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October 6, 2015

Burn Notice: Seek and Destroy

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 6th 2009 10:13AM
Burn Michael(S02E12) "That's the thing about spies. You never know who they are." -- Michael

Michael Westen with money troubles? Boy, now you really know how bad the economy is when a burned super spy has to dig up a job to keep himself in Armani suits. Actually, I thought it was a refreshing change of pace that Michael actively pursued an assignment rather than just wait for somebody to come along -- to Sam or Madeline or Fiona -- who needs help that seemingly only Michael can provide.

What was weird is that for much of the episode, the case was much less important than the subtext between Fiona and Michael. This is an interesting development and so different from other classic TV pairings. Watching Fiona and Michael you don't wonder if they'll ever do it, because they've done it. No, you wonder what the heck does it mean and how do they deal with the emotions stirred up by Fiona's near death and Michael's reaction to possibly losing her?

All that said, the meat and potatoes of the show -- the spy stuff -- only really became interesting when the secretary, Melanie (Marla Sokoloff), turned out to be the daughter of a painter who was killed by the crooked gallery owner. At that point, Michael's mission seemed less mercenary and became more like his usual Good Samaritan cases. In fact, in the end, the only payment Michael received was from Melanie, which makes me wonder if he accomplished anything he intended to when he took the job for Chandler at the gallery?

Still the best part of Michael's job was his playing the spy hunter when he was actually hunting himself once he took Melanie under his wing. I laughed out loud when he told the gallery owner that the spy they're looking for could be anybody, "He could be anybody. Some spy gets blacklisted and goes freelance, he could be standing right in front of you and you wouldn't even know it."

In the side plot, Michael was still on the hunt for the bomber who tried to kill him, his assignment for Karla. She was absent from the show, as was Madeline. Seymour (Silas Weir Mitchell) was back, though, and this time the arms dealer became a temporary (we think) part of Michael's troupe. Anyway, Michael got one step closer to learning who ordered the hit on him by getting the banking info of the bomber for hire. He shipped Derek the bomber to Suriname. (Like Derek, I didn't know where it is either; it's South America).

When all was said and done, what lingered was the Michael and Fiona question. Seymour gave them matching knives as a symbol of their bond. They were engraved with the word destiny. Are they destiny? Can you fight destiny? Do they even want to try? Is a morning after Spanish omelet made with only egg whites Michael Westen's ultimate expression of love?

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I thought it was completely unnecessary and cruel to kill the gallery owner in the end. What was the point? Why couldn't he just be put into jail?

February 07 2009 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another favorite scene -- When Michael clasped Seymour's hand at the cafe to cover up Seymour's pointing at the bomber's girlfriend.

Also, not to read too much into it, but I found it strange that Melanie gave Michael that painting at the end. It wasn't some random print - I think she said her dad painted it the day she was born - so it seems like she'd have some emotional attachment to it. Second, it was ugly. And third, somehow I don't see Michael putting a pink butterfly painting on the wall in his loft. I can see if she gave it to him in lieu of payment, but that wasn't the case. OK, I have now officially overthought this scene!

February 06 2009 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was a good bit of TV when we got a pregnant pause after the "Destiny" knives were presented. After that awkward silence Seymour completely defused the situation's "magic" by announcing that he made himself an identical knife.

Nicely done.

February 06 2009 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm also seeing Fi as the one who burned him. I can see their relationship getting stronger, to a level where Michael plans to make a commitment to her only to find out (say, at the end of the season finale), that she was the one who burned him. The repercussions of that could make for an interesting third season.

I would love to see Seymour (and his "security" guy) pop up on a semi-regular basis. The scene where the Michael was prompting Seymour to remember the bank account number the bomber was giving him was priceless!

February 06 2009 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yeah i cant seem to get it out of my mind now that Fi is the burner.... it makes watching the show very interesting - paying more attention to her deliberate actions or non-actions.

February 06 2009 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked this episode primarily because for the past couple seasons Fiona has blatantly chased Michael, even when in their 'dating' phase. So, I like that it's Michael who's following her, now.

Great quote: 'How many times do you have to touch the flame to know you'll get burned'

Hmm, that's also the second ref to Fi as a possible burner, 3rd if you include Michael's self-referential monologue, thx CC -

February 06 2009 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Seymour and hope he sticks around more. VERY good comic relief (I mean he's no Sam, but still very good)

I have a feeling that Melanie gave Michael a good chunk of change, seeing as how she is now in possession of a $7M painting, that she can sell on the open market now.

February 06 2009 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Such a good episode. It felt really Miami-like with the whole art dealer plot, more so than most other BN episodes. The Mike-Fiona element is smoldering nicely, too. I think they're showing they can have really interesting episodic stories, but keep the series going forward too.

February 06 2009 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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