MacGyver was riding pretty high late in the third season, finishing a strong second place in its time slot every week and scoring some of its best overall rankings in the weekly Nielsens chart that it ever accomplished (it routinely finished in the top-30 in the spring of 1988). Quality material as was seen in this episode certainly played a role in the success. I always thought it was kind of sloppy on the part of the writers to keep introducing these "old girlfriends", nearly all of whom were allegedly so close to being "the one" for Mac, but Karen was given enough of a personality and strong enough dialogue to help me overcome my misgivings. The cat-and-mouse through the woods with the experienced game hunters always entertained, and the poachers themselves were each memorable in their own way without spiraling into cartoonishness. MacGyver had alot of emotional disappointments in the third season, and turning the wounded Karen over to the waiting arms of Sam at the episode's end certainly stood out as one of the biggest heartbreaks. I always enjoyed this episode, but it never stood out as one my all-time favorites. It's interesting to hear from so many others who do consider it to be one of the series' best.
"The Endangered" is another example of MacGyver at his best (or worst) with the ladies. After a close-call on assignment, MacGyver begins to re-examine some of his major life decisions, such as (apparently) dumping his former girlfriend Karen when she so much as hints at the possibility of commitment. Having both been tree huggers, MacGyver went off to do his MacGyver thing and Karen (naturally?) became a park ranger. In an attempt to rekindle an old flame, MacGyver flies off to see her, not knowing she has replaced him with another.
What ensues is a lot of whimsical, melancholy looks in his old girlfriend's direction, some poachers killing a bear on park property, and a lot of MacGyver antics as they escape some crazy hunter. With Karen wounded, Mulder basically lugs her through the woods and fells the criminals one by one, using a variety of survivalist and MacGyver-ish skills. The episode ends bittersweet, as Karen falls back into the arms of her boyfriend and MacGyver is left with egg on his face--business as usual for Mac in the relationship department. While MacGyver is they’re either would-be assassins, jilted former loves or simply unattainable women who realized long ago that MacGygver has a lot of growing up to do.
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