Episode: “Every Time She Smiles,” season 1, ep. 16
Original air date: Feb. 16, 1986
Mullet Status: An appropriate counterpoint to his female opposite’s ultra-coiffed beauty pageant helmet of tresses.
Plot Synopsis: It’s a tale of international intrigue when MacGyver is unwittingly pulled into an Eastern European jewel heist after his path crosses that of Penny Parker, a beautiful, bouffanted young American actress with a fast mouth and a slightly slower-than-average intellect.
Outmatched Opponent(s): Various Bulgarians with nondescript Eastern European accents. His primary foe is Penny’s former lover, Stepan Frolov, whom MacGyver refers to sarcastically as “Steve.”
Love Interest (Y or N): Penny (Teri Hatcher) catches Mac’s eye, despite the fact that she won’t shut her high-pitched yapper long enough to let him brag about himself in full. The pair share a steamy kiss at a cafe, causing MacGyver to run abruptly from the establishment back to his hotel room, where he can participate in his ritualistic bleach cleanse and an hour of self-flagellation as penance.
Penny Parker would later appear in 5 additional episodes of MacGyver and off-screen, Richard Dean Anderson and Teri Hatcher were rumored to be quite the hot item. Oh, Internet. You never fail to impress.
Car Chase? (Y or N): Y, with a bonus CAROUSEL chase for good measure
Explosion? (Y or N): Y
Exploding Car Chase? (Y or N): Y
Expository Dialogue? (Y or N): Kept to a dull roar
Awkward Zoom for Dramatic Effect? (Y or N): N
Tools of the Trade:
–Coat hangers and a coat rack used to escape from an airport security holding room. (Fun fact: I’m fairly certain the metal coat rack is the same prop MacGyver can be seen nuzzling in Pete’s office in “Ugly Duckling.”)
-Needing to create a diversion that will allow Mac and Penny to escape from Stepan’s apartment, Mac mixes up a bit of “kitchen chemistry” using a “deep cooking pot, a dash of pest control, a few measured cups of soap flakes and tile cleaner left to steep” which is then set off in an explosion by a delay-fuse comprised of a layer of lard, oven cleaner and newspaper that is left under a hose of natural gas from the stove. While the same effect could have seemingly been created by leaving a match under the hose and running out the door, that wouldn’t have been nearly as needlessly complicated.
-During a car chase, Mac leaps out of a moving car’s sunroof onto a moving tanker truck (presumably filled with water, as in addition to his many skills Mac apparently can read Bulgarian). There, he attaches a hose to the exhaust pipe because diesel exhaust is loaded with hyrdocarbons and when you mix hydrocarbons with water you get immiscible liquids, which as we ALL know means that they don’t mix, so when they are poured onto the road, it creates a “water hazard” for the cars in pursuit, which in turn leads to a fairly substantial crash/explosion. MacGyver can watch with the smug satisfaction in knowing that he once again chose the non-violent approach to problem-solving.
– “It’s a matter of conscience, Steve” – MacGyver, when he and Penny are threatened at gunpoint by Stepan.
– “I will try to unconfuse you.” – Stepan’s uncle to Stepan. Ha, ha, those silly Eastern Bloc-ers and their malpropisms.
– “Are you crazy?” – Stepan
“It’s been rumored.” – Mac (cue the toilet flush sound effects)
– “I have Swiss bank account number 1779.” – Stepan, sweetly believing that four digits are all the details necessary to penetrate an account in one of the banks in one of the most secure banking systems in the world.
Thank You, Captain Obvious:
“Get them!” – Bad guy with Eastern European accent as MacGyver and crew escape. (See also; every other episode for further examples of this.)
Important Life Lessons:
When MacGyver loses a game of chess to an old Bulgarian man with whom he is exchanging sensitive top-secret data, Mac visibly grimaces. Later, he hangs the old man out to dry, letting him suffer capture and torture at the hands of the men who are trying to find MacGyver. What have we learned? Never let MacGyver believe that you are better than him at anything.
Rental Rehab review by Tricia