Monday, February 27, 2012

MacGyver Mondays: "Last Stand" (Season 1, Episode 7)

Title: Last Stand
Airdate: 11/17/1985
My age at Airdate: 2 years, 4 months, 1 day
Episode Type: Hostage

This episode is one I remember watching as a youth. And it also is special because it is from the set of this episode that we get the famous RDA "Oh I didn't see you there, but I'm happy to see you" opening credits shot (at the top of this entry). So let's not waste any more time talking about it....let's start talking about it!


No Opening Gambit this week. The episode has so much packed into it, I'm amazed there's not a shortened credit sequence...

The episode begins with MacGyver jauntily driving to "the ol' fishing hole" that his Dad took him to as a kid. He is the bastion of health as he eats an apple and makes his way to Sparrow Ridge Airport to ask for directions.

There's a waitress and a guy in front of her. A guy playing pinball. And outside, watching MacGyver walk in, is a shaggy-haired, hoodlum-looking guy. Mac walks in and asks where he could find Sparrow lake. Pinball Guy says they're closed, but Waitress (we know she's not going to be Mac's next kissing conquest because she lovingly stroked the hand of the guy in coveralls as Mac was walking in) tells him it's 2 miles thataway. She seems jumpy. The black cook (at the back of the restaurant. typical) looks nervous, too.

There's an awkward moment and then MacGyver asks for coffee. Waitress owns the joint. Her Dad was a flight instructor at there.

MacGyver takes a sip of coffee and sees HELP written on the inside of the mug. Hairy Hooligan sees the message and tells MacGyver to "finish it....or I will" and has a big gun pointed at him. HH looks at the mug and slides it down to Pinball. MacGyver tries to break the tension by saying the coffee was a little strong, but when Pinball laughs, it doesn't get better. It's a creepy laugh.

Pinball introduces himself and tells us that Black Cook will make him breakfast while he empties his pockets.

HH does this weird "hit on you and threaten you" thing to Waitress and Black Cook ambles over (he's old, too.) and tells him to knock it off. HH has a temper, clearly. He grabs OBC by the shirt and looks menacingly at him. But Pinball says that they should try to get along and stay calm and they'll be gone within 3 hours time.

HH hits on Waitress and this time Coveralls stands up for her. HH gets mad again and threatens Coveralls. OBC says that if he points the gun at her again, he'll show him where he can stick the gun. So HH goes over and threatens OBC. Most of this guy's role is looking scarily at the last person that talked. Pinball says that HH likes killing people and he'll take any excuse to do it.

Meanwhile a tractor trailer is rolling up to the diner. Pinball has been expecting it and has everyone in the diner go outside to meet the truck.

Leathervest and Excited Teenage Thug hop out of the truck. ETT is played by the guy that was the loose cannon pitcher in the original Bad News Bears and would go on to play, among other roles, the Sex Offender in Little Children, and Rorshach in Watchmen. I think he has the most lines in this episode by a mile. He's a talkative fellow. And he wears a headband like a champ.

He tries a Bogart impression on Waitress but is interrupted by Pinball telling him to unload the truck. He says that it's Storage Van from Dallas as a van backs out of the tractor trailer. I guess it's like an armored truck? There's a guard inside the van who has no key, so they're going to just blow the door and probably kill the guard.....

....but MacGvyer won't stand for it. He says that if they blow the door, the money inside will burn up. He could open the door and no one would get hurt. He'll make a thermite torch, of course. The magnesium from a bicycle, rust from rusty paint cans, mixed together with a road flare as an ignition source. This is kind of a CLASSIC MacGyver maneuver.

Pinball: MacGyver what do you do, as a profession?
MacGyver: I, uh, move around a lot.
--MacGyver being coy with his adversary

The thermite torch cuts through the lock like the hot knife through butter that MacGyver claimed it would. The guard comes stumbling out...and HH shoots him anyway. These guys are kind of messed up, you know?

HH tasks Coveralls and MacGyver with burying the Guard. This gives MacGyver a chance to get to know Coveralls (and, of course, take a look around the surroundings to see what he can use.) Coveralls used to be a Medivac pilot, but he was taken prisoner in Vietnam. The Vietnamese soldiers made him dig his own grave and then psyched him out by just holding a gun to his head and letting him stew. It messed him up. He's showing severe signs of PTSD.

Coveralls: You and [Waitress] are about the only one's who didn't just pass judgement.
MacGyver: I can't stand in judgement of you, [Coveralls]. I'm not perfect....yet.
--MacGyver being egotistical AND lightening the mood. And also still sounding kind of Messianic.

Inside, Pinball, Leathervest, and HH are counting the money. ETT comes back with Coveralls and MacGyver and fawns over the money, and then starts touching Waitress's ass. She slaps his hand away, Coveralls looks upset (we're going to have to get him to have some courage by the end of the episode, aren't we? It's kind of like it was with DSLI in "The Golden Triangle", isn't it?), but it's HH who tells him not to touch her. ETT asks HH if he has a claim on her or something and she says NO ONE has a claim on her. HH gets all creepily sadistic and Mac steps in and tells him to have a little class, for a change.

HH, as is his wont, goes for his gun and his menacing look, but Pinball stops him before he can do anything.

Right at that moment, a call comes in over the radio. It's the charter plane to Mexico that the bad guys are using to get away. He's having electrical problems that they'll need to make repairs on, but he'll see them in 15 minutes. I wonder if MacGyver will have to make those repairs.....

Yep, he's going to make the repairs. ETT, MacGyver, and Waitress go out to look at what spare parts they have on hand. Waitress is confused about why MacGyver needs to jury rig the switch when the repair is so simple. He tells her that they're the only ones that know that.

Now Mac gets to have his heart to heart with Waitress about how she and Coveralls usually make a good team, but he's freezing up today and all that. Mac asks if the fire truck in the garage works and she says it does, but they would be going up against 4 guys. So, to even the odds a little, Mac takes a random heavy metal object over to ETT. When ETT asks what it is, MacGyver says "Lateral. Cranial. Impact. Enhancer." and THWACKs him on the side of the head with it, knocking him out. Kind of badass, actually.

