Episode Reviews (6)
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When MacGyver is sent to Burma to retrieve a deadly chemical canister from a crashed aeroplane, he finds himself intervening between a powerful drug lord and the local peasant farmers he uses as slaves to harvest opium. Far better than the Pilot...
I have a confession... After watching the Pilot on DVD (with 'MacGyver' being one of the very few shows of the era I didn't watch on the original run - see my review of the Pilot for more on this) and not being overwhelmed with it, I wasn't particularly looking forward to watching the next episode. But I needn't have worried so much. Whilst reading up on the series suggests that even better episodes await later on, 'The Golden Triangle' is a vast improvement over the Pilot, and far more engaging.
The pre-credits sequence (which the on-screen titles bill as the "Opening Gambit", a term I shall use from now on for such sequences in the series), is written by Terry Nation, the famed British writer best known for his association with 'Doctor Who', creating sci-fi TV's arguably most famous evil race, the Daleks. As a Brit myself (not to mention a huge 'Doctor Who' fan), I was delighted by this connection to 'MacGyver'.
This opening gambit has several severe nitpicks, as noted on this and various fan sites, and is hardly one of Mac's most cleverly thought out escapades, but it is still fun, as he narrowly escapes death, trapped in a car and nearly being flattened in an industrial crusher. As with the Pilot, this opening gambit has nothing really to do with the rest of the story, something that my reading up on the show seems to suggest, would continue for most of the first season.
After the Pilot, which I found disappointing, I find 'The Golden Triangle' to be much better produced. The budget seems to have been upped slightly (though not (yet) as slick as many of the other action-adventure shows around at the time), and the in-episode score, while still a little too cheap-synthesiser sounding for my liking, is also generally much better. I also liked Mac's narration voiceovers a bit more in this one; still clearly 'Magnum'-influenced, but better than they were in the Pilot.
I chuckled to myself as the episode's guest cast list played – George Kee Cheung, Clyde Kusatsu, Keye Luke, James Saito... such shows of the era ALWAYS used these same few actors whenever an episode had an Oriental connection (see episodes of 'Magnum, p.i.', 'The A-Team', 'Airwolf' et al); all they needed here was James Hong to complete the set!
It's also not clear who – if anyone – employs MacGyver at this stage of the show; here he is employed by a General Hawkins, only seen in silhouette and voice heard as Mac lies on the beach after the opening credits. Soon, Mac would be working for the Phoenix Foundation.
Although fairly plan and simple at the end of the day, I like this story (though I usually like most TV episodes with Oriental connections anyway). The acting is pretty corny, even by 1980s standards, and the aforementioned guest stars such as Luke and Cheung, can do much better if given material, but in a way the corniness is part of the fun.
Although the Pilot was obviously produced first, in some ways I can't help but feel that 'The Golden Triangle' would have served far better as the first broadcast episode; better story, better stunts… I just warmed to this episode much more than I did with the Pilot.
This one narrowly misses out on a 9.5 rating from me, due to the heavily corny dialogue and performances, and not being as slick as some of it's contemporary action-adventure shows around at the time, but even so, I like this one enough to reward it a very decent 9/10.moreless
Macgyver is sent to Burman to locate a deadly toxin that kills all life. He runs into a slavery culture in Burma using people to crop Opium.
Decent episode. I like these type of episode located in a real area with believable stories. There's more of an emphasis on the story.
This was before MacGyver joined up with the Phoenix Foundation. He was essentially a freelancer for the government. The opening Gambit written by Terry Nation has nothing to do with the rest of the episodes but this was the style of the first season. The Gambit is nonetheless entertaining although MacGyver's accomplishment of the mission is totally ridiculous.
MacGyver arrives in Burma undercover but is spotted after he helps a village boy out. The warlord of the village thinks MacGyver is a narcotics agent and sends MacGyver to be killed.
The young boy comes back to help MacGyver escape. MacGyver tries to get the people to fight back against their oppressors.
They are unsure of whether they can do it. MacGyver must decide how involved he wants to get.
There's a nice moment basically the turning point of the episode where MacGyver has already complete his mission which is the retrieval of the toxin.
MacGyver can basically go home and not care about these people and their struggles. However, the helicopter leaves, and you see Mac standing there.
This episode has an all Asian cast including Keye Luke and the beautiful Joan Chen. Joan Chen is a great underrated actress doesn't quite get any media attention at all, so I am gonna mention it here.
She does nice work as the boy's sister. This is a realistic MacGyver episode once you get past that Gambit scenes. I enjoyed it.moreless
A great followup to the Pilot.
As an eight-year-old boy watching MacGyver back in 1985, "The Golden Triangle" stood up as my favorite episode of the first season. I still have a soft spot for it and feel it was an excellent and ambitious sophomore outing for a series that desperately needed to find an audience--and quickly--in its kamikaze Sunday time slot against three top-20 shows. In retrospect, the episode had significant flaws in both plot and acting, but it's still fun and cleverly crafted, raising the bar of action-adventure content on television with its imaginative escapes, stellar production values, and non-stop action. Unfortunately, the acting was almost universally abysmal and the villains were so cartoonishly stupid throughout the hour that it sort of undermined MacGyver's craftiness and the Swiss Family Robinson-style barricades he laid out for them. Still a great episode, but it doesn't hold up as well as many others do 20 years later.moreless
Pretty good example of MacGyver.
Overall, this episode is not that bad. The plot is good and MacGyver is awsome as always. However, the bad guys were just annoying. They could not shoot a gun to save their life. In the opening story, they were horrendous shots. In the rest of the episode the slavers were terrible also. No wonder it's so easy to defeat the enemies...Anyways, other than that, the episode was good. MacGyver went to retreive some dangerous thing and got caught up in the local slaves and helped them gain their freedom from a evil general. Overall, good episode, but could've been a lot better.moreless
An example of what MacGyver can do!
I can never get tired of this episode and I love it every time! This episode shows what a great trap builder he is and the tactics he uses. In this one MacGyver shows us how to make distractions with flares and rafts, trick a military know it all into a deep hole, fire mulitple guns aiming at the tires triggered by a log, make a spread out gas attack, and how to take down a helicopter!
Not the best episode of the first season, but it is still good.
Originally airing on October 6, 1985, \"The Golden Triangle\" was a decent episode. Certinaly not one of my favorites, but it isnt bad by any means. This episode still has alot of character development points. It shows more of his, thinking under pressure, and assisting nature. Also, it is not clear yet, at this point in the series anyways, if MacGyver works for the Phoenix Foundation yet or not. This episode does have some slower parts to it, but it was still typical early Macgyver (i.e. pre-community service episodes, not to say that those were bad episodes, i just cared for the earlier episodes better.)moreless