Monday, March 26, 2012

MacGyver Mondays: "Target MacGyver" (Season 1, Episode 10)

Title: Target MacGyver
Airdate: 12/22/1985
My Age at Airdate: 2 years, 5 months, 6 days
Episode Type: Wilderness Escape, Harry (I'll be labeling episodes by recurring characters, too)

I'm so close to getting back to the state of caught-uptitude that I was at when I started this feature. Hopefully this week is the week I finally have a backlog again!

Isn't this week's title intriguing and exciting?? Finally, someone is going to target MacGyver!


A rolling wave sets the scene at a beach where hot, bikini-clad women are walking, playing volleyball and everything. MacGyver is creeping around the side of a house. I hope this isn't where he becomes the Target...of a Peeping Tom lawsuit. Nope. There are two men inside with shoulder holsters on. One of them goes to the kitchen to get binoculars to better scope the babes (my words, not his). And tied up and gagged in the middle of the room is a woman in uniform. MacGyver refers to her as a "Lady General" which is only mildly condescending. If he rescues her and one of the ways he helps her blend in is by putting her in a bikini, well, I just don't know what I'll do...

The door is locked, so he pulls out his Swiss Army Knife and picks the lock. Easy Peasy.

He is in a kitchen. So he pulls some carrots out of the fridge. (PS. Maybe I've seen this before or maybe I just know Mac that well, but I bet, in the midst of the preparations, he takes some bites of carrot) Now some ice and a large tray. He puts the ice in a bag and sets it on top of a turned-over frying pan. He piles up all the pots and pans he can find on top of the bag of ice. He opens the microwave oven door and turns it on, basically creating a timer. Then he puts dish soap all over the floor. I just remembered exactly how the carrots tie in. He goes back outside and waits until the ice melts and all the pots and pans come crashing down.

The goons go into the kitchen and slip and fall. Mac comes into the room and goes to free the general, but she's handcuffed to the chair! So Mac just slides the chair, General and all outside, putting her to one side of the door. On the other side of the door is a garden hose. He stretches the hose across the floor in front of the door and when the goons rush out, trips them and they go tumbling into the sand. He grabs a beach chair (a deck chair? you know, like at the pool.), puts it on top of them and holds it there while he disarms them. He then grabs the conveniently placed cordless phone and calls the authorities.

So that's it. And the carrot? Just a healthy snack. Seriously.


So MacGyver is dressed like a ninja sneaking into a nuclear refining plant. He is there to sabotage/blow it the hell up. He's walking around, placing remote charges like he's playing a real life game of Goldeneye. He grabs his remote and blows it the hell up. Lots of explosions BOOM BOOM BOOM. And MacGyver watches in awe. And then it freeze frames, end of scene. That was weird. It was like a second opening gambit. That little adventure will probably tie in, though.

So MacGyver is driving his Jeep Cherokee Chief to his house. He parks, checks out some bikini-clad chicks and goes up to his apartment. Standing outside his door, he senses something is amiss. He turns off the overhead light and turns on HIS BLACKLIGHT THAT HE HAS INSTALLED OVER HIS DOOR. And there, clear as day, are two foot prints on the mat. So, whenever MacGyver leaves his apartment, he covers his welcome mat in blacklight sensitive dust, in case someone stands on the welcome mat while they break in? Paranoid, yes. But I suppose with good reason.

He slowly walks in. We see a guy lying on his couch. He checks the mail, goes to the fridge for some OJ. And says, "Well?" and just goes into a conversation with the guy who I guess is some sort of government agent. The agent tells him he's a TARGET. When he blew up the nuclear place, he was ID'd. The bad guys have sent a guy named Axminster to come kill him. The agent tells him to leave town. Mac very mysteriously tells him he's been meaning to take a particular trip. He says that he doesn't need to know where he's going, he just needs to take care of Axminster.

Now, normally, I'd wait until I see Axminster and then I'd nickname him like normal. But there are a couple of times on this show when I'm not going to do that. Not that Axminster is a big villain, but if the writers are going to go to the trouble to set up that he's this guy and here's his name and make us wait to meet him, then I'll use his name. I'll also use the real names of Pete Thornton, Jack Dalton, Penny Parker, and Murdoc because they're recurring characters.


So now MacGyver is on a bus. Talking to a hayseed country guy who's reading a tabloid and is very concerned about aliens.