Ok, so now this is where MacGyver makes the same bombs that the kids would later use at Columbine, I believe. I don't have proof of that, but I remember this scene was full of dark portent post-1999. Fertilizer+starter fluid = bomb, basically.

Mac sends Waitress back inside so that she can get OBC and Coveralls out when shit starts going down.

He throws a fertilizer bomb and all the bad guys run outside, leaving their prisoners alone to escape. The good guys all run out to the fire truck. HH jumps on a dirt bike but is immediately blasted with the hose. Leathervest drives a car while Pinball shoots at them. The water tank on the fire engine goes dry, so it's a good thing MacGyver made so many fertilizer bombs.

HH, back on his bike, speeds past the fire truck and takes out a tire. The truck crashes and Coveralls and MacGyver jump off the top of the truck, preparing to fight, but HH is suddenly there, holding a gun to Waitress.

So now they're recaptured and EVERYONE is pissed at MacGyver (well, ETT and HH, mostly. they're fighting over wanting to kill him in a callback to the way they fought over Waitress, minutes ago)

The charter plane finally arrives.

Pinball takes Coveralls out to meet it.

HH throws MacGyver and Waitress into the meat freezer and puts a spoon into the latch so that it's locked. HH and Leathervest take OBC out to get on the plane, leaving MacGyver and Waitress to try to escape, or die trying!!!!

The MacGyver Thinking Theme starts playing and MacGyver uses a meat hook to unscrew the knob on the door.

Meanwhile, the Pilot and Coveralls set to work fixing the plane with Pinball and HH pointing guns at them.

MacGyver takes  piece of cardboard and puts it into the hold where the knob was. Then he pulls the track where the meathooks were hanging off the ceiling. Then he pulls the cage off the lightbulb overhead.

All this time, Mac and Waitress are talking about Coveralls and how messed up he is. But it'll be ok. And she loves him and all that stuff.

So now comes the obligatory "MacGyver, what are you doing??" question that is the ONLY reason she is in there with him. Because now he can explain about how water expands as it freezes, but he doesn't have to do it in an inner monologue. I mean, he COULD, but this way he doesn't have to.

So the setup is this: He has a piece of ice. He has hitched the meathook track to the cage that is hinged to cover the lightbulb. The track runs down to the cardboard that goes into the door. So he'll melt the ice up at the lightbulb, the water will run down the track, and, by the time it goes into the door, it'll be freezing. It will expand and pop the door open. Easy peasy.

Dave and the Pilot have gotten the plane fixed enough and the bad guys are about to leave as MacGyver and Waitress get out of the freezer. The radio's busted, but MacGyver sees a remote control airplane and some olive oil. He still has a fertilizer bomb (why didn't they take it from him??) that he tapes to the plane and covers in olive oil. He lights the fuse on the bomb and gets the RC plane going. He lands the RC plane next to the real plane and all the bad guys run to investigate and Waitress runs out to herd OBC, the Pilot and Coveralls to safety. Seriously, why don't the bad guys leave one guy behind to watch the prisoners? It's just poor planning, you know?

So now the bad guys are looking for MacGyver. Stalking him. He ducks under the tractor trailer. The rest of the good guys are in the garage. ETT gets taken out by MacGyver. HH is wandering towards the garage, but then Leathervest calls him over to see if they'd heard from ETT.

Waitress gives Coveralls some tough love about flying the helicopter that he already told MacGyver he couldn't fly. Newly resolved, he sets off.

MacGyver takes out Leathervest.

Coveralls is kind of freaking out, but he's at the helicopter. All he has to do is get in and fly!

Pinball tells HH to warm up the plane.

MacGyver runs up to Coveralls trying to convince him to fly the helicopter. MacGyver and Coveralls argue about why they should stop the bad guys and MacGyver wins by pointing out that they killed that guard. He runs off and jumps on the back of the plane and starts steering the plane by moving the....rudder? Is it still a rudder on a plane?

Pinball starts shooting at him but I think he's probably pretty safe (Stormtrooper Aim)

Suddenly, there's Coveralls in the helicopter. He knocks Pinball over with one of the helicopter feet (which is what we're calling them from now on).

HH stops the plane and jumps out with his gun, he sees Coveralls in the helicopter and raises his gun, but MacGyver jumps from the plane and dukes it out with HH. HH pulls a knife, so Mac SOCKS him with the butt of his gun. He's knocked out. Coveralls runs over and turns off the plane as the rest of the good guys run up.

Coveralls and Waitress embrace. Everything's better with them. Yay!

Good episode. It always reminds me of that Jamie Foxx movie Held Up. Similar setting I guess. You know, watching the episodes like this is probably the only way I would have seen the similarities between this episode and The Golden Triangle episode. Fun stuff. See you next week!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Countdown That Never Ends

You'll see what I mean when you listen to the episode.

I feel like I'm in one of those situations where I'm playing catch-up. I mean, it's not as bad as it used to be, but this is the latest I've been putting a countdown together in MONTHS. I suppose it'll get better, right?

Countdown #92

The Black Keys
Foo Fighters
Foster the People
Fun. featuring Janelle Monae
Gotye featuring Kimbra
Homer Simpson
Rise Against
Sleigh Bells
Young the Giant

Thursday, February 23, 2012


So this post is just going to be 3 videos. The first is my favorite song from the collaboration album of Jay-Z and Kanye West: Watch the Throne. It's called "Niggas in Paris"

And I still love that song. I feel like it's different than the rest of the album. And I like that. The next song, however, is I guess a parody of it by Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) that I saw on The Needle Drop today. It's called "Niggas in Poorest"

And I think that is just fabulous, also. I think it's smart and funny and poignant. And it is so very Mos Def.

That part about "Don't Get Caught Up in No Throne" reminded me of No Kings so, once again, here's Doomtree's version of "This Land is Your Land", "Bolt Cutter"

And that's mostly what I've been thinking about today. Rap music.

Monday, February 20, 2012

MacGyver Mondays: "Trumbo's World" (Season 1, Episode 6)

Title: Trumbo's World
Airdate: 11/10/85
My age at Airdate: 2 years, 3 months, 26 days
Episode Type: ANTS!

