"You have no idea what hell will rain down if we stop watching out for you." -ManagementAnd so an outstanding season of "Burn Notice" comes to an appropriately outstanding ending. "Lesser Evil" featured so many fist-pumping moments that I think I pulled a tendon in my forearm (my guess it was Sam and Madeline making explosive ordinance out of Christmas decorations, gunpowder and non-dairy creamer that did it). But it also featured some wonderfully poignant moments that not only didn't undercut the action, but enhanced it. When you see how much Madeline cares for her son, how scorching Michael and Fi's love for each other is, what a tragic figure Victor turns out to be (and, therefore, how much it pains Michael to put him out of his misery), it only makes those moments when our heroes get over on the bad guys feel more satisfying. This is a show that started off as a diversion at best, then became a fun summer lark, and now I consider it essential, terribly engaging viewing. It feels epic in a way that I never would have expected at any point in season one.
"I'll take my chances." -Michael
The finale takes care of both Carla and Victor, the former in one of those aforementioned "Hell yeah!" scenes (Fi was probably speaking for half the audience when she said, "Finally!" after putting a bullet in her), the latter in a moment that was deliberately the opposite of satisfying. Victor was introduced as Michael's opposite number -- just as competent, but crazy and overheated where Michael is cool and controlled -- and here we find out he's just another poor bastard who got a burn notice at a bad time, and the poor fortune to lose his family in the bargain. This could have been Michael, and he knows that, and that's why he hesitates so long before letting Victor help him pull the trigger. A great moment for Jeffrey Donovan and Michael Shanks.
And with this season's villains out of the way, the final moments introduce a potential season three bad guy in the always-wonderful John Mahoney. Michael's refusal to go along with the request to take Carla's place -- to take the hard, potentially fatal road instead of the easy, well-compensated one -- isn't a decision I think he makes at the start of the series. But "Burn Notice," when it isn't busy teaching us cool counter-surveillance techniques, is about what happens when an amoral, globe-trotting spy is forcibly dumped back into the real world, given a half-surrogate, half-real family, and introduced to the concerns of ordinary people. This Michael has a conscience, and a sense of the concerns of others -- see his refusal to simply kill the surveillance detail on the off-chance they're unwitting tools of Carla -- and he'd rather put his own life at risk then to make himself a cog in the machine that would kill a man's wife and son as an easy way to acquire a new operative.
I just feel incredibly satisfied by this whole season, and I can't wait to see how things play out next season now that Michael's unquestionably a man without a country. Was Mahoney exaggerating about the threat level, or will we see his weekly missions constantly being disrupted by disgruntled former colleagues popping up to take a shot at Michael, Fi and Sam? And how long do we have to wait, anyway.
Bravo, "Burn Notice."
What did everybody else think?