Season 2 Episode 5

Final Approach

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 27, 1986 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
65 votes

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Episode Summary

MacGyver goes to the mountains to lead four teenage gang members on probation on a Phoenix Foundation funded rehabilitation trip. When he gets there, he finds that this task may be a little more complicated then he thought. All of the kids are very rebellious and one of them has a bad grudge against another one. A couple of days later when MacGyver is returning with the kids, their plane crashes in the middle of the wilderness and one of them is injured. Now, MacGyver must fix the plane and help the kids work out their differences so they can save their friend.moreless

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  • Despite being slightly dated, this episode was season two's first all-out adventure episode.

    I always enjoyed the fact that MacGyver didn't repeat itself with similarly themed adventure episodes every week, but mixed things up with thematically varied installments that helped gems like this episode stand out. Despite the 80's gangbanger theme that one may expect to seem dated 20 years later, this episode holds up well and features some excellent acting by David Harris (Luther) and Ramon Franco (Ramon). And had it not been for stumbling upon the similar names in the credits, I would have never recognized Gregory Itzin (the future President Logan on 24) as burned-out social worker Tom Cavanaugh. The characters were engaging from the get-go, but things really heated up after the plane crash with MacGyver doing what MacGyver does almost non-stop for the next 45 minutes. Nonetheless, I'd say MacGyver got the better deal when we assigned himself the project of smoothing out a log to use as a front-skid on the downed plane while assigning the kids the task of clearing rocks and debris off the makeshift runway, staking out a clear path, digging a trough hundreds of yards long, AND filling the trough with mud. Regretably, this episode ran up against the seventh game of the 1986 World Series on NBC due to a rain delay of a previous game. The result: the lowest rated MacGyver episode to date with an abysmal 10.3 rating. Things were looking pretty bleak for MacGyver at this point in season 2 as the ratings trajectory had been in steady decline since the season premiere a month earlier. Thankfully, the numbers would significantly improve in the very near future, just in time to help the series extend its episode order to a full season.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • MacGyver: Flying a small plane can be fun. It can also be kind of frightening. Now I've always felt the best way to confront a fear of the ocean is to dive right in. So it seemed like the smart way to deal with the fear of flying light planes was to take a train or a bus. Now it's possible the carburetor froze up in this ice storm I was flying through, but that didn't explain why I wasn't getting a decent throttle response. Nor was there any indication as to why the controls felt they were stuck in cement. It did not look good for the home team.

    • Pete: All of this would never happen in a real plane.
      MacGyver: Why do I feel all this has a point? You want me to fly a plane just like that, don't you?
      Pete: No, absolutely not. I would never ask you to do that. You only have to ride in one.

    • MacGyver: All I got to do is find an airport, get them to lay down some foam, and land. That's all.
      Ramon: If you can do what you just did, you could land this thing on the moon.

    • MacGyver: First impressions are very important. And with this group, I knew it'd be critical. So I decided to make a grand entrance... through their noses.

    • Pete: That means that they went down way off course. Doesn't it?
      Search Coordinator: There's a thousand square miles of rough wilderness out there. I'm sorry, it's not very hopeful.
      Pete: You don't know MacGyver.

    • MacGyver: Things started disappearing from lockers; everybody knew it was Andy but nobody could prove it. Then one day I open up mine, and my knife is gone. I knew who did it. So I waited until after school, and I busted his nose.
      Luther: Yeah? But you got your knife back, right?
      MacGyver: That's right. When I got home, it was sittin' on my desk, right where I left it. You sure you got your facts straight, Luther? Think about it.

    • MacGyver: There's a time to be Daniel Boone, and a time to be a plumber. This one called for the latter.

    • Pete: We've really extended the funds on this, so there's very little money involved. I mean, like none.
      MacGyver: Pete, when has that ever stopped me?

    • Gina: Where'd you find him?
      MacGyver: Havin' lunch with a mountain lion.

    • MacGyver: Somebody want to fill me in?
      Ramon: Nothing to fill in. The man's got a problem. We've all got problems. That's life, White Bread.

    • Pete: I had them rig it to give you the worst possible conditions.
      MacGyver: I remember things like this, Thornton.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The German episode title is "Der Bewährungshelfer", meaning "The Probation Officer". The Finnish episode title is "Viimeinen yritys", meaning "The Last Attempt". The French episode title is "Atterrissage périlleux", meaning "Perilous Landing". The Italian episode title is "Il passo finale", meaning "The Final Step".


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