Season 5 Episode 1

Legend of the Holy Rose (1)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 18, 1989 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

Write A Review
out of 10
65 votes
  • Season five gets off to a rollicking start with this globe-trotting safari for the Holy Grail.

    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.