**** Burn Notice airs on the USA Network which is on Channel 5 on Columbus Insight Communications and Channel 29 for Columbus Time Warner Customers ****
Okay, as someone who loves this show, however cautiously I say it, I have to raise my hand. I’d like to register a complaint.
Every year this occurs on USA Network’s Burn Notice and every year I get into a tizzy only to forget about it. But I never really make note of it. Burn Notice is one of those shows that is a summer fling, it’s great while it’s on and yet despite being popcorn case of the week fluff, the story of who burned michael, why, how, etc, keeps things moving along, and makes it, like Royal Pains a real gem in the USA crown. But why is it that sometimes Burn Notice seems destined to quickly resolve such characters the way they do? It’s sort of depressing. But more on that in a minute.
Last we left Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan), he was attempting to clear his name in the murder of Max(Grant Show). And of course, his friends Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse (Coby Bell) are there to help bail him out. Or can they this time?
The whole plot about taking care of Max’s killer literally fizzles out. It is literally solved within not even eight minutes into the episode. And I gotta say, it’s disappointing. But, things take a turn when Larry (Tim Matheson) returns, escaped from prision, but with a captive! Or two, actually: Anson Fullerton and his wife. His wife is tied up to a bomb somewhere, but Fullerton is a a supposed CIA therapist and knows something about what Larry wants. As always, someone paid to have Larry extracted and then promised the green to him if he gets Michael Weston to help him break into a British consolate and get a file for him. Naturally, Larry is cruel and a bit angry from his last exchange with Michael (which led to Larry being put in jail) but Michael is in a no-win situation. Things escelate to a tragic end for Fiona when she tries to help Michael despite his warnings not to. And then there is the big twist.
**SPOILER ALERT HERE ON OUT** but remember a few episodes where they got everyone? Or they thought they did? But Michael still didn’t feel ‘right’ about it? Well, Michael’s uneasy feeling was on the nose; Fullerton (Jere Burns) was the guy who got away. HE was the one who hired Larry and set up the whole darn thing. And we learn that the company that burned Michael? It all started with a dream; a dream he shared with Management. So in the end the big twist that Fullerton watched as his grand opus worked out just like he had planned all along, making what he has on Michael and Fiona important following the rest of the season as we wonder how the heck Michael will get out of it. But even more shocking (yeah, I said MORE shocking) is the actual fact that Fullerton has been getting dirt on Michael for years.
Now, the frustration. In theory, the way I described that little synop of the episode? Yeah, it sounds friggin awesome. At least I’d be interested in it. BUT the flaw that Burn Notice always has is that it quickly dispatches any plot threads that could go down an interesting path for the fans. I don’t mind the ‘quick end’ of the plot of capturing the killer of Max, but having the guy jump off the roof and kill himself? Why not escape and lose base with him? Agent Pearce already has audio-recording wise what she needs to proove it wasn’t Michael so why not allow him to escape? Or kill him at the END of the episode? And again, I get the point to introduce Fullerton, and to introduce Larry which ties into Fullerton as the big bad, and that’s fine, but why not stretch that out? Have more fun with it? And in an even more tragic loss of possible leading down the rabbit-hole-like thought, in the end, why not allow the audience believe that Sharon Gless‘s Momma Madeline Weston was in cahoots with the big bad? Specially on a summer finale?
You see something I didn’t say in the above paragraph initially on my synopsis of the episode was when Fullerton tells Michael and Fiona how he’s been behind it all along, how he set up the company along with Management (John Mahoney from Frasier) as a dream for ex-CIA and other spy-operatives across the globe to make a steady paycheck but really take down those who are willing to pay, well, he mentioned that he learned a lot from Michael’s father, and more imporantly he couldn’t of done what he has done to Michael without the help from Michael’s mother Madeline.
When I heard that, I literally gasped at the screen. Like Michael, I’m sure my face was mouth gaping open in disbelief, so much so that as Fullerton jokingly said, ‘Darling, your boyfriend probably didn’t even hear a word I just said” and Fullerton was right as I had to go back and rewatch the scene again. But as the scene continued on, Fullerton quickly alleviates ANY tension of such a giant bomb saying that Madeline doesn’t know it, but the therapist she has since the series beginning, hinted at going to? He works for Fullerton’s company. And it’s here that, after twice in an episode, I became a little upset. Why? Why would you waste such a great oppurtunity like that?
Maybe I’m a giant jerk, but if I had the power to run a show, I’d want them on the edge of my seat. And heck, even my actors. While I’m sure Burn Notice episodes are all shot contiously together so Gless wouldn’t be wondering too long, what if they did? That Michael began to suspect his mother, and it just played into the whole rest of the season six run? Not only does Michael have to do errands for Fullerton, but also Pearce, but now he distrusts his own mother?!?! THAT is tension. And all the while, Fiona is having problems of killing innoncents by accident? But even that is quickly disipated when Fullerton reveals his true colors; Fiona didn’t kill the guards but he did. And THAT is what upsets me, examiners.
I love the show, I love that Nix keeps me interested right when things might seem to get boring but why not light a fire under the viewer’s ass? Or if you do a quick wrap-up with stuff, why not tease it out over the break until the show returns in the late fall/early winter in November?
Now the grass is always greener and I will not stop watching the show, but I also need not forget that I also don’t know what Nix’s master plan is. When I spoke to him for the podcast a year or two ago, I was pleased to hear he had an end-game. And I really don’t know it, only the Burn Notice-gang do, and so, until I see the rest of Season six, I can’t complain but man, just a wasted chance for more excitement.
But what do YOU think, examiners?
Did you enjoy USA Network’s finale of BURN NOTICE? Do you agree about Nick’s thoughts on Madeline? Or what about the opening?
Let us know and we may read your comments on Nick’s podcast, the Good, The Bad & The Geeky which sponsored by Audible.com!
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