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MacGyver Online Forums > Episode Discussions > 4.11 - Psy-Op + Cell + Merchant + Birds


Posted by: MacGyverOnline 10 July 2019 - 01:04 AM
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4-11 Psy-Op + Cell + Merchant + Birds

Airdate: April 24, 2020
Story: Stephanie Hicks
Teleplay: Cindy Appel & Andrew Karlsruher
Director: Ericson Core

Guest Cast:
Amber Skye Noyes (Scarlett)
James Callis (Chive/The Merchant)
Ming Lo (Frank/The Chinese Captain)
Adele Drahos (Tech)


Mac is placed inside a fake prison cell with a top Codex operative, The Merchant, in order to gain his trust and get intel on their next move.

Posted by: Shy175223 24 April 2020 - 08:00 PM
First of all as much as I don't like Mac/Desi, I DO like the character Desi, and if indeed the only reason for character being in show was to be a LI for Mac, than I agree with some ppl by saying they did the character wrong. I don't think the relationship will last despite being Mac telling Desi that he's the one who loves her because of the fact that he had said at rather tense moment. Don't know IF he really meant what he said .


It does look like that they are heading for a triangle with Desi/Mac/Riley which is worries me. Triangles in a relationship is never good. There is some indication that Riley DOES have some feelings toward Mac but won't admit to it , no even to Bozier because if she does admit to it, It would make things even more complicated than it already IS. After what Mac just said to Desi, would Mac feel the same way about her?

Posted by: real_ness 24 April 2020 - 11:48 PM
So Mac just admitted there are diff versions of himself when he said "the one that loves you". All Desi heard was love and I heard "the one that...".

Between Evil Mac, MacDesi turning Desi into a woman clouded by emotion when she was so efficient and militant when she was introduced. And worst of all a seemingly random and no point love triangle; at what point did Riley want to climb Mac's ladder all of a sudden, what was the catalyst...?

Posted by: Dragondog 25 April 2020 - 01:29 AM
I feel like the actual fight with Codex was brushed aside too easily. So the fight we saw was staged, and the real Codex was already detained? That was way too easy, if they fought them off so quickly and efficiently that they never even made it close to where the Merchant was kept, than either Codex was unprepared, or not strong enough, and neither is particularly threatening.

Also, MacDesi drama at the most inconvenient times. Wow.

Posted by: DashboardOnFire 25 April 2020 - 01:55 AM
QUOTE (Dragondog @ 25 April 2020 - 11:29 AM)
Also, MacDesi drama at the most inconvenient times. Wow.

that seems to be a Lenkov specialty.

like the heroes spilling their emotional guts and plans and investigations in front of/to the villains or the lead characters fighting with each other during a stakeout blink.gif

Posted by: BabyEinstein 25 April 2020 - 04:02 AM
First, I thought the episode was great. It explored the conflicts within Mac and how he has not resolved his feelings about a lot of things. And I thought Lucas's acting was too notch. Second, the show is 42 minutes. They couldn't possibly show the actual takedown of the Codex agents. Third, Desi is a woman. Yeah she was her badass self taking down Scarlett but why isn't she allowed an emotional side? I get that the Mac/Riley shippers don't like her, but I've read the complaints that she's too cold and now there are complaints that she showed emotion. Frankly, that shower scene was great and showed how their relationship has advanced. Fourth, Riley was living with her boyfriend for over 6 months. .maybe she's always had feelings for Mac but not until Desi did she realize what they were. That's to be explored at a later time. Fifth, I think there's more going on with Russ and I love his interactions with Mac.

Overall, I thought the episode was a tour de force for Lucas (Callis was great, too) and it sets up the coming showdown with Codex. Mac going rogue? I think it's part of his plan. Even the Merchant said Mac's the one to save the world. And as Mac has learned, and which seems to be a running theme, is sometimes you have to do the wrong thing for the right reason (echoed by both his father and Russ)

I am loving this season because Mac's character is showing such development. He has many facets and as in real life, traumatic events will make or break him. ( I think of course he'll come out stronger).


Next week cant come fast enough for me.

