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MacGyver - War Room + Ship - Review: Three Stories

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This episode of MacGyver is unique, so I decided to give it a unique review. MacGyver, Jack and Bozer all had some major things happen to them in this installment and it involved a lot of growth, emotion and closure for all three. So in that spirit, I will break their stories into three parts, which at times during the hour intersected. Let's start off with Bozer shall we?

Bozer is still in clandestine training which is a surprise because in the previous episode he had said he was done after Leanna had brought forth the painful memory of his brother's death during interrogation training. But when we join the two they are in bed covered to the chin and confused if they had... well I will let you surmise what they thought. Alas, they are fully clothed and handcuffed together unsure of how they got there. Before they have time to compare notes several gunmen break down the door and begin firing. Boz and Leanna are now left wondering if this was training or something else because the bullets whizzing past them seemed VERY real. They work together even though there are obvious issues and discover that they are indeed in a training exercise which they have passed. Oh.... did I mention during said exercise they shared a passionate kiss just in case it was real. I for one did like seeing Bozer make a connection but felt conflicted because Leanna had brought up such a painful memory from his past in the previous episode. Once they return to the training room they are informed that although they had passed they should take a look at the person to the left and right of them because they will never see them again due to the fact this training didn't technically happen. Despite this warning, Leanna and Bozer end up in bed and plan to throw caution to the wind because hey, they passed their training so continuing a clandestine romance should be a breeze right? I don't think so Boz, but this should be interesting as we go along.


When we see Jack, he is driving down the road smiling and singing along to his radio but a constant knocking in the trunk quickly clues us in that Jack was not alone and I think we all know who he had in the back.... Riley's father Elwood. After a a quick round of fisticuffs between the two men, it is revealed that the man introduced last episode is named Doug and he wants the money that Elwood owed for a con involving a $75,000 signed Jackie Robinson baseball. Elwood confides in Jack that the two men had planned to split the money from the job, but after Elwood had gotten the ball he had an epiphany about Riley, which led him to make a spur of the moment decision to chuck the ball in the Hudson River and head to an AA meeting, well guess what? Doug figured he had been stiffed and wanted payment, hence the gun in Jack's face last episode. I don't know about you guys but I expected a little more scandal when it came to what Riley's father had done and why this guy was after him, but at least he seems genuine in his hope to reclaim some sort of relationship with his daughter. Jack decides to help him forge a signature on a baseball after a meeting with Doug where he threatened Riley. I must say that while there is some history between these two, the one thing they have in common is that they both love Riley, so in that respect it is good to see them put the past in the past and figure out a solution. Whilst trying to choose the perfect baseball to use in a forgery to fool Doug, Riley tracks Elwood's phone and the jig is up, both men come clean to her and she uses Phoenix resources for the final step of the con to forge the signature and hopefully get her father out of the debt. I loved the moment in which she confessed to Jack that she wasn't sure why she was doing all of this because her father had never been there for her. Jack made sure she knew he would always be there no matter what. Jack and Elwood give the ball to Doug who is none the wiser to the forgery and calls it even on the original debt but he wants interest of $10,000 for the year he spent tracking Elwood down. Elwood does not have this money and when Jack tries to intervene, Elwood tells him no and he is beaten by Doug and his goons. They end up back at Jack's place where Elwood says he doesn't want Riley to see him this way but he WILL be back. In a great moment of growth for both, Jack says he will tell her and they seem to forge a truce. I enjoyed this moment of understanding by two men who have let Riley down in the past but want to do better.

Finally we have arrived at what I categorize as the most emotional story of this hour, MacGyver's story. I am not going to lie, sometimes I find MacGyver a little too perfect and put together but this episode and this story added a whole new layer that I appreciated. We start with MacGyver still reeling from seeing Matty in the film with his father. He goes to Jack's place and meets Riley's father... See what I mean about the stories intersecting? Jack and Mac have a meeting of the minds outside where Jack tells Mac that either Matty has a reason for not telling him about his dad or Mac is simply spinning out because family is such hot button issue. Before they can talk it up further, Mac is pulled away to the Phoenix. Once there, Cage informs Mac that a research ship in the arctic has had an explosion and left thirty two college students stranded. Mac meets a grad student named Zoe via video conference and he is tasked to teach her to, well, MacGyver them out of this predicament because the coast guard is twelve hours out and the ship is a hot mess of failing generators, fires and holes in its exterior. He teaches her how to make a fuel pump to get diesel to the damaged generator, make a filter to purify the air and finally make a seal for watertight integrity. He does all of this in sync with Zoe after getting a list of supplies and turning Matty's war room into a replica of what Zoe has on the ship. During this time, they bond over their shared loved of being a geek. This is what I am talking about when I say that we saw new layers to Mac. He slowed down and saw that Zoe was scared and attempted to ease her fears while knowing time was not on their side, he let his guard down a bit with her. In these interactions with Zoe, he finds a kindred spirt and although they weren't able to meet in person, they share some special moments and even make a plan to meet over ice cream once she is out of this predicament. The different part of this episode is that Mac always has an answer, and I thought through each issue he walked Zoe through that this would be no different, but alas it wasn't. In a heartbreaking twist, Mac could not save the day for Zoe because his final fix failed in its first attempt and it meant she would have to sacrifice herself by being sealed in the damaged hull quickly filling with water to activate the device from inside. This time the device worked but it meant she was trapped and Mac could only watch as the compartment filled with water as Zoe struggled to stay afloat until the video cut out. We end with Matty informing Mac that the thirty one students were saved by the coast guard but Mac knew it should have been thirty two. He is too heartbroken to discuss what bothered him earlier and Mac and Matty stand in silence on his balcony. I have no doubt that MacGyver will confront her at some point, but now is not the time.

So what did you think? Did you like the more personal ways this episode came together? Finally, I noticed some strong parallels to three classic movies in this episode which are, Apollo 13, Titanic and The Sandlot. I will let you guys guess where I got these comparisons from!

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