So, before I begin, I have to say that I couldn't have done this post without the very generous offer by my wife to go grocery shopping whilst I stayed at home and watched MacGyver. She is truly a wonderful woman.

Now, on with the episode. This episode is one that I remember being horrified by back when I was watching these when I was 7 or 8. If I've done my internetting right, I will have an image at the top of this review that at least contributed to a nightmare I would have years later. (UPDATE: No dice. I can't find the Infamous Glasses Picture. So I went with the badass picture, instead) Ants (henceforth known as ANTS!) scare the crap out of me when they're in quantities of more than like 2.

We start with Mac talking to us about the Pyrenees. Looks like we're looking at the resurgence of the....


So I guess MacGyver has to rescue at least one American tourist who has been captured by like soldiers or something. So he swipes a towel and wanders into the camp, surveying potential weapons...WITH NO SHIRT ON (ow ow!)

The soldiers are leading either the prisoners or other soldiers through calisthenics. MacGyver pries the door to the barracks open and we find that he is rescuing a very attractive perhaps early-40's doctor (not clear whether it's PHd or MD (or DDS?)).

Ok, so she's a geologist. The soldiers have theoretically mistaken her for a physicist that could build them an atom bomb...

Mac's diversion comes in the form of placing the metal tube that sends water to the showers (remember, these soldiers are showering outside. I mean, I know that this kind of thing happens, but it kind of feels like a weird group of soldiers. Calisthenics and showers. It's a vicious cycle, really) over the fires that are keeping the stews cooking so that a particularly grumpy looking dude gets steam shot all over him instead of water. Instead of being horribly burned and in need of medical attention, he just looks angry and kind of starts like a brawl with the other shirtless soldiers. There is so much shirtless man in this opening gambit, you guys.

Mac and the Geologist run out of the barracks and are pursued by like 3 guards. Not terrible, actually. They're running over mountainous terrain. Looks like they're going to repel down a cliff to where there are some rafts. Mac hooks the Geologist up to the line, her stunt double (she's dressed in a soldier's uniform complete with black beret, so it's easy for the guy to do the stunt work. It really looks like he's wearing sunglasses, though and I mean, come on that's just lazy. But keep in mind this is an opening gambit and the budget can't have been much.) repels down the cliff, and she jumps down and waits for MacGyver's stunt double to follow suit. Actually, it kind of looks like he did his own stunts. Cool.

They burn the rope so the soldiers can't use it. The soldiers are shooting at them, but we know how that goes (Stormtrooper Aim).

Oh ok, so the soldiers happen to have some rope of their own. They all go down the cliff and into another of the rafts. MacGyver should have jettisoned the other ones before jumping into theirs, but oh well. Looks like we have a good old-fashioned whitewater raft chase on our hands, folks.

Well, not much of a chase, actually. Mac and the Geologist are off to the side tying up some wire, then going across the river to clothesline the soldiers. Oh, damn! It was barbed wire. The enemy raft pops and the bad guys all fall out. The triumphant music plays.

Geologist: MacGyver, are they still after us?
MacGyver: No, chances are those guys are all washed up


We're starting with some lovely nature shots of like a jungle or something? Maybe the Amazon. A seaplane lands.

MacGyver starts narrating and he confirms my estimation that it's the Amazon. You gotta see what's he's wearing. All khaki, red bandanna, Calgary Flames baseball hat. It's....certainly a fashion statement. He says he's there to help a friend with a very weird problem. Intriguing. Do go on, Mr. MacGyver.

He finds his friend (his glasses wearing friend.) sitting at a cafe drawing a bird. When asked if the bird is the cause of the problem, Charlie (the friend of MacGyver's) says that they've been seeing some strange phenomena. A dozen species of birds in desperate flight, terrified. So they're going to check it out.

And so there they are, descending into the Heart of Darkness. Charlie says that Mac is the only guy that calls him Charlie. They have a laugh. They get to the outpost and Charlie starts unloading the gear very frantically. He seems a little too eager, actually. Mac tells him to go find them a guide while he (much more calmly) unloads the stuff. Of course, what he means is "while he (much more calmly) lets the dockworkers unload the stuff, but that's beside the point. Charlie comes whining back to MacGyver and whines about how "they say that we can't HAVE a guide". God, this guy is such a whiner.

Some Authority Figure guy comes over and says that actually there aren't any guides. They're all refusing to go any further into the jungle because they've been having dreams of demons.

They ask the Authority Figure about a cocoa farmer named Trumbo. He's a loose cannon and he's two days up the river. Authority Figure doesn't like him, but Mac and Charlie have a green screen to run their boat in front of. So they're gonna go find this guy. This is a lot like Heart of Darkness, you know? At least for now....

They are going through some low hanging branches and encounter a scary mask on a stick. Maybe a warning?

They're approaching a dock when all of a sudden someone shoots at them! (it made me jump. good surprise, MacGyver.) Trumbo introduces himself and informs them that they are trespassing. He looks like he'd be more in place policing chain gangs in Cool Hand Luke. He has a cowboy hat on and he's on a horse. But no Southern Accent. So I guess he's just supposed to be "American" as opposed to "Amazonian". His tie is tucked into his shirt.

Charlie is SUCH A NERD. Even his voice is nerdy.

MacGyver offers to fix the pump that is "the key to the whole irrigation system" in exchange for a guide. Trumbo refuses. Mac does the right thing and offers to fix the pump anyway. He's kind of like Christ, you know? Self sacrificing. Super handsome.

MacGyver pulls the faulty part out of the pump and talks to the guy who shot at them while they walk into Trumbo's...Town. MacGyver tells Trumbo the the piston is busted (as he predicted) but luckily they found both pieces. Trumbo has a little temper tantrum because the acetylene from the welding equipment is gone.

Mac's going to teach him a lesson about not giving up and then find a way to weld the pieces together. Watch. know, I'll watch and tell you if it happens.

