Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MacGyver Mondays: "A Prisoner of Conscience" (Season 1, Episode 21)

Pay no attention to the man in the reflection (my first "screen shot" which is an actual shot of the screen :) )
Title: A Prisoner of Conscience
Airdate: 4/30/1986
My Age at Airdate: 2 years, 9 months, 14 days
Episode Type: Prison Break

The menu for the last disc of the First Season has a picture of MacGyver in a priest's collar. I can only assume that that is either from THIS episode or the Season Finale. It just seems to me that "A Prisoner of Conscience" stands much more of a chance for this kind of thing than "The Assassin" does, you know?


We open on the Kremlin in Moscow. Looks to be a pretty nice city. A motorboat is pulling up to a beach. And MacGyver is sitting on a bench eating an apple. Pete runs up to him and asks why he's there, Mac asks why Pete is there.  Pete left without notice and took a map of Russia, so of course MacGyver tracked him down. Pete is investigating the death of this Russian scientist guy who was killed because of being in contact with an American agent....Pete. 

Pete was helping this Russian guy deliver letters of political prisoners but the Russian guy got caught. And now Pete has heard that the Russians are after this guy (Let's call him The Postman)'s daughter.

So Mac asks how they're going to do it and Pete tells Mac that he doesn't want to endanger another friend.

MacGyver, of course, stubbornly refuses to be brushed off. Pete acquiesces but says that the Postman's daughter is going to be nervous about meeting new people so he should go by himself to make contact.

Mac lets him go for a couple seconds and then follows.

Pete goes to PD's house and she greets him warmly. Pete says that he's sorry, but she says that she has to be strong because the Russians are evicting her.

MacGyver walks up the path to the house and sees some potatoes. And then he moves on.

Then a car pulls up. MacGyver's voiceover tells us that this can only be the secret police and it looks like Pete has come to the same conclusion. Mac has hidden and Pete is preparing to help PD. 

She opens the door, they tell her to come with them, she refuses and Pete slams the door. Then, somehow, the police men (including the one that looks like the black-haired guy in Hall and Oates that was standing nowhere near the door, but I guess he was standing behind the guy that looks like EVERY RUSSIAN YOU'VE SEEN IN ANY MOVIE WHERE RUSSIANS ARE THE BAD GUYS) fall into the lake on which the house that PD lives in is located.

Pete and PD run for it. Mac breaks cover, grabs one of the potatoes and shoves it in the tailpipe of the police car. 

AFTER. So, that means that MacGyver is basically cribbing a trick from Axel Foley. Amazing

Pete, PD, and MacGyver run off. The soaking wet policemen try to chase in their car, but, of course, they break their car.

Our heroes run to the beach that we saw at the beginning, hop in a motorboat and take off. The policemen apparently have a boat on that same beach, so they get in that and take chase, occasionally firing a shotgun at their prey (stormtrooper aim, natch).

They need to get these guys off their tail. Mac and Pete start to tear up a blanket, ripping it to shreds. Hopefully that wasn't an heirloom.

Is Moscow really as much like Louisiana as it looks in this chase scene?

MacGyver ties the blanket to a gas can to jam the intake of their jet...thing on their boat. Oh and some lifeboats. He tosses all of that in the water and they run over it and then their boat goes ashore, the policemen get out and the boat blows up. Blows up? Really? Hmm

Well, it looks like everyone's safe and sound.....

WAIT. PD tells them that her father is not dead! He's incarcerated in like a mental hospital. Near Leningrad. She plans to get her father out. And Pete says he's going to help. And MacGyver says he will too.

So now we're in Leningrad. They have secured lots of official paperwork.

So now they're going to execute this plan. We don't know what it is. It's kind of like Ocean's Eleven.

Pete is posing as a doctor. MacGyver is playing crazy.

We also have Man Doctor (Bad) and Woman Doctor (I'm not sure if she's bad or not. Maybe not.)

Man Doctor takes MacGyver to the room with all the other crazy people (but there are political prisoners and actual crazy people)

We've got Big Guy, Room Leader, and Chess Guy.

Man Doctor takes Chess Guy's chessboard and Chess Guy kind of freaks out, but Mac puts on a crazy show where he snatches the board and starts making a scene. A guard runs in and Big Guy clotheslines him. Then more guards run in and MacGyver surrenders, but they beat him anyway. But Chess Guy gets his board back. 

Oh, I don't remember if it's important, but Room Leader had a little altercation with Man Doctor right before this, where he claimed that he was political and insulted Man Doctor, but then MD (hehe. MD) threatened to quiet him down and so he immediately withdrew his statement and acted crazy as a demonstration that he wasn't political.

Anyways. So Dr. Pete and Woman Doctor are touring the grounds. She's kind of old-school good, so that's good.

A guy comes and tells Dr. Pete that "his patient became violent".

So now Pete is with MacGyver who has been like, straight-blanketed. It's like he's swaddled. In fact, that's EXACTLY what he is, and I bet it's for the same reason. He had an outburst and swaddling is designed to calm you down. 

Mac and Pete have a brief exchange where Pete tells Mac that he only brought one set of lockpicks, even though they both need lockpicks. Pete needs them to get into the medicine cabinet to get the psychotropic drugs (for the after party) and Mac needs them to...well, break out of the whole place. Macgyver tells Pete that he'll take care of his own lockpicking needs.

MacGyver is talking to Room Leader. Trying to find The Postman. Room Leader doesn't have any information, but Chess Guy does. He tells MacGyver where The Postman is and then Room Leader decides to trust MacGyver because an impostor wouldn't take a beating just to save Chess Guy's chess set.

