Friday, October 24, 2014

#92: Rush to Judgement

Season: 5

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver is in court serving jury duty for a murder trial where the victim was the wife of a notable ex-athlete.  He breaks sequester in order to get a better look at the crime scene, and he finds evidence that casts doubt on the defendant's guilt.  He admits to breaking his sequester and gets taken into custody but gets out on bail and solves the crime.  

Memorable Quote:
No, actually I think you're to blame.  ~MacGyver
I beg your pardon?  ~Reporter
People like you who rush to judgement or make snap accusations before you get all the facts.  ~MacGyver

A few really good options to pick from here.  I'm gonna go with the scene in the courtroom where Pete refuses to give up MacGyver as the source of the evidence and then MacGyver stands up and says it was him.  It's fun to imagine that really happening where a juror just stands up in the middle of a case and starts talking.  The courtroom and the judge especially are shocked by this, which is enjoyable to watch.  Though I do have to ask, why would the D.A. and judge make the defense attorney reveal his source?  And then he gives up Pete right in front of everyone!  

They kill the bird lady?  That's harsh!  At least we don't have to see her dead body.   

Best MacGyverism:
A fun one where he rigs the vending machine to pop out sodas in order to distract the guard.  Of course MacGyver is an expert in soda machine technology!  We never get to see how he snuck back into his hotel room.  In any event, we'll add this one as #5 on the MacGyverism list.  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Well done in the beginning where we see the court case develop for a few minutes, and just as we're wondering what this has to do with MacGyver, the camera pans the jury and we see MacGyver sitting there. 
  • I remember watching this as a kid and asking my mother what sequester was. Always learned something when watching MacGyver!  
  • As a self-confessed rule breaker myself (and also a Meyers-Briggs "P"), I love the dynamic of MacGyver following his own moral code and breaking a rule because he believes it's the right thing to do.  Of course a "J" would tell you if everyone followed their own rules, there would be chaos.  But MacGyver was willing to deal with the consequences, which in this case was going into custody.  Though I guess the case was dropped because we don't hear any more about it after he makes bail.  
  • Fun exchange after the bird lady knocks a flower pot off her window:
    • "How'd my geranium take it?"  ~Bird Lady
    • "Better than the pot."  ~MacGyver
  • I love when MacGyver talks directly to Arlo the bird to play along with the bird lady. Then at 14:53, he gets into it a little too much and backs away with an expression like, "what in the world am I doing talking to a bird like this."
  • 37:40 - I like the use of "settle down" in everyday language.  Jon Stewart is good at working it in with his guests.
  • 41:10 - Wow, MacGyver uses self-defense to take down a much bigger guy!  It took him a while, but toward the end of the series he gets pretty good at hand-to-hand combat.    

Final Analysis:
Whoa!  I really enjoyed this one.  I didn't remember it being one of my favorites, and I still wouldn't put it in the top 25 or anything, but it's much better than I thought.  For an episode with not much action, there's never a dull moment, and there are some great highlights including the soda machine escape, the courtroom source reveal, and everything involving the bird lady.  It's a good mystery where justice is served in the end, and like Hell Week and Live and Learn, it's fun to have a unique episode where MacGyver is doing something different and also where we get to see him as more of a normal person doing things like getting soda from a vending machine.  


  1. I didn't enjoy this one as much as you. I certainly didn't hate it and agree the story was reasonably well crafted, but I think my biggest issue with it is that it felt more like a "Law and Order"-style procedural rather than a "MacGyver" episode. That's not necessarily a bad thing in general and wasn't here, but the lack of action really stood out for me with this one. Agreed, however, the characters were interesting and the plot trajectory was pretty solid, aside from the fact that we're supposed to believe the cops were sloppy enough to miss the murder weapon lying so obviously right there in the gutter in such a high-profile case. This is one of those episodes I've rated somewhat poorly but don't have any real objections to. It just didn't have the MacGyver Magic for me. I ranked it #120.

    1. Your concept of the missing "MacGyver Magic" sounds similar to my "not much fun to be had" idea that defined many of the episodes for me in the 120 range. Not bad, but not doing much for me, kind of like this one for you.

  2. I really like this episode and would put it in my top 50 although I haven't ranked the episodes seriously.As usual,Macgyver is determined to do the right thing even though he is apprehensive about a potentially serious brush with law and a good dramatic tension is built up during his investigative scenes.

    1. Yeah I agree with the dramatic tension. There may not be a lot of action in the traditional sense, but the scenes all fit together and flow nicely.

  3. I love this episode. Macgyver was just trying to get to the truth! Just trying to do the right thing. He felt bad breaking the rules.

    They kill the bird lady? That's harsh! At least we don't have to see her dead body."

    Yeah that was awful! :( I bet Macgyver felt so guilty! :(

    "Best MacGyverism:
    A fun one where he rigs the vending machine to pop out sodas in order to distract the guard."

    That was awesome!!!

    "We never get to see how he snuck back into his hotel room."

    Yeah I have always wondered how he snuck back in. Probably did another distraction.

  4. All i got to say: 85 cents for a soda in 1990? That was kind of expensive. Wasn't it?

    1. Maybe not in California. CA is usually 'ahead' of the curve on some things, like raising the prices on unhealthy foods to keep kids from slugging sugary soda all day. And it's in the courthouse, so probably sees less soda-buying traffic than other places.

      In 1990, most 12oz cans in the vending machines were $0.50 or $0.60. And since there's no direct sales tax on vending machine prices, it's all 'hidden', but the vendor still has to pay the sales tax to the state/city. And, depending on where the courthouse was getting their soda supply from, that'll determine prices.

      That's sort of a long-winded answer to say, nah, not really. =)

    2. The show was filmed in Canada so I'm sure it was a Canadian machine. At least in 1990, the Canadian loony wasn't worth as much as the American dollar so it was probably 85 cents a can. I know I was in Winnipeg, CA, one year earlier in 1989 and it was 75 cents a can at the motel I stayed in.

  5. I liked this one for being unique but it's not a good example of what makes this series so special. Still worth watching for sure.