Published on December 21st, 2012 | by Ernie Estrella3
Burn Notice Season 6 Finale Review: The damage is done
To put it brief, the two-hour Burn Notice Season 6 finale spectacle surpassed our expectations. We aren’t in a further place along Michael’s (Jeffrey Donovan) seemingly never-ending path to redemption, but he is in a safer place. We were teased with the death of a character, and we got one, just probably not the one we originally thought–and that’s just fine with us. We wanted to see Michael go up to bat for his crew and he did that on a few occasions and ultimately paid the price at the end. He did exactly what he promised Sam (Bruce Campbell); Michael Westen made things right. There were also a few lines that should have caught you off guard, and some that made you laugh out loud, reminding those that have stuck by this show why we love it so.
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Michael was pinned into the corner for most of this season, and the longer it went on, the less wiggle space he had. Sam had already been in Agent Riley’s (Sonja Sohn) custody once, and even while bleeding out from a near-fatal gun wound, Sam saved Michael twice more, very painfully I might add. Fiona went to jail earlier in the season and Jesse–well more on him later–let’s just say he was a clutch player. For Michael to make a deal with the CIA after everything that happened to everyone crushed Fiona’s soul, but Michael would have come off like a dick if he hadn’t. It appears that it was time for him to return the favors he got and Season 7 is likely about Michael continuing to make it right.
But before we get there, let’s discuss a few more things about this action-packed finale. Agent Riley gave Michael an out when she got Alejandro Lopez and his drug cartel involved. She not only sought out help by the cartel to do what she couldn’t, she agreed to back the DEA and CIA away from any of his activities. What criminal could resist a deal like that? I always enjoy when past characters and stories are pulled in but the mistrust of the CIA is at an all-time high. I never liked Agent Riley from her introduction but I thought that her involving the cartel was a logical risk for her to take considering how dirty she was in interrogating Jesse and putting Sam in extra pain in the hospital. The one thing you could fault her for was not trying to check Michael’s story, but once she did this, she ceased having any sympathy.
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Ultimately, that move made her just as big a criminal as Michael shooting Card, who we should remind folks, was crooked to begin with. Riley was her own worst enemy, but that serves her right for making him public enemy number one. All of the CIA characters come off a bit creepy on this show but the writers didn’t give Riley an endearing quirk to embrace. She was as evil as any Burn Notice villain, and she had the government on her side. Now, Michael playing chicken with Riley on the yacht was a clever resolution, but then again, seeing the U.S. Coast Guard in full throttle action made up for the lack of things Fiona didn’t get to blow up.
As expected, Sam got shot but thankfully, he survived (with an improbable impromptu blood transfusion from Michael) and with a bit of humor.
Sam: “Fi gave me mouth-to-mouth? You get pictures?
While I would’ve welcomed any major change-up to the show, I wouldn’t want to see it at the expense of “Chuck Finley”. As the first hour ended, and Fiona was rushing through traffic to get Sam to a doctor, I thought we were hearing his final words.
Sam: You’ve got good reasons, Mike… but you do enough bad things, you become the bad guy. Don’t do it, Mike… you’re heading down a dark path. You made me a promise. You look me in the eye and you swear to me that you’re going to make this right.
Those words stuck with Michael, along with Nate dying, and him killing Card, and everything else that forced him into this corner. That’s why I think he eventually made the deal.
One of the things I didn’t count on was Riley trying to use Jesse’s past (Coby Bell) to get Michael’s location. Finding out that Jesse’s mother was murdered when he was a kid and that he’d spent most of his life obsessing over who and the reasons she was killed was a big surprise. And why was the FBI keeping key parts of the investigation away from him all of these years? Burn Notice does a fairly good job building up the history of Michael, Maddie, Sam, and even Fiona, but Jesse is often treated like an afterthought. For this tidbit of Jesse’s history alone, this episode was a win-win for longtime viewers wanting some reveal, something to relate to with Jesse on a personal level.
It wasn’t a surprise to see Riley was playing Jesse with his mother’s file, but for anyone doubting Jesse’s loyalty to Michael and the gang, he deserves a group hug by passing up an (eventually false) opportunity to not only to wipe his record clean but also close the door on the one thing that’s haunted him his entire life. More was done for Jesse’s development in a quarter of a season finale than in the last two seasons combined. It was long overdue.
Of all of the past characters to be Michael’s “friend”, Agent Bly (Alex Carter) was a bit of a letdown, at first, but boy did they make some damn good wine out of my sour grapes. I didn’t expect they would send Bly off in a blaze of glory but that was one of the most awful ways to go. It’s also one strike against wearing safety belts in cars–they’re not good when you’re trying to flee a grenade thrown into a car. Rest in piece, Bly. You were usually a piece of crap but damn if I didn’t feel bad for you in the end. He clicked it, and that was his ticket out of the show.
There were also some other call backs including the aforementioned Alejandro Lopez, Fi’s EMT ex-boyfriend John Campbell, and our lovable coke head plastic surgeon, Dr. Jed. There was even a shout-out to Sugar, Michael and Sam having the same blood type, and let’s not forget prior to the finale, Barry helped the team one last time. The season did well in building up to this point, not to the level of what Anson did in Season 5, but leave it to Maddie for one of the best moments of the night–snapping Michael out of his spell when Sam came up with a plan…
Maddie: I thought this was a team, not a dictatorship.
Who knows what comes next for the Burn Notice crew, we certainly have our predictions and theories, which we’ll share with you shortly. Let’s just hope Michael didn’t do too much damage to the team.