This is not your typical MacGyver episode, it pose a big ethic and moral issue. The scientist works on a culture to speed up harvest and gives vegetation the strength to grow in arrid and dry land as well as frozen land. She hopes this will help people in Africa to solve their malnutrition problem. However the satellite where she put the culture on falls back on earth, it kills all the animal life in the surroundings. MacGyver picks up the rest of the satellite and they found out she put her culture in without nobody noticing. Even though her culture is unstable and had transformed she still wants to continue on her research. Pete decides she has to destroy it for the good of everyone. She doesn't do it and her dog spills the culture and both contract the disease (speed up life at an astonishing rate), a few minutes later she's found dead (as an old woman) so is her dog. It really shows how sometimes scientists go too far to find a solution or a cure, their goal is good but the way to do it isn't.
Defenitely one of the darkest and most eerie episodes of the series. Macgyver is sent in to the wilderness to recover an organism which has mutated after falling back to earth. To his horror, Macgyver sees the organism has completely decimated any wildlife in the area. Working against time, as the whole area was ordered to be firestormed, Macgyver narrowly escapes and is able to make it out alive. The organism is brought back to an underground lab in the Phoenix West division where Pete and Mac encounter its creator, Dr. Milhouse. She is the very defention of a "mad scientist", who is able to see only the potential of her work while ignoring it's dangerous faults. The writers do a good job making it known this is here lifetime work, and we can she how it is possible for her to be so blinded by the facts.
Soon the government orders the organism is to be destroyed, Milhouse reluctantly agrees, and all seems well. Or does it? The final 10 minutes are best not spoiled here but make it one of the better episodes in the season.
I've never seen Michael Crichton's "The Andromeda Strain", so I'm not clear on how derivative this episode is in comparison to that book and film. Perhaps I were to see the film or read the book, it would result in me knocking this episode down a notch or two. But being ignorant to the content of Crichton's novel save for word-of-mouth, I choose to keep this episode on a pedestal. The opening scenes with a forest full of dead animals were eerie and mysterious, accentuated the pending napalm strike after MacGyver's tumble. The middle scenes were perhaps a little too slowly paced, but I was intrigued by the intelligent dialogue from Dr. Milhouse as she described her noble motivations for stretching the boundaries of scientific ethics with this organism. Her arrogance was her ultimate downfall, and I appreciated her epiphany moment in the heartbreaking scene where she bid adieu to her dog and came to accept her own pending demise via old age. The grand finale escape from the underground lab was on par with the intensity level of the whole episode, which goes down a classic episode even if it was largely lifted from a 20-year-old novel.
Ratingswise, MacGyver's first post-football season outing in January 1988 posted a season-high 15.4 rating, setting the stage for a ratings boost in the second half of the third season, desperately needed with the disappointing numbers posted in the season's first half. Particularly helpful to MacGyver's cause was the meltdown of CBS's comedy lineup that would occur in early 1988. "Kate and Allie" dropped significantly from its top-15 heyday while lead-out "Frank's Place" never did catch on, allowing MacGyver a second-place berth in the timeslot for the later months of the season. NBC's "ALF" and "Valerie's Family" still owned the hour though, inexplicably scoring top-20 ratings.
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