Higgins asks Thomas to investigate when Robin Masters' latest manuscript is stolen. Complicating matters further is the return of St. Louie P.I. Luther Gillis, who arrives for an unexpected stay. For the penultimate episode, rather disappointing...
'Transitions' is the final regular episode of 'Magnum, p.i.', before the two-hour / two-part finale 'Resolutions', which originally aired a couple of months after this story. And for the penultimate story, I found this one to be very disappointing in most regards.
This episode marks the fifth, final time that Eugene Roche guest stars as St. Louie gumshoe Luther Gillis. Although I wasn't to sure about him in his first appearance (in season four's 'Luther Gillis: #521'), as I have commented in other reviews he soon toned down from being a gruff know-it-all to a lovable bumbler. So I was pleased to see the character to make one last appearance here – but wondered why the put him in the episode exactly. He has very little to do, and in many ways seems to have been added as an afterthought.
Maybe they just wanted to give a popular recurring character one last outing, but I'd have preferred – if they couldn't give himself and Magnum one last tough case to crack – that they had just given him a cameo in 'Resolutions' instead.
I find the story to be very bitty, and the plot seems to be about virtually nothing in places. For much of it, it plays as more of a character piece than case-driven, and while I don't mind this occasionally in MPI, for the last regular episode before the finale, I personally would have hoped for something more.
The episode really plays upon the notion that Higgins might really be Robin Masters (a concept introduced in season seven's excellent 'Paper War'), and the thrust of the plot is that someone other than Magnum believes Higgins to really be Robin and is trying to kill him. This idea had a lot of potential, be it played out either as a comedy or more seriously, but here the concept very much falls flat.
The idea that the attempts on his life are reflected from Robin's novel is again full of potential, but again handled clumsily and unclearly. To me, the whole episode just feels to be thrown together late in the day, a filler to bump up the season's episode count.
I also knew all along that the culprit behind the trouble would turn out to be Suzi Merill (Randy Brooks) – she is given such prominence throughout the story and just 'happens to be there' with little explanation, that I found it blatantly obvious.
I do like the final scene though, with Higgins (battered and in a wheelchair after the Audi crashes) looking across the city with Magnum, and Higgins almost giving too much away about whether he is really Robin or not, and then changing the subject with "Isn't it a lovely day out". Despite this episode's disappointments, this line and the final shot are a lovely way to finish the last regular episode.
This isn't my least favourite episode of the eighth season – that goes to the unfunny 'comedy' 'A Girl Named Sue'. More than anything, this one is just such a disappointment.
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