I have mixed feelings on the resolutions here. On one hand, Magnum's return to the Navy is a perfect way to resolve the show. Suddenly, the entire series takes on a new meaning, in that it's been Magnum's way of working through the issues he brought home from the war. It's basically his second childhood that he finally has to grow out of.
But at the same time, it's a little disappointing to realize that the entire dynamic of the show is over. Unlike many finales, we're not left feeling that the characters will continue to evolve and grow old together. By removing Magnum (and his investigations), the characters lose the essential link that had kept them so close for so many years.
Higgins fares the worst here, and it's the one aspect that somehow just doesn't seem right. We know Higgins would be more of a grandfather to Lily than her great-grandfather ever could've been. (Or that her step-grandfather will be.) We also know that Magnum's absence will affect him deeply, as we saw in One More Summer. Overall, I'd prefer to think that Magnum resumed his naval career, but continued to reside at the estate.
As for Rick, I actually thought he got the best of all the "friend" subplots. Cleo obviously wasn't right for him, but that's perfectly in keeping with the tone of the show (and character). The final joke was exactly how that subplot should've ended. Even if Rick went through with it, there's no way it could've possibly lasted.
Finally, the subplot for poor TC felt almost like an afterthought. There's really no reason to think that he and his ex-wife will finally work through their differences, but at least he's finally got his son back. Bryant's inclusion in these final episodes bolsters The Great Hawaiian Adventure Company, and makes it a lot more essential than it is on its own merits.
I'd have to agree Shermy
on some points but I disagree on some others.
I look at this episode (actually the entire season, now that I look at it) making a metaphor out of the entire series, and that "Resolutions" is almost a catharsis of sorts.
If you go back to the pilot episode, Magnum says "I woke up one day at 33 and realized I'd never been 23". I think the entire series pretty much revolves around that ONE statement at some level or another, and the psychiatrist in "Pleasure Principle" hit it on the head when he told Magnum that he needed to grow up. I think his near death experieince and events leading up to this episode have made Magnum realize that he DOES need to grow up and go back to the Navy.
In terms of Magnum's great grandfather, I thought the inclusion of him in this episode was kind of lame. I mean, I get the character comparison of him and Magnum in terms of personality, but I felt the character was pretty disagreeable in general. The only thing I can say is that maybe it was looking at his great-grandfather and the way he lived his life that made Magnum solidify his decision.
I'd like to believe that Magnum remained in Hawaii with his friends to raise Lily, instead of returning back to Tidewater. I agree with Shermy that Higgins would be a better grandfatherly figure than anyone in Magnum's family. (One thing on my wish list for this episode would be for Frank Peterson to show up and complain about his asthma and Higgins drop the "Karate Chop of Doom" on him).
Other than that, I think it ended up on a decent note.. Higgins "retires" per se, Magnum raises Lily, Rick goes on being Rick, and TC goes back to his family (which I think was a request of R.E.M.).
As I write this, I've come up with another of my kooky ideas....
OK, its been established (or at least I have) that Magnum PI is about Magnum shirking responsibility and living this crazy life after having a rigid and structured military background, and the end of the series is for him to return back to that life.
So Magnum being covered, here are the other shirked responsibilities.....
TC goes back to his family (which I believe he left shortly after the birth of Melody, given the duration of the series and her age).
Rick, well, I don;t know what Rick does. Maybe re-open the Snow Palace?
Now, as for Higgins and the "shirking responsibility" thing, maybe he ditches the Robin Masters facade and starts publishing under his own name?