By the time most series reach their series finale, the show is burned out and wearily limping to the finish line. MacGyver was certainly burned out by season seven, and some of that fatigue was visible here, but in general the series finale was satisfying. Those hoping for the greatest adventure of all-time in MacGyver's finale were undoubtedly disappointed, but the episode succeeded on the character level, finally giving this dark loner a chance for a happy family life after multiple tragedies and lost opportunities. The fateful meeting of MacGyver and SAM was executed very well, and generally straddled the fence well in generating a misty-eyed response by fans without being gratuitously saccharine. The primary plotline involving Chinese labor prisons was decent, but was ultimately lost in the secondary plot that involved MacGyver meeting his long lost son, who, it should be said, was very well played by Dalton James. The scenes on the ship were probably the weakest part of the episode, particularly the absurd use of a water pressure tank as a jetpack. But everything played out admirably with a nicely done epilogue that still gets me choked up 15 years later. A fitting way to end the greatest series of all time.
The series also ended with a flourish in the ratings, broadcast on a Saturday night as one of three back-to-back finales of long-running ABC series (the other two were "Who's the Boss?" and "Growing Pains") in April 1992. And even though the other series were much bigger hits than "MacGyver" in their prime, MacGyver bested both of them in the ratings for the finale. Ranking 15th for its scheduled week, this was the only first-run MacGyver episode to ever rank in the top-20 highest rated shows. Kind of speaks volumes about "what could have been" had ABC handled the show better.