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Season 7 Episode 4

The Prometheus Syndrome

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 07, 1991 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
47 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

MacGyver assists the Arson Squad in their investigation to hunt down a serial arsonist known as Prometheus.

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  • While still having the feel of a series that's over-the-hill, this episode was above-average for this point in the series' run.

    Much like "Obsessed" the week before, this MacGyver episode, featuring a serial bomber, got off to a rock-solid beginning exploring the rivalry between members of the arson squad (ultimately leading us to suspect Rachel might be Prometheus) and the suspenseful bomb defusal scene in the abandoned slum that killed Earl. The pyrotechnics were quite impressive for 1991 TV. Even though the pace and excitement level waned towards the middle, the stalking scene in the abandoned newspaper office was in keeping with the suspense level of the episode's early stages. Clearly, this episode was channeling the creatively disappointing hit film from the summer of 1991, "Backdraft", but I actually found this MacGyver episode to be more entertaining than that film.

    It was not without flaws, however. Boardman's motivation was hard to swallow, especially considering he planned the fire that killed Victoria, and the multiple bomb defusals at the end of the episode got tedious. Plus, there was that universally discrediting element for any episode.....it had Mama Lorain in it. Overall though, it was one of the better efforts of the seventh season.moreless
  • A serial arsonist, who calls himself Promethius, seeks revenge by luring his victims to specific locations with a voice distortion device, and using carefully constructed bombs as murder weapons.

    This is a very special episode indeed, and it is difficult to classify. On one hand, it is a tear jerker, because of the death of MacGyver's good friend Earl Stringer (Randolph Mantooth). It plays like a crime drama, and introduces viewers to Stringer's wife, showing how his death affects her. It also shows how it affects everyone who worked with Stringer. On the other hand it fits other classifications: well written, cleverly plotted, exciting, and a series classic. I consider it a classic, because it uses a major theme from the MacGyver series in a whole new way. We've all seen MacGyver disarm bombs, but we've never seen the bomb turn itself back on and then go off anyway. This surprised the heck out of me. First, MacGyver and Earl Stringer disarm one of Prometheus's bombs with only three seconds to spare. We've all seen that. Then, shockingly, the bomb switches back on and goes off, killing Stringer and almost killing MacGyver. Later, Prometheus uses cleverly laid out clues and a freakishly distorted voice to lure MacGyver to an isolated location with another bomb, which MacGyver expertly disarms. Once again the bomb switches itself back on and goes off. However, this time MacGyver cleverly uses the explosion to escape from the room he is trapped in and prevent the murder of Prometheus’s next victim. At the end, we learn the identity of the arsonist and his shocking revelation about why he doing what he is doing. This is perhaps MacGyver's most explosive episode ever, and it cleverly uses the series bomb theme in a whole new way. A perfect combination of psychological suspense and drama.moreless
Jack McGee

Jack McGee

Joe Roswell

Guest Star

Randolph Mantooth

Randolph Mantooth

Earl Stringer

Guest Star

Kimberly Scott

Kimberly Scott

Mama Lorraine

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Prometheus calls the first time, he tells them to go to an abandoned hotel to view his work and doesn't mention any other buildings. However, the building where the bomb actually is located at is a clothing warehouse. The fire department searches there first and finds the bomb. The hotel is across the street and it is later revealed Prometheus is hiding there. If the fire department had gone to the hotel as Prometheus directed, they would have captured him and not found the bomb.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mama Lorraine: I need to fatten you up.
      MacGyver: Mama, you are just obsessed with taking care of the whole world.
      Mama Lorraine: I tell you a secret. A person who takes care of everybody else don't ever end up alone and pitiful and old.

    • Earl: MacGyver, what if this thing gets down to about ten seconds and you're still messing with it?
      MacGyver: Run.
      Earl: Run?
      MacGyver: Run.
      Earl: Run. Okay.

    • Rachel: What's the matter?
      MacGyver: Well, moving the switch on the left always stopped it before.
      Rachel: You think he changed it to the right.
      MacGyver: I think that's what he thinks I would think.
      Rachel: Well, you have 32 seconds to mess around. Take your time.

    • Rachel: I would turn in this badge if it would bring back Earl.

  • NOTES (2)