Season 3 Episode 8

The Widowmaker

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 16, 1987 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
73 votes
  • Murdoc's back with a vengeance

    There were plenty of great season 3 episodes but Widowmaker takes the trophy featuring a hard hitting story that shows rare emotions of macgyver we didn't know he had. The story takes a further twist when Murdoc shows up, once again having revenge on his mind. The brilliance of this episode is it takes the arrival of a major menace such as Murdoc to finally kick Mac out of his depression and get him back in the real world. Murdoc arrives fully prepared this time. Flamethrowers,mines, hunting rifle, and climbing gear to name a few. I had a small problem the way Murdoc was able to "drop in" on them at the end, but it doesn't detract too much. Nikki also did really well in this epidode. Macgyver: "You invited yourself."
    Nikki: "I came because I care about jerk."

    Well written, well acted.
  • Murdoc is back...

    This is one of my favorite episodes maybe because it was the first episode I ever watched of this show.
    MacGyver is up in the mountains climbing with a friend who wants more than just a friendship but things don't turn out the way she wants. She has an accident and Mac blames himself for it. So he goes into hiding and not even Pete can make him change his mind. But Nikki Carpenter shows up as well as Murdoc and the chase begins.
    Poor Mac. Watching a friend die is a terrible thing. I liked the addition of Nikki Carpenter because they worked well together, even when we were all used to see Mac on his own, I liked how they were arguing most of the time. She was a good friend in this episode and was trying to get him out of his sadness and back into "the living" world. But Murdoc, back again, is after them and has a terrible end in a very exciting scene. When he cut his own rope and Nikki hanging from the cliff, had me on the edge of my seat.
    The take when Mac and Nikki get to the top of the mountain is simply wonderful. This is one of the things I liked from this show, the beautiful landscapes, the forest, the trees, the nature.
    It's funny how when Murdoc is at Mac's houseboat you see pictures of him with Jack, Pete and Mike, the deceased friend. There were so many women in his life and he only has a picture of her... I wonder where Penny Parker went. And how convenient when Mac is sending the SOS at the time the guy from the store in on the phone...
    Good and exciting episode, brings me back memories of my childhood.
  • Spectacular production values and Murdoc make this one the series' most memorable episodes.

    It's unfortunate that Patricia McPherson couldn't return to reprise her role as Mike from season two's "Jack of Lies", but the new actress was acceptable and, of course, had a very small amount of airtime before the fatal accident. For me, the weakest part of this episode was MacGyver's extended mourning period which was well-acted and consistent with the character's tragic past early on, but ended up spiraling into an unseemly display of self-pity that ultimately seemed out of character for MacGyver. Obviously, things really heated up with Murdoc's arrival, both as a haunting predator in MacGyver's houseboat, as a saboteur of Nikki's truck at the general store, and his ultimate moment of revelation at the cabin. I suppose any number of actors could have effectively pulled off this role, but Michael Des Barres always seemed to have so much fun playing the deranged and eccentric hit man that the energy level went off the charts when he was on-camera. The closing act, featuring MacGyver and Nikki descending the Widowmaker by hand, offered some of the most suspenseful and vertigo-inducing production values in the history of the series, all set to the best jangly scores that Ken Harrison composed during his lengthy tenure with the series. Overall, this was my favorite episode of season three, with Murdoc's humorous freefall demise representing one of the series' most memorable scenes.
  • Awesome episode.

    This is another great episode of Macgyver. It's the second episode to feature Murdoch. I like it a lot because all the episodes where Mac battles Murdoch are excellent.

    Here's the plot:

    The episode starts with Mac and his long time friend Mike (short for Michelle,I'm assuming) Forester are climbing a huge cliff know as the "The Widowmaker". Mike is a expert mountain climber,and she managed to get Mac to come along,even though he's scared to death of heights. They stop to rest on a ledge,and Mike decides to tell Mac something that's been bugging her: She wants to be Mac's girlfriend,not just his friend. Mac doesn't take her offer though. He tells her he'd prefer just to stay friends like always. She claims she understands (even thought she's starting to cry) and they begin climbing the cliff again. Mike is now several feet above Mac,and is trying to attach the next length of rope to the rock,but then suddenly,her foot slips,and she falls several feet. Now,the only thing keeping her from falling several hundred feet to the ground is her safety harness. But then,the unthinkable happens: her harness tears under the weight,and breaks free. A horrified Mac has to watch as she falls to her death below.

    We now cut over to Pete as he goes up to his cabin (near the widowmaker,where Mac is staying) and tries to console a grief-stricken Mac. He tells him it wasn't his fault Mike died,and there was nothing he could have done. Mac won't listen. He tells Pete it was his fault because he had upset Mike right before she fell. He then proceeds to snap at Pete several times,and he tells him to just leave him alone. Pete complies,and leaves Mac at the cabin.

