Season 2 Episode 11

Phoenix Under Siege

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 05, 1987 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
74 votes
  • One of the best episodes from season two.

    From the noir-ish opening scene with black hat and trenchcoat-clad Harry walking into MacGyver's apartment even as MacGyver was seemingly too distracted to recognize the encroaching would-be threat, it was clear that this was gonna be a great episode. Indeed, it played out as such. That tone set the stage for an episode driven by enveloping suspense and darker-than-usual villains silently setting about hatching their diabolical plot. The comparisons to the film "Die Hard" are unwarranted given that "Phoenix Under Siege" first aired in January 1987, months before "Die Hard" would come to theaters. The flashback scenes with MacGyver and his grandfather were touching (even though they kind of contradicted their history as set in "Target MacGyver") and consistent with the series' effective strategy of revealing its main character's blurry past one nugget at a time. The dialogue was snappy and clever, and the overall atmosphere and tone of the episode was energetic throughout. The only weak point was the silly way in which Victoria was killed. Did she commit suicide or was she really dumb enough to realize the window was in such close proximity to where MacGyver was standing? Either way, it struck me as sloppy and convenient writing. That one grievance is hardly enough for me to revoke my near-universal praise for this masterfully crafted episode.

    This was the first MacGyver episode to air after the end of the football season, so everybody involved with the series was eagerly anticipating the ratings to see if the series had the potential to be a contender without competing against MNF. Unfortunately, this initial post-football outing mounted a very soft 12.9 rating. Thankfully, ratings were about to experience a ratings surge significant enough to ensure its third season renewal no matter how badly new ABC programming executive Brandon Stoddard wanted to kill the series off.
  • A classic Macgyver episode.

    This is one of my all-time favorite Macgyver episodes. It's one of the best story lines they ever thought up,in my opinion.

    Plot summery:

    The episodes starts with Macgyver and his grandfather Harry getting ready to go to a pro Hockey game. Harry is in town because it's the anniversary of the day Macgyver's dad and grandma died in a car wreck years before (There are several flashbacks of the dad and grandma throughout the episode).Before they head to the game,Macgyver realizes he doesn't have the tickets. After thinking,he remembers that he must have left them down at the Phoenix Foundation.

    As Macgyver and Harry head to the P.F. building,they have no idea what they're about to walk into. A woman named Victoria Charles who works for a group called the Liberation Front (a terrorist organization),along with 3 men she hired,is about ready to set her plan in motion to destroy the Phoenix Foundation. After shooting a lady who works there named Susan Murphy,and choking the security guard on duty,she and her helpers take over the building. She begins first by looking in the P.F. computer database. In ends up the bomb she wants to use is one she built,and the P.F. has had locked up.

    Macgyver and Harry then arrive at the P.F. Macgyver notices something is wrong from the start when the "guard" lets Harry in without security clearance. When they head to Pete's office to get the tickets,they run in to Victoria. Only they don't know who she is. She tells them her name is Susan Murphy (the woman she shot only minutes before). After Mac gets the tickets,they're ready to leave,only the elevator won't work. Mac knows something is definitely wrong then. They attempt to get out via the stairway,but the fake guard has put a New York Lock on it. Macgyver and Harry then head back up to a lab find something to get the lock out of the way.

    This next part is classic Macgyver. He uses: 2 batteries,copper string and an iron bar to make a electromagnet. But,just as he's in the process on making it,one of Victoria's hired men locks the door,and turns the gas on (They're in a lab,so there's toxic gas nearby). Macgyver and Harry soon break out,and Harry hides in the Women's restroom while Macgyver uses his new magnet to slide the new York Lock out of the way. He's successful,and he then proceeds to tie up the fake guard downstairs. But when Mac returns upstairs,Harry is no longer in the restroom. Victoria and her helpers have found him,and now have him tied up the same room where she has just finished activating her bomb along with killing off her two remaining helpers. Macgyver has less then 15 minutes to find Harry-but how is he going to find him? There's 10+ floors in the P.F.,and numerous rooms on each floor. But,if he looks in the computer database,he might find out which floor he on. But,no dice. Victoria has deleted the bomb inventory.

    Victoria then confronts Mac. She's ready to kill him (earlier in the episode there's a scene where the Liberation Front agrees to pay her a bonus if she can kill Macgyver). Macgyver tries to take her,but she has one more trick up her sleeve: She knows Martial Arts. After kicking Mac back into Pete's office,she tries to throw one final kick at him: But overshoots and flies out the window (on the 8th floor). Obviously this is the last we hear from her.

    Mac then thinks up one more idea of how he can find Harry. He uses the intercom system in the building to call out to Harry. He tells him: "Harry,we're going to make it. I'm on the 8th floor. Give me some kind of sign to let me know where you are." Harry manages to get his foot up on phone buttons and punch out 5 tones. This lets Mac know he's on the 5th floor.
    When Mac arrives in the room,there's only a couple of minutes left to go. There's no time to disarm it,and no time to evacuate. But suddenly,Mac remembers the Hockey tickets! He takes one out of his pocket and places it between the trigger plates of the bomb. The trigger snaps,but since it can't make contact with the other side,it doesn't detonate. Mac has saved the day again!

    Thanks for reading! =)