You could probably sum this episode up best with "what could have been". First off, its a flashback episode, which more often than not are just made to be filler episodes. The previous three season finales have all been high quality productions, but this one feels tired, rushed, and low budget. What the episode does have going for it is Kristian Alfonso, who is arguably Macgyver's most memorable female adversary as Deborah from the Negotiator episode. However, as stated, half the show is dedicated to flashbacks either showing Jack's treasure hunting follies or previous villians who may have it out for Macgyver. The whole premise of the episode of Deborah wanting to just "look Macgyver in the eye" before shooting him is not enough to fill a half hour let alone one hour. Her appearance is wasted, and a sign to wise viewers that future Macgyver episodes will have some weak storylines.
First off this is a flashback episode. That alone should tell you to skip it. But there's about half of the episode of new footage, and about 15 percent of interesting new footage. To start with a unknown attack is after someone up in this fishing spot, where Jack Dalton has gotten some land that might have gold. Early on they show, nope there's no gold but the crew (Jack, MacGyver, and Peter Thorton) decide to have some fun anyways, go fishing, camping and just generally pal around. The problem is they keep talking about things in the area and flashing back to the last time they were "in a mine" or "out to sea" or basically anything that has nothing to do with the episode. The problem is these flashbacks are measured in minutes, and usually not singular. If you've seen the previous episode you won't see anything new, and they are too long just to give you a taste. Including three very short glimpses of Murdoc episodes
The assassin later turns out to be Deborah, and finally a useful set of flashback appears, again though the flashback is in the multiple of minutes time frame.
The problem though is when Deborah is revealed the entire episode falls apart. Deborah at the end of the original episode works with MacGyver to take down the guy who hired her. Why then would she again attack MacGyver? This isn't answered, instead she talks about how she loved him and that's why she failed, and then she says maybe she has the same feeling but she's going to kill him anyways. If this sounds cheesy, then you're on the same page as I was.
The ending is the obvious, killer about to fall off the ledge, MacGyver as always tries to save them, they take a final swing at MacGyver, and die in the process. It's about as obvious as can be.
The bigger problem is this has all been done before in some format, we have a very weak MacGyverism that's barely explained, too many and too long flashbacks, out of character killer motivations, and a extremely weak episode for the final episode of the season. Overall it's lucky the series continued but I think it would have been better if this episode was canned instead of shown. It would suck to miss an hour of MacGyver, but after watching I'd like to request a refund of the 42 minutes that I watched.
There was admittedly more going on in "Unfinished Business" than either of MacGyver's other two weak flashback episodes, but that's hardly a ringing endorsement of this anemic and predictable story. The episode peaked very early with the scene of Mac, Pete, and Jack panning for gold. From there, we were forced to endure the concept of watching the deft and slippery hit woman Deborah from "The Negotiator" reduced to hiding in the woods and waiting in the woods to ambush Pete when he decided to go fishing. The flashback sequences also played out incoherently, with MacGyver and Jack going through all sorts of random thoughts before it dawns on them that the predator just might be Murdoc, the guy who is almost always the predator in such instances, particularly in this specific neck of the woods. From the second Deborah and Pete walk past the sign labelled "Whistler's Cliff", the ending was predictable, and the dialogue between Mac and Deborah in the climactic sequence was far from the high standard established in "The Negotiator". Pete's story about the scorpion and the tortoise in the epilogue was nothing but an awkward 90 seconds of filler in an episode that already had far too much of both awkwardness and filler. Easily one of the weakest half dozen or so MacGyver episodes of all, and definitely a poor way of ending the otherwise astounding fourth season.
However, audiences helped make this the first MacGyver episode of the season to win its time slot. I'm sure if NBC's "ALF" and "The Hogan Family" were pre-empted that week in mid-May or if the were already in rerun cycles, but whatever the case, MacGyver ended his fourth season with more momentum than ever before and wasn't even going to be bounced around for Monday Night Baseball that summer. At least for that brief moment in time, MacGyver was riding high.
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