MacGyver: Well, maybe we can whip up something out of what you got around here.
--MacGyver in a nutshell

Mac puts a coin in the teeth of a jumper cable. Apparently Trumbo recognizes that as "electric arc welding" and it works like gangbusters. Trumbo offers him a job, MacGyver refuses and insinuates that Trumbo isn't working hard enough or something. Trumbo takes offense and talks about what a self-made man he is.

He's putting up a big fight against giving them a guide. He lost his wife and I guess is haunted by that.

Haha Charlie is like a fat Radar O'Reilly.

Because MacGyver fixed the pump, Trumbo agrees to guide them himself. So they're on their way.

They're walking along and the animals are going completely nuts. MacGyver hear's something. It's a high pitched noise. And here's where the episode becomes AMAZING.

Soldier ANTS! Mountains of them. Billions. So that's why the animals are going crazy. Apparently, they live peacefully for 50 years and then all of a sudden erupt and eat everything in their path.

This episode gives me the heebie-freaking-jeebies. The village that they were approaching is under attach by the ANTS! There's a woman trapped under a super heavy canoe. She's gonna get eaten by the ANTS! if they don't help her, so Mac's just gonna work up a simple pulley system.

But where's Charlie? Taking pictures of the ANTS! of course. He's gonna go off by himself and check the other side of the village.

They get the woman free.

And now, Charlie is eagerly taking pictures of the ANTS!......they're on him......but he doesn't notice......he suddenly notices and freaks out and GETS FREAKIN EATEN BY THE ANTS!!!!!! BLACH. They're on him, and there's his hat...and his glasses. Overrun by ANTS!

So, now we're back at Trumbo's place and they're going to build a wall of fire to try to keep the ANTS! out.

The Guy Who Shot At Them comes and tells them that all of Trumbo's workers are leaving and taking all the boats. Trumbo makes a rousing speech and no one's buying it. So Trumbo goes nuts and shoots a hole in one of the boats. Mac and Trumbo duke it out.

Can I say Trumbo is a dumb name? It's just silly sounding.

Trumbo goes off and says he doesn't need anybody.

So it's just going to be Guy Who Shot at Them, Trumbo, and MacGyver vs. Billions of ANTS! Trumbo is touched by their willingness to help.

MacGyver is talking about flooding the irrigation ditches and treating them like moats.

MacGyver (regarding his plan): What do you think?
Trumbo: I think that is one HELL of an idea......What if it fails?
--No one ever has faith in MacGyver

So MacGyver says in the case of the moat plan failing, they'll do a fire. Trumbo asks, well what if THAT fails too?

Well, then they'll burst the dam, but it probably won't come to that.

MacGyver is going to make a flamethrower while GWSAT makes the moats. Trumbo's going to consider how such a small creature can threaten everything he's worked for. Typical rich plantation owner, you know?

So the ditches are full and the horses are freaking out. The ANTS! are here, y'all.

GWSAT is getting overrun with ants but he's faithfully manning the lever that keeps the moats full. But the ANTS! are crossing on leaves. Damn resourceful ANTS! Oh and um....GWSAT is kind of...being eaten by ANTS! So that plan is kind of dead. I guess it's time for fire.

There's MacGyver with his flame thrower. HOLY CRAP THAT'S AWESOME. MacGyver looks really badass with that flamethrower, but I'm worried they don't have enough fuel. Trumbo egotistically says he feels like Nero burning Rome.

....aaaaaand crap. They're out of fuel. So....I guess it's come to bursting the dam.

Trumbo seems to have forgotten that MacGyver had that 3rd plan. Maybe when he said it probably wouldn't come to that, he just forgot that it was ever on the table?

Trumbo: We're out of gasoline and we're out of miracles
MacGyver: So, it's time to start thinking.

They whip up some homemade Nitroglycerin (Nitromannite, a "kind of chemical kissing cousin") to blow the dam and MacGyver makes a suit of armor out of plastic and, like paint or something? Looks pretty airtight. So I guess they're going to have MacGyver walk out to the dam with his armor protecting him from the ANTS! and then he'll put the Nitromannite on the dam and blow it. Easy peasy.

Very dramatically, he whips off the armor because he doesn't have the dexterity with the armor on to light the fuse. RUN MACGYVER!!!!!! The ANTS! are on him and he's running and BOOOOM the stock footage of an explosion says that the dam is burst. It's flooding everything and MacGyver is getting carried along with the drowning ANTS!

Trumbo loses sight of MacGyver. He's surely drowned with the ANTS! Wait! There he is! Yay!

The whole plantation is ruined, but they're alive. Trumbo is full of vigor. He'll rebuild. Better than ever.

He asks MacGyver to come back in a year and see what he helped build. MacGyver says "You Bet." And we'll just assume that he did sometime in the middle of Season Two......

And that's it! I was worried this one was going to be a week late, but it wasn't. So that was awesome. And I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

See you next week!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Even MORE new music for February on a New Countdown!

That's right. We have a couple more songs debuting on our chart this week and I'm pretty excited about both of them. One is by an old friend of the countdown and one is by someone we've never seen on the charts before. Listen and enjoy!

Also, in a couple of weeks, I'll be hitting Countdown #100. Any ideas about what I should do, if anything, to commemorate the occasion? I'll try to remember to ask on the next podcast, too.

Countdown #91

The Black Keys
Foo Fighters
Foster the People
Fun. featuring Janelle Monae
Gotye featuring Kimbra
Puddle of Mudd
Rise Against
Young the Giant

Monday, February 13, 2012

MacGyver Mondays: "The Heist" (Season 1, Episode 5)

Title: The Heist
Airdate: 11/3/85
My age at Airdate: 2 years, 3 months, 19 days
Episode Type: (I usually wait until I've watched the episode before I fill this part out, but I'm gonna go with...) Heist

MacGyver?!? Helping with a Heist?!?! Can it be?!?! Let's find out....

Wha-wha-what?! No opening gambit? Oh snap, y'all. Shit just got serious. This episode is probably going to be like The Ten Commandments, Goodfellas, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy PUT TOGETHER!!!

So we start on a bomber landing in a scenic location. A couple of soldiers are helping a disheveled nerd off a plane. An Australian villain is telling him that no one saw him get on the plane. He's an accountant that has giving Australian Villain a whole heap of diamonds. Like A LOT of diamonds. And so, naturally, AV pulls a gun and shoot him. The scene ends on a shot of Disheveled Nerd's glasses with bullet hole through one of the lenses. Intense.

