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Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 9 :
You knew after last week’s finale that Michael was keenly aware that the bible with the name Simon inscribed in the front wasn’t just a cipher. It was a connection back to the crazy loon who tried to kill him at the end of last season.
With a bargaining chip as huge as the bible, Michael was compelled to use it in a game of high stakes poker with Vaughn.
For more on that and how to turn an air conditioner into a killing machine, read on.
Vaughn finally returned to the scene when Michael sent out signal that they needed to talk. It must have been some signal because Vaughn showed up just before Hurricane Dana.
Michael asked for a face to face with Simon and threatened Vaughn to get it. Michael had to play the ‘danger’ card, even going so far as to turn Vaughn out in the storm. It was a risky move, but — clearly — Michael knows that he was asking a lot. And it doesn’t matter that Fiona and Sam think anything involving Simon is like walking into a mine field, Michael is determined to do things his way.
For a change of pace, Miami wasn’t pretty and sunny. It was post-hurricane, leaving the city strewn with debris and the cell towers out of commission. The latter was a great touch because too many shows rely on cell phones these days. Without cells, CB radios were employed.
The case of the week involved Lane and Harris, Michael’s FBI tails from season one. They hired Michael to save their asses and find James Bailey, a drug witness, who was being hunted by two hit men.
Cole, the hit man, was easily tracked by the tell-tale gun he used. When Michael found him, Cole mistook Michael for Matt Reese, the second hit man on the case.
It made for an uneasy alliance because Cole was a nasty, bitter adversary. He was a disgraced Marine — he’d been framed and dishonorably discharged — and he gave Michael a lot to handle. When the real Reese showed up, along with his team of three, Michael had to think fast and run faster.
Michael needed more than speed to solve the case. He had to use his wits. Recognizing that Cole was still a Marine at heart, Michael offered Cole the one thing that was most precious — his trust. He had to trust that Cole wouldn’t kill him to get to the witness. Michael was betting on the fact that, ultimately, Cole wasn’t a professional killer. Fortunately for Michael, he was right. And after securing the witness, Michael let Cole walk.
To get to Michael, Vaughn tried going through Fiona. Her antipathy to management was palpable, so Vaughn tried to sweet talk her. He offered her a tempting deal. Give up the bible and Jesse would get un-burned.
The problem was that Fiona had no affinity for Michael’s plan. She didn’t want him to meet Simon and she was in agreement with Vaughn that Michael was addicted to his profession.
But what Fiona did have was an abiding faith in Michael. And she’s still in love with him. So as tempting as the offer was, Fiona couldn’t betray Michael, not even to save his soul and restore Jesse’s career. And she was smart enough to tell Michael about Vaughn’s visit.
So next week, Michael will get his wish. He’ll have that one on one with Simon. It should be explosive because no matter how Michael prepares, how will he keep Simon from getting in his head?
Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 8 ‘Where There’s Smoke’ : Well, you have to hand it to ‘Burn Notice.’ Tonight they came up with a twist that was totally unexpected. It made the show for me, and after last week’s disappointing adventure with a frozen-face Burt Reynolds, this was a welcomed return to the vibrant ‘Burn Notice’ we’re used to. For more on the uses of a light bulb and the new geometry among the team, follow me after the jump.
Any time you engage one of the main threesome in a life or death situation, ‘BN’ is compelling viewing. In this case, it was Fiona who was in jeopardy. Lately, Michael has seemed so disengaged, it was refreshing to get him agitated. And coming on the heels of last week, when Fiona called him out for being a disappointment to her, this was a good carryover story line.
Sam was using his Charles Findlay alter ego again, this time with Fiona along as his trophy wife, Charlotte. Bruce Campbell in a tux looked positively Bondian — the beefy Sean Connery 007 from ‘Diamonds Are Forever.’
Dressed to the nines, Fiona and Sam were doing security for a couple hosting a fancy party. They thought they’d be protecting a thing — in this instance a priceless lithium battery — but before any guests arrived, kidnappers ambushed the house and took the wife. To protect the client, Fiona got herself kidnapped, too.
Fiona, naturally, had the wherewithal to protect herself. She also quickly assessed the danger and realized it was a lethal situation. Alas, the client — Christian (Steven Culp) — wasn’t taking Michael and Sam’s advice. It was a good situation for ‘Burn Notice,’ especially since it was high stakes with Fiona in danger.
There were some very good moments for Emmy-nominee Sharon Gless. First, we had Madeline set off the bank alarm with a cigarette. Unfortunately, Maddie wound up getting apprehended. Fortunately for Jesse and Michael, Maddie was resourceful enough to play the ‘widow card’ and get herself released before the cops were called in.
Later, Maddie refused the brush-off from Michael when she heard about Fiona’s kidnapping. “Go get your girlfriend,” she told her son. In the end, it was Maddie who saw things as they really were. Jesse’s lack of focus during the kidnapping was due to his emotions. Jesse likes Fiona. As in like on the way to love. “It’s always each other,” that’s how Madeline explained Fiona and Michael’s love/hate relationship.
