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October 25, 2014

'Burn Notice' - 'Devil You Know' Recap (Season Finale)

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 5th 2010 1:57AM
burn_notice_michael_fiona_season_finale
(S03E16)
If you wonder where the excitement is in entertainment, you're probably not watching 'Burn Notice.' However, if you're reading this review, you probably are a watcher and you have just gorged yourself on what was mostly called a season finale.

In some ways, it was a typical 'Burn Notice' finale, leaving Michael in a seemingly puzzling situation. This was ranked up there with one of the more intriguing ones. It was everything creator Matt Nix promised it would be. More on that, the client named Simon, and how to hot-wire a jet ski after the jump.

Before the recap from last week sunk in regarding Gilroy and the bomb, Sam, Fiona and Michael were in full emergency mode. Make that emergency-emergency mode. It's good to know that our crack team have contingency upon contingency plans. You would expect nothing less. Although there was one major loop hole that remained unclosed for the entire show. After the one call to Madeline, nobody went back to check on Mom. What if Simon went after her?

The treatment of Madeline was horrible, but not outside the realm of reality. The authorities believed Michael was public enemy number one because they were reading about Simon's evil actions. Worse than that, they were trying to make her believe Simon's past was Michael's. Madeline showed her grit, though, and she was not about to give him up. Sending the cops on a wild goose chase to the Sawgrass Mills Mall -- the biggest mall in South Florida -- was wickedly Westen of her.

And when faced with arrest, Madeline let them take her. She would have taken the fall for him. That's mother love ... even though she had no idea what he was up to.

Before Sam, Michael and Fi could catch Simon, Simon caught Michael. Was he really the flip side of Michael? No, Simon was a ruthless killer and Michael has lines he won't cross. But Simon was clever and had skills. That set up in the video lounge jolted Michael. The best moment was Simon screaming, "I want my life back," just like Michael had done with Management (John Mahoney) last season.

If there was one lame element, it was how easily Simon infiltrated the meet that Michael arranged for Simon and Management. A cop's uniform? Really. It was that simple. Also, why didn't Mikey figure on the sole helipad being the tipped off target before the chopper blew up? Simon figured it out.

In the battle of who could survive the car crashes and body blows, Michael came through. But Management was not only arrogant and wrong, he was also inscrutable. Why not let Michael kill Simon? Why keep him alive to be put back in a super max prison? What did Management mean about Michael's big future? And why was Simon laughing about it all?

The cruel ending had Madeline in the dark, but Sam and Fiona would take care of her, so that wasn't a worry. Michael's long trek with the chains and mask over his head suggested ominous hell hole. The room he opened his eyes to see looked more like something Martha Stewart might have designed. WTF? We'll have to wait till June to find out.

Other points of interest

-- Liquid nitrogen to freeze a bomb before removing the detonator. Nice ...

-- The product placement for the Hyundai was extremely well-done. They drove it through a picture window, then Sam marveled at how well it held up after the fact.

-- How many cell phones did Michael go through in this episode -- four, five? I lost count.

-- Sam's insistence on arming each of them with knives came in handy, didn't it?

-- Madeline to the cop: "If Michael wanted to kill you, you'd be dead."

-- Sam's assessment of the situation with Gilroy dead and Simon on the loose: "Holy-crap-oly."

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Colleen

I agree with you, Kate. You have to go back to the beginning to figure out (if that's possible) the end. I have Seasons 1&2 on DVD and will watch them again. There is so much you miss the first or even second time around. Sometimes it isn't until you get to a certain point in a story that you understand the steps it took to get there.
Or - and this has crossed my mind before - are the writers making it up as they go along? Exactly who is Management? Do they have government sanction or are they a rogue organization? With, apparently, more power than the FBI, since they now have Michael. I, for one, do not believe that it was Simon being led away. He is taller than the man between to 2 guards. And until the very end, the man being led away was wearing the bloodied, blue striped shirt Michael had on. Then the shirt changed to a blue one and Michael was wearing a blue shirt in the final scene. I think it was Michael all along. I think Simon is back in the "black hole" again; we may never see him again. Or we may - depends on how useful that would be to the story. Could be Michael's first "job" when Management releases him be to find Simon's team, who has been determined to be locals, eliminate them or at least turn them over?
The terrible look in Michael's eyes at the end showed us how fearful he is of Simon's final prediction; that he will become "just like him". That fear alone will prevent Michael from working for Management. How he gets out of it, or works his way around it, has me baffled because I'm just not that clever. I know what I'd LIKE to see but no one is asking me for input.
I also believe that Michael's main concern is clearing his name, not regaining his job. However, he hasn't been de-conditioned enough; he needs a couple more seasons "out", but I don't think he will ever return to spy life. But it's fun watching the internal - and external - struggles as he learns a new way of life.
Oh - and I also thought the final scene between Michael and Fiona was perfect. Actually putting into words what was written all over their faces - well, I just don't think any dialogue could have done that scene justice. They both know what the other was thinking; no doubt about that. And Fiona isn't your conventional woman; she doesn't need the poetry and flowers. They both remained true to character - flawed as they are - and kept the magic, well - magical. Matt Nix is brilliant. He knows what he is doing. "Always leaves us wanting more..."
(However, I'd like a little bit more of a welcome home scene than we got after Season 2! Come on - these guys all mean a little more to each other this time around, don't you think?)

March 10 2010 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jesse

After seeing the last few minutes where they send him off to the prison and he's sitting there in that fancy chair all I could think about was, they sent him to the Village from the Prisoner show for retired spies.

