If your idea of fun “MacGyver” is watching older, Russian versions of Mac and Jack fighting with each other, then we’ve got the episode for you! Friday night’s new episode for the most part was themed around our two heroes pairing up with two others, and mass bickering (with the occasional pulling-something-out-of-nothing you’ve come to expect from the show) started to ensue.
The team-up came as a result of a mission to stop an old Soviet bomb from being exploded, and for the most part, we’d consider it entertaining — at least for the most part. The big problem here is that every interesting component we had in this episode has been done everywhere else in a more compelling way. Take, for example, the classic Russian villain interested in trying to restart the Cold War, or the lead and his partner meeting an older version of themselves to impart some sort of wisdom. There was some humor, and of course the past twenty or so minutes were intense watching the bomb be taken care of before chaos erupted.
Probably the smartest thing that came out of this story was seeing Angus find a way to use the Y2k panic to his benefit in making sure the bomb didn’t go off. It was somewhat anticlimactic, but at the same time kind of nice that the solution was so simple. Then, things turned a little bit sad when one of the guys died.
Four episodes into the show, here is our big problem: There should be more balance between the procedural parts of the episode and the long-term stories meant to last the full season. Given the close similarities between “MacGyver” and “Burn Notice,” it feels right to reference what made the latter work in the modern era: It felt like at least 20% of the episode every week was spent on the long-term plots. Here, it was more like 5-10% given the references to Nikki at both the beginning and the end of the episode. Also, the show’s gotta figure out a way to use Justin Hires more other than just little bits at the start and the end of the episode. Guy’s too talented to waste.
We don’t want to sound too harsh, since “MacGyver” is a fine show if you’re looking for easy-going entertainment or George Eads doing a rendition of “Push It.” There’s just a difference between being a fine show and a great show that surpasses expectations. We want to see it get there. Grade: B-.
Next week – We’re getting another crazy episode where a toothpick is going to take center stage. Head over here to read more about that! (Photo: CBS.)