IN REVIEW: MACGYVER: SEASON 4 – Loyalty + Family + Rogue + Hellfire

The Phoenix Foundation is forever changed when MacGyver’s Aunt Gwen manages to get into his head about family and connection and convinces Mac and Riley to join Codex.

Synopsis: The Phoenix Foundation is forever changed when MacGyver’s Aunt Gwen manages to get into his head about family and connection and convinces Mac and Riley to join Codex.


The Story

This episode opens with MacGyver being picked up by his Aunt Gwen and some of her CODEX people. She takes him for breakfast and talks him through some of CODEX’s plans in the hopes of getting him onside. Mac, however, sees where she is going, but doesn’t approve of the cost in human life that it would take. Gwen lets Mac go in order to let him think things over, but gives him a few things to think about as well. Especially where it concerns what happened to his mother.

Meanwhile, at Pheonix. Russ Taylor is having doubts about MacGyver’s loyalty and thinks he is going to turn sides and join CODEX and is working on other members of the team to convince them that Mac is no longer with them. When Mac arrives a big argument breaks out and Russ pretty much tells MacGyver he can go before he heads off to Washington with Maddy to get authorization to go after CODEX by any means necessary.

Back at Phoenix. Riley, Bozer, and Desi have a little meeting of there own because they are somewhat questioning Russ’s theories that Mac is about to turn his back on the Phoenix Foundation. Bozer and Desi decide to stay with Russ while Riley decides to help MacGyver who is about to break Scarlett the CODEX operative out of the Pheonix Foundations holding cell and pay his Aunt Gwen a visit and see if he can prevent things from escalating.

Having returned from Washington. Russ intercepts MacGyver as he attempts to break Scarlett out of holding, but despite his best efforts Mac and Scarlett manage to get away and are met by Riley. Riley, Mac, and Scarlett make their way to where the CODEX facility is, but get chased by some CODEX operatives. Back at the Phoenix Foundation. Russ who has the go-ahead to fire on CODEX is monitoring Mac and Riley and realizes that they are trying to get away from CODEX, but before he can prevent it. One of the soldiers that came over to the foundation from DC with him targets the CODEX complex and fires a missile at it. At this point, MacGyver with help from Riley and Scarlett drives as fast as they can to the complex while Mac rigs up a Tesla style device in order to shut the missile down.

Back at the Phoenix Foundation. Maddie has taken control of the drone and manages to steer it away from the CODEX compound. Russ is still unhappy though because he thinks the only safe way to stop Codex is by destroying them by cutting the head off the snake.


The Acting

Lucas Till puts in a solid performance this week as we see MacGyver try to argue his corner with Russ. The adversarial nature of Russ and MacGyver having different ideologies about how things should be done really shines through in this episode. Henry Ian Cusick is fantastic as Russ Taylor and it was great to see the character in conflict with MacGyver’s more idealized world view. Mac thinks that he can potentially talk to the people at CODEX down from their radical plans. Whereas Russ feels that no amount of talking is going to make them back down.

Jeri Ryan makes a welcome return as Aunt Gwen, who comes off as less of a villain in this episode as we learn that she has been going all out to protect MacGyver all along. We also learn that she is not the person in overall charge of the CODEX organization.



This was perhaps the strongest episode of the season thus far. I loved that we got to see MacGyver asserting himself a bit more and going off on his own in order to do what he needs to do. Irrespective of what Russ has to say about. I also loved the scenes he shared with Jeri Ryan as Aunty Gwen.

While I still do not think this reboot is as good as the classic series. It has come on immensely in the last year or two and is now very much its own thing with a new mythology that works for it. The addition of Desi last season was a step in the right direction, but I think Russ coming in as someone who has a different approach than Mac has also improved things by giving the show some much-needed conflict between the characters.

MACGYVER: SEASON 4 – Loyalty + Family + Rogue + Hellfire
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI & Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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