Season 5 Episode 5

Second Chance

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 16, 1989 on ABC

Episode Recap

MacGyver flies to Bangkok to meet with Dr. Sumlee Triwai and oversee the shipment of a new dialysis machine to the Phoenix Foundation's clinic. Jesse Colton accompanies him to meet with his wife, who he was forced to abandon in Vietnam during the evacuation. Sumlee tells him that his wife died a day ago. However, MacGyver informs him of something new: Jesse has a son he never knew.

A gang of children is stealing equipment from a store. When the storeowner comes out, one of the boys attacks and knocks him down. When one of the boys tries to back out of the robbery, their leader, Frank Skinner, forces the boy to stay and help load up the truck.

MacGyver and Jesse deliver the dialysis machine to the clinic. MacGyver talks with Suzie, an Amerasian girl who needs the machine so she can survive long enough to go to the U.S. for a kidney transplant. After Jesse finishes entertaining in the children's' ward, MacGyver explains that the Phoenix Foundation will fly Suzie and five other Amerasian children back to the states for emergency surgery. In Bangkok the half-breed children receive low priority when it comes to medical treatment.

Jesse attends his wife's funeral with MacGyver and sees his son, Willie Tran. Willie vows to get a headstone for his mother. MacGyver introduces Willie to Jesse but Willie isn't interested in talking to his long-absent father. He steals Jesse's wallet and runs off. There's not much money in it but he does find Jesse's credit card. He takes it to Skinner, a black marketeer working out of a warehouse, and tries to sell it. Skinner notices that Jesse has a card for the clinic and offers Willie $500 for the card… and for Willie to do him a favor.

At the clinic, Suzie starts to improve but still needs surgery as soon as possible. Sumlee tells MacGyver that she's received word that the U.S. embassy hasn't issued the emergency patients their visas. Jesse plans to locate Willie by visiting the local stonecutters who might prepare a headstone. First he goes with MacGyver to the embassy where the U.S. representative, Roger, tells them that the Thai government doesn't want it to appear that they are inferior to the Phoenix Foundation. As a result, they're doing everything in their power to keep the Amerasian children in the country, even though they don't plan to treat them. MacGyver threatens to go to the press, forcing Roger to get the visas. MacGyver also asks for one extra visa for Willie.

Skinner and his gang wait in back of the clinic while Willie goes in the front. He claims he's looking for Jesse to return his wallet, then heads for the back. He stops off to see Suzie, his friend, and she hopes that some day he'll become a doctor. Willie then hides in the back and opens the shipping door after the staff leave. Skinner pays off Willie and he and his gang take everything. When they take the dialysis machine, Willie tries to stop them but Skinner slams him into a wall, knocking him unconscious.

Out front, Jesse and MacGyver return and get word that Willie is there. One of the children tells them that he saw strangers behind the clinic. MacGyver circles around while Jesse breaks down the door to the storage room from inside. He goes after the last man out, Ringe, but the thief gets on the truck with the others as they drive away.

MacGyver and Willie revive Willie and treat his head injury. Another dialysis machine won't arrive for several days, and the old one is beyond even MacGyver's ability to fix. Jesse tries to learn what happened from Willie. When that doesn't work, he offers to pay for the headstone but Willie refuses, accusing Jesse of trying to buy his love and abandoning them. Angry, Jesse tells his son that he came back to try to find his wife, but she disappeared after the fall of Saigon. He never stopped looking for her over the last fifteen years. Willie doesn't believe him and flashes the money Skinner paid him, saying he'll pay for the headstone himself. MacGyver figures out that Willie let Skinner and his men in. Willie runs into the streets and disappears into the crowd.

Jesse checks his Army contacts and finds out that Skinner is the man responsible. The black marketeer likes to gamble so they track him down to a boxing match. They try to impersonate Army officers and convince Skinner to sell them arms. He's convinced, but Ringe arrives and recognizes Jesse from the clinic. A fight breaks out and in the chaos, Skinner and Ringe get to their truck. Jesse jumps into the back of the truck without them noticing, but by the time MacGyver arrives they've driven away.

Skinner returns to his warehouse. Jesse tries to sneak in but is captured. MacGyver tries to find him without success and confronts Willie. Willie agrees to help MacGyver, but only so they can recover the dialysis machine. He wants nothing to do with Jesse. They go to the warehouse and MacGyver tries to sneak in, but Skinner's men spot him. He entangles them in a fishing net and tries to escape. However, Ringe spots Willie and takes him hostage to force MacGyver to surrender.

Skinner locks up MacGyver and Willie with Jesse in a caged storage area. Jesse tries to get through to his son but Willie ignores him. MacGyver comes up with an escape plan, and has Jesse rig a piece of kerosene-soaked cloth to a can of chloroform. As he works, Jesse tries to get through to Willie, who accuses him of being a rich American. Jesse snaps back, saying that he's not any richer than Willie and many others. When Willie complains of being an outcast, Jesse says that he understands but that Willie will have to overcome his anger if he ever wants to get anywhere in life.

MacGyver uses a piece of cardboard to make a tube to fire a hypodermic filled with sedative. He shoots it at the guard but the man manages to get off a couple of shots before he passes out. Skinner and Ringe come running as MacGyver lights the fuse on the can of chloroform fastened to the cage door. When Skinner and the others arrive, the chloroform explodes, knocking them out. The dialysis machine is unharmed and MacGyver assures Willie that Suzie will be okay.

Later, Jesse, MacGyver, and Willie go to the cemetery where Willie places the headstone for his mother's grave. MacGyver gets Jesse to talk to Willie and tell him that they have a visa for him so that he can fly to the States. Willie doesn't respond and Jesse walks away. Willie kneels at his mother's grave and wonders what she would have him do. After a minute he says goodbye and then goes with Jesse and MacGyver.