I would say this is the only truly excellent entry of the 2 hour episodes. From the start we meet a really young and passionate professor who really sells us (and Macgyver) the story of the holy grail. The trek to find the pieces spans several locations around the world and of course there are nefarious villains in the way who also want it. What really makes the episode work is how Richard Dean Anderson goes from being totally reluctant to help at first, and completely sold at the end even more than Zoey. His acting performance is alot more "sincere" than most other episodes. The first scene we see this is after being strapped to a torture device and left to die. For once, we get the impression he really is under some heavy stress and is worried about death. At the end of the 2nd part, when he discovers Ambrose's invention of the laser, we cans ee how he really is amazed by that being a man of science himself. The villians are a bit generic in quality, with not much development, but having Zoey's professor in on it was a nice twist. I'm not sure if I would call it the best of season 5, as there are some true gems like Jenny's Chance and Halloween Knights, but it is arguable.
MacGyver was sent on a brief four-week detour late in the summer of 1989, and returned to Mondays for its fifth season premiere against new sitcom competition on CBS ("Major Dad" and short-lived "The People Next Door") as well as the fledgling Fox network expanding to Monday night by moving its semi-hit "21 Jump Street" to the slot. There was a concern that 21JS would take a bite out of MacGyver's audience, and early indications were that it definitely did, particularly for this season opener, which was the lowest-rated first-run MacGyver episode ever up to the point, pulling in a very weak 9.8 rating. Things would improve, but it was clear MacGyver's audience would be on a slow decline for the remainder of its run, hemorrhaging about 5-7% of the audience share to the Fox network.
Getting to the episode, "Legend of the Holy Rose" was as exciting and adventure-filled MacGyver episode as was ever made, with a wild and preposterous yet fun opening escape sequence in the mountains of Colombia that may go down as the most over-the-top MacGyver moment of all-time. From there, the main story unfolded, although perhaps a little too slowly, where Professor Zoe Ryan recruited MacGyver to assist her on a transglobal journey to search for the Holy Grail. While the Indiana Jones comparisons are clearly warranted, I always see red whenever nitpickers suggest that MacGyver's adventure episodes were Indiana Jones "ripoffs". The only comparison between LOTHR and IJATLC was the Holy Grail theme, as the story arcs could not have been more polarized. Furthermore, it's not as if the idea of globe-trotting adventure was something George Lucas and Steven Spielberg invented in 1981 when "Raiders" first came out. But anyway, I digress...
The setup was perhaps a little too lengthy and convoluted, Zoe was way more annoying than she needed to be, and MacGyver acted out of character in her presence. These minor grievances aside, LOTHR really started to heat up when MacGyver and Zoe headed to London. The scenes at the torture museum were exciting and Von Leer and Co. raised their stakes as villains with the "standoff" they managed to get the better of. The "sarcophagus" pendulum bit has to be one of the most compelling cliffhangers any series has ever come up with up for a two-part episode. A very well-done episode with a rock-solid part two following it up.
I have this episode on my season 5 dvd set and it is one of my favorites. it is also the first episode of season 5. After seeing this episode I thought that was a really great way to start off the season. One of mac's friend want help in finding the holy grail. I love what macgyver says in response to this "Indiana Jones already found it. I saw the movie". I thought that when Mac built the plane to save the guy at the first of the episode was cool, but that part didn't have anything else to do with the episode, it as ust to waste some time. There was a great cliffhanger ay the end. Later...
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