Episode: “Ugly Duckling,” season 1, ep. 18
Original air date: March 12, 1986
Mullet Status: In heated competition with a fe-mullet.
Plot Synopsis: MacGyver must help Kate, a socially awkward (re. excruciatingly annoying and badly acted) young hacker who is wanted by both the U.S. government and arms dealers who need her computer-savvy mind to help crack the launch code on a set of top secret missiles. The young woman, a self-proclaimed ugly duckling, and MacGyver form an uncomfortably close relationship, ostensibly because they share an affection for their deceased mutual professor and for looking down their noses at people who are less brilliant than they are. In reality, it’s easy to see why he takes a shining to Kate; she looks just like him, shitty clothes, haircut and all.
Outmatched Opponent(s): A set of arms dealers, the U.S. government and his own libido.
Love Interest (Y or N): “You are special, Kate. You just don’t see it.” Run away, Kate. Run. Away.
Explosion? (Y or N): Y
Exploding Car Chase? (Y or N): N
Expository Dialogue? (Y or N): How would I understand key points of the plot, or my own personal life experiences for that matter, if MacGyver didn’t take the time to talk down to me about them in a “just bringing you up to speed” kind of way?
Awkward Zoom for Dramatic Effect? (Y or N): Y; specifically of computer screens as they are being hacked.
Tools of the Trade: A triangulation device made out of a Jeep’s headlamp, side mirror, radio, an eyepiece from a set of binoculars and cactus juice (“It’s got electrolytes.”)
A stereo at a high-pitched frequency and a too-short cord (“I’m going to give them a royal pain in the ear.”)
1. “That’s where the blah-blah-blah marathon is held. I should know; I’ve run it twice,” MacGyver, humble as ever.
2. “What’s this all about?” MacGyver, wrenching a police officer’s badge out of his hand.
3. “I’ve never had much use for guns,” MacGyver, preaching about non-violent means of conflict resolution 2 minutes before he blows up the gas tank of a vehicle that two men are leaning against.
4. “I bet MacGyver doesn’t have sex outside of marriage.” – Me
“I think you could eliminate the ‘outside of marriage’ part of that.” – Long-suffering life partner.
Thank You, Captain Obvious:
“Looks like a missile to me.” – Illegal arms dealer after opening a wooden crate marked with “Snake Eye: U.S. Government” and observing a missile.
Important Life Lessons: Keep Angus MacGyver away from your underage daughter, particularly if she’s an unsocialized whiner with a butch haircut, a boxy denim/leather jacket and is “good with her hands.”
Rental Rehab review by Tricia, with special commentary by Adam.