MacGyver episodes featuring flamboyant villains always seem to get bonus points for me....and they didn't come much more flamboyant than serial killer Dr. Zito, who fashioned heart attack-inducing cocktails using toilet bowl cleaner and the plastic flap off of a library book. This was a groundbreaking episode for MacGyver in many ways, establishing a level of narrative and visual darkness rarely seen anywhere on episodic television up to that point, but particularly on MacGyver. The intensity of this episode was off the charts from beginning to end, with a clever story that unfolded in ways that virtually nobody could have foreseen. The use of Norse mythology as symbolic metaphors for Zito's twisted revenge plot was first-rate and the fiery visuals in the warehouse added a spectacular visual dimension to an episode that was worthy of a stack of Emmys, none of which it was even nominated for of course. "Deadly Dreams" was the first episode written by executive producer Stephen Downing, and it was unfortunate that Downing's obvious strengths as a writer were so underutilized in this series. Comparisons of Dr. Zito to Hannibal Lecter on "Silence of the Lambs" are undeserved as the characters are only marginally similar on the surface and because the SOTL movie wasn't even released until nearly three years after this episode's broadcast. The only thing I can say against this episode is that is was so over the top in its darkness and intensity level that there were probably some young fans whose parents would no longer let them watch MacGyver after seeing a cop getting a fire ax to the chest on this episode. For teen and adult audiences, however, MacGyver doesn't get much better than this one.
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