Season 1 Episode 17

To Be a Man

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 05, 1986 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
76 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

In Afghanistan, wounded and hunted by the Soviets, MacGyver is given refuge by an Afghan woman and her son. But they themselves at the mercy of an Afghan thug, who will kill MacGyver if he finds him.

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  • Exceptional production values and spiffy spyjinks elevate this episode above its drearier patches.

    After a long expanse of episode set either in America or Europe, globe-trotting high adventure finally makes a comeback in "To Be a Man", a marvelously produced episode with a compelling plot execution. Aside for the absurdity of pretending that the 80's Afghanistan Freedom Fighters were actually working with the Soviets against the West, the double-barreled assault of Soviet puppetmasters and local hooligans who know the lay of the land created an ominous sense of ever-present danger. The scenes with Ahmad and his mother got to be a little melodramatic at times, but actually lent itself to some character development as it asserted the pathological loner MacGyver as a father figure in a household that clearly needed one. While the boy was a marginal actor and the character seemed a bit immature for his age, MacGyver's chemistry with the mother was undeniable and made some curious scenes of undeniable sexual tension. The pacifist ending was also nicely done and bookended this adventurous episode well. One of the better efforts from the second half of the first season.moreless
  • MacGyver is shot down by the Soviets over Afghanistan, retrieving a data capsule, he is wounded and has nowhere to go. A boy finds him and takes him home where his mother is and looked after him. But, the Soviets are still after him and won't quit!moreless

    Quite an enjoyable episode with a few good MacGyver creations.

    I particularly liked it when Mac created a hang glider out of duct tape, some plastic and material that came down from space... this is also after he had to diffuse a boobytrapped satelite with the data capsule inside.

    I felt sorry for Ahmed and his mother getting treated the way they did by the Afghanistan Rebel Leader, but was glad when he got killed by the quick witted MacGyver.

    I didn't know MacGyver was also a great shot when it came to rock slinging - superb shot.

    Overall the episode was a good one and I highly recommend it.moreless
Persis Khambatta

Persis Khambatta


Guest Star

Sid Haig

Sid Haig


Guest Star

Allan Kolman

Allan Kolman


Guest Star

Dana Elcar

Dana Elcar

Pete Thornton

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • MacGyver: One of the problems of flying a jet is that you don't have a lot of time to admire the scenery.

    • MacGyver: (after his plane blows up) I could just hear old Pete Thornton saying, "Why does he always have to wait until the last possible second?"
      Pete: (back at Phoenix Foundation) He always waits until the last possible second.

    • MacGyver: Is your mother aware of all this?
      Ahmed: She's a woman. She doesn't know about man's business.
      MacGyver: So where is she now?
      Ahmed: Milking the goat.
      MacGyver: Isn't that your job?
      Ahmed: It's not a man's work. (looks sheepish) The goat doesn't like me.

    • MacGyver: It's all too easy, maybe for once it is really gonna work out the way it was planned.

    • Ahmed: (after MacGyver refuses to shoot a soldier) Why?
      MacGyver: Because I didn't have to. That should be reason enough for anybody.

    • Ahmed: If you had shot him like I asked, there would be another one in his place, and he would have killed us for sure.
      MacGyver: Something to think about, isn't it?

  • NOTES (2)

    • Filming location: Vasquez Rocks, California

    • The German episode title is "Ein einfacher Auftrag", meaning "A Simple Order". The Finnish episode title is "Miehen Mitta", meaning "The Measure of a Man". The French episode title is "Mission Afghanistan". The Italian episode title is "Crescere in un attimo", meaning "Instantly Growing Up".