Now we're in "Washington D.C.". MacGyver is talking to a Southern Senator who's pissed about the money that's been stolen because he had super charitable plans for it. His daughter (no doubt his gorgeous, feisty daughter) is in the Virgin Islands trying to get it back from AV. So MacGyver's off to paradise!

Gotta love these scenic establishing shots. Now we're in "U.S. Virgin Islands"

Haha Mac's already flirting with Feisty Daughter. Awesome

MacGyver: Is your name MacGyver? It's amazing. So's mine.
--Charm Personified

FD tells Mac about just how villainous AV is. Hint: He's VERY villainous. He apparently owns a hotel and casino in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I bet they steal money from him.

So there he is, showing a crowd how awesome he is with like a staff or something. Everyone claps as he kicks like 3 guys' asses. So that's....nice.

AV's beautiful redheaded assistant tells him that they have a buyer for the diamonds. He tells her that he wants to be off the island in 48 hours.

MacGyver: He looks like a happy guy.
FD: Why not? We can't touch him.
MacGyver: Maybe we can... What if I were to just go in and... take the diamonds?

See how they do that? In two quick exchanges, they set up a time limit and a plan for MacGyver to execute. That's called deft scriptwriting.

FD is wearing some sort of middle-class Flashdance-meets-Working-Girl off the shoulder sweatshirt/mom pants khakis combination. It's hideous.

So, as is the case with ALL casino heist plots, MacGyver is going to go in as a high roller, win lots of money at the craps table and get a good look at the vault when he is invited to store his winnings there.

FD: How can you be so sure you'll win?
MacGyver: I'll cheat.
--This episode is kicking SO MUCH ASS!

Now we're going to do a James Bond homage as Mac puts on his tuxedo. UGH. So cheesy. Let's just say that RDA just did a British accent. HAHA but then faded to commercial trying to fix his cowlick so that he looks smoother. Just when I think this show is a big cheese festival, it redeems itself like that.

So MacGyver is in the casino telling a story about catching a fish while he hooks a thread and a paper clip to some cute girls zipper on her dress. He stands on the thread, and when she walks away, her WHOLE DRESS COMES OFF! Mac uses the opportunity to swipe the dice and replace them with his loaded ones.

Let's pause here to talk about all the naughty things MacGyver has done thus far: Conspired to steal 200 lbs of diamonds, used an awful British accent, ripped a girl's dress off, planned to cheat at gambling. So. Awesome.

And we're back.

Wait. I think he just swiped the dice. He buffs the corners off the dice so that they always roll 7's with a shoe buffer in the bathroom. AV is watching him, suspiciously.

A waitress just brought MacGyver a "Virgin Mary". And that's awesome.

AV just sent Redhead Assistant to go find out about him. He introduced himself as James Bond in his British accent and she just smiled at him.

So, MacGyver's won all this money cheating the craps table and he reaches the limit of the table. AV tells the....what do you call the guy that runs a craps table? The referee? The Head Crapsman? Anyway, AV tells the Head Crapsman to take the bet and MacGyver rolls another 7! AV asks if he wants to go for the whole $135,000 and MacGyver declines, palms the rigged dice, tosses a second, non-rigged pair onto the table, and pops the rigged dice into his Virgin Mary. Tres smooth.

Also, this episode is going to be chock full of cliches isn't it?

AV takes MacGyver back to the vault to put his chips away and the diamonds are clearly not there. They go back out onto the floor and AV shows MacGyver that he found the dice in the drink. Come to think of it, it wasn't very smart of MacGyver to leave the dice there, was it? Unless he WANTED to get caught......

AV looks kind of like a young Jack Palance. I wonder if he's related.

FD creates a diversion and Mac is on the run! He ties an electrical cord around the handles of a door to prevent some of the bad guys from catching him, but runs almost immediately into two more bad guys. They shoot at him, miss (Stormtrooper Aim), and he ducks be hind a bar cart. Or something. It's a cart with liquor on top and gas cylinders on bottom. That's a bar cart, right?

He uses one cylinder to knock the valves off the other three and send the bar cart flying into the goons. Then he stands there, grinning! RUN AWAY! They have guns! If they get close enough, they can hit you with the handles of the guns! Or, like wing you if they're very lucky!

He runs outside, where FD is waiting with a Vespa and they get away clean!

FD wakes MacGyver in the morning with a cup of coffee. He's sleeping on the couch, but he's at LEAST shirtless. Who knows how MacGyver sleeps?

FD is talking about how awesome the casino gig was and she touches his hand and the clarinets come in and they have a moment. But she's not ready to go there yet, so she wrenches the coffee cup from his hands and goes off to get him more coffee, even though we haven't seen him drink ANY of it, yet.

They're going over the layout of AV's penthouse. He has a spy camera and it's going to be super tough to get out of there with 200 lbs of diamonds, but Mac has a plan. Step 1 is to cause a riot in the casino. Just like in Ocean's Thirteen. Real original Ocean's Thirteen. Ripping off a poor, helpless MacGyver episode like that.

His plan is for FD to cause the riot.

Now he's taking the magnet out of a phone and putting it in one of FD's heels. It's for the roulette wheel, somehow.

He DESTROYS one of her rings by popping out the stone and giving her the fitting to mark cards with and then accuse the casino of cheating. They're going to do Blackjack, Roulette, and Slots. MacGyver tells her that it HAS to come together at 2:10, sharp.

They're now in front of the casino. MacGyver is going to get the diamonds and she's going to cause the diversion. He tells her AGAIN about the 2:10 AM, sharp thing. I guess this is one of those "reiterate it after the commercial break for those of you just joining us" things.

She leaves and he sets to work taking off a big piece of a storm drain. He uses his Anonymous Lockpicking Tool to get into an electrical room. So now he's setting up a clock attached to wires that are attached to a circuit board. OH it has to be 2:10, because that's when the two hands touch and cause an electrical circuit.