Posted by: BabyEinstein 25 April 2020 - 09:32 AM
Btw did any one else notice Mac asked about the birds if that would be a problem and Russ shrugged him off. I wonder what Russ' endgame is? We find out in ep. 13 his real reason for buying the Phoenix. More mystery.

Posted by: DashboardOnFire 25 April 2020 - 02:27 PM
Preliminary Ratings: http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/the-sked-friday-network-scorecard-4-24-2020.html

Not as good as last week, but still good.

Posted by: Dragondog 26 April 2020 - 01:39 AM
I don't have an issue with Desi showing emotion, just when she shows it at the wrong time. Her talk with Mac would be better suited for later at his apartment, not in the middle of the mission

Posted by: DashboardOnFire 26 April 2020 - 01:59 AM
I liked the episode. Also, the last few episodes gave me a lot to think about because there's a lot of psychological aspects this season.

I thought the interactions of Mac with Clive and Russ, but also Desi, were very interesting and giving more insight into the characters - and also into the writers' intentions and course-corrections over the years.


It’s not really surprising yet still very interesting that rebooted Mac - who’s not very good with emotions - has the most successful friendships/relationships with men who are: Bozer, Jack and Russ. They are very attuned to their own emotions and good at reading them in other people (Bozer and Jack by nature; Russ maybe also by having additional education; maybe a psychology degree?). And even if they maybe made wrong decisions (e.g. Jack leaving Diane and Riley, letting Sarah get away), they’re not afraid to deal with the emotional fallout, embrace their emotions, learn from them and to show them. And (sometimes unconsciously) teaching Mac how to do it and get better at it.

I think the writers and the producers realized early on that while Desi was a good “replacement” as an overwatch, she wasn’t as good as a replacement for a character filling the void of the missing bromance that also balances the “emotional void” that Mac sometimes has.

Remember when Desi said in 3x16 that he sort of has to “suck it up” when looking for the missing pilot/friend and telling Mac how dangerous it is to let the emotions cloud his judgement on a mission; to keep his "emotional distance" and being professional? And the fans being all outraged how the “new Jack” is so different? They set her up as the rational, more distant character (similar to Bones vs. Booth; maybe already thinking about making her a love interest later), but sort of missed the point that while Mac has had no difficulty to show emotions when “being allowed” (in a safe space; with a person who will lead him through it), he’s still not the same emotional type like Seeley Booth or Jack Dalton. They later realized that’s not working and softened Desi for Season 4, but to me, they sort of overdid it - or it feels to me like they did (because we never got to see Desi fall in love with Mac and change due to the time jump). It’s normal for people to change over the course of 18+ months, but to us it feels like emotional whiplash laugh.gif.

And of course, that’s why they brought a character like Russ in - who’s very similarly attuned to emotions like Jack, about the same age and now acts as sort of the father-figure. They split Jack into two characters (Desi and Russ). Sadly, Bozer somehow got lost on the way with the midseason order leading to condensed writing. As I said before, I don't really mind Justin having less screen time this season but for character development, Bozer used to be helpful.

I’m curious how Lenkov will deal with all that Matalas has set up in the 1st half of this season. I’m hoping for the best, but sort of fear for the worst for the 2nd half of the season laugh.gif

Posted by: real_ness 26 April 2020 - 01:45 PM
Anybody's guess about Where did Riley's admiration for Mac come from is as good as anyone else's, but I really don't see any correlation between Riley's infatuation with Mac and any of her boyfriends. None of them were like Mac.

It just seems to me CBS (even though they aren't the only ones) can't make a show without the the male and female leads climbing into bed with each other. They did before with Elementary so I know they can at least try. Now they are taking turns climbing into bed with each other.

Posted by: DashboardOnFire 27 April 2020 - 12:38 PM
Final Ratings: http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/showbuzzdailys-top-150-friday-cable-originals-network-finals-4-24-2020.html

Posted by: DashboardOnFire 28 April 2020 - 08:57 AM
Blog post about the MacGyverisms by Tech Consultant Rhett Allain: https://rhettallain.com/2020/04/28/macgyver-season-4-episode-11-science-notes-psy-op-cell-merchant-bird/

Posted by: Krug 28 April 2020 - 02:56 PM
QUOTE (real_ness @ 26 April 2020 - 01:45 PM)
Anybody's guess about Where did Riley's admiration for Mac come from is as good as anyone else's, but I really don't see any correlation between Riley's infatuation with Mac and any of her boyfriends. None of them were like Mac.

