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MacGyver - Season 4 - Review

3 Dec 2020

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With the new season just a few days away, I thought that now would be a good time to take a look back at season 4... And what a season that was! 

Never has it been more obvious to me that a new showrunner has come onboard,  from the first episode the style of the show as well as everything we knew about it did a complete 180. 

Forget the crazy spy-agency that sent agents on even crazier Kinsgman-style adventures, it is now a shell of its former self that has been dismantled before being bought by new recruit, ex-MI6 agent and (we assume) millionaire Russ Taylor to be turned into an independent organization.

But the Phoenix isn't the only thing that has changed … 

By far the most obvious change was with Mac himself who seemed to withdraw into himself more and more as the episodes went by, sinking into what seemed like a bottomless pit of desperation, probably born out of loneliness since the team fell out of touch over the 18 months gap between seasons 4 and 5.

This situation did get better for a while after he mended things with his new girlfriend, yes you heard that right, Desi is now Mac's girlfriend, but their relationship remains rocky, at best. Over the first six episodes it mostly translated to extremely cringy arguments inter-cut by even more awkward make out sessions at can only be described as the worst of times.

And what a shame that is. Desi, and her relationship with Mac have a lot of potential, it doesn't need to be overbearing, it just needs to be there, why can't this turn into an easy (and in the background!) thing , like the bromance that we used to enjoy so much. How sweet would it be to see these two just care for one another? They surely have the potential to do so since they understand each other so well (see the way Desi knows Mac's little habits when she compares him to Tesla in episode 10) and the actors seem to have enough chemistry to pull this off. 

BUT, for the sake of drama the new production team decided to introduce... a love triangle! 

Early on in the season, Riley realizes that she might have feelings for Mac, and sure, developing feelings for a friend can happen, but this feels more like an attempt to spark rivalries between the fans of the show in an effort to pitch team MacRiley against team Mesi (or MacDesi, nobody seems to know which one to use). 

Thankfully, this is all swept under the rug (at least for the most part) when new Big Bad Codex is introduced. 

Finally, Phoenix has an opponent worthy of the name, and one that has deep connections to our hero too!  The shadowy worldwide organization Codex is introduced in episode 8, when Mac (who teams up with his father and Mason, if you remember him from the season 3 finale) discovers that his thought-to-be-dead aunt Gwen (Jerry Ryan; Star Trek, Boston Public) resurfaces and unveils a plan to save the planet… by killing about a quarter of its population. 

Of course Mac doesn't agree with these 'sacrifice the few to save the many' tactics at first but after seeing his father sacrifice himself for him and having to watch yet another person kill themselves in similar circumstances in episode 9 (something that also happened in season 2 episode 10, I might add), we start to see a shift in his attitude toward Codex and their message, as he starts to see the logic behind it, even trying to find his own solutions to fight climate change, a growing obsession that worries the rest of the team to the point where they start doubting where his loyalties lie. 

In true Mac fashion - which was a breath of fresh air since even I was starting to get scared of where this was going - he decides to take matters in his own hands and fake-betrays Phoenix to go undercover with Codex in the season's final two episodes, something that sadly ends with Gwen sacrificing herself -much like James had done a few episodes before - and with the rest of Codex going back into hiding.

But the enemy remains … 

For once, I can say that I'm happy to see a storyline that hasn't been closed by the end of the season. With such a short order (only 13 episodes) it would have been a waste to create this massive organization that has connections all over the world only to see it being put down by one tiny plan being foiled. We can now only hope that Codex will stay in the shadows, always looming in the background as an opposing force to the phoenix. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention the very last scene of the season: Mac's hearing. This gave me a lot of hope that we'll see more episodes revolving around solving pubic safety or environmental issues in the future - now that the team doesn't have to answer to the government anymore.  This would of course, bring this remake a step closer to its original series, that was groundbreaking in its time for this very reason: its hero wasn't concerned with putting criminals away (though he did fill up the local jails significantly) but with helping people and communities in a non-violent manner. 

Now, I wanted to share a few things I'd like to see this season.

1. Some character development for Desi and Bozer. They are the only two characters that have never had a full episode dedicated to them, on one hand, meeting Desi's family or learning about her past would go a long way in helping the viewers understand her and on the other… Isn't Bozer the most understated and underused character on this show? 

2.  I would love to hear some news about Jack, though I know that seeing George Eads again is pretty unlikely, just a mention wouldn't hurt, right? 

3. This season has started production in November but had already shot 7 episodes before they had to shutdown. With Magnum PI integrating the pandemic into its timeline, I wonder how the MacGyver crew is going to handle this. So far it seems like newly filmed episodes will be squeezed in-between pre-pandemic episodes, but does that mean that COVID will happen in this universe? 

4. For Russ and Mac to finally become friends. We got little hints throughout season 4 that maybe these two would finally manage to get along, but their different views on pretty much everything will sure make this journey an interesting one to watch. Who doesn't love a slow-burn bromance? 

What about you? What did you think of this very … unique season? What are you looking forward to the most? Please leave a comment bellow, and I'll see you all for our first review of the season this weekend.