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Going into this episode, there were a few scant details that were well-known about Ethan, starting with the simple fact that he was Matty’s husband long before going undercover for a substantial period of time. While undercover, it’s fair to say that the overall experience changed him. Over two years before the present day, Ethan went dark and no one was able to hear from him again. Why? That was the mystery at the heart of this episode, alongside whether or not the Phoenix Foundation could extract him before his dangerous employer-of-sorts in S Company would learn the truth about who he really was.
For Matty, finding her husband was essential. We learned a few things about him in this episode, from his love of disco to also the fact that the two of them got together in secret during their time at the CIA. Jack Dalton knew, but very few others did and they were able to navigate the relationship waters in secret. It was actually Matty who convinced him to take the S Company job, telling him that on the other side of this the two could have a future and an actual life together again. They would not have to worry about anything anymore and they could actually settle in and be happy. It was a rather-wonderful thing to think about, but that didn’t exactly happen. The main reason for this was that his job kept getting extended and extended beyond its supposed 12-month time. Eventually, it didn’t seem as though he was ever going to get out at all.
As a matter of fact, Ethan eventually got so comfortable in this undercover life that it actually became his life after he met someone and ended up starting a family. Matty went through so much in this episode and this was the moment our heart just shattered for her. This was soul-crushing to learn that she had waited for him, but that he had eventually moved on without her. Even more heartbreaking was the fact that Matty couldn’t let anything get in the way of the job. She recognized that Ethan’s new family was in needed saving, as did the janitorial worker at the office building that he was first extracted from. That’s just who she is — she does her job and she does it well no matter the circumstances. That’s why she never let her guard down even when Mac was struggling with his own personal stuff with his father last year. Clearly, she is the show’s keeper of secrets for a reason.
At the end of the episode, Ethan did decide to stay with his new family, realizing that this was his life now rather than what he had with Matty so many years before. He made it clear with her that he did still love her and always would, but that was it. That seems to be the end of the character’s time on the show (at least for now) and it hurts because there was clearly love there and Matty was hoping for a different outcome (and so were we!).
Jack was right though, in that Matty does have a wonderful family all around her at the Phoenix Foundation. It’s possible that this shared experience could cause everyone to become closer and for Matty to let down some of the walls … but she’s still Matty. More than likely, there are still a few different things that we still do not know about her.
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It was painful seeing Matty go through all of this only to find out that her husband had a new life and a new family that he wasn’t going to leave. Yet, it was also wonderful to get so much backstory on an earlier part of her life when she had love and a future that was at least partially mapped out in her mind. Emotion aside, this also was a pretty action-packed episode with Leanna, Bozer, Mac, Riley, and Jack all working different angles from Croatia to Cyprus in order to ensure that Ethan was brought in. You had everything from Mac gliding with a drone to him creating an explosion out of a water jug. It was a more serious episode than what we’re used to as of late, but thanks to the writing and to Eaton’s beautiful performance, it is one that we’ll be remembering for some time to come.
One other thing that was so fascinating about this episode is that after so many weeks of B-stories and different plotlines, this episode was entirely about the Matty story all the time. It unified the entire team and gave all of them a collective mission.
What did you think about MacGyver season 3 episode 10 overall, and how sad are you at the moment for Matty? Be sure to share some of your thoughts now in the attached comments. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more news. (Photo: CBS.)