So, he's using a mirror from FD's compact to create a blind for the camera guarding AV's room. It's on swivel. He's trying to get the goons to come check out what he's put on the camera. And they're on their way.

He's picking the lock into the room and pulling the blind off the camera just as the goon comes to check out the problem.

Meanwhile, AV is trying to intimidate FD at the roulette table. He's shown that he recognizes her from the previous night. I'm nervous for her.

Mac is in AV's room and is using the ashes from AV's cigar to smoke out the light sensors in the frame of the door into the main area. Isn't it interesting that a mere 4 episodes have passed since the pilot and MacGyver wouldn't think of smoking the cigar and blowing the smoke into the sensors. But I guess that time, he didn't have a ready supply of ashes....

Sitting on a table in the foyer on Mac's side of the lasers is one of those fiber optic light things (kind of like this thing.) MacGyver unplugs the tube from it and uses it to divert the light sensors (they're not lasers, I guess.) so that he can get in. That was actually kind of cool.

There's a bird in the room and I'm sure it's going to be trouble.

MacGyver finds the door to AV's vault and is frustrated because there's no combination or lock or anything on it. But he's going to use the bird to help him somehow.

One of the goons comes and tells AV (who is still doing his weird "am I hitting on you or threatening you?" thing with FD) that there's been an intruder alarm in his penthouse. He runs up with the two Main Goons. He unlocks the door, runs in...and sees his bird out. So THAT'S what set off the alarm. He figures he better check the vault while he's there. The vault is controlled by four distinct tones that must be played in the right order and at the correct pitch.

Satisfied, AV leaves. And MacGyver comes out of the closet. Stop it. He was hiding in the closet. So he came out of it.

HAHAHA he's going to create the four tones using wine and four glasses. This is TOTALLY the best way to do this. Really efficient.

Meanwhile, FD uses the magnet to make this really hotheaded gambler think that the wheel is rigged. See, he was ABOUT to win, but then the ball hopped off black and onto red. So, he storms off, pissed. And she saunters away to make more mischief elsewhere!

We rejoin MacGyver as he's just gotten the 3rd of the four tones. It seems to me that AV should have some sort of alarm for if the tones aren't done fast enough. It would save him from the MacGyvers of the world, you know?

But he doesn't have that on this vault and MacGyver is in. But how is he going to carry 200 POUNDS of diamonds? He's not. Remember the drain pipe? Didn't you find it odd that he didn't use that big bit of drain pipe he took off?

He breaks another one of AV's lamps. This one is composed of plastic, almost funnel-shaped pieces. I wonder what he'll use THAT for. Where would MacGyver be without the loud decorating styles of the Rich and Corrupt?

It's getting closer and closer to 2:10 (sharp) and FD is making mischief at the Blackjack table. She gets another hotheaded gambler ranting about the place being a ripoff and again saunters away. Perhaps to the slot machines?

The riot is beginning and AV is back to hit on FD again. But she goes over to the BIG slot machine, uses the magnet AND her mirror-less compact to set the slot machine off just as the two hands of the clock touch at 2:10 (sharp). With the riot successfully ignited, she runs off to meet MacGyver who has spent the last bit pouring diamonds down the storm drain.

Whoa. They did this weird thing where she ran out of the casino, they cut to commercial and then when they came back, she ran out again. This is when TV-on-DVD gets weird. She arrives just in time to pull a piece of storm drain out of MacGyver's trunk and connect it to the storm drain where the diamonds start pouring out. Phew! That was close.

She shuts the diamond-filled trunk and books it in her Volvo, nearly running down AV and his army of goons. Mac has made his way down to the car and hops in and escapes. A car blocked FD's way and AV has captured her! This is bad news.

They call MacGyver and now we're going to do the classic "I have your girl so give me back my damn diamonds" phone call.

(QUICK ASIDE: So, I was looking to see if that was, in fact Jack Palance's son playing AV. It is not. It's a dude named Vernon Wells. He was in a movie called "Silent Night, Zombie Night". Tell me someone has seen it. Anyone?)

They're going to meet at a park to do the exchange. Redheaded (only in the light of day, she appears to be a brunette) Assistant hops into MacGyver's diamond-filled car and pulls a gun on him. She directs him to park in front of a plane and then tells him that FD is on the plane. So now everyone's on the plane and AV is back in his camo that he shot the Disheveled Nerd in. Remember that?

FD uses that card-marking ring to slap AV as he's trying to tell them to go up front and the push him through the door and seal him into the plane. So now it's just them, the diamond-filled car, and an open cargo hatch of a plane that's about to take off....

AV instructs the pilot to take the plane up to 30,000 feet (which he would have pronounced "9 kilometers" if he had his druthers, no doubt) so that the lack of oxygen will kill them. But MacGyver has an idea.

They've hooked up some sort of parachute to the car. MacGyver is having FD hide in the passenger footwell while he puts on the only available helmet.

I just thought of something. Wouldn't the pilot be able to close and lock the cargo hatch doors from the cockpit? Why don't they just do that, and then go back and shoot them? Stupid villains.

So there's MacGyver driving the diamond-filled car out the back of the plane and the parachute opens perfectly and they're floating in front of a lovely green-screen.

And NOW FD decides it's time to make out with MacGyver (who we'll all remember is a notorious kiss slut). We go to credits and never find out whether AV turned the plane around and ran them down with his PLANE. But let's assume he didn't. THE END.

What a ride. That was like Ocean's Thirteen, Cars, and Crocodile Dundee all in one epic tale. Loved it.

See you next week!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Countdown that continues the February tradition of new songs!

We had one new song last week and this week we have two more! So exciting!

We also have a very mellow segment on this one, so remember to relax during that part. (I was going to have an exclamation point, but a period is just so much more mellow, you know?)

Countdown #90

The Black Keys
Foo Fighters
Gotye Featuring Kimbra
Foster the People
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Young the Giant

Monday, February 6, 2012

MacGyver Mondays: "The Gauntlet" (Season 1, Episode 4)

Title: The Gauntlet
Airdate: October 20, 1985
My Age at Airdate: 2 years, 3 months, 4 days
Episode Type: Rescue

OK just from the title, I'm going to assume this will all be about MacGyver having to retrieve some sort of glove, be it armored or silk, only time will tell....