It just seems to me CBS (even though they aren't the only ones) can't make a show without the the male and female leads climbing into bed with each other. They did before with Elementary so I know they can at least try. Now they are taking turns climbing into bed with each other.

Except for the fact that it's been hinted at and pretty obvious for about three seasons now.

They became close friends who always seem to be there for each other and know what the other one needs. Sometimes that leads to one party developing feelings beyond friendship.

A trope as old as time.

Posted by: Krug 28 April 2020 - 04:15 PM
I had a super busy weekend for a change and the work week has been just as breakneck. So, my re-watch may not be as in-depth as it could be as I squeeze this in while I can.

-Having read the previews the suspense of where is Mac is a bit undercut. Still, where are they?

-"You're that teenager from the Falcon organization." A nod from the writer's room on this Mac's youthful presentation?

-The Merchant is a fascinating character well-played by James Callis.

-A guy named "Clive" laughing at the concept of somebody being named "Angus" is rich.

-Ah, so the prison is at Phoenix. Russ' bottomless bank account.

-AWKWARD. What couple showers together with a third wheel in the house? laugh.gif

-"A deranged chat show host." Yes! Perfect description of The Merchant.

-Good to know Bozer has a "rodent guy."

-1...2...3...I think you've been made, Phoenix.

-Yes, pull him out, Russ. Also, great leadership from Russ. We did this at MI6...it didn't work. unsure.gif

-"They have our location." Uh, Phoenix, it appears everyone does by this point.

-The war room doesn't seem like a great location to leave The Merchant.

-Ugh, this Mac and Desi scene is really out of place.

-Here's that Desi/Scarlet showdown they've been foreshadowing.

-*headscratching* Another DEUS EX MACHINA resolution. This one stung a bit a bit with no buildup. And it certainly doesn't make Codex look too formidable either.

---

This was a good episode up until the weasel-y way they wrote themselves out of the conflict. The high points all seemed to come when The Merchant was on screen, and he capped that off with his final conversation with MacGyver ("there isn't just Codex or Phoenix...there's you").

---

QUOTE (DashboardOnFire @ 26 April 2020 - 01:59 AM)
They later realized that’s not working and softened Desi for Season 4, but to me, they sort of overdid it - or it feels to me like they did (because we never got to see Desi fall in love with Mac and change due to the time jump). It’s normal for people to change over the course of 18+ months, but to us it feels like emotional whiplash laugh.gif.


The biggest difficulty I have with Mac/Desi is that the relationship seems really a departure from what one would expect of Mac and from what was presented to us of Desi in S3. You're right in that the time jump really cost them any chance at true character development and what we're left with is a confusing scenario where we are supposed to care about a relationship that we haven't been given any good reason to believe should be cheered for or even exist.

To me, it still comes off as a relationship of physical convenience devoid of anything but superficial ideas of a true emotional connection. Mac just blurting out "I love you" at a time the two were in a "high-risk" situation (or one that was presented as such) where one of the two was unsure about the other's emotional/mental state? Classic bad relationship trope.

Say what you will about Mac/Riley, but at least seeds have been planted about a real emotional connection between the two over the years.

I didn't watch a ton of Bones, but from what I recall there was a palpable underlying sense even from the get-go that Bones/Booth would be part of the series' end game. Of course, you got to see that relationship mature and grow over time, and come to make all the sense in the world. You have the exact opposite here, and it's tough for a lot of people to buy their supposed chemistry.

They are certainly planting some seeds here for what seemed to be the long-term play starting a few seasons ago. Hopefully, it happens a non-tacky way and they avoid the cliched love triangle. I have my doubts they will.