March 06 2010 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrd

"Liquid nitrogen to freeze a bomb before removing the detonator."
I wonder if this and the other tricks used on the show work.

March 06 2010 at 4:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jrd's comment
Steve

I think that does work to some degree but i'm pretty sure it just slows the tigger's speed down it wont disarm it entirely

March 06 2010 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kate

the one thing i would have assumed in this ep. is that management would have been more prepared for the moment in the helecopter scene, especially because in season 2 they seemed to be incredibly intellegent and powerful and pretty impossible to beat. Also, i have to say that yes madeline didnt have to let the FBI in her house, but it would have only took them a couple of minutes to get a judge to sign a warrant considering michael had just become public enemy #1. and once she lets them inside the house, anything they "happen to find" is legal. The feds can easily lie and stretch the law anyway. but really i thought it was stupid that madeline didn't take the shot gun out of her bag and put it away before she let the feds in.

Im pretty sure that the episode was telling us that management forged some documents of michael's file with stuff that Simon had done in order to get Michael burned and have him work for them. I guess that's where Philip Cowen came in at the end of season 1. Management paid him to do the actual deed of informing the government of what Michael had done, but then management shot Cowen when he finally agreed to meet up with Michael. Honestly, i think i need to go back and watch burn notice from the beginning because there are so many links that you don't even see when you watch it the first or even the second time.
So now we see that simon is pissed because michael got credit for everything he did even though michael didnt even want the credit for doing such bad things. What i don't understand is why michael didnt shoot simon when they were in the car together and michael had the gun at simon while he was driving. It's not like that hotel bomb would go off the second michael shot him, and did Michael really think that Simon would tell him where the bomb was after michael did what he wanted? Michael is usually a bit sharper than that.
Finally, i'm a bit confused about the ending and why management wouldn't let michael kill simon, but i have some thoughts on it. Michael wanted nothing more than to shoot Simon, but management put some sense into his head by letting him know the consequences. It's not like he wouldn't get caught. The feds knew he was with Simon and they were only seconds away when Michael was about to shoot him- and if he ran away after doing so, it would only give the feds more reason to search for him because even though simon was a criminal, they believe michael to be a criminal too- another shooting wouldnt help michael's current record. I guess that Michael knew that his only way out of this major situation was not to shoot simon. Maybe management didn't have enough power to free Michael from prison if he was caught killing Simon. I think michael also knew that his only way of being rescued from this would be from the help of management. Im sure the government was holding Simon alive for some reason or other. Maybe they were waiting for a trial or they needed to transport him to poland because of crimes committed there? Maybe there was an important bargain between the US and poland if they returned simon? We could probably come up with tons of reasons to this.
i wonder if Michael will start working for management, the people that ruined his career in the first place or will he pretend to, and try and take down their operation.Im sure everything will be explained come season 4. im glad that we finally got to see something interesting come out of this whole gilroy plot because i thought some of the beginning episodes of the second half of this season were a bit dull. One thing that i liked is that Michael's mindset seems to have changed, he's not so concerned about "getting back in" anymore. I think slowly over time he has begun to realize that that life is over. now he i just more concerned with clearing his name and false record so he can live in peace and get his identity back.
I think that the very ending with michael walking as a prisoner was a cover up by management as well. They probably took him from the feds and freed him once he was away in their headquarters.
i think fans of the show should watch the commentary of creator matt nix on usanetwork.com because it does give some insight.

March 05 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diz

Did no one else wonder if they went all Jason Bourn on him?

March 05 2010 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zippy_zip74467

If law enforcement knew that Simon had escaped, why weren't they looking for him? Why were they just looking for Michael? I don't see how they would have let Simon go when they captured Michael, so hopefully you are right in that was Simon being led through the dark halls.
Good show very exciting. I taped "The Mentalist," and I'm glad I did because "Burn Notice" was a much better show.

March 05 2010 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

Another excellent season finale.

March 05 2010 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

My theory is that it was Simon being lend into the dark prison in chains and not Micheal. There's no way management would allow Simon to be kept in a regular prison and that shot of him walking was merely an attempt to make us think that Micheal was in prison.

After all, management helped Micheal avoid jail time, why put him in prison if he has a "very bright future", as management put it?

March 05 2010 at 6:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Justin's comment
king

i think you might have missed the last 30 seconds of the episode my friend...

March 05 2010 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert

I'm a regular viewer of the show. I thought that Simon in a security uniform was too obvious. I also wonder why, if Management is some kind of rogue element of the Company, does it have such access (such as to federal buildings, etc.)? On another note, the "Fi, I have to do this alone" will probably again create problems for Michael - Fiona (once Michael re-appears). As for Madeline, the search of the garage was probably illegal or at best questionable (no warrant, no apparent consent to search garage). But that's technical stuff. Well, we know now that Simon was the doer of all (most) of the bad stuff that Michael got burned for. But will Michael's name ever be cleared?

March 05 2010 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert's comment
Han Solo

>As for Madeline, the search of the garage was probably
>illegal or at best questionable


She didn't even have to allow them in the house.

March 05 2010 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

Fi has been driving the Genesis Coupe for a while. Her Saab 9-3 convertible got blown up last season, or half-season, or whatever they call it. Since GM has reduced product placement budgets even for brands that they kept, it had to be replaced with something else. Monk replaced his Buick with a Hyundai Genesis sedan last season as well.

March 05 2010 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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