MacGyver breaks the light bulb of the lamp in the room and uses the filament as a lockpick. It is literally THE easiest lock picking I've ever seen in my life. Easy damn peasy.

Room Leader will create a diversion while MacGyver gets The Postman out. Only, when MacGyver gets up to the ward where The Postman should be, there are a bunch of rooms and a guard. 

So he goes into the janitor's closet (and inspirational "You Can Do It" music starts playing) he gets a bucket, stops up the sink and smears caulking compound on the side and rim of the bucket. He's making "Russian Crazy Glue". He pours another liquid all over it and then puts a mop handle through the bucket. He lures the guard into the janitor's closet. The guard grabs the bucket and his hands are immediately stuck to the bucket.

MacGyver sneaks by, but the guard sees him and hits the alarm. But Big Guy grabs him and holds him tight. The guards and doctors are on high alert, but I think they're all heading for the wing where Room Leader, Chess Guy and the others are making a huge hubbub. 

MacGyver meets The Postman. He tells TP that PD sent him. He picks the lock to TP's door. Just as easily. But the guards are on their way to the Ward where TP is being kept. TP tells MacGyver that he is the only prisoner in the ward and that his room will certainly be searched.

So MacGyver decides to take him out of there. He relocks the cell door.

The guards get to the Ward (It's called Ward Zero) and find the first guard hanging from a door by his toes. They open the door and he falls and Big Guy attacks them. 

Down in Ward K (the other ward), guards are arriving.

Meanwhile, Pete has snuck into Woman Doctor's office. He picks the lock to the drug cabinet and take some stuff, but then he hears a rustling at the door. It's a cleaning woman. Pete hides in a closet.

The guards have subdued Big Guy and Man Doctor is going to inject BG with something, but Chess Guy starts rattling off side effects that the drug will have. So MD threatens to burn the chess set. He tells CG not to touch the chess set until he gave him permission. CG is upset.

Mac sneaks TP down the hall.

The cleaning lady leaves and Pete sneaks out of the room. He drops something on the ground, but doesn't notice. He walks into the hall the MD is coming down. MD calls out to him, but he just walks across the hall into another room. MD looks in the first room and see the bag of drugs that Pete dropped.

The guard is asking MacGyver where he's been. MacGyver takes him over to the window while Room Leader sneaks TP into the room. Then RL asks the guard for some medicine and the guard leaves to get it.

TP and MacGyver talk about why Mac, Pete and PD are there.

Mac lets TP (and us) in on the second and third phases of the plan.  PD will pose as a local girl and work in the hospital's cafeteria. She'll somehow take out the guards (I'm thinking with the drugs, perhaps?) and then Pete will kick of Phase III somehow.

Pete and Woman Doctor are talking when Man Doctor casually bursts in. He accuses her and Pete of trying to steal drugs and sell them on the black market. He places the both of them under house arrest.

PD meets with the cafeteria manager. He tells her how to set the table and tells her she only has 20 minutes before the staff arrives to eat breakfast.

Big Guy is doing some Tai Chi. Man Doctor walks in and indicates the MacGyver is involved with the drug thing.

MacGyver starts to act like he's been investigating the same crime, but MD stops him and tells him he plans to subject the three of them (I guess Chess Guy, MacGyver, and Room Leader? to chemical interrogation.

Chess Guy snaps. He breaks his chessboard over MD's head. MacGyver kicks the gun out of the guard's hand and punches him. Then Room Leader breaks a chair over that guard's head. Mac runs for the door and double fist-punches the guard outside it.

Big Guy gags MD and wraps him tight in a blanket and holds him. Chess Guy gets his broken board and chess pieces and walks contentedly over to the table. Room Leader takes one of the guard's guns and tells Mac that he knows where WD and Pete will be. TP leads two prisoners we haven't met out to follow RL and MacGyver.

MacGyver gets Pete and WD. RL locks the guard he has at gunpoint in WD's office closet.

PD meets with Pete and MacGyver to get the drugs to drug the guards and the Cafeteria Manager comes out and asks what's going on. There's a tense moment, but then MacGyver just says

MacGyver: We're breaking out.
Manager: Oh
Pete: We wouldn't LIKE it if you interfered.
Manager: No no no. You can lock me in the closet, or the supply room, or the basement...
MacGyver: Closet will do fine.
--badass. It's important to know your adversary.

PD spikes the tea of the guards.

Chess Guy is playing both sides of a game with MD who is gagged and bound and trying to yell through his gag. It's a pretty delightful scene to see this mousy guy (CG) get the upper hand.

So now all the guards are slumping over and TP and PD are reunited. Right in front of the guards and orderlies.

WD agrees to help them. They all run off. They bag the guards in front of the building and all the patients escape.

TP says that he is now too big to kill. He will stay in Russia and continue his good work.

Now it's later. Pete has spread the word the TP is still alive. PD is going to go to America at her father's insistence so that she can't be used against him. 

There's lots of handshaking and stuff.

I'm not sure if WD is staying in Russia or not. I think not. But I don't know.

TP walks off and an excited crowd forms around him, thrilled that he's alive.


So, I have a question. Who was the title "Prisoner of Conscience"? Is a prisoner of conscience the same thing as a political prisoner?

Anyways, I'll see you next week for the SEASON FINALE!!!! I guess that's when we'll see MacGyver in the priest's collar. Interesting :)


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