MacGyver reveals that he's going to visit his Grandfather, Harry, who he hasn't seen since he was ten and he's the only family MacGyver has.

Cut to the phone ringing in MacGyver's apartment. It's Harry, leaving a message to tell him not to come. He's too busy. He sounds like a grumpy man. The kind of man that MacGyver will age into based on some of the offhand remarks he makes in his internal monologues.

There's a guy listening in to the message Harry leaves. When Harry speculates that MacGyver is probably already on his way, WireTapper calls Axminster over. Harry leaves the phone number for the general store where Mac could reach him. So WireTapper is going to trace that number and just like that, Axminster is hot on MacGyver's trail!

So the bus is now traveling up a road through the middle of the woods. And now it's stopping at MacGyver's stop. He greets Harry who is, indeed grumpy and old. Wait. Hold on a second. MacGyver just said he hasn't seen Harry in "sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years" and he said before that he last saw him when he was ten. I'm 28. Which means that, when this episode takes place, and if MacGyver's math and memory are correct, then Mac is AT MOST as old as me. He may be as much as 2 years YOUNGER! My mind is blown, people.

They exchange some awkward conversation. Harry is surly as a character can be. And I think Mac likes that. They head off in Harry's truck.

WireTapper is on the phone doing the typical "I'm on the phone, but I'm receiving information" grunts and murmurs. He gets off the phone and tells Axminster that the number Harry gave was for a general store in Colorado. And the people at the general store know where Harry lives. Axminster nods and they both get in the car and drive off. I think WireTapper is going to be the voice that we hear of the Axminster crew. Maybe I should call him the Voice of Axminster.

Haha. Harry keeps grabbing MacGyver's bag and carrying it for him. It's a small thing, but it's so cutting. Good job, Harry-Actor. I always liked how Harry calls Mac "Bud". It's endearing.

They talk about Harry's wife and Mac asks if her dying was why Harry left the family. This is actually interesting. MacGyver just brought up the fact that Harry was there when Mac's Dad died. This is interesting because later in the series, there's a flashback episode (I think) where both of Mac's parents die in the same car accident. I'm not POSITIVE, but pretty sure. Someone remind me of this episode when we get to that other episode.

They talk a little more and I think Mac says what he has been wanting to say to Harry for years. Which is good.

Meanwhile, Axminster has arrived in the area. Changed from his black suit into khakis and a khaki hat. He has seven guys with him and they have 2 jeeps between them. Do you think this show had a deal with Jeep?

They drive down the road and Axminster looks menacing.

Harry and Mac are eating. More awkward, tough conversation. Mac is trying to break through, but Harry has put up a lot of walls. Mac sees a duck call that he made fore Harry when he was 10. I bet that comes back later.

Axminster's men are running to surround the cabin. And BOOM they break in. But there's no one in there. Mac and Harry are already out fishing. It's so peaceful out on the lake. But there's a lot of emotional turmoil between these two men.

MacGyver catches a fish. He starts to reel the fish in when all of a sudden there's a gunshot and the line breaks. Mac and Harry dive overboard. Someone is shooting at them (Stormtrooper Aim) so they run to the reeds. Mac cuts a couple reeds and grabs a bit of bark. He shoves the reeds into the log and sends it floating out on the water. Axminster and his men think it's them trying to get by by staying under water. And it works!

Harry and Mac have been able to get a little distance on them. They come along a plant that has paralyzing capabilities. Hahaha. Harry pulls out HIS swiss army knife and starts cutting the plant. Mac goes out and gets the fixins for a blowgun. He has to hit the target just exactly in the neck for this to work. This episode is fun because you get to see where MacGyver gets some of his survival skills.

So he's dipping darts in the milky stuff in the middle of the plant. Harry suggests that they make a false trail. Two guys find the trail and follow it out to the middle of a stream. Mac hits one right in the neck and he falls. Mac hits the other guy in the arm, so Harry emerges from one of the storm pipes they're standing near and clubs him.

Suddenly, there's Axminster's jeep, so they're on the run again. Harry stops MacGyver and demands to know what the hell's going on. MacGyver explains the situation....kind of.

MacGyver: It has to do with Freedom and Peace, Harry. And some people who don't like either
Harry: Well I sure hope it's worth losin' that damn trout.

