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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  • 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.