When Michael and Fiona were reunited and kissed passionately, the look on Jesse’s face said it all. However, even if Jesse now knows that Fiona and Michael are more than colleagues, will he just keep his feelings to himself? Like I said at the top, the geometry has changed. This is a triangle, one that’s unexpected, but welcome.
Just the notion that Michael has competition for Fiona is tantalizing, but then when you factor in Jesse discovering that Michael was the guy who burned him and also the guy who has the woman that Jesse loves, that’s intense. Fiona may also have something to say about Jesse’s affection for her. Should be explosive, which is how you would want it to be with Fi.
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The Bandit was on ‘Burn Notice‘ tonight in the person of Burt Reynolds. I’d love to tell you that it was great to see the big screen star from the 1970s and 1980s on television again, but it was rather painful to watch him in action. File this under the heading of the AARP edition of ‘Burn Notice.’ For more on Gator and the spy who didn’t want to come in from the cold, read after the jump.
There’s nothing wrong with the elderly on TV. Betty White has been completely delightful this year on a myriad of shows. However, Burt was stiff as a board and I’m not referring to his botoxed face, which didn’t change expressions very much. He just moved really, really slowly and — as a result — the entire episode felt stilted.
There was another aspect of the casting that bothered me. Instead of Paul being sharp as a tack, he was dotty. He couldn’t remember the combination to his safe, for example. Sorry, but for a guy who was once Michael Westen, it was really depressing to think that he would become this kind of relic. Later in the episode, they attributed Paul’s problems to memory troubles.
Okay, that’s not unusual for the elderly, but I would have liked it better if Paul had known more than Michael and Sam at some point, like the character that Tim Matheson has played on ‘BN,’ Larry Sizemore.
The one time Paul showed real grit was when he shot the lead Russian point blank without remorse. From his point of view — as a Cold Warrior — killing a Russian in Miami was completely legit. James Bond would have pulled the trigger, too. And the upshot was that the corrupt Congressman was compelled to cover the death or risk scandal. In exchange, Michael got Paul the protection he needed to retire in peace.
In dealing with the Russian assassination team, it was weird to find out that Michael Westen is an infamous boogeyman? Really? Westen has been a secret agent up till now. Are we going to find out that every spy and spook around the world knows of his exploits?
Marv was played by Richard Kind, but he wasn’t interested in helping Jesse or Michael. Yes, he knew Westen, too. And later, so did the politician. Michael should be more under the radar.
After a personal appeal, Marv came through with some intel for Jesse. Fiona destroyed the evidence to protect Michael. However, she wasn’t happy about it. She smacked Michael when she told him, and let him know that she was concerned about how he had been changing.
Fiona’s an emotional character, so her reaction made sense. However, Michael’s been changing for a while this season and it’s been overdue for her to call him out. So much of what Michael has been doing seems like a chore. Watching Jeffrey Donovan grimace and groan at certain points in this episode was disturbing. Michael used to enjoy his cases more, feeling he was on a mission. Now he’s looking like he’s just on a job.
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Have you fallen
a little out of love with ‘Burn Notice‘? Not me. Not yet. Sure, there’s not the snap, crackle and pop of the earliest episodes, but for fun television and an entertaining hour of spies and spy stuff and cool capers, ‘Burn Notice’ still does it well. For instance, tonight we learned about IR paint and how to use a belt as a lock when you’re being chased. For more on that and how to break a ‘cleaner,’ read on after the jump.
Kendra’s interrogation was the more interesting story of the week. This was not like other ‘Burn Notice’ confession scenes. She was a hard case, unwilling to crack. The fact that she was an experienced, hired killer — a cleaner — meant that she knew most of the games Michael and Jesse were going to run on her.
It was also good to see Jesse and Michael bickering and out of sync. It’s been a little too easy up till now watching them fall into an easy working relationship. A little tension was welcome. Some fans haven’t been happy to see Jesse as part of the team, but I like him. I like the fact that he’s got a different temperament than Michael. And there’s still that ongoing subtext about Jesse someday finding out that Michael burned him … even though he didn’t mean to.
Buddy, the client of the week, was an interesting lowlife. He reminded me of Barry. Buddy was a knock-off artist, a counterfeiter of shoes and handbags, who needed the freelance commando skills of Michael and Fiona to save him from being killed by a nefarious client of Buddy’s. How nefarious? He tried to do Buddy in with a hot tub assassination.
Did you recognize Mr. Bocklage? That was Alan Dale, better known as Charles Widmore from ‘Lost.’ He was playing another rich guy with arrogance, sort of his calling card. The Alexander the Great sword was sort of a MacGuffin, but it did set up a good scam. The likely suspect, the one Michael and Fiona convinced me was the guy, wasn’t. Mr. Slippery was actually Mr. Set Up By Someone Else.
Bocklage’s security expert, Selena, turned out to be Ms. Slippery. Michael’s bombing of the tires on the car managed to stop her with the sword strapped to her breast — over the clothes, naturally. While the chase was short, it sure looked like they did some odd rear-projection. I’ve never noticed that on ‘Burn’ before and it didn’t look very good.