    We now cut to Mac's boathouse in LA. It's a dark,and a hand smashes through the glass door,and opens it. We find out shortly after that it's Murdoc. He listens to Mac's answering machine to try and find out where Mac is. Unfortunately,he does find out where Mac is staying. He then takes a blowtorch,and burns a ominous message into the wall: "RIP Macgyver".

    It's now the next day,and we see Nikki Carpenter talking to Pete. She knows Mac had snapped at him the night before,so she decides to go up to the cabin to try and get him out of his slump.

    She then stops at the general store at the top of the mountain to pick up some food and supplies to take to Mac. But after she gets back in her truck,she finds out it won't start. A man asks to take a look under the engine,and then he "fixes" it. He then asks where she's going,and she tells him "to visit a friend" on the mountain. But after Nikki drives away,we can see that this isn't just a local,this is Murdoc.

    We're now at the cabin. Nikki walks in to find everything in a huge mess. She walks out the backdoor,to find a still moody Macgyver sitting by the pond/lake. She tries to cheer him up,but he proceeds to snap at her. He asks her to leave,but after they walk back to the cabin,Mac notices something's wrong. There's a bunch of pictures taped to the ceiling: Pictures of the truck Murdoc "blew up" in. (This was in the episode "Partners" in season 2). Just as Mac is looking at the picture the door is kicked open by a crazed Murdoc,and he's now wielding a flamethrower. He says he wants Macgyver to burn,just like he did. Mac and Nikki are able to escape,and make a run for it. When they arrive at the clearing where their vehicles are parked,they find Mac's jeep with 4 flat tires. They can't get out in that,so they decide to take Nikki's truck. But just as Mac turns the key,all the doors lock,and they will not open again. Then Mac hears a ticking noise: Murdoc has set a bomb under the truck,and there's only about 50 seconds left before it detonates. Luckily Mac is able to kick out the rear window,and he and Nikki escape just as before it blows.

    Mac and Nikki then decide to escape down the road on foot,but now there's a new problem: Murdoch has laid several land mines blocking the road off. So,they decide to set a trap of their own for Murdoch when he comes. Mac uses an antenna and battery from his jeep to create sort of a "Arc-Welder". When Murdoc comes down the road,Mac touches the back of his flamethrower with his new welder. It sparks,blows up,and Murdoc barely makes it away in time. But he does,and now he's madder then ever.

    This next part is classic Macgyver: He and Nikki have now escaped into the woods,and are heading for the widowmaker. But Mac spots a telephone pole,and gets an idea. He climbs and pole-and using Nikki's watch and bracelet-taps an SOS (using Morse-Code) into the telephone line. He just barely gets it through before Murdoc tries to shoot him with a long-range rifle. But did anyone get the message? Thankfully,someone did. The old man who owns the general store was in WW2,and knows Morse-Code. He then calls for help.

    Mac and Nikki are on the run again. They've made it to the edge of the widowmaker,but where to go from there? It's a several hundred foot drop to the bottom. But then,Mac sees something: A climbing rope! It was the one Mike had been using when she fell. He and Nikki then climb down the cliff (maybe 50 feet or so) until they get to a ledge. But Murdoc is hot on their tail. He's brought some climbing gear of his own,and is ready to climb down after them. But Mac doesn't know Murdoc is so close,so just as he's about to hook up a harness for himself,Murdoc comes swinging in with a large knife in hand. He and Mac fight for a couple of minutes,and Murdoc put's a cut on Mac's arm in the process. But,just as he's is swinging in for one final blow,Mac sticks Murdoc's own rope in between him,and Murdoc's knife. Murdoc then falls down to the bottom of the mountain and we hear for the first time his famous:"Maccccgyyyyyverrrrr!!!!!" yell on the way down.

    All's well that ends well...for now. It appears that Murdoc died,but Macgyver knows he's tricky. Will he be back? We'll have to wait until season 4 to find out....

    I hope you enjoyed this review. Thanks for reading! =)
  • one of my favorites...

    A good friend of Mac's dies in a climbing accident. She asked Mac if they could be more serious in their relationship and he said he just wanted to be friends and then she started climbing, then fell and died. He blamed himself and was a hermit for a few weeks. Nikki came to visit and Murdoc came back also...Mac has to save himself and Nikki from Murdoc. In the end, they climb down the Widowmaker to get away from Murdoc and he plunges to his death. I liked this episode because of all of the emotional characterization Mac went through and the story was good also. I got tired of Nikki thogh...but I love Murdoc. Overall, great episode.