Saturday, August 5, 2017

MacGyver Script Analysis: Lesson in Evil

It's time for the 8th installment of my 139 part Script Analysis series where I compare an original script with the final episode.  After the last three scripts came from my lower tier of episodes, I'm happy to say that this one comes from the top tier -- that's right, it's Lesson in Evil starring Dr. Zito!

My script is a 2nd revised final draft dated 9/20/90, and the episode aired on 10/29 -- a notable event as it was the first episode I ever watched.  The author is the great John Sheppard, and the episode follows the script very closely.
  • Zito is described as looking distinguished, even in prison drabs.  His eyes are piercing blue, like being burned by dry ice.
  • In the script, after MacGyver tells the judge that Cross hanged himself in his cell, he adds, I wouldn't be surprised if Zito talked him into that, too.
  • Here's the full conversation in the script between Skinner and Murphy after the hearing (9:09 mark):
    • Skinner: It's not an act, lieutenant.  His behavior's the result of years of therapy and treatment.  He's not the same man you remember.
    • Murphy: I remember he killed nine people.
    • Skinner: That Zito no longer exists.  If only you saw him in our sessions.  He cries when he thinks of his past crimes.
    • Murphy: Since when's a guilty conscience enough to get a killer released?
    • Skinner: He was sick.  And like any sick person, a cure is possible.
    • Murphy: And you really believe that he's come that far?
    • Skinner: I'd stake my professional reputation on it. 
  • I wrote the recap for Lesson in Evil a while ago (1/15/15) and didn't remember what I had written.  It was funny how during my most recent rewatch, I jotted down some thoughts about the episode in general (i.e. not pertaining to the script in particular) such as "Why would they even consider letting Zito go free?  How does Zito get out of the courthouse without anyone noticing him?  How does Zito know Pete's parking space number?  Why does Dr. Skinner yell at the top of her lungs when she sees MacGyver in the cell?  Is that the same staircase from Blood Brothers?"  Then I re-read my original post from two and a half years ago and discovered that I had made every one of those same points.  I guess I haven't changed much.
  • During Zito's escape, the script describes him as unrecognizable.  The plot element would have made more sense if he snuck out of the building without anyone laying eyes on him rather than in a two-bit disguise with blood dripping off of him.
  • We learn from the script that MacGyver has parking space 19 next to Pete's space 20.
  • A fun brainstorming game would be to think of how many villains entered MacGyver's home throughout the series.  We never see Zito actually in the houseboat but we know that he has been there.  Just off the top of my head, I can think of Murdoc, Deborah, Ellen Jerico and her assistant, the Out in the Cold mobsters, the Children of Light thugs, the bug planter in Brainwashed, and the Split Decision bookies.  I feel like there are more I'm not thinking of.
  • Another script-only conversation when Skinner is in the ice bath:
    • Skinner: Zito, you're sick.  Turn yourself in, I promise no one will hurt you.  You can trust me -- I want to help.
    • Zito: Help me?  How, doctor?  More therapy, perhaps?  Endless questions...probing...Try and imagine what it's like to have somebody poke their grubby fingers into the secret corners of your mind, making you face your nightmares, over and over.  Maybe then you'll understand how much I loathe and despise you.
    • It's good this part was cut because it undermines Zito's lesson in evil, that he's attacking the doctor (and the only person who would help him) for no other reason than his evil nature.
  • There was a discussion in my original Lesson in Evil post and in the comments about why MacGyver trips the trigger after seemingly solving the riddle -- does he do it on purpose?  After reading the script, it's clear the answer is yes.  With one leg on safe ground, MacGyver sets the other foot onto the rigged plank...He jumps back as the Bell CRASHES into the rail.  He'd have been decapitated had he gone for the gun!  So the idea is that even though MacGyver knows what's coming when he sets off the trap, he still gets knocked down by the force of the bell.
See my main MacGyver page for links to my other Script Analyses.  I recently got another script, so there will definitely be a 9th installment in the Script Analyses series!

2 comments:

  1. I figured the implication was that MacGyver figured out the "three fates" riddle but apparently missed that the bell was part of it and thought he could set it off without consequence. That still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me and I feel like it should have been made clearer.

    Congrats on owning a John Sheppard script! Assuming you're joking about a "139-part script analysis". How many more do you have in waiting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to do the 139 part series (actually I guess it's 141 with the two movies), but they're hard to come by. I only have one more in waiting -- another season 6 episode.

      Delete