MacGyver (S04E08) “Father + Son + Father + Matriarch”

This episode of MacGyver has far exceeded any previous expectations I had for this show. Somehow, they have set the bar higher than before, but it doesn’t come without significant loss. Some things, you just can’t come back from. (Spoilers Ahead)

The Calm Before the Storm

We are lulled into a false sense of security, where everything appears to be normal. It’s just another day right? Including a rather thrilling sparring session between Desi (Levy Tran) and MacGyver (Lucas Till), with that sexual tension just simmering below the surface. The light-hearted, jovial banter soon comes to a crashing halt though, it seems as their old friend Mason (Peter Weller) is up to no good.

James (Tate Donovan) has decided to grace the Phoenix with his all-knowing presence. Things between him and MacGyver are tedious, and the proverbial elephant in the room is looming in their awkward interactions. Mason, wanted to get their attention, to draw them out. They have unfinished business to attend to, while the others gather other important intel. It’s time for some much-needed father and son time.

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Same enemy? Same Goal. (Photo: IMDB) (MacGyver (S04E08))

The past, cannot escape them, but they can’t dwell in it forever either. MacGyver and his father, are more alike than either is willing to admit. Both committed to a cause, even when their own lives are on the line. This mission is no exception. Aside from the fact that Jame’s has two months left to live, thanks to the return of his Cancer. There is little time to lament and process this new omission before Mason catches them unaware.

Boom goes the dynamite

Things back at the Phoenix, have taken quite a turn as well. Not only have they lost signal, leaving MacGyver and James open to the elements (and the threat of Mason), the CIA has taken a particular interest in Matty (Meredith Eaton), and the information she may-or-may-not have about the infamous “File 47”. Burke (Keith David), whose reputation seems to precede him, tries to assert his authority, which isn’t quite as effective as he wants it to be. Say what you will about the Boss Lady, but she is not one to back down from a threat.

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Don’t mess with Matty. (Photo: Screen Capture) (MacGyver (S04E08))

Russ (Henry Ian Cusick), trying to pull a few strings himself, gets caught up in the new renewed chaos. Some secrets, just can’t stay buried, no matter how many agents you try to kill. It seems as though Burke, has done more damage than good, causing the ranks of Codex to swell. Matty, is always one step ahead, knowing that she needed an ace in her pocket. She’s not someone you want to cross, and Burke learns that the hard way.

This is their house, and no one can stop them from their mission. Bozer (Justin Hires) begins the “take over process” with the others following suit.  Desi shows that she can hold her own, helping to take control of the situation. It doesn’t take long for Riley (Tristin Mays) to restore communication, even if it’s fleeting. They need to get ahead of this, but is it too little, too late? Only time will tell.

Desperate Times

Two of the most brilliant minds are sure to get out of any situation, but things aren’t quite as they seem. In fact, James, MacGyver, and Mason are merely pawns in a much bigger, deadlier game. Cue the shoot outs, and explosive scenes, making sworn enemies, temporary allies. There is truly no dull moments in this episode. The intensity, paired with heart-pounding action, makes for one hell of a ride.

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“The Ted Talk from Hell.” (Photo: Nathan Bolster/CBS) (MacGyver (S04E08))

Codex is alive and well. Of course, they were behind this whole charade, they do have their hands in everything, don’t they? Who could possibly be behind it all? Apparently brilliance runs in the family, even if these motives are questionable. Gwen “Titan” Hayes (Jeri Ryan), is none other than MacGyver’s aunt. The rabbit hole goes deeper than we ever thought, twisting MacGyver’s reality right before his very eyes.

The unconventional truth

While James and Mason are detained, MacGyver gets some one-on-one time with his aunt. Saving the world seems to run in the family. Although they seem to be on the other side of the spectrum at the moment. One, wanting to help those that need it, the other, wanting to watch the world burn, pressing the restart button. Life may be messy, and chaotic, but that doesn’t mean humankind needs to be completely extinguished.

Gwen is very passionate, it’s a trait that runs through the family. She makes a compelling case, to join the “dark side”, but that isn’t who MacGyver is, even when his mother is mentioned to sway him. Although, for a few moments, MacGyver looks more than intrigued at the premise of their madness. But ending innocent lives due to a series of “natural disasters”, isn’t his cup of tea.

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“I Love you too Dad.” (Photo: Screen Capture) (MacGyver (S04E08))

This isn’t something he can just walk away from, but, a well-executed, unintentional diversion gives him the much-needed reprieve. Mason is the one to guide him to safety, but they aren’t out of the woods yet. James has been shot, the bullet destroying the make-shift detonator, belonging to Mason’s brilliant explosive. They need a head start, but that isn’t happening without the boom. This is when Jame’s makes the ultimate sacrifice. Giving his son a fighting chance, the only one who can stop what is coming.

Where do they go from here?

They have dealt with a considerable amount of loss on this show, but something about James’ death is just heart-shattering. There are no second chances, they can’t go back to the way things used to be. At least in James’ final moments, they both came to peace with the past. My heart aches just writing that. The time to mourn is obsolete, as MacGyver has a new, vengeful focus to fulfill. Find Codex, and make them pay for what they’ve done.

This is just the beginning, the darkness is taking hold and it won’t be easy to shake it. MacGyver’s building walls, and hardening his emotions. How does one stop a “natural disaster” from happening? Codex. Gwen. They seem to have an unlimited supply of powerful gadgets at their disposal, but as Gwen says, it runs in the family. Perhaps MacGyver will be able to avenge his father’s death, or at least, die trying.

As for Mason? I can bet anything, we will be seeing him around again.

Closing Thoughts

I’m still trying to put my thoughts together about this episode. They have given us a lot to process, in such a short amount of time. Past episodes have been subtly alluding to something big happening, knowing that death wasn’t off the table, it was still a shock to the system when Mac Sr. gave up his life. These are the types of storylines that give these characters life-defining, life-altering moments. This is one of those moments for MacGyver. This is no longer “light-hearted” as it once was, this is a completely different MacGyver, and I’m here for it.

You can catch a new episode of MacGyver, Friday, April 10 at 7/8c on CBS.

Previous reviews for MacGyver can be found here.