A MacGyver Community
ABC (ended 1992)
Congratulations! Nu-MacGyver managed to do about as generic a MacGyver episode as you could make. If there's a MacGyver plot-making computer out there somewhere, it made "Jet Engine + Pickup Truck".

Let's recap. First we get another opening that that involves Mac and Jack on a generic mission that goes wrong. This time they're in Finland, dressed as... elves? They say that they tried to blend into a parade. Anyhoo, killers are chasing them and they duck into an attic. Mac MacGyvers basically a laser drill (which Jack keeps calling a light saber) out of a DVD burner and burns a hole in the attic roof so that he and Jack can escape.


And... what's the point of these opening tags? At this point they're just repetitive. Mac gets into trouble, Mac MacGyvers something, throw in a few jokes, end tag. We get it: Mac makes things out of other things. It's kind of repetitive at this point, and it feels like the writers just have a few minutes of space that they feel obliged to fill.

Then we go to Mac chatting with Annabella Pena. Who is the daughter of Mac's mentor, Alfred. Who was killed by The Ghost way back in season 1, "Wrench". When I saw the previouslies, I'd hope that maybe The Ghost might be showing up again. Because he escaped at the end of "Wrench" and we've never seen him again. But no, it's just Mac talking about the value of family and that he doesn't have a Dad. Which serves no purpose.


Then we get down to the mission proper. Nigerian rebels have set a wellhead on fire to wipe out the oil resources of the Nigerian government. The team has to (somehow) get into Nigeria, get to the wellhead, and put it out. I guess they have Team MacGyver parachute in, although they never explain it that I caught. We find out that Jack's grandfather was a firefighter, and he's actually fairly coherent for once talking about putting out oil fires.

People soon capture the team and take them to a village. We find out the people are villagers, who refused to abandon their homes and evac. The team has some explosives, and they have to get them into the wellhead to blow it up and put out the fire. Wilt and Riley stay in the village despite Matty's orders, and why is Wilt on these missions again?

Mac, Jack, and Sam go to the airport to steal a plane to drop the explosives into the wellhead. But the rebels are already there, and blow up all the planes. But somehow they miss the big honkin' jet engine parked in a hangar. Mac gets an idea and they steal the jet engine along with a bunch of seatbelts. A chase ensues, and Mac manages to strap down the engine so that Jack can take curves real fast and lose their pursuers.


We find out why Sam is on the show: to hit people when Jack is busy driving and Mac is busy MacGyvering.

More rebel trucks show up, and Mac MacGyvers the jet engine into a propulsion unit so that they can blast away in the truck as well as set the pursuing trucks on fire. Which causes them to crash but doesn't kill anyone. But a bullet hits the fuel line, meaning they've lost all the jet fuel that they had in the back of the truck (??).

And the fact that there was a jet engine (why?) at the airfield, along with barrels of oil, is kind of a sticking point. The episode couldn't move forward without it, but it seems really really convenient. It also undermines Mac a little, since he's not MacGyvering a jet engine. He "just happens" to find a jet engine and does stuff with it.


Also, for some reason during all of this Jack refers to Mac as "Fonzie". Because Henry Winkler (aka Fonzie on Happy Days), is an executive producer on MacGyver. Oh my funny bone!

So our trio gets back to the village and since they don't have an airplane to drop the explosives in, Mac decides to use the jet engine to put out the fire. This involves him making crude gasoline out of puddles of oil, and covering the truck with corrugated tin and space blankets to heatproof it. Meanwhile, Matty finds out that Wilt and Riley are there and orders them out because it's too dangerous. They ignore her.

Once the truck and the jet engine are ready, Mac and Jack drive the truck to the wellhead. The heat melts the tires, keeping the truck pointed where it's supposed to. The two men get to a nearby shelter where Sam is waiting with a remote control. They activate the jet engine and it blows out the fire in what is admittedly a pretty cool effect.


At the end, the village children are brought back and the headman Solomon is reunited with his daughter. Matty threatens Wilt and Riley with a disciplinary review, which doesn't seem to mean anything that I'm aware of and the characters pretty much say as much.

Back in LA, Mac chats more with Annabella and swears her to secrecy after telling her about the mission. We also get to hear Mac go on. And on. And on. About his father's watch, and how he doesn't have stories of his dad, and how they're going to find his dad. Again, it's like some computer had a random "insert reference to Mac's father *here*" subprogram.


Overall, "Jet Engine" is pretty much as average an episode of MacGyver as you could get. It's hard to say much about it. I liked Jack's (slightly) more serious side when they showed that he was competent at something other than shooting people. I'm still not sure why Wilt is on these field missions, other than that's why Justin Hires gets paid the big bucks. There's still bits of a Mac + Sam romance, and she reminds us yet again what a great interrogator she is. Although the mission doesn't require her to interrogate anyone.

In the Easter egg , count, the episode is a veerrry vague homage to the original series episode "Hellfire".

So "Jet Engine" is okay. It's not bad MacGyver, it's not great MacGyver. It's just... MacGyver.

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