Season 2 Episode 1

The Human Factor

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 22, 1986 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
78 votes
  • The second season that was never supposed to happen opens in style.

    Happy as I was that MacGyver returned for a second season in September 1986, I didn't realize what a hornet's nest that ABC was putting the show into by scheduling it for Monday nights, where it faced brutal sitcom competition and competition from its own network's Monday Night Football on the West Coast ("MacGyver" aired after MNF, often as late as 11 p.m. or midnight, in some markets not at all). I have every confidence that MacGyver would have been a long-term fixture in the top-20 had it stayed on Wednesday nights.

    Getting to the episode that kicked off season two, "The Human Factor" was an abundance of fun that deviated significantly from the first season's more traditional adventure-themed formula. MacGyver producers were always crafty about triangulating the series' content to appeal to lovers of different genres, and science fiction geeks often celebrate this series soft-core sci-fi episodes such as this one. And the execution of this one was brilliant, save for the one-time-revelation-quickly-forgotten that Pete was also a Vietnam vet, with the litany of gauntlets that Mac and Jill running into being profoundly imaginative. The high point for me was sliding down the garbage disposal chute and having it open up into a pool of acid based on their narrowly exceeding the weight limit. The combination of action and humor was not forced and not cheesy, and Mac's chemistry with Jill was better than with the usual one-dimensional female characters from the series' early seasons. MacGyver's second season premiere was hard not to like and was well-received by viewers with a 15.4 rating (unfortunately, subsequent week's numbers would not be so kind as new comedy "ALF" would quickly hijack MacGyver's would-be audience). The episode unequivocally delivered in every way and stands out as one of the series' high points.