Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) exchanged cold stares when she made a deal with an old flame in the latest episode of Burn Notice, “Hard Out”. Armand (Gavin Rossdale) will take a look at the bomb from last week’s boat and be able to tell her who made it if she retrieves a truckload of armor piercing ammo from a well-known weapons manufacturer. The bomb signature is just another breadcrumb in Michael’s (Jeffrey Donovan) pursuit of the man who is trying to frame him. For Armand, there’s more to that ammo than what he’s leading on.
Meanwhile Michael’s CIA job began as a simple extraction of Steve Cahill (Henri Lubatti) in the Caribbean. Michael joins Agent Pearce (Lauren Stamile) (our first time seeing her in action) for this small operation and they employed Jesse’s security background on his first day off from his 9 to 5 job. Unfortunately when they get to Steve they run into a mercenary, Miles Vanderwwal (David Dayan Fisher) and a simple job turns into a headache when they realize they’re outnumbered 20:1 and can’t get off the island without getting blown up in the process.
Both jobs get taken care of but took their tolls on Michael and Fiona who obviously need to work through a lot more before their relationship can get going. Moving in together has proven to magnify their problems, not solve them. Fi and Sam’s tension is brewing some kind of wicked storm and it has to do with him leaving to do jobs without her, putting the CIA work in front of his friends’ safety and his obsessions 1) the people who burned him and 2) the people who are framing him keep getting in their way.
Michael is seemingly unaware that this is a problem. You can tell he’s appreciative of what the BN crew will do for him but there’s nothing being done to improve the situation. I had hoped for Rossdale’s appearance to give us more insight into Fiona’s past than it did. But he does stir the pot by reminding Fiona that Michael at times is absent when he’s needed most. He even makes a play for Fiona and her insecurities about her and Michael’s relationship.
Armand: We know the kind of man I am. What kind of man sends you for my help?
And then there’s this gem earlier in the episode:
Fiona: I’m trying to do this operation without guns.
Armand: Without guns? What has Michael done to you?
But once again the loyalty within Michael’s group is fortified with rebar. But will it be for the long haul?
Unfortunately Burn Notice has settled back into to their weekly formula of Michael juggling two spy missions and Michael trying to find out who burned him or in this case is trying to frame him for Max’s murder. He’s now obligated to work the one for the C.I.A. and the rest of the team is split up in any combination to take care of the local problem who either bestows their troubles on Fi, Sam, or Madeline. Sometimes Jesse hears wind of a problem or Michael’s brother has a “friend in need.”
Last week’s tussle with a militia was a classic example of this formula. It was a good stand-alone filler (and fun to see Gabrielle Anwar hanging from the bottom of a truck) but it was nothing to move the bigger story along.
I gotta admit as far as trying to add a new wrinkle in the season, I liked it better when Max (Grant Show) was alive. He pushed Michael to follow their rules until he could follow them no more. He put up a stink about letting Fiona, Sam, and Jesse help out. Eventually Michael got his way but now it just seems like everything seems too easy.
There’s been no contact with Max’s wife. There’s been no contact with Raines (Dylan Baker), we’ve suddenly had to settle for this building bond between Agent Pearce and Michael because they’re both after the same thing. She’s almost asking Michael to bend the rules, to bring in his people and use his weapons and explosives that are not on the approved contractor list. All of that is fine and the show hasn’t skipped a beat but it’s just that we’ve been here so many times before and so far the only real difference between this season and seasons’ past is that Fiona lives with Michael.
Viewers should be more patient but after the first few episodes, but many expected Michael to make some forward progress with Raines in doing C.I.A. work where he’s paid and recognized by his peers, not treated like some renegade outsider who’s hated by everyone except his handler. Who can blame them? We’re into our fifth season and Michael seems nowhere closer than he was in season one.
Right now he’s still taking all of the risks, he’s heading up the operations, and his friends’ lives are in the hands of bureau and they pay the highest price with nothing to gain but to help Michael get his answers. It’s fun to see the Burn Notice gang doing what they do best, but why must we go through the motions, let’s get a battering ram and break down these barriers that have been keeping him from the truth, or let’s just give him a different purpose.
• There was some instant chemistry between Jesse and Pearce but again she’s been very amicable from the beginning so that may just be me trying to hope for some happiness in Jesse’s life. They do have a candid conversation as to why Jesse would help the man who ruined his career?
Jesse: Free yogurt, lots of free yogurt.
• Fiona’s initial jealousy towards Pearce provided a rare bust out moment for Michael.
Fiona to Pearce: When it comes to his work Michael takes discretion to a whole new level…
Pearce: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of him.
Either that was a good improvised line or that was a genuine laugh out of Michael as we’ll ever see.
• Does it concern anyone that anyone seems to be able to break into Michael’s warehouse?
Catch new episodes of Burn Notice on USA every Thursday at 9/8C.