(S03E07) Burn Notice usually stays on the fun side of spying. This episode was all about getting back to doing a Robin Hood job, and since it tapped into Michael's psychology so perfectly, it added a good dollop of emotion to the fun.
And there was also that preview from last week that left fans gasping. Was one of the gang of three going down? Fortunately, in the world of spoilers and such, if that were true it would have been all over the net. Fortunately, it was all part of the con. More on that after the jump.
We also now know what can stop Michael Westen in his tracks; a Taser to the neck. Yes, for one of the few times, bad guys got the jump on Michael and he was snatched.
(S03E05) Michael Weston met Michael Westen. How cool was it that Burn Notice cast actor Michael Weston -- remember him as the private eye who helped House last year? As a psycho/math genius/code breaker/pattern spotter named Spencer Witawski, he was sort of a detective here, too, good enough to have tracked down Michael and become the latest client.
As integral episodes go, this was a major one. Major for Michael and his desire to return to government work and major for the status of Fiona and Michael's relationship. And did I mention that it was a major league great show, too? More after the jump.
Matheson was a one-note Rock look-alike, without Dwayne Johnson's charm. Mostly Matheson was a scumbag who deserved to be brought down.
Tommy, on the other hand, wasn't really a nasty moke. He was broadly hammed up by former NYPD Blue star Nick Turturro, and turned out to be Michael's way into Matheson's organization.
It's not just Sam that keeps me coming back for more from this show, or the tense but compelling subtext between Fiona and Michael's "is it love?" relationship. By and large, Burn Notice is smart TV. It shows me scenes I haven't seen before on other shows or on the big screen. More on the specifics after the jump, so if you don't want to know because you haven't watched yet, be warned.
(S03E01) You knew from last season's finale that Michael taking the plunge into the Atlantic from a helicopter, thus turning down an offer to work with Management in some organized ops position, he was taking a big chance. The leap was a metaphor and the danger for Michael Westen was about to increase exponentially.
Well, in this opening episode, it's clear that creator Matt Nix has upped the volume for Burn Notice. In Spinal Tap terms, we're at eleven, and that's more than ten. For Michael, a five-mile ocean swim in suit pants was just the kind of discomfort trained operatives have to learn to endure. When he landed on Miami Beach, one of the busy, bikini-clad girls and kids making sand castle types, he was all in. But no rest for the weary. In short order, Michael was on the run and in a world of trouble.
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?
(S02E11) "The one who burned you is closer than you think." -- Fiona
A year ago, the idea of anybody doing anything for a pair of 50-yard line tickets to watch the Miami Dolphins play football would have been a joke. Fortunately for Burn Notice, the Fins won the AFC East and are relevant again. Therefore, Sam's Good Samaritan act -- which got a major boost when Fiona got involved -- had a decent payoff, beyond the idea of them doing something nice for a friend.
Were you thinking Men in Black when you saw Fiona, Sam and Michael in their uniform black suits complete with sunglasses and heavy weaponry? They really do find a way to make the three of them seem like a much more formidable force. Even more than the old Mission: Impossible team, Michael, Fiona and Sam are like the IMF trio deluxe, with each of them more than able to handle adversity. More on that adversity after the jump.
(S02E09) "What do you see up there? A mastermind petting a Persian cat?" - Sam Axe
So , as you might expect from the finale, Michael is very close to solving one of this season's mysteries. It seems the only missing pieces of the puzzle are who is the sniper's target and does Michael want to save them?
I can only imagine that the target would have to be a really bad person in order for Michael to overcome his inflated savior complex. If Osama Bin Laden ends up as a passenger on the ferry, he'll probably let the hit go down. Anyone else, however, is going to have to be a game day call.
Fortunately for me, I've had the chance to catch up. I even got to visit the set. The USA Network rebroadcasts and occasional marathons have helped -- hooray for DVRs -- but I really think it was the Burn Notice Season One DVD set that filled in all the blanks. Reasonably priced and recently released, the set has become one of my favorites, as had the tale of Michael Westen, professional spy who has been inexplicably fired -- burned -- and dumped in Miami. There's a lot to like in this show, and in this DVD set.
Nobody's handed anything to Jeffrey Donovan. He's been at it for a while, doing notable turns in CSI: Miami and Monk, playing recurring characters in The Pretender and Touching Evil, and practically stealing Hitch from Kevin James and Will Smith by playing a nasty S.O.B.
Like his alter ego, Jeffrey Donovan is a very cool customer. He never lets you see him sweat, even when he's got ever right to in the glare of the spotlight, the heat of the Miami sun, and the hardball questions of the media roundtable he was facing. Okay, we weren't all throwing hardballs, but as this Q&A shows, Jeffrey D. can handle himself in any and all situations.
(S02E01) Man, it's been a long time since last season. I remembered very little of what they showed in the recap and after being reminded, I was hungry for the new season.
It occurs to me as I'm watching this episode that Michael Westen is a less philanthropic MacGyver. He knows a lot of tricks that will help you in sticky situations but he's smart enough to keep most of them to himself. I, personally, have never had to run from the police but if I ever do, I now know the best way to stop the airbags from going off.
While chatting with Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, creator Matt Nix was talking about the new season of Burn Notice -- more on that below -- when he casually mentioned Bruce Campbell was hurt on the set. "He actually just pulled his hamstring doing a stunt, I just got a call, he's on the way to the hospital."
I discovered that as brilliant as she is a performer, Sharon Gless is also a class act with the media. She talked about another Cagney & Lacey, Tyne Daly, acting, playing villains, Kim Cattrall and much more. Read on and you'll see -- as I did -- why you'd gush to if you were face-to-face with Sharon Gless.
Miami in June is hot. Very hot. On the set of Burn Notice, however, everything is cool. In fact, when I arrive at the Coconut Grove studios where the USA spy drama is shot, I find myself smack dab in the middle of a full-fledged film studio.
The old convention center, where I remember going to an indoor flea market in the late 1970s, has been completely transformed. There are trailers, production offices, standing sets, all geared up and working to bring Burn Notice back for season two.
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