He's not quite dead yet.
I'm not sure what the point of "Mac + Fallout + Jack" was, other than to psych out the audience about George Eads leaving the show by killing off his character, Jack Dalton. Hint: Jack isn't dead.
Otherwise the episode gave us a few good MacGyverisms. But otherwise it was pretty much business as usual. The fate of two characters we met before and never will meet again (barring a Titans + MacGyver crossover: see below) is determined. Wilt and Leanna's romantic life progresses slightly. And... that's it.
So what happened this week. The DIY (Do It Yourself) opener didn't have any DIY, but that's a good thing because for most of two seasons, the creative team apparently felt they had to open the episodes by showing us that Mac did MacGyverisms. Which was not only the established basis for the show, but it was the basis for the fact that the show was a "reimaging" of the original show. Which had... MacGyver doing MacGyverisms.
This week's opener had Jack in typical stupid mode, as he and Mac prepare to head to Vegas for their annual "Maniversary" to celebrate the occasion when they first started working effectively as partners. But on their way, they get hit by another car.
Meanwhile, Wilt takes Leanna (Reign Edwards) to what looks like a house but he'll later call an apartment. And asks her to move in with him. Leanna hesitates, which I can't say I blame her. Lord knows why she fell in love with Wilt: the creative team have never told us. But I'd think being around him 24/7 would be enough to make her strangle him. Heck, I want to him strangle him and I've only been around him for 55 episodes over the course of three years.
This romantic interlude is cut short when Matty calls the two of them. Riley is already there, and after an unseen scene where Wilt and Leanna plow into 55 garbage cans outside of the Phoenix building (Police Squad! fans take note!), Matty tells them their mission, whether they choose to accept it or not, is to pose as hotel catering staff. A terrorist is sending his financial information to his terrorist financier bankers in Zurich, via a diamond that has the information printed on it. He's having his niece, Zahra (Shani Atias), deliver it. But she's stopping off at Milan to take in the local designer's fashions and buy a dress. The trio must get their hands on the diamond and do a bunch of technobabble stuff which will pull the information off of the diamond, send it to a Phoenix server, and then wipe it from the diamond.
Zahra doesn't like any of the dresses, and asks Wilt for his opinion. He says they stink! (The Critic fans take note!), and Zahra agrees and prepares to leave early. Since the trio don't have the diamond yet, Wilt pretends to be a fashion designer, and Leanna and Riley are his models. They go through the usual bunch of Mission: Impossible hijinks: a bodyguard walks in at the wrong time while Riley is downloading the information, and she cold cocks him with a champagne bottle. And Zahra comes in and the information downloads just in time, and Riley pretends to find the necklace on the floor after they earlier switched it for a different necklace to go with Wilt's dress.
During all of this, Leanna agrees to move in with Wilt. I see a homicide in the future, or maybe that's just wishful thinking.
Back at the Mac and Jack ranch, they wake up in what they soon realize is a U.S. underground fallout shelter. Someone has left them a bowl of sago worms, and M&J realize it's all tied in with their very first case seven years ago. They were in Jakarta working with two CIA agents, Griggs (Seamus Dever) and Hadley (Jimmy Gonzales). At least, I assume Griggs is Griggs. Maybe it's Trigon from Titans slumming as a CIA agent, since the guy on Titans looks just like the character here because they're both played by Seamus Dever. But maybe they're foreshadowing a Titans + MacGyver crossover. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.
The operation goes south and the head bad guy, Samrozi (Clint Jung, and "Samrosi" according to the closed captioning) escapes. The CIA boss Waller (Doug Savant) sends Jack, Mac, Griggs, and Hadley to recover the missile Samrozi had. Mac sabotages it with his Swiss Army knife, and Griggs sneers at him using a Swiss Army knife. Griggs and Hadley seemingly get blown up, and Waller orders Jack and Mac out.
In the present day, someone is watching M&J via a not-so-hidden camera. He eventually hits them with a spray can of tear gas (they make those?), leaves them a gun with one bullet, and tells them one of them has to kill the other. They're not having any of that, Mac uses some electrical wiring from the HVAC to get through the locked door, and they find themselves in an identical room with an identical locked door.
M&J find an empty gas cylinder, and use it as the missile in a crude ballista to break down the door. However, Mac accidentally shoots Jack in the chest with it, and Jack is dying so he begs Mac to kill him. He does *gasp* and the captor comes in. By now, Mac has figured out it's Griggs. Griggs explains how he went through the same process, which is out of the CIA enhanced interrogation handbook, after Samrozi captured him and Hadley. Eventually Griggs ended up killing Hadley. I guess he's been in Samrozi's custody for seven years, which is why he's just getting around to executing his revenge scheme.
Griggs prepares to kill Mac, but Jack shoots him with an improvised zip gun. And Mac reveals via voiceover how they faked the whole thing, using the cartridge from the bullet to make the zip gun and creating a blood squib out of some of Jack's own blood. How they faked the gas canister to the chest, they never do say. Griggs isn't dead, and Jack and Mac take him out and Jack lays down some philosophy about celebrating the present because the future's not theirs to see, what will be what will be, que sera sera.
So at the end of the day, some guy we've never heard of isn't dead and ended up in custody. Some other guy we never heard of is dead. Jack is still alive. And Wilt *sigh* is still alive. The clock is still ticking on Eads' departure from the show. As I noted, the MacGyverisms are good, although it doesn't say much for the intelligence of Griggs and Hadley. Mac figures the whole thing out and escapes the Saw-like imprisonment in what appears to be a few hours. The two CIA agents were stuck for six years. But nobody MacGyvers like MacGyver, and the fact Mac is always the smartest guy in the room if not the world is a given on the show.
And yes, writer Jim Adler has Jack gaslight the fact that it's a Saw rip-off. The fact a writer gaslights his "borrowing" does not mean it's therefore okay. Adler did "Dia de Muertos + Sicarios + Family", which was a much better episode but had its own problems like ending way too abruptly with no follow-through so far. Or probably ever.
(I especially like Tristan Mays' "What fresh hell am I in? look at Hires here)
The worst part, is how easily Wilt (Justin Hires) slips into the fashion designer role with a blatantly "gay fashion designer" performance. Really, CBS? Even if it's a stereotype and a trope, there's no reason to go with it in 2019. Meshach Taylor in Mannequin was more subtle than Hires is here.
So overall, another week, another MacGyver episode. A few mildly painful scenes with Hires, a few decent MacGyverisms. It's not a horrible episode, but then again I don't think MacGyver has horrible episodes. It doesn't have great episodes, either. It strives to be CBS-Friday-Night mediocre, and... it succeeds.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Written by Gislef on Jan 5, 2019