Burn Notice (3.16): “I want my life back”

It may sound counterintuitive but if you haven’t already started watching Burn Notice, then this season finale is an excellent place to start. The ‘Previously’ gives you enough background to ensure you’re not going to flounder, and the episode gives you the very best of Burn Notice – the snark, the sassiness, the jeopardy, the Team Westen chemistry, explosions, sneaky spy stuff… Added to which, once you’re hooked, you can spend the weeks/months until Season Four, catching up on everything you’ve already missed. You can not lose.

That said, it’s spoilers from here on in, so if you want to pop off to Demand Five, we’ll just wait here for you before we carry on together to the end.

Devil You Know picks up exactly where Good Intentions left off – with Michael taking cover from the fireball that used to be Gilroy and his car. Big Bad Simon is on the loose and Team Westen have got to round him up before people get hurt.

Simon, it transpires is the key to much of Michael’s problem. All the atrocities that Michael got the blame for (and susbquently got burned for) were Simon’s doing – and he’s pissed off that another man has got his ferocious reputation. He wants Michael to engineer a meeting with Management (the brilliant John Mahoney) – easier said than done with every LEO in Miami looking for him.

The genius of this episode is the way it manages to create a genuine feeling of jeopardy – we know Michael can handle himself – even with a monster like Simon, but if his mother cracks under the extreme pressure the FBI apply to her, he will be in real trouble…

HIghlights of Devil You Know:

  • When Michael tells Sam he needs to get clear of the cops, Sam’s reply: “It’s not just the cops. The FBI’s involved now. Homeland Security’s on alert. Pretty soon it’s going to be the IRS, the Forest Service and the Food and Drug Administration going to be looking for you.”
  • Not to mention when Mike calls Sam the next morning after a night spent sleeping in a car in a commuters’ parking lot: “You’ve reached Sam Axe’s Fugitive Assistance Service. Sam speaking.”
  • Sam, Fi, Mike and Maddie are not meeting at the Emergency Spot. They’re meeting at the Emergency Emergency Spot…
  • Maddie holding her own throughout the conversation with FBI agent Callahan, and managing to warn Michael not to come home – by using the same phrase she used when he was a kid and his dad was on a bender.
  • Simon’s unique way of getting Michael’s attention… and it’s also a neat way of showing us exactly why Michael was burned.
  • The neat reverse on the familiar with Simon declaring “I want my life back!”, not to mention Simon parodying the ‘weekly client’ thing.
  • Jeffrey Donovan stubbly and wet…sigh
  • Sam (on Fi’s car): “It’s funny, you never really know a car until you drive it through a wall. This little baby did good.”
  • Forget which colour wire to cut, if you want to safely disarm a bomb you need liquid nitrogen… As Michael’s voiceover tells us: “Freeze the detonator  and you can usually remove it safely. Of course, usually, is not a word you want to hear when working with explosives….” [Bomb in Sam's hand beeps, he throws it behind a rack of water cooler refills - comedy pause before the inevitable KABOOM!]
  • Maddie’s comeback when Callahan rants at her that Michael tried to kill him and that she doesn’t know her own son: “I know this. If Michael wanted to kill you, you’d be dead.”
  • Maddie prepared to pay for ‘Michael’s mistakes’ because he paid for hers as a child.
  • Simon doing his best Terminator 2 impression on the rooftop near the helipad. Not to mention Chekhov’s combat knife…
  • Michael’s unique method for getting to ground level quickly (and most importantly without breaking any bones).
  • The tiny moment of tenderness between Michael and Fi before he sets out alone to finish Simon off.
  • Matt Nix is a tricky bastard – playing with our expectations in the final moments of the episode. Michael hooded and chained, surrounded by guards and chain-linked fences, rain pouring down from a night sky. The words of Callahan ringing in our ears “God only knows what hole he’s in now…” And when Michael finally gets to open his eyes – we’re as surprised as he is at his surroundings.
Let’s hope 5* don’t make us wait too long for Season Four eh? See you back here in a few months…
Posted by Jo the Hat

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