Season 6 Episode 16

There But For the Grace

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 18, 1991 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
52 votes
  • Some decent characterizations lend credibility to the homelessness theme, but the episode needn't preach on the way that it did.

    Here was another MacGyver episode deeply entrenched within the "social worker" framework, and indeed the preachiness hit fever pitch in a number of scenes. Still, I was generally pleased with the episode's depiction of homelessness, featuring several characters who didn't neatly fit the homeless stereotype of "shiftless bum." Most of America's homeless are mentally ill to some capacity, and characters Doc and Danny were fine examples, not only of how a number of mentally ill patients fall through the cracks, but provided a framework from which they are often taken advantage of (in this case by the unscrupulous corporate thief Rooter/Sandler). A couple above-average MacGyver gimmicks accentuated the episode's latter half, including the stapling of Sandler's associate to the floor of the construction site and creating a gas bomb inside a rubber glove inside Sandler's warehouse. My biggest objection is the heavy-handedness in which the message was always delivered on MacGyver, particularly with the epilogues that so neatly tie up all the loose ends followed by a brief lecture. Substituting this formula in the epilogue with something a little less preachy would have been preferable. In terms of audience, this was one of the highest-rated episodes of the second half of season six, even though it only managed a comparatively soft 12.8 rating (a year ago that week, "Jenny's Chance" pulled in a 14.7 rating). The biggest issue was the stiffening competition, as CBS's "Evening Shade" and "Major Dad" were regular fixtures in the Nielsen top-25 and NBC's "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Blossom" were upwardly mobile and also headed the direction of the top-25, leaving MacGyver with a sinking market share and an increasingly over-the-hill feel. Unfortunately, things would continue to go down from here.
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