Season 5 Episode 10

Two Times Trouble

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Dec 11, 1989 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
59 votes
  • Season five's darkest episode manages to overcome its logistical leaps of faith with a haunting and unpredictable mystery.

    I must confess that I didn't like this episode at all when I first watched it. Nor did most of my MacGyver-watching buddies back in seventh grade. But when I watched it again over summer reruns, and subsequently afterward, I found myself appreciating its thematic darkness and generally strong craftsmanship. Furthermore, a plotline that I considered delusional beyond belief now strikes me as far more credible having watched a relative lapse into mental illness and assuming the same sort of role-playing issues. "Two Times Trouble" begins with a wacky trip down 1989 Memory Lane in the form of an anti-drug rock video featuring big hair, bright clothes, and synthesizer music. The Roxie/Carla dynamic unfolded cleverly and mysteriously from the get-go, quickly generating the white knuckle suspense of the penthouse elevator scene, and taking on a new dimension of darkness with the look of unhinged evil on Carla's face when she tossed Rogan off the penthouse balcony. And as if those paintings of Roxie and Carla rock climbing weren't creepy enough, perhaps the creepiest moment in MacGyver's entire run was the scene where "Roxie" is running through the studio believing she's just seen Carla, but sees herself in the mirror triggering back all those haunting memories and a mini-breakdown. The breadth of Carla's subterfuge was finally revealed in the equally creepy final scene with MacGyver approaching her (and ultimately getting shanghaied). It was hands-down the best script even written by otherwise mediocre freelance scriptwriter Robert Sherman.

    The layering of the story was not without flaws though, as Roxie/Carla's changes of hairstyles and homes were far too sudden to be believed....and it strikes me as highly unlikely that it would have taken Pete and MacGyver aa long as it did, when talking to the doctor from Pine Valley Hospital, to discern that Carla was the patient and not Roxie. But there was no way to pull off this storyline without a couple such sleights-of-hand. I've found myself really coming to enjoy this episode over the years, which I would have never suspected when I first watched it. My conversations with other MacGyver fans suggest they felt a similar dynamic.
  • "Two Times Trouble" is a fair filler episode with just a little too much fluff for the stuff it's worth. Essentially the plot is Good Twin/Evil Twin with a twist, yet a whole lot gets lost in translation.

    In this episode, MacGyver has convinced childhood friend and now pop-rocker "Roxy" to star in a video for the Phoenix Foundation's campaign against drug abuse. Remember Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No?" Well, the eighties were all about just saying no, so, the Phoenix Foundation will not be outdone. In an effort to get kids to "put down the pipe" (and yes, you may wince at the phrase as well), the Phoenix Foundation has enlisted the aid of several stars of the day to lend their musical talents to the cause. This is where "Two Times Trouble" begins, and essentially, where the thin plot thickens, only to fade into a gossamer tangle of loose ends and head-scratching twists.

    Roxy soon tells Mac of some strange occurrences, to which she attributes to her twin sister Carla trying to kill her. Apparently the brakes on her car have failed and various other unusual happenings that could have killed had she not narrowly escaped, and she is sure that Carla is to blame. Sure enough, Roxy and Mac are involved in an elevator crash that looks every bit of sabotage. So it rocks on and Mac starts to investigate things (as he does), like seemingly straight-laced and level-headed Carla's claim that her rock star sister Roxy had a nervous breakdown about two years ago. Well, turns out it was Carla who had the nervous breakdown, and after the audience see Carla kill Roxy's manager by throwing him off a balcony, we begin to wonder just what the hay is going on. Maybe Roxy is right about her?

    Well eventually everything hits the fan when Mac (with another one of his sly fingerprinting tactics) discovers that Roxy's prints and Carla's prints are one in the same...that is, they are both Carla's. So if Roxy doesn't exist (which she most certainly did at one point) then where is she? Come to find out that she died in a rock climbing accident with her sister Carla, and to keep her alive (this is where it gets a little nutty), Carla assumed the persona of Roxy. But this craziness leaves a lot of questions unanswered, such as, since Carla did still "exist" for some people, such as MacGyver and others in her life, then was Carla consciously impersonating Roxy? Her consciously acting as Roxy would insinuate serious reasoning on her part, and this ep would have us believe that Carla really thought she WAS Roxy, that her own personality had fractured and morphed into Roxy's. If she was in fact reasonable (and I do not see evidence of it, for she tried to kill MacGyver and killed Roxy's manager), how did she assume both personalities successfully, with no one knowing the difference? Perhaps more pressing is the danger she (as Roxy) said she was in. Someone really did sabotage the elevator early in the episode, and would have killed her had Mac not saved the day. So, if Carla was trying to kill Roxy and Carla IS Roxy, was Carla trying to kill herself? If not, then who was trying to kill Roxy? Was it the manager? I think this is what the writers would have us believe, but given Roxy's own suspicions and seemingly reasonable explanation ("she's been jealous of every man that's ever been close to me...") the audience is left to wonder, and then some.

    "Two Times Trouble" is just one big fat question mark with no real satisfying resolution. This episode sports a lot of self-importance, assuming the viewer will no doubt get it and enjoy it. Well, I don't get it, and I'm fairly confident I'm not alone. There are just too many big things that don't add up. 2 out of 5, for ambitiously creating some interesting moments.