I switched off the television.
“Well, there it is,” I said. “Seven seasons, the cycle of MacGyver is once again complete. Arguably the last and greatest of the TV series from the non-ironic joke-freezeframe-rollcredits endings era. There may be a dénouement of direct-to-TV movies, but the story is told.”
“It was a very touching and well-done final episode,” Creepy allowed.
“It was, wasn’t it?”
“Hm,” I sipped my coke, and we sat in contemplative silence for a time.
“Pity there was one more episode after it, really,” Creepy went on.
“An episode about the fountain of youth.”
“Yeah,” I admitted, “but you know, it was an airdate thing – the show got cancelled in weird circumstances and Richard Dean Anderson was worn out. Seven seasons was a lot for a non-soap, back in the early ’90s.”
“True,” Creepy admitted. “He needed a break for a few years before all that Osiris stuff came back to bite him when the Phoenix Foundation rose from the proverbial ashes to become the Stargate Program.”
“I keep telling you, the shows aren’t linked.”
“Oh come on,” Creepy snorted. “How can it be a coincidence that all of the watershed episodes of the entire MacGyver series revolved around Egyptian artefacts? All that happened was, by the late ’90s the plausible-deniability requirement of the Phoenix Foundation being a civilian organisation had gone away, and they were free to be up-front about their absorption into the US Air Force. Tell me the espionage and special ops stuff MacGyver did was something the US military would have outsourced,” he waved his coke, splashing it on the carpet in a caffeiney benediction. “The Stargate teams even refer to the practice of cobbling together solutions from available materials as ‘MacGyvering’, establishing not only that this is the same universe, but that they’re familiar with his work. And when they make the reference, O’Neill does this twitchy double-take, because he thinks they’re about to give away the fact that he’s returned to active duty under a false name.”
“Just look at how MacGyver ends and Stargate SG-1 begins. In the former, MacGyver and his son retire and go off on adventures. In the latter, O’Neill is retired and traumatised because his son died. Oh, they fub it a bit with O’Neill’s son being a kid who dies accidentally because of a gun … but don’t you see, Hatboy? That’s just MacGyver’s interpretation of events. He projects his regrets over missing his son’s whole childhood, and therefore remembers his adult son as a child. Relatively speaking, he only spent a couple of years with his son either way, his time as a father was what counted. And so as far as he was concerned, his son was just that kid he’d never gotten to know. Even the inclusion of an estranged Mrs. O’Neill, when in fact the mother died years before – also by the gun – is so much window-dressing.”
“The sons had different names – Sam, and Charlie.”
“Pshaw,” Creepy responded. “The son was called Tyler in the Stargate film. The name isn’t important, what matters is how MacGyver / O’Neill felt about him. Heck, it was so powerful that later on, when the son reappears in various forms, it’s as the kid O’Neill has reconstructed in his head.”
“O’Neill doesn’t have much of a problem with guns,” I pointed out.
“True, although he prefers C-4 and claymores. And his acceptance of the gun as part of his new life is actually evidence in favour. It’s a powerful symbol of how the death of his son affected him. After losing a childhood friend to accidental gun death, and the only woman he would ever love to a shooting, and then living his entire adult life without using a gun-”
“Except for the pilot episode-”
“Right, and the one where he gets amnesia, but even then he just picks it up and then uses the cartridges instead – after all that, it comes full-circle and his son dies in the same way, even after they have that talk about guns. And so MacGyver gets closure on the three-act tragic ballad of the gun, and O’Neill takes up the weapon with a vengeance.”
“Also, Teal’c was a high school jock in that episode where MacGyver is trying to help kids from dropping out of school. Either because of an untold time-travel incident, or because he was transplanted there somehow as a pre-symbiote Jaffa, thus explaining his immediate and surprising trust and respect for O’Neill, when so many others had tried to stand up to the Goa’uld and failed. Why else would Teal’c tell them right at the start that he had no information to give them, only to then eke out his near-encyclopaedic knowledge of the wider galaxy over the next ten years? He was obviously playing a deeper game than anyone suspected, and didn’t want to contaminate the timelines. Just look at how he smirked in that episode in the school. No wonder he took to his Earthly life and assumed human identities so readily. He was previously-experienced.”
I gave up. “They also managed to make a story with a long-lost son who turns out to be a chip off the old block that avoided any terrible Crystal Skullism,” I noted, “despite being overall a pretty similar idea and dealing with a character of similar notoriety and cultural popularity.”
“Crystal Skull was all a projection fantasy too. Henry Jones Junior died horribly in a fused-shut refrigerator, and the entire story was nothing more than a desperate attempt on his brain’s part to escape what was happening to his body in its final moments.”
I considered it.
“Actually, you may have a point with that one.”