Season 4 Episode 12

The Challenge

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 27, 1989 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
58 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Challengers Club, an urban youth center for troubled teens, faces closure in the wake of an auto theft one of its members has been framed for, and a racist is ready to murder to try to seal the deal.

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  • This wasn't one of the best episodes for me, purely because we don't see enough of the fun loving MacGyver we love. It was serious and sad.

    I know gang problems, drugs, and racism are serious issues, but when we look back at Season 1 MacGyver, this episode was very dark. We saw no MacGyverisms, no fancy tricks, no Pete. We saw a murder, which honestly surprised me!! Well we didn't see it happen, but there was enough shown to let us know it was nasty, and it really did upset MacGyver. And it wasn't someone bad who died - it was the good guy. It was an interesting premise, but not a storyline I like to sit back and relax in front of. I love to watch MacGyver use his clever skills to solve problems.moreless
  • MacGyver expands its horizons further with this gritty and intense story of urban life and bigotry.

    The famous (or infamous) Challengers Club for underpriviliged youth was introduced in this episode...a precedent that many fans cringed at given the increased prevalance of preachy urban themes that the setting would ultimately produce, thus diluting MacGyver's adventure show origins. While that may be a fair point, I can't discredit this outstanding episode merely for the precedent it set. The gritty and intense urban imagery felt fresh and innovative for this series, and the story unfolded in a satisfying manner. It was certainly reflective of MacGyver's character to volunteer at this place, and to have the deepest respect for the couple who helped to open it. Booker's brutal death was heartbreakingly dark and intense, and generated the best acting ever seen on MacGyver, both by MacGyver himself and the outstanding performances of Roxanne Reese and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The "angry white man" bigotry of Larson was effectively portrayed as festering throughout his testimony in front of the City Council, culminating in a final scene that can only be described as shocking, particularly to today's audiences where the "n-word" has grown much more taboo than it was in 1989 when this episode originally aired. Also intriguing was that this was the first episode where MacGyver lost his cool, which he would only do a couple other times during the course of the series, but never as clearly as he did here. A great deal was learned about the character in this very well done episode, and despite setting the precedent for lesser urban social drama stories in the seasons ahead, stands out as a pivotal hour in the tenure of this series. Audiences agreed, handing MacGyver a 15.0 rating, its highest so far in season four.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • MacGyver: (voiceover) I'd added some stuff to the weight machine. I knew the kids would be thrilled with the results.
      Rico: It'll never fly, man.

    • (examining MacGyver's improvised exercise machine)
      Booker: I knew you could do it, MacGyver.
      MacGyver: Well, give it a try.
      Booker: You invented it. Go ahead.
      MacGyver: Come on, Rico, get on there.
      Rico: I'm too young and good-looking to die.

    • MacGyver: Hey, you never told me things were so bad.
      Booker: If I did, you'd worry. And worrying is Cynthia's thing. She does it better than anybody I know.
      Cynthia: It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

    • Darlene: How many N's in the word "anniversary"?
      Booker: Good question. How many D's in the word "dictionary"?

    • Booker: I'm going to talk about the kids. Because that's what the Challengers Club is all about. There are people here today who are going to tell you we have some bad kids at the club. Well, I'm going to tell yo how bad. Kids who come from bad homes, broken homes, no homes at all. Hungry kids... cold... beaten and broken kids. Kids who fix and use drugs for kicks. They're mad. Mad at you, mad at me... mad at the world they see. A world without opportunity.

    • Ray: Talking ain't gonna to change nothing! People like Larson are always gonna hate people like me. Just because we're black.
      MacGyver: So you hate him back. Ray, the hate has got to stop somewhere. It has got to stop!
      Ray: That ain't gonna change nothing.
      MacGyver: Every action has a reaction. You have got to believe that.

    • MacGyver: I'm told kids like me once they get to know me.

  • NOTES (3)