Who is Nikki Carpenter really? For most of the season so far on “MacGyver,” it’s appeared as though Mac’s noteworthy ex was a traitor, desperate to destroy and take down the team. Yet, on Friday night’s new episode entitled “Screwdriver,” we started to get a sense that there may have been more than meets the eye when it comes to the character.
Following the arrival of Jack’s own ex Sarah Adler, we learned that she was getting close to finally tracking down Nikki once and for all. When we did, what we learned is that all of this time, she may have been a deep-cover CIA operative (emphasis on “may have been”), whose primary mission was doing everything that she can in order to infiltrate an organization in order to gain access and eventually take down a mystery man known as Chrysalis. There was one other person who may have some information about the man’s identity, and unfortunately he was behind bars and not excited all that willing to talk: Murdoc.
Bozer and Riley to the rescue – Seeing these two work together is fun based mostly on their chemistry, and also for seeing a certain rapport that Bozer has now that he’s fully in the know as to what’s going on. Murdoc agreed to pass along some information, but only if the two retrieved for him a first edition copy of Paradise Lost — an idea that immediately gave us pause. Maybe there was something about the binding of this that someone like Murdoc could use to get out of prison. Crazier things have almost constantly happened. (If there was, we didn’t see it tonight.)
When they brought him the book, he proceeded to hand down some “information” — it just wasn’t particularly useful at first glance. In giving them a bank-account number, it seemed like Murdoc was punking them to no end. However, Bozer realized that there may be print records of the transaction somewhere in New York, and he just had to find them somewhere. Thanks to some super-entertaining disguises (cheers to Bozer for that prosthetic work), they did.
Mac and Jack’s next move – Despite whether or not Nikki was telling the truth, the guys found themselves in a position where they had to trust her. Otherwise, they’d all be dead and there would be no hope of ever getting out of tonight alive. Mac tried to use Nikki’s connection to Chrysalis to set up a meet, one where they could pretend to hold fake information to lure him out … or was it a her? This is where things get a little bit interesting. Right at the spot where the team was ready to meet up with their adversary, Thornton showed up … and we certainly started to wonder whether or not she was the responsible party.
By the end of the episode, there was no more reason to wonder at all — Mac managed to finally piece together that his own boss was actually behind everything! She had kept Mac away from Nikki, and had used a secret alias to funnel away millions. She was seemingly telling the truth, and we’re left still to wonder why Thornton thought she could get away with this forever. For the time being, though, this puts an end to this mystery. Yet, the Organization still remains that Mac, Nikki, and everyone else needs to take on.
A happy ending? – It’s going to take us some time to get over the fact that Thornton, someone we thought was going to be cast in the typical procedural-boss role, actually was put into handcuffs. Yet, that’s why we like it — it’s a twist that makes the show different from many of the others. Unfortunately for Mac, Nikki’s quest to take down the Organization has not changed.
Meanwhile, Jack decided to finally attend Sarah’s wedding with Mac, and did an incredibly difficult thing for him: Let her go, and be with someone who could make her happy. It wasn’t easy for him, but this was a great step in right direction for him as a person. Maybe he’ll find someone else down the road.
We’re almost surprised that there wasn’t some other crazy twist at the end of the episode, but in a way, we’re happy that there wasn’t since “Screwdriver” had more than enough to satisfy. The ending with Thornton was the best surprise of the season, and we like the fact that we’ve now got some episodes coming up where the entire structure of the team is unclear. Grade: A-.
Next time – In “Large Blade,” we’re going to see Mac and Jack all the way on the other side of the world … and in some serious danger. Head over here to read some more news all about it. (Photo: CBS.)