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MacGyver 2.17 – Dalton, Jack of Spies

For Jack Dalton’s second appearance on MacGyver, they put together a showreel of all the many occasions he’d got our hero into some scrape or other. Of course, there was only one previous episode from which to draw this footage, so they reordered the material to make it look and feel like it came from a whole host of other adventures. MacGyver’s narration goes “He was always doing this, and he was always doing that,” and if you’ve actually seen “Jack of Lies”, your eyes are bound to roll. Is this supposed to fool anybody?

The answer, amazingly, is yes. Marie volunteered that this was the first episode she saw with the character, and she convinced herself there was a pile of episodes that she had missed! Since I’ve been a little hard on this show for repurposing footage, I guess I should give them a good mark for doing it well enough to get away with it. Although they really, really missed a trick by not giving the actors some different clothes and faking a couple of new scenes from previous adventures. Sure, this is the old guerrilla filmmaker in me talking, but when they had the cameras set up with at least two police cars and uniformed extras for the on-location scene at the end, they should have just given Richard Dean Anderson and Bruce McGill each new shirts and come up with some quickie dialogue about the mess they were in this time. What would that have taken? Twenty extra minutes?

Speaking of shirts, Lee Purcell is in this story as a CIA agent called Shadow – yes, her partner was named Light – and she has the two least suitable outfits for secret agenting you’ve ever seen. We meet her in a PG-rated okay-for-eight-pm strip club wearing something not entirely unlike what Vanity wore in the “Nasty Girl” video, and for the following morning’s adventure, she’s wearing an awfully 1980s church outfit, a conservative blue dress completely unsuitable for climbing under chain link fences or getting thrust into garbage trucks by thugs with pistols. She’s not dressed like she’s going into the field on assignment, but like she’s having a meeting with the new district assistant manager of direct sales for Amway. No wonder the wardrobe manager couldn’t find extra shirts for Anderson and McGill if he or she couldn’t even find a pair of blue jeans for the female lead!

That’s all from MacGyver for now, but we’ll be back with a look at some selections from season three in June. Stay tuned!

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