Harry tells Mac that there's a town up in the high desert that has a phone line. It's 10-12 miles away so they're going to have good bit of running. They stop after a bit and begin to set several things in motion. MacGyver reminds Harry about when Harry taught him about decoys. He throws his jacket down from the tree he has climbed and tells Harry to fill it with pine needles so that it looks like a man. Mac starts cutting a bough he's near with a sharp stone.

Mac has seen the two jeeps from up in the tree. He saw that only one of them split off to come their way. But Axminster realizes that the jeep he's in (the one Mac saw NOT coming toward them) is probably headed the wrong way. So they turn around and radio the other guys to keep looking.

The first jeep approaches and Harry tosses the filled vest out in front of them as Mac jumps on the cut bough and it falls on their jeep. It veers off the road and is incapacitated (to MacGyver's dismay. This would be easier if they had a jeep to use. Jeep. Making things easier no matter WHAT life throws at you. Visit your local Jeep dealer today.) and the driver and passenger are knocked out.

Axminster's jeep is speeding up the road, so Harry and Mac start running again.

MacGyver starts loading his backpack with pinecones. He explains to Harry that, with a little bit of pine pitch, you have the makings of a land mine (because pinecones explode when you throw them in a fire).

They run a little further and then bury a "land mine". They run off to hide as the jeep pulls up. Ok, so they're lighting the pine pitch on the cones and tossing them at the jeep. I guess they're aiming for the one they buried, which the jeep has stopped right above.

Harry throws one and Axminster turns and fires. Harry is shot in the arm. Mac throws the last pinecone and it hits the target. There's a BIG explosion and now everyone is on foot. Only now Harry is injured. Oh, I guess it's his stomach, but the bullet just grazed him. So all that it's going to do is slow them down. But it's ok because now they're in the town! Only, it's clearly been a couple years since Harry had been there, because this place is completely ghostified.

So all hope seems lost and Harry collapses on MacGyver.

MacGyver: Damn you, Axminster!

MacGyver mixes Fool's Gold with Clay to make a natural antibiotic to put on Harry's wounds.

MacGyver is almost as shifty about what he does for a living as Barney Stinson!

Harry is telling MacGyver about why he left and it's leaving me a little confused. He's saying something like "First your Grandmother, then your Mom...I just couldn't handle it." And I guess that means that at this point, it went Mac's Dad, Grandmother, then Mom, but before Harry had talked about sending money to him and his Mom. So when exactly did he leave? It's not super crucial, but it's kind of confusing when you start to try to piece it together.

It's actually quite touching to see Mac and Harry reconcile. And then Harry regains his composure and Mac goes off to scour the town for weapons.

The sun rises and Harry has gotten a good night's sleep, but Mac has been up all night preparing.

He has put some grain dust together to do a purposeful spontaneous combustion. It's so cool to watch them work together. They're doing all the normal MacGyver things: Cutting supporting columns, rigging remote triggers. Harry shows MacGyver some pine nuts that sound like gunshots when they get in a fire.

This escape is truly brought to you by Pine. From pine nuts, to pine cones, to pine nuts.

Axminster and his men walk confidently into town. They're professionals, you know.

Mac pours the grain dust down a funnel into a building. Harry gets two guys' attention so that they approach the door, then Mac sends a match down the funnel and KABOOM! I think that leaves a guy and Axminster.

Oh. Maybe one more guy than that.

Harry lights a barrel on fire and tosses the pine nuts in. A guy in a beret comes up to investigate the gunfire and Harry clubs him the same way he did the guy at the stormdrain.

Ok. So I guess NOW it's just them and Axminster. So, they walk and just as they get near the column they sawed, Axminster leaps onto Mac, knees him in the gut, stands and holds him at gunpoint.

Harry leaps in and knocks the gun aside. Mac has time to get to his feet and disarm Axminster. Harry coaches him, sees that the column is giving way. He yells "Now Bud!" and MacGyver leaps at the column, breaking it and burying Axminster in the boards of the balcony above them.

They're going to be ok. In more ways than one, you know?

They do a little epilogue of MacGyver bidding Harry goodbye. When Mac first got there, he held out his hand for a handshake and Harry took his bag instead. This time, Mac held out his hand and Harry goes in for the hug. Aww :) The music swells.

MacGyver: Hey Harry, catch that big ol' trout, will ya?
Harry: Count on it.

MacGyver gets on the bus and it drives away. All's well that ends well!

See you next week!


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