Season 4 Episode 14

Gold Rush

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 27, 1989 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • After three social dramas in a row, this high-octane adventure episode was exactly what the doctor ordered.

    If I may be so bold, "Gold Rush" stands out to me as the best-produced hour of episodic television in the medium's history. Keep in mind that this was 1989, long before the computer-generated backgrounds grew to prominence in shows like "Alias", where exotic locales such as Arctic ice caves could be produced on a computer screen and juxtaposed onto the proverbial generic "blue screen". This hyper-ambitious MacGyver episode required location shooting in the winter wilderness of snowy British Columbia, and the fantastic ice cave was constructed as a soundstage by a crew working on a weekly TV show's budget and timetable. The fact that this episode didn't sweep the Emmys for visual effects goes down not only as simply another TV industry snub of MacGyver, but as one of the greatest injustices in the history of humankind. Aside from the production values, the story was also original and extremely clever. My only grievance was the occasionally slow pacing in the episode's first half, but the story was layered enough to require some time to properly establish. The episode's second half was a runaway train of stunning visuals and intense adventure that was unprecedented for episodic television. I once read some e-mail comments from series scriptwriter Rick Drew, who recalls how nervous the crew was when they decided to go forward with the "Gold Rush" script and make this episode, realizing how many things could go wrong (location shooting in the snow, triggering an avalanche, the stunt logistics required to use an airplane's cargo door to bobsled out of an ice cave and down the hills of the B.C. wilderness). Thankfully though, all responsible parties chose to move forward with the making of this epic episode, which also generated a large audience scoring a 15.1 rating and solid second place in its time slot. By this point, MacGyver had long-since buried CBS's aging sitcom competition and was nipping on the heels of NBC's "ALF' and "The Hogan Family"