Ok it looks like we're in the Middle East... A car is slowly working its way through town, a man is yelling at his camel....and MacGyver is creeping over the rooftops, talking about Mrs. Freifogel, his den mother. I love tales of his youth.

He is breaking into an office to steal a map that depicts the location of "some heavy-handed troublemakers. The door out is locked, so he tries to go out the window, but the camel guy yells at him and alerts the soldiers in the square.

Mac slides the map under the door, pushes the key out onto the map and slides it back under the door. Good thing the key didn't bounce and the space under the door was big enough....minor details. He gets out of the building, but the soldiers see him and continue to shoot at him. They have a typical case of what I call "Stormtrooper Aim" (....from Star's a movie?.....Calista Flockhart's future (ex?)husband is in it.)

So Mac sees a woman in a black...hijab(? Is that what that is?) putting away laundry. He uses the map to shoot some conveniently located peas at her ankle so that he can steal a robe-thing. Unfortunately, he's still the only white guy in town, so a soldier catches him and demands the map back. MacGyver says that he really needs it and knocks the gun out of the guy's hand and then clobbers him. With a map? But how?! Ah, clever MacGyver has put an iron rod in the map for just such an occasion.

The rest of the soldiers come around the corner as MacGyver leaps over the wall and into the desert. He's running and they're shooting, so he puts the map down and sleds down a dune on top of it and escapes in a hot air balloon. The soldiers wait a LONG amount of time before the realize they can SHOOT A HOT AIR BALLOON WITH BULLETS. Which they eventually do. They actually hit the balloon which is amazing (due to the aforementioned SA affliction)

And now MacGyver uses the map and some duct tap to patch the hold and escape. Of course, the map would have been torn to shreds on the tiny shards of glass (aka "Sand") that he ran it over but maybe it was laminated or something.

MacGyver (voice-over): Just goes to show you, a good map will always get you where you want to go


OK, we're opening in Mexico? Or South America somewhere.

Oops. Central America. So close.

He tells a quick story about selling apples with his Dad in a town that didn't feel right. When he asked his Dad why, he is told that the town had lynched an innocent man. I hope that's pertinent to the story and not just a supremely shocking way of saying "This town doesn't feel right either"

Some soldiers (I never noticed how many evil soldiers this show has. I guess if you put a uniform on a man, you don't have to explain why he's acting evil, because he's just following orders....whoa. Deep thoughts.) are picking on a woman.

MacGyver bribes them (!?!) with a 20 dollar bill so that the girl can get away. He keeps a 20 paper-clipped in his passport? Weird.

He's now in a newspaper and asking the printer about a photographer by the name of Kate SomethingSomething (Prescott maybe?) (I bet she's the hot, feisty girl of the episode. Who's got some Passport Dollars they can spare on some good old fashioned Plot Gambling?)

The printer pulls a gun on him and is very suspicious. Printer's wife calls out that he's probably telling the truth.

Oh wait. That's Kate Something. She's played by the girl that was in...hang on...I gotta look this up...

So there's a guy in a white suit and hat and dark sunglasses that she has all these pictures of. He's not supposed to be in this hemisphere unless he's in jail. Apparently MacGyver got him deported.

MacGyver tells her that her publisher wants her safely back home and not endangering herself with this story. She agrees and goes happily back to America......haha. No, she of course refuses because she's got a big story cooking here.

Printer says that the story will also help get rid of the evil Generalissimo.

...Star Trek III! She was the Vulcan that went down and helped Spock go through puberty or something!

So, MacGyver agrees to break into White Suit's hacienda so that she can photograph White Suit selling arms to Generalissimo and take them both down.

Printer (offering MacGyver his gun): Senor, you're going to need this.
MacGyver: Actually, I do much better without them, thanks
--MacGyver sticking to his....principles.

MacGyver uses a camera strap with a plastic clip to tie the electric fence up so they can get in.

They've arrived just in time to see Generalissimo show up. Kate starts snapping pictures. They decided to go with the "see what she sees through the camera as she takes the picture" shot.

HAHA White Suit is the Dean from Animal House. He's so good at being evil.

She has to switch cameras because she's out of film. This episode is officially outdated.

She needs one more shot: The Handshake. BOOM got it. They turn to go and run right into the guards. They're caught!

While everyone acts super tough about everything, MacGyver starts hatching a plan. He volunteers Kate's film so that he can get her camera bag. He hands one camera to the Bad Guys and puts the other on the table behind him. He dips his fingers into some loose plastique that's just lying there and puts the plug for the flash into the plastique. He turns activates the delayed shutter on the camera and basically tackles Kate. The plastique explodes and Mac and Kate are on the run. MacGyver almost gets electrocuted, but he doesn't.

The Generalissimo sends his army to ransack the Printer's place. And I'm pretty sure they killed Printer!

While comforting Kate, MacGyver sees some firecrackers. I bet he uses that later. They go into the church to come up with a plan

With the airport closed and troops everywhere, they realize that the only way out is across the border into Mexico.

MacGyver grabs another strap off of her camera bag and goes up to the bell tower. He sees G and WS arrive. He lays out a candle, the strap and the firecrackers. He duct taps the candle and the firecrackers to the inside of the bell and straps the bell up with the strap. Wait. I guess there are two candles. One in the bell, one on the strap. I sense timed diversion!!! MacGyver loves timed diversions!

They leave the church and MacGyver takes the cable from one truck, goes under a second truck, and attaches it to the axle and bumper of a third truck.

The timed diversion goes off and there's a great moment where MacGyver tries to give Kate a boost into a bus, but she says "That's not necessary" and climbs in herself.

So Mac tapes a side mirror to the top front of the bus and explains that he's making a periscope. Then he frantically asks Kate for her compact. We won't put that down to him assuming that all women have compacts on them at all times, but that he, in his very observant nature, saw that she had makeup on and guessed that this particular woman might.

The jeeps chase after them and there's some spectacular car crashing. Kate, ever the shutterbug photographs it. Now it's just 100 km to the border. But MacGyver says that WS won't give up that easily.