The preview for next week was the Burt Reynolds’ episode. Hard to make a judgment based on just a few snippets, but it looks like the emphasis will be on the comic rather than the serious.
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The latest wrinkle in ‘Burn Notice‘ has been Kendra the assassin, who killed Jesse’s contact. She’s a smart cookie and dangerous, but just how she fits in to the overall season story has yet to be revealed. That said, there’s been no talk of who burned Jesse or what Vaughn wants from Michael for a couple of weeks. Is this a calm before the storm or are they just dragging it out for the length of the season? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Kendra is quite a character. So far I like her more than Carla or Detective Paxson among the women who’ve been out to get Michael. Kendra is talented. She outwitted Sam and Michael and escaped a perfectly nice trap that they had set for her.
Operation ‘Boring Tape Drive,’ as Sam dubbed it, involved a 1980s tape drive that nobody could decrypt because the technology was so antiquated. Considering he’s such an old warrior, it was surprising that Sam didn’t have an ancient tape drive in a garage or storage unit somewhere. They needed a hoarder to find the right machine to play the tape.
The case was set in a clinic where drug dealers were selling heroin on the street. David was the reluctant client; he believed in calling the cops. He was a tough guy to convince, but Michael was committed to helping him. In for a dime, in for a dollar, that’s the Westen style.
Sugar, Michael’s drug dealer neighbor from season 1, was back providing Sam with some intel and Michael with some contacts. The idea of using the greed of the pusher to get him to screw up his operation was smart. Only the clients objected to Michael sticking his neck out for them.
Leave it to ‘Burn Notice‘ to come up with a clever way to do surveillance: a model remote control airplane with a camera attached to the fuselage. It wasn’t a big part of the story, but it was a cool element.
It was interesting that Michael wasn’t really listening to advice from Jesse and Fiona about how to deal with the dealers, but a story from Madeline about Michael and his brother Nate’s past got through to him. Michael may act like his mother is an annoyance and a pain in the neck, but she’s a moral compass for him. She reminds him that in his soul, he’s a boy scout.
There’s a real visceral charge when you watch the good guys beat the bad guys. When David stood up to Cutler, Michael compared the situation to sending your kid to school for the first time and hoping he does all right. You could see David growing in confidence as Jesse and Fiona gave him the kind of fire power back-up that Cutler couldn’t counter.
Since Michael couldn’t decipher the tape, he decided to lure Kendra out by offering to sell her the tape. After a few failed meet-ups, Michael agreed to a remote location where he was alone and unarmed. Sure enough, Kendra double-crossed him. Fortunately, instead of a gun, she preferred a Japanese knife.
So Michael and Sam took Kendra hostage and as the previews show, they’re going to try and get her to talk. Should be fun.
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For Michael Westen, life has become quite a balancing act. Since the wrap up of the Simon situation at the end of the previous episode, in which Michael managed to save Management’s butt — i.e. John Mahoney’s character — he was treated pretty well. You could even say he’s in the cat bird seat. For more on that and the sojourn to the jungle, read on.
The place where Michael landed was a beautifully-appointed office. It looked like it had been decorated by Martha Stewart, and it probably smelled nice with all those tangerines and bananas. The latest development for Michael is an opportunity to work with the people who burned him but now value his services. Consider it an offer he can’t refuse because if he said no, would he have gotten out of the holding facility?
Vaughn (Robert Wisdom) took Michael on a quick trip to a jungle where they dodged automatic weapon fire from a drone, and Vaughn was wounded. Back in Miami, he demanded that Michael decide if he was in or out. Michael chose in, but on his terms. It’s his investigation, which is better all the way around because that leaves him free to continue doing his Robin Hood work on the side.
Michael’s initial reunion with Madeline was rather subdued and a little disappointing. Fortunately, the return at the end of the episode packed a punch. Michael lowered his shield and admitted to the one person who knows him like nobody else — his mother — that when Simon laughed at him, it hurt. In that moment, Michael needed his mother’s hug. It was a side of Michael that has rarely been shown.
With Fiona, Michael’s return included a quick kiss then it was back to work on a case. Michael was actually miffed that she wasn’t more mushy about seeing him again — and that she and Sam were back in business — but what did he expect? Still, it was a nice reversal because usually Fiona’s the one demanding emotion from him. Now, he was looking for her to give him love and kisses. Sweet. Of course, Sam was even less sentimental, but that’s Sam.
Sam and Fi were up to their necks protecting Winston (Rich Sommer), a lawyer a biker club had marked for death. As Sam said, what they needed was a little Michael Westen. After what Michael had been through with Vaughn, facing down bikers seemed like a piece of cake. His nerve was impressive; mighty big balls.
Fixing the biker gang situation was a bit of a sticky scene. “It’s not an exact science,” was Michael’s excuse. But saving Big Ed helped and the team managed to get the job done.
Finally, all that remained was Michael doing Vaughn’s bidding by using someone else’s pass to get into a top secret facility. In an interesting turn about that was anything but fair play, Michael wound up burning a spy. Yes, just like he’d been burned. That was the hook to get us to next week when Michael will find out what it’s like to be the pursued instead of the pursuer.