an actor, particularly with that sinister smile and handlebar mustache.

  3. CBS Action has now finished season 7 on UK tv and its starting at the beginning (again) so its wall-to-wall-MacgYver still! I recorded this one and watched again this week.

    I like this one, too. Totally agree that the beginning could be condensed into 20 seconds but I guess it was cheap filler. I had forgotten about the tattoo artist/ex forger scene and Macgyver sneaking around the landlord's offices at night (great headfirst flip over the chain link fence from RDA!) and enjoyed the suspense and the shout from MacGyver as the goon surprises him in the creepy tenement. I didn't see it coming at first that the Housing agent is the villain as he seemed too mild mannered and the lingering shot of him after Macgyver and Lobo left was not the usual shot of of 'obvious-villain-with-sinister-smile'! Interesting that the dog and the fraudulent company were called Lord Jim' presumably after the Conrad novel but I was hard pushed to find a relevance in the name other than that the Housing agent (Ferris?) had fallen short of the standard expected of him (by a long way!)like the Lord Jim character.

    I too liked Lobo, a cool young upbeat sidekick and didn't mind the, slightly annoying, lawyers too much.

    Overall, I think I rated this one a bit low at 94 and would move it up a bit by swapping with 'Spoilers' at no 88.

    1. I made the switch with Spoilers on your ranking page.

    2. Who is the guy snooping around in the legal office at the beginning of the episode? I do not recall seeing him ever again throughout the remainder of the episode.