MacGyver's adventure episodes suffered from occasional slow pacing, and this episode was perhaps the pinnacle of its pacing issues. That's a minor beef though, as "The Treasure of Manco" featured a solid and original story line and masterful production execution. Subtitles are common in television today, but they seemed downright snazzy in 1990 when this episode was made. The context in which they were introduced, in a brief flashback opening this episode that was set in the Peruvian Andes in 1540, made for a dazzling atmosphere to this episode. And producers deftly maintained that atmosphere throughout the hour, with footage of peasants walking llamas near the roadside and condors flying above the mountains. The conflicting methods (but ultimately overlapping causes) of Enrique and Maria established a solid level of conflict in this episode, even though it was preposterous to try to incorporate MacGyver as being a friend to both of them in college. The ultimate revelation that the treasure of Manco was a silo full of seeds was refreshing and clever, although logistically implausible as those seeds would have rotted centuries ago. Nonetheless, a nicely done adventure episode that would have been a classic if writer Chris Haddock and director Michael Preece could have found some way to kick the pacing up a notch or two.
I lost interest in MacGyver after the first three seasons too many stories were ridiculous even by MacGyver and too many situations where it was inhumanly possibly for Mac to come away unharmed. However, this episode was different. It had a believable story and realistic situations. In fact after watching it again on Sleuth yesterday, I can't recall MacGyver making any inventions at all.
The Treasure of Manco is basically about Inca treasure buried centuries ago.
There seem to be factions after it, a rebel group, and another group run by the military under a guy called Captain Diaz. The rebel group is run by Enrique one of Mac's friends or former friend. It seems that Enrique is suspicion of murdering a man for whereabouts of the Inca gold. The writers did a decent job of making it unclear whether he did it or not for the bulk of the episode.
After that it was interesting to see how Macgyver would deal with all the facts.
This episode featured a couple of great actors in Richard Chaves, Theresa Saldana. They aren't household names of course since none of them got any Blockbuster Hollywood deals, but they are well known to anybody who knows anything about acting.
It was a decent episode with a surprising ending, and a realistic Macgyver story.
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