Season 3 Episode 16

The Spoilers

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 14, 1988 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes

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Episode Summary

MacGyver enlists a recluse nicknamed Earthquake to help find a person who is dumping toxic waste and polluting mountain streams, but his flashbacks to Vietnam may hinder his ability to be a credible witness.

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  • The first of many ecologically themed MacGyver episodes that holds up reasonably well.

    The geography of Vancouver was effectively exploited once again with the well-produced opening scenes amidst the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest forests during snowfall. The visuals alone helped sell me on this episode, but the episode did sort of peak early when Earthquake attacked the polluters responsible for poisoning his dog. The acting was not always consistent, but Randall "Tex" Cobb generally turned in a decent performance as a grizzled old Vietnam vet hiding from his past in his enclave in the woods. The execution was at times routine and the lengthy scenes of MacGyver climbing ChemCo outdoor storage structure struck me as nothing more than filler, but it was nonetheless an engaging hour featuring some dark imagery and a satisfying epilogue where Mac and Pete introduce Earthquake to a new dog they got for him. Viewers also seemed to be intrigued, delivering a tied-for-season-high 15.4 rating, good enough to tie for 24th place for its respective week in March 1988. Twenty-fourth place may not sound that great, but for MacGyver, it was one of its better overall rankings in seven years.moreless
  • An environmental episode that's sadly still in today's news...

    This episode treats of a company that dumps toxic waste in a small river. It was shot in 1988 and were now in 2007 and not much has changed. Lots of companies still doing it today, and they don't even hide themselves. A pile of money to the right people and they're free. However if a person wants and goes to the right place, he can really change something and make this world a much better place "environmentally" speaking. Early on in the show MacGyver says "we live on a great planet, however we find ways to letting it go down the drain in too many places". Nothing can be much up to date than this statement. There's a lot of laws out there but are they really followed? Are the Governments around the world really want to change the tide? Or are they too much wraped by companies who make billions of dollars?moreless
Randall "Tex" Cobb

Randall "Tex" Cobb

Daniel "Earthquake" Toberman

Guest Star

Emily Kuroda

Emily Kuroda

Karen Matsuga

Guest Star

William S. Taylor

William S. Taylor

Martin Farber

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • MacGyver: I'm sorry about your dog.
      Earthquake: I learned a long time ago, you bury the dead, and that's it.

    • MacGyver: When I was a kid, my grandpa gave me two things I'll never forget: a subscription to Popular Mechanics and a chemistry set.

    • Farber: Why is it you're called Earthquake?
      Earthquake: Used a landslide once to get out of trouble.

    • Earthquake: What is this place?
      MacGyver: They recycle industrial waste by filtering out toxics. At least, that's what they're supposed to do.
      Earthquake: They look legit enough.
      MacGyver: Well, it is. But if they're being paid to reprocess waste, and all they're doing is dumping it, a guy's gotta wonder where all the money goes. And we're talking about some big bucks.

    • MacGyver: We've got a pretty good planet here, as planets go. The trouble is, we're lettin' it go down the drain in too many places.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The German episode title is "Giftmüllbeseitigung ganz modern", meaning "Modern Toxic Waste Removal". The Finnish episode title is "Myrkyttajät", meaning "Leftover Poison". The French episode title is "Les pollueurs", meaning "The Polluters". The Italian episode title is "Arriva terremoto", meaning "Earthquake Arrives".