Season 3 Episode 7

Jack in the Box

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 09, 1987 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
66 votes
  • Good episode overall.

    While not my very favorite,this is a good episode of Macgyver.

    The episode starts when Jack Dalton calls Macgyver for help. He tells him he's down in Arkansas,and is in trouble. Jack is then arrested by the local Sheriff (named "Bull" Bodine) under the pretense of "destruction of property,insulting an officer of the law",etc.

    Despite Pete Thorton's warning,Macgyver heads to Smiley Arkansas to help Jack. When Macgyver arrives in Smiley,he senses that something is amiss. He soon finds out what's wrong: The town is "under the gun" (so to speak) of Bodine,who it ends up is corrupt. He arrests people for no reason,and takes them to a local "reform center" which is in reality,a labor camp (run by him and "The Warden" Renfro) where workers are forced to mine gold. Macgyver then sees Jack,and finds out he (Jack) got himself arrested on purpose so he could search for his late Uncle Charlie's 5 million dollars hidden in one of the old gold mines. It ends up it was Jack's plan all along to get him and Macgyver down there to search for it. Macgyver reluctantly agrees,he and Jack attempt to escape from the labor camp twice (both attempts fail),and they eventually have to tell Renfro and Bodine where the money is.

    The show then reaches it's climax as Macgyver and Jack find the money in one of the old mines and manage to defeat Renfro and Bodine. But,Bodine lights a stick of dynamite right before Macgyver knocks him down. Thus forcing Macgyver to put the dynamite in the suitcase of money,thus blowing it up,to save them all.

    Overall,I give this episode an 8/10. Not my very favorite,but still really cool.

    Thanks for reading!
  • A ridiculous plot and a stereotypical portrayal of the South are still not enough to take away from the tremendous fun of this episode.

    One has to suspend his or her disbelief more than usual even for this series when watching this episode. A local sheriff runs a hometown prison farm with no due process and no supervision by the state....yet keeps getting re-elected?!?!? Setting that aside, it was clear this episode was gonna be a boatload worth of fun from the opening scene when Jack Dalton left MacGyver that crazy phone message about being in trouble in Arkansas. Once the actor who played Decker on "The A-Team" showed up as the local sheriff, the entertainment prospects rose even higher. The unfolding of the B.B. Bartel storyline was nicely crafted and the "chain gang" music by Ken Harrison fit the story very well. Goofy stereotypes about the South that ensued throughout were often cringeworthy, but the entertainment value was outstanding, culminating in a fun and clever closing scene with the briefcase full of money absorbing the dynamite explosion (why couldn't MacGyver have simply tossed the stick of dynamite into that big puddle where they extracted the money???).

    This episode clearly had commercial appeal as the ratings perked up to a 14.3, the season's highest thus far, after hitting a season low the week before. As evidence of network audience erosion in the fall of 1987, a November 1986 MacGyver episode scored a 14.3 rating and finished 47th in its week. In November 1987, a 14.3 rating was good enough to rank 32nd for its week.
  • good episode...

    Dalton is up to it again...He calls Mac asking for help and Mac feels bad and goes and tries to help. A corrupt cop arrests Mac and takes him to a working camp where he finds Jack. Mac wants to get them both out but Jack wants to find burried gold in the mines. In the end, they find the gold, but Mac blows it up, and the bad guys are caught and the prisoners released. Overall, pretty good episode. It had some good funny moments and Jack's always funny. The story wasn't very interesting, but it wasn't that bad either.
  • As with almost all episodes with Jack Dalton, you have to look past some things to enjoy this.

    A fairly memorable episode involving a small redneck southern town and overbearing sheriff. Lance Legault handles the corrupt sheriff role to a T, he had a similar role in Airwolf, and although he didn't do quite as well here, you have to appreciate how natural the role comes to him.

    After letting Jack know who's boss, the sheriff "Bull Bodine" exiles Jack to a strip mine disguised as a prison farm. The objective the sheriff and the "warden" have are to find lost money placed here by a relative of Jack. Macgyver soon travels south to bail Jack out and meets Boldine himself, and not surprisingly, doesn't fair any better as he also is hand cuffed and brought to the mine. If you can get past this fact of 1800's type law, it is an enjoyable episode...I couldn't quite do it.

    After a couple failed escape attempts, Jack and Mac are caught and brought to the exact spot to dig it up themselves. I will not ruin the exact outcome but it's not completely a happy ending :)
  • Who wants friends like Jack?

    I don't know why I hated Jack so much in this episode. I am between him getting MacGyver in trouble or being so cynical about the whole situation and be so greedy. And in the end, giving up what he was looking for.

    On the other hand, MacGyver, the good-hearted man who gets easily persuaded by Jack gets in trouble again and delights us with several MacGyverisms.

    I still don't understand why they went immediately to get help from the woman knowing that in a little town, everyone is supporting or threatening someone,

    Still, I enjoyed the comedy. But I hated that Pepe had to die.
  • Shades of "Cool Hand Luke"

    This episode is reminiscent of Paul Newman's 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke". Even the warden Renfro (played by Luke Askew) is dressed just as Strother Martin did in that movie and has the same accent and speech patterns. Jack Dalton gets to spend a "night in the box" and is bull-whipped.

    A little bit of Jack goes a long way, and by this episode the character is really getting on my nerves. He's always manipulating MacGyver to get want he wants--in this case $5,000,000 dollars in cash his uncle Charlie robbed from a bank and hid in an abandoned zinc mine. The corrupt chain-gang boss uses the prisoners as slave labor to search the mine for the money.

    The MacGyverisms in this episode are few and (while more plausible than many he has used in past shows) not really creative. For instance, he creates a diversion by exploding the acetylene gas used in the mining helmet lamps. Now if he had to somehow create the gas from some minerals or chemicals he scrounged up, that would have been fun and entertaining.

    Jack is called "The Chief" by other inmates and is awarded luxuries others don't have. He keeps a cooler underneath the floorboards of the bunkhouse filled with what appears to be fried chicken. But how he earned his nickname or how he gets the luxuries are never explained. Also unexplained is how Jack ended up in the prison -- his only apparent crime was just being his obnoxious self. MacGyver's crime? His ever-present Swiss army knife being considered a "concealed weapon". No trial or other due process made the episode unrealistic.