"Honest Abe" was not a very good omen for what MacGyver's seventh and weary final season would bring. While the shtick of guest star Shelley Berman was amusing in the very beginning, it grew tiresome in just a few minutes. But Berman seemed like a genius compared to the three stooges the episode featured as villains, none of whom had a single funny line to deliver despite many attempts. Worse yet than the Harding Aeronautics villains was one-horse dictator Peugot, this allegedly brutal tyrant who ended up being a doltish dime-store magician attempting parlor tricks in between executions. The believability factor was nonexistent throughout with these cartoonish characters. But with all that said, the story wasn't half bad, and scriptwriter Lincoln Kibbee (who could usually be counted on for a strong script) could have had a decent and adventurous season premiere if he had toned down the silliness impulse by about five or six notches. I definitely have to give props to final MacGyverism where a shaving mirror was used to deliver Morse code and release the knockout gas from the helicopter. Nice to see MacGyver producers immediately taking advantage of that L.A. sunshine. If they were still in Vancouver, a storyline requiring sunshine would have been more a gamble.
The weariness of the series was also evident with the audience. After a not-so-hot performance in summer reruns, MacGyver's season premiere crashed to a series-low 8.6 rating (the previous all-time low for a first-run was a 9.8 rating). With all four of its competitors ("Evening Shade", "Major Dad", "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", and "Blossom") improving their way to top-25 status in the ratings, this was the worst possible time for MacGyver to reach its creative nadir. On the other hand, the basic economics of the time basically assured that MacGyver was in its seventh season regardless of ratings performance. The show was generating a below-average $90,000 per 30-second ad rate, while costing $1.5 million per episode to produce after moving back to L.A., making it one of the most expensive shows on TV. Clearly, the series was approaching its natural end point....and the audience seemed to agree.