Season 2 Episode 4

The Wish Child

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 20, 1986 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
66 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While MacGyver goes to pick up Paul, his Chinese friend's brother, he witnesses something strange: Paul is being called "The Wish Child." A greedy criminal has wrapped him up in a scam, because Paul looks exactly like a boy from an old legend that owns the secret of immortality. Now, MacGyver must try to talk him out of this, because Paul is starting to believe he really is The Wish Child!moreless

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  • Offensive Stereotyping

    While the storyline is generally solid, and there's a good variety of MacGyverisms, the presentation of the Chinese characters here is horribly stereotypical. I'm not one to talk about political correctness, but every character here is either presented as superstitious (Dr. Wei, Lee, pointless banker character who accompanies Wei to the initial test), a crook (Ston, Ston's gang, Lee, Lee's thugs), semi-crooked but likeable (Paul, Sam), or oblivious (Lisa, who lets her 14-year-old brother roam the streets).

    Could anyone imagine, say, the producers doing an episode where a community of white people all embraced the superstition of a "Wish Child"? Pete Thornton becoming obsessed with the ancient anti-glucoma Boar Statue of Northern Ireland? Or any of the show's inevitable rich white dudes trying to find immortality through the supernatural? But here it's stated that practically everyone in Chinatown believes the superstition.

    And the show presents Japanese actor George Takei as a Chinese researcher. Guess they'd figure no one would know the difference: "they" all look the same, right? :( Yes, Hollywood often did the same thing, but the much-vaunted social consciousness of the series even in its second season leads one to expect more from them. Maybe they were just happy to get a Star Trek actor on the show?

    The story also sets off a payoff that Paul really is the Wish Child (the handprint, the bust), but never finishes it. And even if the question is left unanswered, so what? It's not like Paul's really a better person or anything.

    Also as noted, there's a whole lot of corridor-walking going on. Lee discusses the Wish Child myth with Wei, Sam tells MacGyver, Wei tells MacGyver: we get the same info spoon-fed us three times, for Pete's sake.

    So generally I've got to rate this one pretty low. Later episodes dealing with the Chinese underground revolution would portray at least some of that nation's members in a more positive light. You don't have to be "politically correct" to realize this episode isn't the one to look for positive portrayals of the Asian community.moreless
  • Intriguing opening descends into a routine outing.

    Even though the plot was clearly derivative, at least on the surface, of Eddie Murphy's "Golden Child" film, "The Wish Child" starts off on a strong note with the mysterious ceremony in which Paul's unique powers are showcased to overeager historians, followed by MacGyver's entrance and subsequent escape from airborne fireworks crate. Unfortunately, the episode peaked at that point. Far too much time was dedicated to various conversations about the wish child mythology....and WAY too much time dedicated to characters walking up and down the corridors of Mr. Li's ship....all leading up to an ending that wasn't particularly satisfying. The gorgeous Tia Carrere was underutilized as even gratuitous scenes with her would have been more satisfying filler than the patched-together filler that constructed the middle and final scenes of this episode. It was kind of a bad omen for the second season that the writers seemed this spent by only the fourth episode, but thankfully things would quickly pick up again in subsequent installments.moreless
George Takei

George Takei

Dr. Shen Wei

Guest Star

Leon Fan

Leon Fan

Paul Chan

Guest Star

James Hong

James Hong

Lee Wenying

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • MacGyver: I remember the age when it was cool to be bad. Dumb age.

    • MacGyver: I used to love museums when I was a kid. You never knew what you'd find inside. I liked mysteries... back then.

    • MacGyver: Old Minnesota wisdom: If you don't want to be touched look downright untouchable.

    • MacGyver: Nice quiet neighborhood, but not as loud as the ringing in my ears. I had no idea how I got here. Or even where here was but I had definitely run into some party animals. (smells a small parcel) It's funny, gun powder smells the same no matter how you write it. I was sitting on a pile of fireworks and some joker's outside playing shake, rattle and roll. I'd had enough of this party. It was definitely time to leave. (picks up a box of fireworks) So I figured a small directional explosive would make a door. Hopefully without blowing up the whole box. Anyway it'd just be a matter of seconds before light became a match and I'd either blow out... or up.

    • MacGyver: I grew up in Northern Minnesota, and I remember snow drifts that would bury whole parking lots, icicles longer than a hockey stick, and being stuck with three layers of clothing. My favorite, though, was when they announced "Exposed Flesh Warnings" on the radio to prevent frostbite. When I came to California, I found out it's really a small world. They had Exposed Flesh Warnings, too, called "Beach Parties". The type of party that did away with frostbite, did away with most of the clothing, too. But, the beach isn't the only place for a party, and I had some friends who really knew how to party down.

  • NOTES (2)