It wasn't until late November 1988 that MacGyver returned as a regular fixture on ABC's schedule, allowing its sitcom competitors on CBS and NBC a six-week head start in the new season. As was the case going into nearly every season, MacGyver was expected to be the casualty of this arrangement, but actually went on to have his most consistently season ever in the ratings--and in quality--just as NBC's "ALF" and "The Hogan Family" began to lose a little steam and CBS's veteran sitcoms "Newhart" and "Kate and Allie" completely fell apart. The darker and more intense tone of season four likely contributed to larger number of viewers taking notice, showcasing a new side of the series and helping it feel fresh. The haunting tone of "Blood Brothers" is an excellent example, serving up new revelations of MacGyver's tragic past involving his responsibility for an accidental shooting death of his best friend when he was a boy. The story dovetails nicely with an old friend's son whose made himself the target of drug pushers who have taken over his hometown. The story is compelling and the characterizations are much stronger than usual, with a clever and emotional epilogue involving the unearthing of a 25-year-old time capsule. My only grievance was the overly preachy anti-gun tone. I don't have strong feelings either way on guns, but this episode was a precedent-setter for the series taking itself entirely too serious. This episode wasn't as bad as some from upcoming seasons on the preachiness front, but I still cringe when the medic laments "when are they gonna do something about guns" as he looks at Jesse fighting for life. Just my opinion....
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