A MacGyver Community
ABC (ended 1992)
So with "CO2 Sensor + Tree Branch" we find out that Isabel Lucas isn't totally gone. Umm, yay?

So I was wrong last week. Her removal from the credits just means that she doesn't appear that episode. Not that she's gone entirely. So MacGyver follows the Supernatural crediting rather than the Arrow crediting. Good to know. I guess.

However, bringing her back just to say goodbye was kinda pointless. It leaves the door open for her return from Australia eventually. But I've never been a fan of the character. I've never been a big fan of any of the supporting characters. The name of the show is MacGyver, not Team Phoenix. But adding Sam to the batch this year always seemed extraneous. They already had Matty: why did they need another interrogator?

Also, judging from the line and the circle near the bottom and Mac's comment about what he told Sam earlier about finding Murdoc, that means that they're watching a video. If so... she couldn’t even talk to them live?

Sam seemed to be introduced to bring the team up to 50/50 male/female. And to be a female Jack. And maybe be a love interest for Mac. But while Lucas Till and Isabel Lucas have better chemistry than Richard Dean Anderson and Elyssa Davalos back on old-MacGyver, there never really seemed to be a spark between them. Also, we got Allie (Ashley Tisdale) tonight who seems to be a love interest for Mac if they need one. And whatever happened to nu-Nikki Carpenter, anyway?

Okay, so Sam is gone yet again. Let's recap. The main plot is the team going off for the Korman Challenge, which is a government-sponsored competition between intelligence agencies to build the best battlefield drone. Matty wants to win the gold, so to speak. But Allie from the CIA is there and in his first competition years ago told him that she liked him and then stole design specs from his laptop.

Her drone, BRUNO, goes berserk, blows up the other drones, and heads down the highway to the Pentagon. Mac, Wilt, and Allie go after it in a van while the government calls an airstrike in on it. Allie ends up inside of BRUNO and Mac has to get her out and stop the drone before the F-22s take out the drone... and Allie. He does so, and she admits that she really does like Mac but is a little competitive.

Meanwhile, Jack gets his own subplot. He goes home for his high school reunion and to face his rival Jimmy LeRoy. Played by Eddie McClintock, who pretty much wrote the book on bro agents on Warehouse 13. Turns out Eddie cheated to become the homecoming king back in the day, which threw Jack into a tizzy. Jack's subplot is interrupted when Matty sends him to Oklahoma City where the hacker who reprogrammed BRUNO is hiding out. Jack finds the guy and turns out to be... a nerd from his own high school. Martin Korman, the guy who created the competition but is angry that the government is turning his competition for battlefield ambulances into finding the best combat drones.

None of this really accomplishes anything. Riley does some computer technobabble and comes up with a way to shut down the drone. It involves a kill switch code and a flash drive, and Mac leaps onto the drone and gets it to Allie, who uses it to shut down BRUNO.

There's also an opening DIY with a monkey in South America. It has a detonator and Mac has to trade his Swiss Army knife to get it from the monkey. At the end, Jack gets Mac a new knife. And the whole Phoenix company crowns Jack their homecoming king, complete with confetti and a crown.

At the end, a couple we've never seen checks into their honeymoon suite in South America and discovers that the monkey has trashed it with Mac's old knife. The end.

I must admit, I like nu-MacGyver more when he's up against inanimate objects. Maybe that's why I like the bomb episodes so much. Yeah, they're designed by someone like The Ghost. But they're basically problems that Mac has to solve without beating up anyone. And since he's got Jack along with him to shoot and/or punch anyone who needs it, Mac doesn't have to do it anyway. So I like it more when Mac MacGyvers his way out of problems, rather than just figuring out ways to take out bad guys.

Which strikes me as the kind of old-MacGyver episodes I liked more back in on the original show, too.

It's also good because it makes Mac the smartest guy in the room, and makes that important. If Jack can shoot and/or punch people, why does he (and Phoenix) need Mac? So that Mac can think his way out of situations where punching and shooting won't get the problem solved. When they stick to that, they're usually pretty good.

But that's where the "Team Phoenix" thing kind of ruins it for me. Like tonight. Without Wilt driving the car and Riley providing the technobabble flash drive, Mac couldn't have solved the problem. I don't want to see Team Phoenix solve problems. I want to see MacGyver solve problems. Like I said, it's right there in the show title. Yeah, they're writing to the fact that they have a five-person cast. And these days, you've got to have a team with a black guy and a woman. And they'll eventually do a "Mac on his own" episode. But then we're back to the fact that nu-MacGyver just ain't old-MacGyver.

Episodes like tonight come so close that it's kind of frustrating. It's like the creative team wants to be old-MacGyver. But then someone reminds them, "Oh, by the way, Mac has a team: work them all in." And they have to do it.

I've never been a big fan of Eddie McClintock, whose Pete Lattimer on Warehouse 13 always seemed like the weak link to me. And Jack reminds me of him, which is maybe why I'm not a big fan of Jack. Ashley Tisdale as Allie was okay. At least she had some chemistry with Lucas Till. I'd rather see her again than Isabel Lucas or Tracy Spiridakos. Not that they seem to be in any hurry to show us either one of them.

So overall, I'd consider "CO2 Sensor" one of the best episodes of that season. But they're all kind of the same so it's a pretty narrow range of bad to good.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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