This is a pretty terrible episode. First of all, it's a Penny Parker episode, so it already has one strike against it. It opens with a four minute long horrifying rock/broadway song and dance number by Teri Hatcher that seems straight out of an even worse Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It also includes at least 30 straight seconds of someone ripping off a rubber face with a maniacal look on their face while Penny looks on in horror. Best of all, however, it includes a death trap that seems straight out of Batman. I sure hope MacGyver wore his shark-repellent bat spray!
Wow this episode was probably the weakest and borderline laughable appearence by Murdoc.
It seems that whenever the writers ran out of ideas they (pun intended) brought the dead Murdoc back to the show. By this point, it wasn't really humanly possible they could do (remember Murdoc "died" in flames, then was seen flying off a cliff for his "death"). Let's get to why this isn't the best Mac episode:
First Murdoc's disguise is pathetic. In prior episodes he has been able to disguise himself better or stay out of sight but the writers ended up showing him at the beginning. The disguise is so bad that my later Grandmother could have spot him.
It baffles the mind that Macgyver doesn't see through the phony French get up he has. It takes him nearly half the episode to finally spot him. Wow. Ignoring that the whole theater storyline is just unaspring. Penny just was never a really developed character to begin with to warrant an episode for her so why do it? She's just a ditz with a pretty face that's it.
As I said seems like the writers ran out of ideas here. Teri Hatcher still is beautiful to this day but her days on Macgyver where nothing to write home about.
The rest of the episode is with the usual traps and tasteless gags Murdoc is known for. Still it's kind of an average episode.
Murdoc is back,and with a vengence in this episode, in this episode penny parker gets a role in a local musicl, called Cleo Rocks and she's starting to like her teacher, but when she recieves a threat she quickly calls in macgyver to say the day, macgyver finds out that murdoc is resonsible for thet threat . murdoc comes to theatre and actually turns out to be pennys teacher. murdoc kidnaps penny and pete, and puts mac in a trap where he must either die or kill pete, but of course they both survive and murdoc"dies". i think that this episode waqs graet and a graet example for all fans that are or that want to be.later.
While the Murdoc episodes from seasons 2 and 3 (Partners, Widowmaker) are the best of the season, "Cleo Rocks" cannot quite claim the same for season 4. The episode is still generally unique and well done, however. It makes sense Murdoc might disguise himself as a french musical director, being the creative person he is. He also knew giving Penny her first big break was the perfect way to get clsoe to her...and thus to Macgyver. Further we are led to believe the actual culprit behind the theatre happenings is it's owner, who repeatably makes it known he is not happy with an "amateur" like Penny starring in the main role. Some mior quibbles with this episode is the way Pete just high tails it to the theatre without making any phone calls there first. We never see how Murdoc kills the theatre owner. And the final scene, I just can't see why Murdoc would leave Mac and Pete alone, he would want to watch them die after all they've been through! They should have made him stay there and Penny could have knocked him out or something and Mac could have escaped while he was recovering. That would have made it a 10 episode.
As evidenced by the mix of opinions expressed just on this website, "Cleo Rocks" is not a universally acclaimed episode of MacGyver, and the comparisons to "Batman" are actually a fair point. But at least for me, there's an intangible element of all-out fun that puts this episode in a different league than any of the other outstanding episodes this series has produced. I'll concede that the opening "rock opera" would have been a jump-the-shark nightmare had it not been for a scantily clad Teri Hatcher gyrating in a bikini onstage. It was after the song-and-dance fiasco that the deliciously lunatic story unfolded. The very premise of "Murdoc as the Phantom of the Opera", with the character's half-burned face playing right into the premise, was literary gold in itself, but the dark imagery and gallows humor that were steadily churned out made it hard for me to even sit still through the hysterical proceedings. From the bad poetry stabbed into fitting dummies to locking Pete in a cage above a fiery pool of water in a dungeon underneath a theater to Murdoc's ultimate high-voltage demise, this was a total MacGyver original and to this day remains unlike anything I've ever seen on TV or film.
"Cleo Rocks" was also the first MacGyver episode written by John Sheppard, the new addition to the scriptwriting staff who penned about a dozen of the series most memorable episodes in seasons 4-7. It's my opinion that Sheppard's burst of creative energy kept this show alive a couple of seasons longer than it otherwise would have.
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