Posted by: real_ness 28 April 2020 - 09:37 PM
QUOTE (Krug @ 28 April 2020 - 05:56 PM)
QUOTE (real_ness @ 26 April 2020 - 01:45 PM)
Anybody's guess about Where did Riley's admiration for Mac come from is as good as anyone else's, but I really don't see any correlation between Riley's infatuation with Mac and any of her boyfriends. None of them were like Mac.

It just seems to me CBS (even though they aren't the only ones) can't make a show without the the male and female leads climbing into bed with each other. They did before with Elementary so I know they can at least try. Now they are taking turns climbing into bed with each other.

Except for the fact that it's been hinted at and pretty obvious for about three seasons now.

They became close friends who always seem to be there for each other and know what the other one needs. Sometimes that leads to one party developing feelings beyond friendship.

A trope as old as time.

That doesn't necessarily mean sexual chemistry and that's just as well saying he should be with Bozer then, then because they've done all that longer than MacRiley has. People have to be presented with example of men and women in close quarters NOT climbing over each other because in reality it doesn't happen way more than it does.

Posted by: Dragondog 29 April 2020 - 12:11 AM
QUOTE (Krug @ 28 April 2020 - 07:15 PM)
I had a super busy weekend for a change and the work week has been just as breakneck. So, my re-watch may not be as in-depth as it could be as I squeeze this in while I can.

-Having read the previews the suspense of where is Mac is a bit undercut. Still, where are they?

-"You're that teenager from the Falcon organization." A nod from the writer's room on this Mac's youthful presentation?

-The Merchant is a fascinating character well-played by James Callis.

-A guy named "Clive" laughing at the concept of somebody being named "Angus" is rich.

-Ah, so the prison is at Phoenix. Russ' bottomless bank account.

-AWKWARD. What couple showers together with a third wheel in the house? laugh.gif

-"A deranged chat show host." Yes! Perfect description of The Merchant.

-Good to know Bozer has a "rodent guy."

-1...2...3...I think you've been made, Phoenix.

-Yes, pull him out, Russ. Also, great leadership from Russ. We did this at MI6...it didn't work. unsure.gif

-"They have our location." Uh, Phoenix, it appears everyone does by this point.

-The war room doesn't seem like a great location to leave The Merchant.

-Ugh, this Mac and Desi scene is really out of place.

-Here's that Desi/Scarlet showdown they've been foreshadowing.

-*headscratching* Another DEUS EX MACHINA resolution. This one stung a bit a bit with no buildup. And it certainly doesn't make Codex look too formidable either.

---

This was a good episode up until the weasel-y way they wrote themselves out of the conflict. The high points all seemed to come when The Merchant was on screen, and he capped that off with his final conversation with MacGyver ("there isn't just Codex or Phoenix...there's you").

---

QUOTE (DashboardOnFire @ 26 April 2020 - 01:59 AM)
They later realized that’s not working and softened Desi for Season 4, but to me, they sort of overdid it - or it feels to me like they did (because we never got to see Desi fall in love with Mac and change due to the time jump). It’s normal for people to change over the course of 18+ months, but to us it feels like emotional whiplash laugh.gif.


The biggest difficulty I have with Mac/Desi is that the relationship seems really a departure from what one would expect of Mac and from what was presented to us of Desi in S3. You're right in that the time jump really cost them any chance at true character development and what we're left with is a confusing scenario where we are supposed to care about a relationship that we haven't been given any good reason to believe should be cheered for or even exist.

To me, it still comes off as a relationship of physical convenience devoid of anything but superficial ideas of a true emotional connection. Mac just blurting out "I love you" at a time the two were in a "high-risk" situation (or one that was presented as such) where one of the two was unsure about the other's emotional/mental state? Classic bad relationship trope.

Say what you will about Mac/Riley, but at least seeds have been planted about a real emotional connection between the two over the years.

I didn't watch a ton of Bones, but from what I recall there was a palpable underlying sense even from the get-go that Bones/Booth would be part of the series' end game. Of course, you got to see that relationship mature and grow over time, and come to make all the sense in the world. You have the exact opposite here, and it's tough for a lot of people to buy their supposed chemistry.

