Man, was this series on a roll in the spring of 1989. I have never seen the film "Shoot to Kill", which this episode is said to be at least nominally derivative of, but I find it hard to imagine that it could be any better than this truly astounding mystery, which handily bests any mystery-themed episode ever produced for the "CSI" franchise in its tightly-layered narrative cohesion. Again, the threat level and intensity, which has been drastically stepped up overall in season four, is admirably high throughout this episode, with the depth of the mystery already taking shape in first few minutes when the campers/Phoenix operatives are introduced to one another. Between vertigo-inducing walks across suspension bridges, poisonberry-laced coffee, and the relentless paranoid glances between characters, this episode is a masterpiece of direction in the capable hands of underutilized director Dana Elcar. And right when the viewer believes they have everything figured out, up comes the shocking revelation that there is a second killer. The closing scenes in the watch tower were on par with the brilliant execution of the mystery that played out most of the hour. This is truly an episode that cannot be viewed enough times and manages to improve with age. And thankfully, audiences were once again around to enjoy the ride, giving MacGyver a season-high 15.5 rating (its largest audience since March 1987), helping him finish 23rd for the week, nipping on the heels of NBC's "ALF" and "The Hogan Family" for first place in the slot and walking all over CBS's new comedies "Live-In" and "Heartland".
I love the story of this episode. MacGyver is taking a group of strangers on a outdoor adventure and two of them happen to be escape convicts posing...creepy. I loved the twist that there were two convicts instead of one, which everyone assumed. I thought the whole thing between MacGyver and the female ranger was pointless. MacGyver could have done it alone; why does there always have to be a lady? Anyways, I loved the characters and how they were developed. Pete didn't have much air time, thank goodness, because this is the type of episode where he could get really annoying. Overall, great story and great guest characters. Classic who-done-it.
i think this was a very good episode of Magyver and one of the best in season 4. i could'nt believe how much i liked this episode, i don't know why i like it but i just did. i guess is was the drama of how someone with MacGyver was a convict and it was hard to tell until the very end. the person that we expected it to be sudennly got killed and it turns out that the one we least expect it to be was the convict, in fact to of them were convicts. i think that this episode is very well written and portrayed.later.
While not an entirely original concept, a whodunnit mystery does make for a nice change of pace for a Macgyver episode. Right off the bat we see the murder take place and the episode gets your attention. We see only the lower half of the convict, and after he picks up the "stress relief" pamphlet from the Phoenix employee's car, we get a bad feeling of what he is about to do. The whole "stress relief" prgoram needed to be more flushed out I thought. What exactly were they going to do besides hiking? As the Phoenix employees meet up, the story takes off, with subtle hints toward each that they may be the killer. Just when you think your sure its one, another will do something that makes him look guilty. Eventually we learn why :) But I could not ignore the bad acting of all the guest stars. They had extremely generic personalities and backgrounds. As another said, the female ranger was sort of unnecessay, fans of Airwolf will appreciate her though. Good episode, but overrated.
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