Season 3 Episode 12

Early Retirement

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 18, 1988 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

The Phoenix Foundation takes on the decommissioning of nuclear missiles. However, the process goes awry and an explosion kills three men and injures eight more. Pete blames himself for not inspecting their equipment better and resigns from his job out of guilt. However, Pete is replaced by a not-so-trustworthy man—one who may have been connected to the explosion.moreless

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  • Some nice character development and above-average dialogue helps salvage a low-key episode without much action.

    I doubt there are too many MacGyver fans who would cite "Early Retirement" as particularly pivotal episode in the scope of the series' seven-season run. The plot, which involved a cell of hawkish intelligent agents roguely defying their government's "weak" anti-terrorist position, was actually above average, but the execution was light on action by MacGyver standards. The character development of Pete Thornton and the more-mature-than-usual dialogue featured in this episode offered a nice change of pace, but I still don't find this episode as compelling as most MacGyver entries, particularly in the impressive third season. The lack of any intriguing MacGyverisms was also a noticeable omission. It also seemed as though MacGyver's relationship with Nikki took a permanent turn for the worse here. The bickering and sexual tension appeared long dead and replaced by a cold antagonism with a smidgeon of professional respect. Clearly, there was no longer a game plan to turn MacGyver and Nikki into lovers, but the transition from where they were even two episodes earlier in "Blow Out" to the underlying hostility of this episode seemed too abrupt. All in all, a good episode, but not great.moreless
Paul Batten

Paul Batten


Guest Star

Madison Mason

Madison Mason

Matt Webber

Guest Star

Ted Stidder

Ted Stidder

Chairman Farrell

Guest Star

Elyssa Davalos

Elyssa Davalos

Nikki Carpenter

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Nikki: Well, I'm sure you two have things to talk about. Always a pleasure, MacGyver.
      Webber: Oh, I hate to have her leave, but I love watching her go.

    • Ingers: Good evening, your Excellency, it's bound and gag time. Let's show the minister to his new quarters, shall we?

    • MacGyver: Let's take a look at his operations agenda. You got a password?
      Pete: Yeah. "Agenda".

    • Nikki: MacGyver was right about you.
      Webber: Well, if you value his opinion so much, maybe I can bury you side by side, my dear.

    • MacGyver: You know, you are sounding more like a bureaucrat every day.
      Nikki: I am one, damn it. Born and bred.
      MacGyver: Congratulations.
      Nikki: Look, MacGyver, I know enough to know when I'm getting the runaround. Now, why won't you deal with Matt Webber?

    • MacGyver: What are you going to do?
      Pete: Oh, well... I'm going to carry on; what do you think? Listen, I've got plenty to do. I've got more things to do than I'll ever get done.
      MacGyver: Like what?
      Pete: Oh, like, uh... write my book. Work on my boat. Go fishing.
      MacGyver: You hate fishing.

    • Ed: After spending our youth helping the DSX wage a Cold War, isn't it nice to be older, wiser, and part of the peace process?
      Pete: Yes, it is. Well, for me, that's what the Phoenix Foundation is all about.

    • MacGyver: Mankind is in the habit of creating its own monsters. And fortunately, once in a while, it also gets the chance to destroy them.

    • Matt Webber: (sarcastically) Greetings, Amunde. Welcome to This Is Your Life.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The German episode title is "Der neue Boss". The Italian episode title is "La seconda giovinezza", meaning "Second Childhood".