Any other comments on Thief of Budapest?
I'll add a few.
The opening gambit of Mac stealing back the horse from the tribal leader is one of the more remarkable ones in the whole series with the horse - and Mac - being swooped up into the air by the helicopter. RDA commented on this stunt at least once, maybe more, in one (or more) of his conventions, saying that he was allowed to ride the horse up about 30 feet but then they substituted a stunt double for him. He also said the horse was enjoying the ride = was not hurt. Good to know. Finally, the mustache on the tribal leader was quite remarkable...
The main episode takes place, of course, in Budapest, Hungary, during the Cold War. A double agent (for the West who has evidently been in some part of the communist block and who has retrieved a list of Soviet KGB agents who are working in London I believe) named Nikolai Grotsky has a watch with the list in it but he is killed before Mac can get the watch from him.
In the meantime, Yana, a young gypsy, pickpockets MacGyver's Swiss Army Knife but Mac gets it back until Yana steals it again. But more importantly, Yana steals the watch from Nikolai before he is killed....leading to Mac chasing Yana to get the watch back, only to find out she gave it to her brother Bruno. The police go after Yana too but pick up the rest of her family. Yana is in tears in Mac's arms. (By the way, Mac sure looks good in his white shirt....
Yana's family is taken to a prison camp which is for political prisoners. Mac has to MacGyver a way out of the prison camp for Yana's brother and the rest of her brothers. Mac succeeds using several MacGyverisms involving a supply truck, a mop, a bucket, some boards, some lightbulbs, some salt, sugar, and weed killer to make a bomb that will explode and act as a diversion. (Amazing the way Mac can find ways to make a bomb out of these items.....)
The police (one a Hungarian and one a Russian) of course are still after Mac and Yana to get the watch which Bruno. Yana to Mac: Why do they hate us Gypsies so? Mac: Some people are scared of anybody who runs free. It turns out, Yana's brother has sold the important watch to someone named Rena....so Mac goes looking for Rena.
He goes into a bar where there are several unseemly and mean looking characters (who Mac describes this way: "I see the beautiful people just stopped in to have a quick cocktail before the ballet."
who go after Mac....but he avoids them all and then Rena appears and asks him to come upstairs to meet with her. Mac says "Excuse me." to the bad guys = I laughed at that.
Rena offers Mac a drink bu t he says (and maybe this is the first time we learn this about him), "I really don't drink too much." Mac is then put to the "kiss test" = and passes it = meaning Rena says he is telling the truth about why he needs the watch back by the way that he kisses her. Mac says - Is that your lie detector? Rena says, "It's Gypsy magic". Rena, like Yana and the others, is also a Gypsy but she has disdain for the likes of Yana and her family. Mac uses the wine on a bobby pin to enlarge and show Rena the names of the KGB agents on the watch face. Rena asks Mac = what are you offering for the watch. Mac says he doesn't have much cash, does she take plastic
. Rena: I don't deal with credit. So, she gives Mac the watch and he escapes, sliding down the roof. (That looked like RDA doing that stunt of sliding down the roof which was a steep slide and drop).
Yana and her brother pick up Mac after he slides down the roof. Yana tells Mac she and her family want to go to America = saying some things she knows about the US of A like Clint Eastwood, Coca Cola and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun....
Mac of course is reluctant at first but then agrees to help them get out of Budapest and to go to America. Then starts the amazing car chase that uses (info from Kate's lexicon here on the website) stock footage from a 1969 movie. Mac gets Yana to duct tape her radio to the police radio that Yana has stolen and then attaches that contraption to some hot air balloons which lift it up high enough to cause the music from the radio to override that police as they are trying to communicate to their men...which works of course.
The car chase ends with the 3 cars breaking through the barricade that separates the old communist enclave from the free West. Mac gives his Swiss Army knife to Yana and she gives him her necklace with the medal of the patron saint of gypsies on it....and, of course, they hug. Mac once again has this fantastic relationship with a young person in one of his episodes....something that will carry through the entire series.
All in all an informative episode about the old Cold War conditions and about Gypsies and about the desire for freedom as Mac triumphs for the good.