"This man is a freelance psychopath - and I'm the only one in a position to do anything about it." -Michael"Friendly Fire" was a mixed bag of an episode, illustrating many of the series' strengths, but also some of its pitfalls.
On the one hand, it was a good Sam showcase, and offered a lot of spycraft tips (warehouse roofs are easy to bust into, ice cream carts can be rigged to blow) and cool action beats (Michael, Sam and Mack walk down the side of a building under heavy fire). And it followed up on last week's Michael/Madeline confrontation in showing a Michael who now accepts he's more vigilante than spy, and that helping people comes before any attempt to get back in.
On the other, Michael's satanic gangster character was too much to swallow. Michael's undercover characters always skirt the edge of caricature, and this guy - particularly in that goofy whisper he used - fell over it. Even though things kept blowing up whenever he snapped his fingers, I kept waiting for Omar or someone else to refuse to take him seriously until he talked in a normal tone of voice.
(Also problematic, but not in a "Burn Notice" structural way: how do you cast Danny Trejo in an episode where a bad guy wields a machete, and not make Trejo the guy with the machete?)
I'm reserving judgment on Gilroy until we see where this is going. Giving basically the same performance he did on Fox's annoying, short-lived international production "Mental," Chris Vance fit in much better as a cartoonish "Burn Notice" bad guy. But he also seemed very much like Michael Shanks as Victor. Gilroy's situation is different than Victor's, but "Burn Notice" has been on long enough that the danger of feeling repetitive is very real, so we'll see if this winds up seeming like a Carla retread or not.
What did everybody else think?