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.
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