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Traumafessions :: Reader David D. on MacGyver ep. “Kill Zone”

January 26th, 2010 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments

From my humble beginnings, according to my mother, I was a sensitive child. Quiet, bookish, a catch and release the firefly sort of kid. I would cry when other neighborhood children would keep them in jars or squish them against the sidewalk. This sort of behavior did not sit well with my Father and he would try, to the best of his ability, to toughen me up. We would watch grown up type movies. Not ‘adult’ movies but movies like TRUE GRIT, TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. These watching habits extended to television as well, THE A-TEAM, KNIGHT RIDER, these were all shows enjoyed by me while my dad read the paper and nodded approvingly whenever MR. T punched a dude, my dad even let me have the recliner when they were on.

“This sounds like a perfect childhood, Fauntleroy, where is the trauma?” you ask.


The year: 1988.

The person: An 11-year-old me.

The show: MACGYVER. I had to look up the title of the episode, “Kill Zone,” and the year (my memory isn’t THAT good).

In this particular MACGYVER, he is sent in to some wilderness to investigate reports of animals dying after a satellite crashes to Earth. I may be wrong about the satellite, but the episode had a real ANDROMEDA STRAIN feel to it. It turns out, a weird bacteria has returned with the crashed object and this bacteria, upon exposure to a living thing, accelerates the aging process to fatal levels. We’re talking a lifetime in a matter of minutes. A sample of the bacteria is sent to a lab for analysis where it comes into the hands of a dedicated lady scientist who is softened by the presence of her beloved dog. How could this scientist be so obstinate? Look how much she loves her dog.

The episode progresses. MacGyver fixes stuff with a paper clip, etc. etc. Eventually, he is supposed to destroy said organism, its existence deemed too dangerous to the planet Earth. The dedicated lady scientist isn’t having it. The organism is simply too important to destroy. She locks herself in the lab with her dog and the organism sealed in a glass container for further study. Alas, the beloved dog misinterprets the glass container holding the bacteria for a toy and knocks it from her hand, releasing it in the sealed laboratory.

The dog immediately begins to age, its black fur becoming gray seemingly before MacGyver’s eyes. It limps to the lady scientist’s lap and dies in her arms while she also begins to show signs of age. MacGyver runs to find some way to free her from the lab but by the time he returns, she is horrifyingly old and, in my opinion, kind of looks like a gray haired version of The Hag from the trauma inducing movie CURTAINS. It wasn’t enough that a dog withered and died in front of my eyes while its owner apologized and said ‘she hoped it doesn’t hurt’, no, I was also treated to the grim visage of death itself, in the form of a grizzled old woman.

I ran from the room, oblivious to my father’s cries of, “For crying out loud! It’s just MACGYVER!” I never watched another episode of MACGYVER again for truly this was a one/two punch: soul crushingly sad, followed by horrifying.

Finding the clip online was easy, WATCHING said clip, an entirely different matter. I did not, but I am including it for those whose morbid curiosity is unquenchable. Don’t say I didn’t warn you:

Tags: Traumafessions

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 PJScoldsNo Gravatar // Jan 26, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I was a sensitive kid too, and used to watch reruns of MacGyver with my Grandma all the time. I must’ve been about 6 when I saw this episode and just thinking about it gives me a horrible feeling of dread. I’m pretty sure this episode started my obsession with death, and increased my sympathy towards animals. Ace was the dog’s name, it’s messed up that I still remember it, but I sure wish I could forget I ever saw this episode.

  • 2 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Jan 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Good One!  IMHO not as devastatingly sad as the end of the “Jurassic Bark” ep of Futurama (warning – do not watch) but combined with the awful hag, this scores pretty high on the traumameter.  If I had seen it at age six, it would have sent me packing.  There was a moment there when Mac grabs the diskette storage box and holds onto it for a moment and I thought that he was coming up with some way to reverse the aging process with it!

  • 3 shoggothkeeperNo Gravatar // Jan 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I think this is one of the few episodes of MacGuyver I have actually  seen.    I didn’t really like the show that much so I never watched it but  I did catch this episode and was kind of floored because it was really good.    Turns out that Terry Nation wrote this one.  That’s right, the same guy that wrote for Doctor Who and created the Daleks.

  • 4 JergyNo Gravatar // Jan 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Once I saw the screen cap it all came flooding back to me. I didn’t watch Mac through its entire run, but I did watch it weekly for a good while. I remember several episodes were quite creepy. There  was one that had a bigfoot legend attached that I remember being creepy but I can’t find any info on it.

  • 5 AsatNo Gravatar // Feb 9, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Reminds me of an extremely traumatizing issue of “Life With Archie” (yes, the kid from Riverdale) that featured a box that caused instantaneous, horrific aging.  Skin-melting-off-faces-like-wax aging.  Clearly this was not originally written as an Archie story, but some editor figured “hey, this would be a good opportunity to seriously mess some kids up in the classic EC style!”  Life With Archie was often a lot edgier than the rest of the company’s comics.  #160, I think, after the Towering Inferno story.

  • 6 usonianNo Gravatar // Sep 25, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Jeez, I remembered being mildly disturbed by this episode but I had completely blocked out the part about the dog.  Now I remember being a lot more disturbed by it.

  • 7 whalefan444No Gravatar // Mar 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Actually Jergy… the bigfoot one wasn’t that bad… a little jumpy at parts but pretty good. It’s called “Ghost Ship” and is from Season 3 of MacGyver.

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