Michael Western, Sam Axe and Fi returned on Thursday for the second half of the second season of Burn Notice, second. In the previous part of the season Michael was investigating into the tasks 'the people who burned him' were having him perform and discovered that they were after a sniper rifle and other things that indicated an assassination attempt. But in the final episode the sniper was killed and Michael was partially engulfed in an explosion when the front door of his flat turned out to be booby trapped?
Did he survive? Well if he didn't the show wouldn't return, so lets find out shall we?
Read about scamming sick kids, a new job and 'who talks first' beyond the link...
The returning episode of Burn Notice pretty much picks up exactly where the previous cliffhanger left off, the show kicks up into gear so fast and everything feels so familiar you're left wondering why they even bothered splitting the season up into two parts.
Michael is rescued from the blast and resulting fall by Sam and after an exciting car chase Sam briefly grieves for the loss of his vehicle before Michael rescues a man who attempts to kill himself by walking out in front of a bus. The man is Kenny and he was trying to kill himself in order for his son to get enough insurance money to pay for his son Jack's treatment. He lost most of his money to a group of scammers.
Michael spends the entire episode pretty much at breaking point, he's clearly tired, injured and seeking something to keep him motivated. Helping Jack and Kenny becomes that thing, which isn't really surprising because by now we've learnt that Michael has come to depend on these charitable jobs as a method of validating his existence.
Jeffery Donovan is particularly good in this episode at demonstrating just how tired he is of his situation, through a combination of expressions, tones and even one very strong rant (which is unusual for Michael) we get a great picture of just how tired and worn out he's feeling at this point. Even when dealing with Carla and her men he shows a lot of this, he's obviously a man who's near breaking point. Hardly surprising considering he was nearly killed.
Likewise Bruce and Gabrielle also portray Sam and Fi exceptionally well in this episode, Bruce in particular has a lot to do and as always rises up to the role with gusto. Sam's not only acting as the voice of reason for Michael but he also engineers the initial contact (in concert with Fi), interrogates Philip and Todd (Rachel's underlings) and has a great punch up with Michael. Burn Notice always does well when it gives Bruce a lot to do, and this episode is no exception.
Gabrielle's accent is still a little wonky, I wish they'd drop the 'You're in Miami' moment from the opening credits, it's always painful to be reminded how bad her Irish accent was, and her American one isn't great either. But she's always fun when Fiona is flying off doing what she does best, fighting and shooting guns. Sadly for Fi Campbell brings home a point which the viewers realised a long time ago, as long as she's involved with Michael in any fashion there really isn't room for any other man as they'd always come second. Exit Campbell.
The actor (David Barry Gray) playing Kenny was pretty good in the episode as well, the moment where he spazzes out and attacks Philip was well done (and pretty amusing). He's not one of the best guest actors ever on the show but he put together a solid performance. Stacy Haiduk was very good as Rachel, and boy is that woman ripped.
Also the balance between burn notice plot and case of the week was well maintained here, the previous episodes often felt overloaded with both cases competing for screen time. During this episode everything hung together and felt more natural. I'm hoping they manage to keep this balance up throughout the remaining episodes this season.
'Do No Harm' was a solid and fun return to the show, it did everything you expect Burn Notice to do and managed it in a very reliable and enjoyable manner. While I do sometimes wish that the show would go a little deeper into things that's not really what it's about, the show is about guns, fun, gadgets, witty lines, action and babes in bikinis. As such this episode delivered all of that in spades and more.
• I really do appreciate the character captions in this show, it makes it very easy to quickly learn who a new character is and how they fit into the episode/show. I watch so many other shows desperately trying to learn the names of characters that it's great to have this information handed over to us. Also the captions can be quite funny at times, as demonstrated in the Campbell scene.
• Likewise I enjoy the depiction of interrogation used in Burn Notice, they put more emphasis on the psychological aspect of it and less on straight torture. 'Who Talks first' was a great example of this, in say 24 Todd would have been splattered all over the pavement, but in Burn Notice he's spared a squishy fate when shoved out of the window thanks to a cable tied to his chair.