When I was first made aware of the potential of a Colton brothers spinoff late in MacGyver's sixth season (this episode was actually a holdover from season six originally scheduled to air in May), I was excited. I enjoyed all of the episodes featuring the Colton brothers, and respected the capable actors portraying the four characters. But what a disappointment it was, featuring one of the dullest stories this series has ever seen. The pyrotechnics of the explosion scene early in the episode was the only salvageable element even from MacGyver's cameo, where we witnessed our hero reduced to begging a dog to deliver him a plastic bottle of sulfuric acid (huh???) to eat through the ropes that bound he and Frank together. The rest of the episode was simply boring, with an attempt to persuade us that Billy was only old enough to be preparing for his freshman year at college, and in which it became obvious that Frank and Jesse would always be saved from termination by the bulletproof vests they slipped on every morning. The episode was at its most logistically ridiculous when Frank and Jesse somehow led the two bozo cops on a wild goose chair at the hair salon by apparently dressing strangers up to look like themselves and then letting them take their red van. Just as bad was the scene where supposedly dead Frank and Jesse were having a conversation and beckoning their bulldog savior even though there was an armed guard only a few yards away. In short, the episode was a complete and unsalvageable mess, and I was shocked to see that series executive producer Stephen Downing was the primary scriptwriter for such a wasted effort.
Ratingswise, "The Coltons" put up MacGyver's best numbers so far in season seven. That was the good news. The bad news is that the episode's 9.8 rating tied for MacGyver's worst ever rating for ANY first-run episode prior to season seven. It was abundantly clear to everyone by this point that MacGyver was gonna meet its demise in season seven....and meet it earlier than otherwise expected.