Season 6 Episode 6

Lesson in Evil

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 29, 1990 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Scriptwriter John Sheppard actually improves upon the near-perfection of "Deadly Dreams", the first chapter of the Zito story.

    After an extremely dark fourth season and a moderately dark fifth season, the mood was generally lighter again for season six. A definite exception to this trend was "Lesson in Evil", the haunting second chapter to the Zito saga which managed to improve upon the deliciously dark "Deadly Dreams" from season four. After orchestrating a bloody and improbable escape from the courthouse, the promised "lesson in evil" that Zito slowly unveils on MacGyver was masterfully layered, with one clue leading to the next in a believable, intriguing, and largely unpredictable pattern that takes us back to Zito's old cell and into his the library books he rented. The use of Greek mythology, both literally and figuratively, was first-rate and the proxy debate over the death penalty between Skinner and Murphy added depth to the unfolding events that made the final scene all the more satisfying. As with "Deadly Dreams", the gallows humor never disappointed ("You look cold, Doctor....but don't worry, the water will heat up soon."), particularly in those wildly intense final scenes, which also produced another rare moment where MacGyver loses his cool. It was second only to the final scene in "The Challenge" when Zito provokes MacGyver to reach for the gun in a split second of rage-inspired weakness. Less satisfying was the fact that MacGyver figured out Zito's trap, yet still set it off and fell prey to him. Did MacGyver not realize that the bell which eventually whacked him was part of the Three Fates metaphor? If so, it should have been more clearly articulated. And in the epilogue, it was fun seeing that Zito had the means to escape again, but it would have been preferable if it wasn't the "lock pick underneath the appendicts scar" bit lifted from season one's "The Assassin". Nonetheless, this episode was a thorough roller coaster ride of excitement from beginning to end and featured one of the best scripts the series ever produced.
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