And in fact we see that G and WS (henceforth known as G&WS) are hot on their trail.

Kate is telling Mac about how she woke up owning three very expensive cameras, and she only has one left, but it's her lucky camera.

Kate: If anything happened to this baby, I'd die....or kill.
-- a woman too wrapped up in her material goods or really really blatant foreshadowing? You be the judge.

They get to know eachother as they go, MacGyver being all dreamy for his part and Kate being all "Aww, you're so dreamy" for hers.

They see a spotter plane and can't get under cover fast enough to  not be spotted.

Kate is forever taking damn pictures. Seriously. I think she has a problem.

They go off-road to avoid being seen and wind up in like a river or something. There's playful like marimba music or something. But don't worry, she still has her lucky camera.

Flirting and cameras, that's what she's about.

MacGyver catches a lizard in a trap and cooks it up for her. How does he not have women throwing themselves at him??

Oh, wait. Here's Kate throwing herself at him. The firelight, the lizard, welp time for she going to try to seduce him? BOOM there's the offer. And there's the acceptance. Put the kiddies to bed. MacGyver's kissing a girl again.

Sunrise. We'll move past the implied Central American sex romp and watch G&WS find the bus and WS hatches a plan to do a pincer attack on M&K. G tells WS that if his plan doesn't work, he'll destroy him. Sounds like trouble in paradise.

MacGyver and Kate (M&K seemed TOO lax, you know?) take out two soldiers by a jeep by pretending she's passed out and tricking them into lowering their guard. She hits one of them with her lucky camera. Oh no. It's broken. She's devastated. MacGyver consoles her, gives her some noogies (seriously.) and they're back on their way in the jeep.

They get all the way to the border, only to stop short when they see all the Generalissimo's men setting up in front of the river that is the border.

So. The titular Gauntlet is going to be this. It's not a glove, but rather something you have to run. Like, running the Gauntlet. Here's a link to what I'm talking about.

Mac decides that if they can't go around them, they'll have to go through them. He's not quite sure how though. So they drive off and find a convenient abandoned farmhouse! Well, a farmhouse is chock full of things MacGyver can convert into weapons, armor, etc. They should just stop the episode here.

They still have that spotter plane flying around and this was seriously just said:

Spotter Plane: Running low on fuel, returning to base
Generalissimo: I don't care if you're low on fuel. Keep looking.
--Quality Leadership

So Mac and Kate have been making bombs and a smoke screen and all this stuff. Basically, they're overheating the jeep and having oil and stuff all over so that it just emits a bunch of smog. It gives them time to deploy the bombs (which are barrels with stuff in them, I guess)

Mac hooks up the jeep to go on its own and sends it careening down the hill. So now it's go time.

Kate: If things don't work out.........I'm really glad I "got to know you" (quotes added by me, because come on. we know what she's saying)
MacGyver: Me too. (seriously! that's his solution to everything!)

They light the barrels and send them rolling down the hill. The soldiers shoot the barrels and they explode!

Except they don't shoot one of the barrels. The one that has Kate and MacGyver in it! The barrel plunges into the river and Kate and MacGyver swim to the freedom of Mexico!

Oh yeah, and the Generalissimo tells WS that he always keeps his promises (So WS is dead)

We close as Kate has jury-rigged her camera back together ("I fixed it, MacGyver style!") and she takes a picture with her, MacGyver and the two Mexican border guards that helped them out of the river. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Ms. Kate Connelly. (In fact, I know it. Look for her near the end of Season 2 (38 weeks from now.))

Thanks for reading! See you next week!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

I preach, ramble, AND rant on this week's Countdown!

So, I started recording this one on Friday night. Pretty typical. Then I finished up this evening (It's Saturday night as I type this) and for some reason I got myself worked up about a particular issue. I mean, don't get me wrong. There's not a blue streak of cursing or anything, but I definitely work some stuff out over the course of a couple intros. It'll either be interesting to you or not, but I hope you'll enjoy the music that happens in between!

Countdown #89

Ben Folds Five
The Black Keys
Cage the Elephant
Foo Fighters
Gotye (Featuring Kimbra)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Young the Giant

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 2012 Media Update

With all of the planning of Lila's baptism and everything, I haven't gotten a lot of media time in (I know. Poor James.) so some of this is going to be relatively odd....

Last Song/MP3 I listened to: I was listening to Bad Veins' Self-titled debut album on the way home from work today because they have a new album coming out on April 24th. I was in the middle of listening to "You Kill" when my friend Marc called.

Last TV show I watched: So, I'm the kind of guy who strictly follows the rules he sets up for himself. And in the spirit of that, tonight while we waited for the brownies I made to cook, K, her mom and I watched the season finale of Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood which was enjoyable because she had a baby and then we got to sharing some of our favorite Lila memories. That's what I like to get out of TV: Good conversation. We're still watching Once Upon a Time, though, and that would have been my update if I hadn't made brownies. So I'll let you know that we caught up last night and watched the most recent episode: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree. Every episode, Ginnifer Goodwin's hair looks a little better. I think she's so pretty, but her haircut did not work when she started this show.

Last Movie I watched: We haven't really watched a lot of movies this month. Well, I haven't. I have been meaning to watch Limitless on Netflix. And I want to see Moneyball and 50/50. Oh, and when my friend Marc called, he called to tell me that I need to see Midnight in Paris, posthaste. The last bit of any movie I saw was when K watched the end of Love and Other Drugs. I came home during the climax and wrap-up, so there was no nudity to be seen. It looked like a pretty straight-forward rom-com. So the last movie I watched from front to back is still Love Actually. Which is still such a kickass movie.

Last Written Work I read: I'm in the middle of Stephen King's short story anthology Everything's Eventual. Specifically, I'm in the middle of what completes the non-graphic-novel portion of the Dark Tower series for me (So far. I hear he's doing another one.(Ok. I guess it's more official than I thought. Haha. It's ALSO coming out on April 24th!): The Little Sisters of Eluria. I'm liking this anthology so far, but I think I'm still in the long-form boat for Stephen King. Maybe I just need to read more anthologies. I may read It next.

See you in March!