Recently we at Eat, Prey, Hate have been watching MacGyver. Why, you ask? Shut up! If you have to ask why, you clearly have not seen this show. The brilliance, the artistry, Dana Elcar holdin’ it down at the Phoenix Foundation office, despite his diminishing eyesight: this show has it all.
Of course, the show’s primary thrust comes from the highly adaptable MacGyver, a one-man invasionary force who eschews traditional means of subdual like weapons and fisticuffs in favor of paperclips, shoestrings, and of course, his trusty pocket knife. This Richard Dean Anderson character has enjoyed renewed interest in the past few years, after the satirical MacGruber of SNL brought the ABC show back into the cultural imaginary.
However, the high point of the show’s 7 seasons were the 9 episodes featuring Micheal Des Barres as Murdoc, a villainous hit-man intent on ending MacGyver’s resourceful career. Truly, these episodes comprise a moment in televisual – nay American – history that will be looked upon with awe and reverence for centuries to come. Murdoc is the epitome of super-villain, and his predation must be acknowledged.
Murdoc, an agent for 8/9 episodes at HIT (Homicide International Trust), ironically does not acknowledge the laws of nature regarding death. It is this trait that establishes him as arguably more predatory even than his nemesis, MacGyver. You see, in his encounters with MacGyver, he is hurled off a cliff twice, caught in explosions, thrown down an elevator shaft and in various other ways exposed to forces that would kill any ordinary man. “Oh,” he seems to say, “I fell off a sheer 4000 ft cliff with no rope or parachute? No worries. Caught in a fireball? Merely a bit warm. I will scar a bit, but even those will end up disappearing without explanation. That’s how I roll. I’m straight up Twinkie, bitches! You cannot destroy me!”
This is Michael Des Barres (the Marquis Des Barres, BTW), the actor who portrayed Murdoc. I mean, just look at this guy. C'mon.
Even more deserving of recognition (I know, how is cheating death to be bettered??) is Murdoc’s strident refusal to simply kill MacGyver. In every single one of their intersections, Murdoc has the drop (or multiple drops) on MacGyver. He has gun in hand, and it is aimed at MacGyver’s face. A squeeze of the trigger, and mullet-man hits the ground, stone dead. However, Murdoc will not sink to the level of mere killer; no, he is a homicidal artist, a villainous van Gogh, a pernicious Picasso. His pursuit of MacGyver is but an expression of his craft, and he will not simply double-tap Mac’s head and be done with it. Instead, with supreme aplomb, Murdoc concocts murderous situations that would make the most creative Bond or Batman villains green with envy. And, like those visionaries, Murdoc, too, is so confident in his elaborate death traps that he leaves the scenes, giving Macgyver the space and time to deftly escape.
Here, Murdoc calmly waits for MacGyver to enter his trap, so that he can use his trusty bazooka.
Despite this seeming failure to ever carry out his contract, Murdoc’s continual resolve and dedication to exalting murder to a new plateau of artistry, and his blatant thumbing of nose at Death himself establish the killer as the epitome of predatory animal. Sure, a case could be made for MacGyver in similar fashion, but Murdoc apparently has an exoskeleton and assuredly has the mentality of a true genius. Oh, and did I mention that he consistently cross-dresses to get the job (almost) done?
Game recognize game.