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September 4, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: A Clip from the Action-Packed 'Burn Notice' Mid-Season Finale

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 2nd 2011 10:00AM
There are a million things I'm trying to get done before the holiday weekend, but I wanted to offer a few brief thoughts on the fifth season of 'Burn Notice,' as well as this exclusive clip from the USA Network show's mid-season finale.

I've enjoyed how the show has mixed it up a bit in season 5, and I've especially appreciated the ways in which the continued presence of Jesse (Coby Bell) has allowed the show to vary its approaches to both weekly storytelling and the ongoing tale of Michael's dealings with the CIA and his rocky re-entry into the espionage world.

Creator Matt Nix explained his rationale for keeping Coby Bell's Jesse around this season in an interview earlier this year (you can find it here and here), and I can see now why it was a good idea.

Being able to split the 'Burn Notice' crew into two different teams has often led to situations in which both pairs' adventures were equally enjoyable, and characters have been able to easily transition between the client of the week tale and more "mythology" oriented story lines. Multiple stories could be a little harder to sustain when the core cast was basically the trio of Fiona, Sam and Michael (with some assists from Michael's mother, Madeline).

The gigs that come in from Jesse's private security firm (which seems to be able to spare him quite a lot) have allowed 'Burn Notice' to give a good deal of variety to the kinds of problems the gang has tackled. Plus there was fine work from guest stars such as Todd Stashwick and Matt Lauria, among others (and the mid-season finale features an appearance from the always enjoyable Jere Burns, who's seen above with Bruce Campbell).

All in all, season 5 has been quite pleasing, aside from some whiny Fi moments (those "Give me more, Michael" scenes get repetitive, because they usually don't go any deeper than that) and aside from Gavin Rossdale's painful guest stint as an arms dealer. I think we can all agree that Rossdale should stick to his day job.

Truth be told, though, I was a little disappointed that Grant Show's CIA agent character, Max, bit the dust so early in the season, only because Max and Michael Westen had a good rapport and Show fit seamlessly into the 'Burn Notice' vibe. Still, the fact that the search for Max's killer is personal for Michael has lent this season's quest some welcome heft.

Michael feels guilty about Max's death, and I can invest in that arc a bit more than I was able to get on board with last season's story, when it was all about Jesse being inadvertently burned by Michael. Dealing with the Jesse situation felt like something of an academic exercise to me ("Look at how Jesse's story parallels Michael's," etc.), but the search for Max's killer feels a little more visceral and emotionally engaging.

Of course, as was the case last season, Michael has spent a lot of time working with someone from whom he's hiding a big secret. He was at the scene of Max's death, a fact that he had been concealing from CIA agent Kim Pearce (Lauren Stamile), who's investigating the crime. In last night's episode, Pearce finally realized the trail led to Michael and put him in cuffs. As if being suspected of the murder of a CIA agent wasn't enough of a problem, in next week's episode, Michael's old frienemy Larry (Tim Matheson) stops by. He wants Michael to help him with a job, and you know how Larry gets when he wants something done. He is, shall we say, persistent.

In this clip from Thurday's episode, things don't look great for a manacled Michael. Time for Jesse and Sam to ride the rescue...

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Colleen Mengel

kasel 1 - USA splits their programs into 2 seasons. In this case, 12 episodes that ran from 6/23-9/8. (That's the mid-season finale) On 11/3, BN will return to finish out Season 5 with 6 more episodes. That will conclude Season 5.

For the rest of you, I am glad none of us are holding a gun on anyone forcing them to watch the show. Why would you comment on something you don't like and won't watch? There's a lot of other programming that might suit you better. Enjoy.

September 07 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lou Sytsma

While I enjoyed the first handful of episodes the show began to slide back into the status quo of the previous seasons.

And because of that mark me down as having flamed out on Burn Notice.

September 03 2011 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

From the snippets we got last night, it looked to me like Larry had a hand in burning Michael, and if that is indeed the case, it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

September 02 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have to agree with Mark. The structure of splitting the leads every week feels too hidebound. The story of "who framed Michael" isn't different enough from "who burned Michael" to be compelling. The characters don't really change. The ridiculous accents and the constant explosions and gunfire where people rarely get hurt have gotten old.

Burn Notice is reasonably diverting, but it's more of a "watch while I fold my laundry" show than ever. In the USA pantheon, I'd say White Collar has surpassed it.

September 02 2011 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lyca's comment
I am the Egg Man.

U have the attention span of a gnat. Maybe u can play with urself while u fold laundry. White Collar sucks ass. So do the rest of USA's wannabe Burn Notice shows.

September 02 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to I am the Egg Man.'s comment

@ I am the Egg Man

Wow, that's quite an incisive comment. Your thoughtful responses to my enumeration of Burn Notice's problems will take me a while to really assess. (sarcasm) But I can see why you wouldn't appreciate White Collar. Lord knows, it's not exactly "Masterpiece Theatre," but it's pretty clearly advanced above what seems like your (apparently limited) mental capability.

September 02 2011 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Mark Cohen

I don't know, Maureen--having Jesse's security jobs as the device to offer side jobs is equal to all the jobs Sam & Fi had Michael help with in the past. Sure, it's gone from, "I had $300K stolen from me and my kid is sick" stories to "I have a $100 million corporation and someone's taking all my money"--same stories, different stakes (and only sometimes, at that).

I still like the show, but find it's gotten too repetitive after so many seasons. The backstory has been dragged-out this season like all the other years and hasn't been that interesting...you're the guy who posed as me who kicked the dog that bit the horse that carried the messenger...blah, blah, blah.

September 02 2011 at 11:23 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
crazy ray

What the hell is a mid-season finale?

September 02 2011 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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