42 Screens: Burn Notice Season 5 Premier

The Following Reviw is confidential (Ie. SPOILERS)

Burn Notice is back and I am excited.

After the shocking conclusion of season four, which in the closing moments we see an unknown man welcome Michael back to the CIA, we were left wondering how do you proceed from there?  Then they made us wait.

I’m not good at waiting.

But here it is, after a long wait Burn Notice is back.  Sadly this episode, much like the Fall of Sam Axe, falls a little flat.

Michael has been busy for six months.  He is working with the CIA as a civilian to hunt down the organization that burned him and taking them down piece by piece.  The episode opens up in Ottawa, Canada (Go for Canada) with Michael working with two new characters to hunt down the second last member of the organization.  They secure him, with witty banter, and interview him.  They find the final man, the mysterious Kessler, down in Carcacas, Venezuela and the search begins.   After a classic Burn Notice scenario they find Kessler, they trap him, but he eventually dies.

This leads to the strengths of the episodes.  This episode had two reoccurring themes.  The first was the differences between working with an agency and working without.  We are used to seeing Michael and the gang improvising and McGuyver-ing everything but with the CIA you have resources and don’t need to do that stuff.  We are used to seeing Fiona and Sam taking point on a lot but here they are held back and not allowed to participate, and we are used to seeing a rough and tumble plan fall together.  Here the CIA have every detail laid out.

The second theme is that this is Michael’s last chance for answers.  Everything thing in the last four years had led up to this.  Here Michael will finally know the big question: Why?  He doesn’t get his answers.  Just when Kessler is about to be caught, he takes his own life, leaving Michael lost, confused and with no closure.  Big praise goes to Jeffery Donovan and Sharon Gless for their acting skills in the episode.  Playing a lost and broken Michael who’s just lost his final chance at truth, meaning and closure cannot be an easy job but Donovan pulls it off well.  Sharon Gless pulls out her usual exceptional chops as the mother who reflects on her own past, her own loss of closure with Michael’s father, to explain that sometimes closure never really comes.

One of the best additions to the show so far has to be the two new characters.  Both are CIA and both, oddly enough for Burn Notice, are not dick, jerks or asses.  They are nice spies.  The first is Raines (The Boss).  He is the man who recruited and trained Michael.  The second is Max, Michael’s CIA liaison.  Max and Michael are great together.  They are witty, they banter, and they work as a coordinated team, the aftermath of the last six months.

Overall it was not a bad episode but a poor season premier.  The premier is an episode that is to set up the entire season or atleast the first half, and let us know what this year’s threat will be about.  This is more of a wrap up episode.  The epilogue to season 4.  They do make some strives in showing us what’s to come (It’s not as easy re-adjusting to the life back in once you were out) but overall it falls flat as a premier.  The episode was needed, there is no going around it but as a premier it lacks the set up lift for the powerful spike later on.  (When did I start using volleyball references?)  The only other flaw was Fiona and Sam.  They seemed forced into the episode.  Their reactions and conversations when Michael returns are great but when they come along on the mission it seems like the writers didn’t know what to do with them for the majority of the episode.

Worthy mention 1:  There were two major references to Michael’s father.  I often look for these as I am curious of his importance.  Is he really dead?

Worthy mention 2: There is an online comic that is to bridge season 4 and 5 made by DC and the producers.  Take a look – It’s well done!

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