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October 9, 2015

Burn Notice: Long Way Back (summer finale)

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 7th 2009 1:43AM

Wow! Talk about a powerful finale. There were a lot of plot points and emotional issues addressed, and if you had any question about Michael's true loyalty, this show answered it. Burn Notice goes on hiatus -- is that what they call it? -- till the winter, and it's going to be a long rest of the summer and fall waiting for the story to resume. There was change in the air, what with Michael inching closer to a return to the CIA -- or so it seemed. More on all that and the blistering finale after the jump.

I never liked Tom Strickler. He was too irksome for his own good, too full of himself and his estimation of Michael. That, it turns out, was his undoing. Strickler's advice to Michael for acing an interview with the CIA was to tell the truth, but Strickler's version of it. But what was really irritating about Strickler was his insinuating that he was Michael's "partner" and that Strickler was doing what he did -- bringing in Thomas O'Neill to Miami and setting up Fiona for a deadly return to Ireland as O'Neill's prisoner -- was for Strickler and Michael's future together.

Watching Strickler get two shots from Michael -- using his favorite Fiona firearm -- was a turning point. Michael had to make a choice, a future with Strickler or one with Fiona. As Michael said before pulling the trigger, "Fiona is not my past."

There was a bunch of good stuff in this episode, including three great set pieces. To save Fiona from a full-out assault by O'Neill's crew, Michael had to use Mrs. Reynold's vintage Buick as a distraction. You think the producers knew from the start that the cherry red beauty was going to be trashed at some point by Michael? Another other terrific scene was Michael's meet with O'Neill with Sam, Fiona and Sean (her brother) providing back up. When Sean didn't want to turn off the laser sight, you could see how he was more impulsive than his sister. Finally, the boat dock rescue was a true team effort, with Sam and Michael packing heat and Fiona saving herself but nearly drowning in the process.

So Fiona cannot go back to Ireland. She can still leave Miami, but it doesn't seem to be where they're going with this. Fiona had as much trouble thanking Michael as he did trying to say goodbye. They both agreed on one thing: "It's okay. We're no good at this."

Amid the heavy duty emotions of the episode were some lighter ones. Madeline shook Michael to the core by simply hiring a realtor. Even if Michael has horrible memories from that house, it's home. Madeline realized that and removed the listing.

Finally, there was the issue of the burn notice. Diego died -- suicide or homicide, we don't know -- before being able to tell Michael what he knew. People higher up on the ladder were out to get Michael, and they still are. That's the resolution. Michael doesn't know who's after him and that not knowing is a very scary proposition ... How many months till the winter premiere?

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The commenters who think this episode is terrific are nuts! Does anyone really believe the nut from Ireland who came to steal Fiona away for ....what? Money? Revenge? Get real!!! And anyone who knows rifles knows those laser sites targeting the bad guys is just a crock and a half. I don't expect reality in a tv show but I do hope for some iota of credibility. This show has none. Burn, baby, burn.

August 18 2009 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A great finale to another great season. I guess my only beef would be about Strickler's miscalculation.

He seemed like he always had his bases covered and thoroughly researched the people he dealt with, so I am wondering how he could make such a blunder in assuming Michael would work with him after finding out that he was behind Fiona's capture.

August 11 2009 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One add - Sam's comment that he'd finish things and get Fiona out one way or another - "Just don't tell her I said that" was a beautiful moment as well.

August 10 2009 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

best episode I have ever watch
take side by summer finale

August 10 2009 at 4:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amazing summer finale, and I think the last few episodes really redeemed itself from the Paxon arc in the beginning of the season. I have a full review of the episode on my blog.


August 08 2009 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Finally he killed someone. Bout time he popped someone again. Can we please get a little more kill in the darned show? It's about a darn spy.

at least this batch of episodes mostly strayed away from the idiot/client of the week format. Here's to a hope that moronic style will see even less play in the next season...

August 08 2009 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to YouFaceTheTick's comment

He finally had a reason.

His avoidance of lethal force, even in situations where it might be expedient, is part of the charm of the show... and a great setup for the answer to the question, "what WOULD he kill for?"

It was a very satisfying answer.

August 10 2009 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great finale for the summer!! This was an awesome episode and wrapped up a few points very ncely. Especially liked Strickler getting killed and O'Neill taking the blame. though that doesn;t seem to be Michael's strong suit. Anyway, it was great!
When does it return? I want to mark my calendar ...!!!!

August 07 2009 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Awesome episode. I am so happy Strickler's dead. I was screaming, "kill him, Michael, kill him" at the TV.

August 07 2009 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't get the whole "your file is under review" part of the current story. AFAWK - Mike was burned for a reason. Somebody knows what that reason was. Mike's mission used to be - Find the people that burned him and figure out why. It never was - Get back into the spy business by going through a bunch of bureaucrats to get your file reviewed.

The mid season final was great except the above point kept its sharp end into my brain every few minutes.

August 07 2009 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to metz's comment

He found out at the end of Season 2 who burned him and why: Carla put the burn notice on him to recruit him into her organization. When Carla was killed, Michael was offered her position and he denied it.

Now we wants his old job back and is looking to find someone who will take him seriously at reconsidering the burn notice with what he's learned since.

August 08 2009 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael's reply to Strickler (verbal and otherwise) was one of the most satisfying moments of the entire series.

Tough about Diego, though. Michael really did pull him into this mess for his own purposes, and I figured that after a rocky start they'd each realize the other was a good guy and find themselves at the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (They had the airport tarmac right there.)

I'm sure Michael meant to repay Diego in the long run for all the trouble, and now he'll never get the chance. That could weigh on him. This wasn't like the Richard Schiff cameo.

(Which reminds me... for a while there USA seemed like an employment agency for West Wing alums, and now they're slacking off. Paging Allison Janney?)

August 07 2009 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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