Season 5 Episode 9

The Ten Percent Solution

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 20, 1989 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
62 votes
  • painful to watch just after the US elects a demagoge

    The Nazis in this episode just picked the wrong 5 states for their 10% solution, apparently they just had to let the South & Midwest vent its racism, sexism and anti-semitism on it's own to get us where they wanted 30 years later...

    But otherwise a good episode, as the reviewer before me pointed out, for a 1 hr tv show, it was nicely layered: the recurring mention of "you can change your name but not your nature - in different contexts. The panning shot of the mine meant to elicit the concentration camps. Teaching folks about the history of the Nazi's art thefts, etc.
  • A very solidly crafted episode that takes views from Point A to Point B in the most shocking and unorthodox way.

    Watching this episode as a 12-year-old boy back in 1989, I didn't admire the layered craftsmanship of the story the way I do as an adult, and as a consequence I enjoy this episode more with every viewing. The actor who played Sam (Nehemiah Persoff???) portrayed the role with such effortless brilliance that it hardly even seemed like acting (his response when getting his first glimpse of the abandoned silver mine and feeling a deja vu factor related to Sobibor was priceless), and it lent a degree of authenticity to this episode that is very much needed given the dimension of evil undertaken in the plot. The storytelling is solid throughout, and I really appreciate how everything got started with a simple art auction. I'm kind of surprised that Jewish audiences didn't object to the scene where MacGyver, Sam, and Laura were left to suffocate in a makeshift gas chamber by their sadistically "nostalgic" tormentors, but it worked because it conveyed the depth of evil and ethnic hatred from which these people were operating from. The final scene between "Madam" and Sam could not have been more effective, and capstoned the episode's thematic mainstays perfectly. My only objection to the episode was the very opening scene with the mugging in the park, apparently undertaken by the Nazis themselves. But why? We're they committing the street violence themselves as a means of scaring voters into supporting their cause and voting for anti-crime candidate William Brand? That seems a little far-fetched, and a little too risky for a group sworn to cautious "infiltration before domination". Still, this is a great episode that improves with time and, like so many MacGyver episodes, was worthy of much more acclaim than it ever got from the TV industry.