Season 6 Episode 9

Bitter Harvest

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 19, 1990 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A three-dimensional look at the politics of a company town helps this ecologically-themed episode rise to the next level.

    The series recovers nicely after the howler the week before with the best of the ecologically-themed episodes from season six. It was clear the episode was going to be solid early on with Tony Garcia's strongly worded rally in the middle of the company farm town pitting the powerful local ag interests against the lowly migrant workers. The transfer of this dynamic to the county jail in the next scene really laid the foundation for the politics of the town, where money talks and where a certain level of betraying your own values and integrity is required to rise above the morass in this environment, as was evidenced by bail being set for Tony's friend Hector. Several elements came together to make this episode shine, but I really appreciated the depth of the characters on both sides of the divide, ranging from the hotheaded young Alex to land baron Casper Kasabian who, for all his faults, had the integrity to put a stop to the madness at the episode's end. The "unionizing the migrant workers" theme was used frequently among 1980's crimefighter shows, but never anywhere to close to this well, and the environmental angle was well articulated and solidly researched as well (hats off to executive producer Stephen Downing who really had to go to bat with the network to get this episode on the air). The final action scenes, including the escape from the carbon dioxide tank, was innovative and exciting, and the closing scene in the epilogue with the grateful bus full of migrant workers waving MacGyver's way was over-the-top, but touching. The depth of this episode makes me appreciate more with each viewing, and for all the critics of MacGyver's theme episodes, I point to a nicely done episode like this as an example of why deviation from the traditional adventure show format ultimately made MacGyver a better show.