Burn Notice -- 207 - Rough Seas

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(There's no Burn Notice reviews for a few weeks after this one because BN is going on hiatus while the US Open is on. But there will be two more episodes after that.)

This week Michael is reunited with a previous client and is asked to help retrieve some anti-viral medication for a children. It's a pretty "burn notice" light episode; in that it deals more with the events of the case and less with the ongoing search for who burned Michael and why...

More after the link...

Direct link to the Crimespree Cinema short review here.

This week I'm trying to cut down on the length of my review, because it was getting pretty out of hand. When I realised that I'd written near on three thousand words last week I thought I should try and scale back a little. Hopefully this one will be a little more concise and less of an essay to read.

Unlike previous weeks where the plot has felt a bit 'bursting at the seams' this weeks episode deals mostly with the events of the client case and has just a small (but entertaining) sideline set of scenes dealing with the sniper rifle from the previous week. Michael is meeting up with an arms dealer called Seymour (Silas Weir Mitchell - most famously known for his portrayal of Haywire on Prison Break, but also from Dexter and My Name is Earl), Seymour doesn't seem to quite understand (or maybe want to understand) what Michael is there for. He spends most of the episode using Michael as kind of a bodyguard and the scenes with them both in are particularly entertaining, just like Valentine (Method Man) and Victor (Michael Shanks) from last week's episode he's an interesting enough character that would be nice to see reoccurring occasionally.

Speaking of reoccurring characters, this week's episode features one. Virgil and you'd be forgiven for saying 'who?' because I'd pretty much forgotten all about him myself. He's an Ex-Navy Seal with a bit of a thing for Madeline and he'd previously appeared in the first season episode "Unpaid Debts". He's played ably by Chris Ellis, but obviously he'ss not that memorable an actor because I'd completely forgotten about him until this episode brought him back (mind you I forget about most clients quickly because Burn Notice doesn't really refer to it's history/backstory/previous episodes much).

The triangle of interactions between Michael, Virgil and Madeline provide some of the lighter moments in the episode. But at times the interaction is a little stretched and doesn't feel realistic. It's a fine line between the two and Burn Notice doesn't always quite hit the right note here.

On the other hand, the scenes where Virgil is working with Michael and/or Sam are fantastic, especially the golf shop scene where a little 'creative golfing' piles enough pressure onto the store owner which gets him to reveal that a criminal named Gerard is behind the original anti-viral heist.

In comes Sam Axe as Chuck Finley! Which is always a delight, as I adore the scenes where Bruce gets to dress up in a suit and act like some big shot. He really sells it all the way to the market and back. This episode is no exception and Sam's scenes with Gerard are just top notch, he's pitch perfect with his delivery in these scenes and it really shows how much Bruce needs to be given another show all of his own (or a 4th Evil Dead Movie, I'd go for one of those). Anyway, Sam finds out that the gang is too late to try and set up a buy for the medication, it's already been sold - but it hasn't been shipped yet.

So the gang come up with a plan, but they need an inside man for a fake heist and as usual Sam volunteers Michael for the job. So the persona of 'Jackson' is created (it's possible this is a reference to Daniel Jackson - Michael Shank's character on Stargate) and Jeffrey gets a chance to showcase some acting skills. Jackson is a cowardly, asthmatic and timid chemist who's unwilling to get involved unless he's forced. Jeffrey's performance as Michael is excellent; he stammers all over the place, physically changes the way he holds himself and overall shows that he's got more in his acting range than just Michael and bad accents.

Virgil poses as the target for the operation, a boat courier/smuggler who's transporting "steroids on steroids" and things are looking pretty smooth. Except that Gerard is pretty tight lipped on the information and it turns out the only way to find out where the medication is being stored is by actually going through with the heist. Because Gerard won't let 'Jackson' out of his sight Michael has to interrupt Fi's date plans (with a mysterious paramedic who's probably Victor) to get a message across to Sam and Virgil. It looks like the heist will have to become a real one and actually happen.

So we're treated to some great scenes where Sam and Virgil doctor up some fake canisters with a selection of special effects and commandeer Michael's fridge to transport them. Then it's off to sea with Michael, Gerard and some mooks. But there's another hitch, it turns out that Gerard (in a scene where he's vocally channelling Brock Samson) plans to ensure there's no witnesses. Michael thinks fast and manages to weasel his way into getting his hands on a gun. Which is soon uses to fake shooting Virgil before tossing him overboard (with a handy explanation that Navy Seals can hold their breath for a long time). There's a great moment in amongst this where Michael realises that the fridge being used is his own one, he doesn't look to impressed at it.

Then back at the warehouse where the new meds are stored Michael discovers two problems, it's huge and the other meds are spread all over the place in locations that Gerard refuses to reveal. So it's time for Chuck Finley to make a return appearance!

This is a great little scene where 'Jackson' turns up and starts blubbering about how Chuck Finley is some kind of Keyser Söze and how he's going to take all the meds and then kill everyone. So Gerard and the crew move in, which is when Sam strikes while Fi ensures the police will be there on time.

Finley rolls in right during the unloading with a truck while Jackson surmises that there must be men in it. So Gerard's men turn the truck into Swiss cheese with machine guns and while they're distracted Michael drops his facade, fells one of Gerard's men, shoots the truck (where explosives are mounted) causes it to blow up and takes off with the meds in the truck. Gerard and his men end up getting arrested, but they're still alive - which makes a change for this season.

Finally we're treated to one last scene with Haywire Seymour and Fi. Throughout this entire episode there's been quite a bit of tension between Fi and Michael over her date; it's been nicely understated as well, present if you look for it but not so obvious as one of them outright talking about it. There's a great little moment before the door where Michael tells her she looks beautiful and they both pause awkwardly before Seymour's bodyguard-dude opens the door and lets her in. In a tense scene we find out that there was a place in Miami where someone could get a high powered Russian sniper rifle calibrated (was being the important word there, fire tends to make things go up in smoke) and Michael leaves with a name.

After previous episodes which felt sometimes overburdened with stuff it was nice to have one which scaled back a little on the burn notice part and instead gave us a little character development for Madeline (with Virgil) and some good wholesome fun in the style of the first season. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the way this season has managed to marry the brun notice metaplot with client cases (this time last season there was narry a whiff of the burn notice plot) but it is nice to have an episode where one can relax and just enjoy things without masses going on at once.

I enjoyed it a lot and I'm happy to give it a 3.5 for classic Burn Notice and reoccurring characters.


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