They are certainly planting some seeds here for what seemed to be the long-term play starting a few seasons ago. Hopefully, it happens a non-tacky way and they avoid the cliched love triangle. I have my doubts they will.

This. All of this. You're better with words than I am laugh.gif

And DEUS EX MACHINA was exactly the term I meant, and it really does make CODEX look pathetic

Posted by: DashboardOnFire 29 April 2020 - 03:23 AM
QUOTE (Krug @ 29 April 2020 - 02:15 AM)
-"You're that teenager from the Falcon organization." A nod from the writer's room on this Mac's youthful presentation?

I think Clive must have met up with Murdoc at some point tongue.gif

Posted by: Krug 29 April 2020 - 09:02 AM
QUOTE (real_ness @ 28 April 2020 - 09:37 PM)
QUOTE (Krug @ 28 April 2020 - 05:56 PM)
QUOTE (real_ness @ 26 April 2020 - 01:45 PM)
Anybody's guess about Where did Riley's admiration for Mac come from is as good as anyone else's, but I really don't see any correlation between Riley's infatuation with Mac and any of her boyfriends. None of them were like Mac.

It just seems to me CBS (even though they aren't the only ones) can't make a show without the the male and female leads climbing into bed with each other. They did before with Elementary so I know they can at least try. Now they are taking turns climbing into bed with each other.

Except for the fact that it's been hinted at and pretty obvious for about three seasons now.

They became close friends who always seem to be there for each other and know what the other one needs. Sometimes that leads to one party developing feelings beyond friendship.

A trope as old as time.

That doesn't necessarily mean sexual chemistry and that's just as well saying he should be with Bozer then, then because they've done all that longer than MacRiley has. People have to be presented with example of men and women in close quarters NOT climbing over each other because in reality it doesn't happen way more than it does.

All very true...but they've at least built towards something on that end. The current relationship foisted on us happened all off-screen and minus the flashback to Thailand (which did very little to prove anything other than the point I've made above) is all we've gotten to flesh it out.

Now it's very well possible the whole Riley thing is unrequited...but they've kind of written themselves into a corner here regardless.

Maybe it has to do with the younger "presentation" of this MacGyver (despite being exactly the same age in S1 as the original was), but it's interesting to note the lack of pushback from the female audience (everyone seems to be "stanning" one or the other) compared to when they tried to pair off RDA. How times have changed. Of course, this MacGyver has far less known past relationships (Penny, Nikki...and...) than the OG that could be "inconveniently" written into the narrative, and even when they had that chance (Frankie, for instance, which I actually could have gone for, speaking of Bones/Booth), they declined.

In general I've enjoyed this season...the one downside has been the strange handling of Mac's intimate relationships. I'm not against it (people love love after all), but it needs to "feel right," ya know? Anyone watch Castle, Castle/Beckett was fantastic, but it wasn't rushed nor forced into the series narrative either. That's the key. A relationship for the sake of the main character having one? Blah.

We shall see where this goes.

Posted by: Krug 29 April 2020 - 09:05 AM
QUOTE (Dragondog @ 29 April 2020 - 12:11 AM)

This. All of this. You're better with words than I am laugh.gif

And DEUS EX MACHINA was exactly the term I meant, and it really does make CODEX look pathetic


They're becoming more-and-more prevalent as shows lose more-and-more runtime to adbreaks, but man, did it really stick out in this one.

Everything with The Merchant and Mac in the cell was so well-conceived, written and performed. The episode (and some of the story's narrative) fell apart a bit for me when those two weren't on-screen together.

Posted by: Krug 29 April 2020 - 09:08 AM
QUOTE (DashboardOnFire @ 29 April 2020 - 03:23 AM)
QUOTE (Krug @ 29 April 2020 - 02:15 AM)
-"You're that teenager from the Falcon organization." A nod from the writer's room on this Mac's youthful presentation?

I think Clive must have met up with Murdoc at some point tongue.gif

It's not gonna happen but I would love to see Murdoc somehow involved (even on the fringe) with Codex, particularly The Merchant. Alas...

Heck, I'll go for any Murdoc this season. whistle.gif

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