MacGyver (S04E02) “Red Cell + Quantum + Cold + Committed”

What exactly happened in those key 18 months in MacGyver? We will get answers, but it may not come as swiftly as some are hoping. The storytelling in this season is more in-depth, and the situations seem to be more complex in nature. It’s a slow burn, but there is something captivating about that. (Spoilers Ahead)

Reconnect after disconnect

How could the team fall so far from each other? Especially when they were like family. The unraveling of their stories may take some time, but it’s better that way. Things can’t and won’t be the same as they used to, each person seems to have grown, evolved into a different version of themselves. With the amount of pain they’ve had to endure, it’s no wonder some secrets are kept closely guarded.

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Time to reconnect. (Photo: IMDB)

Riley (Tristin Mays) and MacGyver (Lucas Till), have always been close, but that doesn’t mean they are open books to each other. It is clear that Desi (Levy Tran) did a number on MacGyver’s heart and head (and visa versa), considering the number of snarky remarks and constant bickering, maybe they aren’t as okay as they want others to believe. Maybe it’s better if no one is in a relationship, being single is better right? Especially with the lives, they lead.

The powers that be

Russ ( Henry Ian Cusick) has settled into his role as “the boss”, and instead of getting the team’s input, mostly Matty’s (Meredith Eaton), in a possible new mission, he makes the decision for them. An old friend, General John Acosta (Xander Berkeley), wants the team to test out the boundaries and potential flaws in a classified military lab, in doing so they must steal a highly classified project. MacGyver’s reputation precedes him, but they were never given the chance to say no.

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Just another day. (Photo: Guy D’Alema/CBS)

If they are successful in their mission, they will all get their clearance back. It’s too enticing to fight against that, they need it to become “legitimate” again. In this line of work, access is everything. Riley is great at what she does, but it helps when you have the proper channels to go through as well. This should be easy right? The team seems to be able to mesh well together, even with unsaid “issues” between some.

Everyone has a role to play. While Bozer (Justin Hires) mingles with all the scientists, the others swiftly and effectively find their way into the secret, high tech lab. Something like this doesn’t come with its difficulties though, what they need to steal is like the holy grail of supercomputers, protected in a containment unit that keeps it at a certain temperature, or else it disintegrates. Time is not on their side. Bozer has to take one for the team, getting an extreme closeup of someone’s eye (perhaps even a romantic connection). I guess there are perks to the job after all.

Not all that it seems

Even with the obstacles in their way, and a very close call with the armed forces, the team is able to complete their mission, it’s what they do, against all odds. If only it was enough, sure, General Acosta is impressed, but there are darker things afoot. Instead of getting the clearance they were promised, they become wanted fugitives, all thanks to General Acosta.

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All is not what it seems. (Photo: IMDB)

They may not be accustomed to dodging the authorities, but that won’t stop them. The General has disappeared, with now dangerous weapons. It’s not just an impressive piece of technology, it’s the software that has more sinister purposes, giving the user undetected control over any network. Why would the General put his country at risk? Russ intends to find out, with Riley’s brilliant skills, they are able to make a connection. It comes as no surprise when the truth comes out, The Generals daughter and grandson have been taken, more lives on are one line.

connect the dots

The different dynamics of this team really shine through, especially when they are tasked to divide and conquer. Russ and MacGyver must get to the airbase and intercept the general, while Riley and Desi team-up to save the lives of his family. They are starting to make the connections, as each dot is lining up. This is all part of something bigger, especially when the kidnapper decides to kill himself after spewing some cryptic message.

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Riley knows how to get things done. (Photo: IMDB)

Matty is working her magic, keeping the team together and on task. It’s good to see them working in a cohesive manner, even with the bickering. They have an end goal and much reach it, or the world will end in chaos. No pressure right? This is where they seem to succeed when the outlook is bleak. Riley and Desi are able to find the hostages and kick some as in doing so. Say what you may about Desi, but she is a great asset to the team, showing she can certainly hold her own.

On the other spectrum, Russ and MacGyver seem to be coming up empty-handed. They need to get to the general but have been blocked from every angle. Good thing they have access to the building’s design, leaving the hard part to MacGyver. Russ has his own plan he aptly calls “Leeroy Jenkins” (thanks to the writers for that WoW reference). Distraction at its finest.

The Evil is Here

With the Generals family now safe, he doesn’t need go through with this calamity. MacGyver is apt in the nature of “cutting it close”, but he’s able to convince Acosta that he doesn’t need to do it. Trusting in MacGyver is the right thing to do, but perhaps trusting your second in command was the wrong thing. Major Anne Frost (Emmanuelle Vaugier), who has been by Acosta’s side, has other ideas. She’s part of a bigger collective with a terrifying agenda. It’s all too familiar, their last mission, he boasted the same vendetta before ending his life. While Frost didn’t kill herself, those armed soldiers didn’t hesitate to end her reign of terror. When one perishes, more will rise.

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Evil is rising. (Photo: IMDB)

The team has more than proven themselves, which means that the clearance is theirs. Something dark is rising from the shadows, and it is coming for them all. The bigger picture seems to extend throughout the world. Phoenix is a threat, which will continue to put them into harm’s way, but this is what they do, they save the world. With only a symbol as a link, this just may be the greatest obstacle they’ve ever had to face.

Normal is not in their cards, not anymore. It comes at a price though, as Riley has found out. How long did she think she could keep the secret? Especially with Matty doing thorough background checks? The fact that Riley is living with her boyfriend, was bound to come out at some point. She can’t protect him, no matter how hard she tries.

Let the conflict, commence.

Closing Thoughts:

I really like the direction they are going with this season. The storytelling is more intense and direct, giving us a better glimpse of each character. The answers are slowly going to trickle out, instead of being “in your face”. It’s a smart approach, keeping the viewers wondering and waiting for what’s going to happen next.  Jack hasn’t been mentioned in a while, but I don’t think that means he has been forgotten. There is so much story ahead of us, I am sure we will find out more about his fate as well. The past cannot stay buried for long.


You can catch a new episode of MacGyver on Friday, February 21 on CBS at 8/7c.

Previous reviews for MacGyver can be found here.


Those who want to know the origins of Russ’s “Leeroy Jenkins” here you go: