Saturday, February 27, 2010

Burn Notice, "Good Intentions": Lipstick it

Snow removal Thursday and Friday and then family stuff on the weekend is putting me behind the eight ball on a couple of shows (I have yet to even watch "Caprica," for instance), so in the interests of letting people who want to discuss "Burn Notice" get to it already, I'll simply say the Fiona showcase went to a darker place than the show normally goes, but in a way that nicely filled out what we know about Fi, and Carlos Bernard delivered a nice guest turn as a more morally-ambiguous-than-usual bad guy. Also, given events late in the episode, I hope Matt Nix really has a good ace up his sleeve to make the Gilory arc feel worthwhile in retrospect.

What did everybody else think?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand why we've spent the past however many episodes with Michael trying to prove to Gilroy that he's trustworthy, if Simon the prisoner specifically asked Gilroy to bring Michael on board?

And I liked where the Fi story started out (some of the better spy stuff and "bad guy tension") but then that falls apart once he turns out to be doing this for his daughter. I think the show would be better served if it actually committed to some of the darker stuff or else just didn't try to go there at all. It's almost like a tease at this point.

Phil Freeman said...
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Anonymous said...

I was excruciatingly happy to see Jonathan LaPaglia [he played the "middleman"] in the show, though I'm disappointed that he was in it only for a few minutes. I love that guy and miss the crap out of Seven Days.

First Doakes, now this? Quit teasing me!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Too strong a hint, Phil.

schmoker said...

Thought this and the last episode were a nice return to form for BN. Really enjoyed the heck out of them while watching them back-to-back on DVR last night.

Sort of ironic that Gilroy gets offed at the very moment that I finally started to find his arc interesting (not that I want him back, however). Seemed fairly obvious that they were making a lot of this Gilroy stuff up on the fly, then killed him off once they realized it just wasn't working, since once he explained to Michael what was really going on, my first thought was, "Gilroy, if you kill everyone extraneous once they have finished their work for you, what makes you think some bigger baddie won't do the same thing to you?"

BOOM--next time we see him, Gilroy is a goner.

It's a fluff show, but at its best it is a really good fluff show, and these last two eps were them back at their best, I felt.

I really did like the Horatio Caine jokes, Alan, especially since they are in Miami, but I did think going to that well a second time weakened it.

M.A.Peel said...

It was good to see Fi in a fuller picture, rather than just as part of Michael's universe. The Michael/Fiona relationship is still odd, frustrating. So they are back together, but why hasn't Madeline commented on it? In the earlier season, she asked both Michael and Fi why they had broken up, but she hasn't said a word about them being back together. Does she not know?

olucy said...

So glad to see Gilroy go. Man, was he ever annoying.

Normally I'd be a little let down that the finale is next week, but I can't honestly say I care anymore. I either don't understand, can't remember or just plain don't care what it is Michael has been trying to do ever since John Mahoney dropped him out of the helicopter. It's really feeling repetitive.

At this point, what keeps me coming back is the side-story-of-the-week and Chuck Finley.

Mark said...

I echo Olucy's statements. I no longer really get what is going on with the Burn issue. I watch because of the weekly client crisis and to a lesser extent the development of the relationships between Fi, Michael, Madeline and Sam.

Anonymous said...

The odd-jobs they do in each episode always seemed like just the way for them to get by at the beginning while working on the real story of the burn notice. The fact that this season has mostly discarded that or introduced things that are clearly nothing but stalling (his CIA contact, for example, Moon Bloodgood's character as another) means that the whole weight of the show rests on the formula more than ever, just at the point where the formula is wearing thin.

I have two theories on the guy on the plane. The first (and less likely) is that it's just another figure from his past spy work, who we'll be expected to see as major despite having never heard of them or their importance before. The second (and depressingly more likely I think) is that it's Michael's father. He's the only figure who has been out of the picture but would carry enough weight to justify the cliffhangers. Season 4 can then be about clearing his name/working for him to shut down his evil plot/something else likely disappointing.

cadfile said...

I thought the episode was a great taste before the end of the season. This season really has lacked an overall arc - or rather a strong one.

If they plan on dumping the longer arc then fine but it does seem they lost some air this season.

Hopefully next season will be stronger and tighter in plotting.

Cameron said...

Just a little thing, but when Michael said something to Madeline, and she said "Whatever" in the exact same tone, I thought it was a brilliant moment. Inflection can say a lot about a relationship like theirs, and Tyne Daly is awesome.

olucy said...

Cameron, I think you have your Cagney and Lacey mixed up.

Mac said...

I'm optimistic due to who Nix has up his sleeve for the finale. That's not too spoilery, is it?

Allison DeWitt said...

After some episodes that struck me as flighty, but entertaining, this one was terrific in many ways. I liked seeing Fi used for more than pouty eye candy, I started to like Gilroy as he was on the brink of death Sam was great at combining concern and humor. (Bruce Campbell would probably be perfect as a reborn Rockford..I can almost hear him sighing in disgust: "For crying...out...loud..."

Carlos Bernard was wonderful and his development as a character was a surprise. The subtext reminded me of the uncomfortable but realistic moments from movies like " Three Kings" or "The Quiet American". Sometimes, the worst people represent our own side. Sometimes, people have faced such tragedy, they're doing something morally objectionable. It's an uncomforting truth - not something we see explored in television.

Anonymous said...

I always liked Gilroy. Chris Vance seemed to have so much fun being ominous and evil in that fingers-locked-together-just-as-planned sort of way. It was delightful.

Jim said...

I'm still along for the ride. I liked the sidestory, and I liked the last scene with Gilroy. And I'm very glad to see one of the actors who was in the previews for the finale return. Not entirely convinced Fi (and Michael) had to save Carlo just to give him to the cops.

Maddy's delivery of "whatever" was a classic.

Dan said...

I agree with the previous sentiments. This season's arcs have stunk. The policewoman, Diego, Gilroy, all dreadful. Of these I thought Diego had the most potential but it was something like 5 episodes of set up and then a weak fizzling out. Oh yeah, the Strickler stuff was ok.

So they need to have a stronger arc or just give up and have no arc. I'd probably watch just for Sam, and Madeline when she's given something interesting to do.

WWWeaves said...

Gilroy became likable as he was dying. It was odd and touching. Having the big-bad killed by the bigger-bad feels all Jayne and the Reavers to me. Its a daring choice and one I hope they can sustain. I realize this is the second time they've done this this season, Gilroy killed Diego, Simon killed Gilroy.
Ominous is not a mood choice this show has done well, yet. I hope they will resist the temptation to go out on a cliffhanger.
Matt Nix's little commentary on Hulu, tells me that they finally have a solid bead on who Fiona is and why she does what she does. They now need to show me, not tell me.
The best and most solid elements of this show are the relationships between the principals. Any two of the four together are pure gold. The long arcs may be going to tie together next week. Michael shooting Strickler paid for a lot. I'm along for the ride. Please don't disapoint me.

Lisa said...

I agree with @olucy. And I need to add that I've stopped trying to understand the burn notice part of the plotline. I don't understand it at all (no clue why Michael is answering to this season's baddie). I watch mostly for the interaction between the Michael, Fiona, Sam and Michael's mom. But I wish they'd just stop with the burn notice crap (the SNL parody got that right) and focus on the victim of the week stories.

Dan said...

This constantly moving goalpost with regards to the serialized story is just getting annoying. Now there is a bigger bad on top of Gilroy?!? They should just abandon the serialized stuff and stick to 'problem of the week' if the serialized stuff keeps being so repetitive.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the arc with the burn notice is overly complicated. The entire third season and its various baddies have indeed amounted to nothing more than stalling tactics. Simon is THE threat Management warned Michael about when Michael jumped from the helicopter, refusing their protection, and now we're finally getting it, after a whole season of plodding.

I didn't mind Gilroy, though the reason Michael was working with him was never completely clear. I did enjoy Strickler -- and Michael shooting Strickler was one of the show's most powerful moments, in my opinion -- but my problem with the way the third season and its burn notice arc paid off is that there was continuous turnover with who Michael had to try and pacify (Detective Paxon), or try to work with (Strickler), or try to use for contacts (Diego), or, again, try to to work with, but this time to catch him doing something bad (Gilroy). It's too many people.

I still love the show, though, and still think the arc is important to it. I just wish that there was more cohesion to it all -- Michael doesn't need to power through a whole slew of recurring characters in a single season. Part of the reason Carla worked better than the revolving door of people this season is because she stuck around for more than five episodes.

JanieJones said...

I agree with many of the comments regarding this season.

I enjoyed Thursday night's episode as it gave some more depth to Fi and that particular plot. I like when BN goes into more moral ambiguity territory. It provides more interest to me.

I also watch more for the dynamic of Fi, Michael, Sam and Maddie. They provide the core of the show (and often some of the more humorous aspects).

I do hope S4 is bit tighter than S3 has been.

dez said...

At this point, they could resolve the burn notice issue and have Michael choose to continue helping people instead of rejoining the CIA, and I would still watch. It could be the new "Equalizer," except with Sam, Fi, and Madeline as the sidekicks instead of just Mickey.

Zach, yes that is my real name. said...

Three days late and a dollar short.. darn you DVR anyway.

Had to pipe up and add that as a gay guy, loved that last bit when Gilroy saves Michaels life with an intimate touch and the reveal of the explosives. "[pats arm] perhaps youd best.. run along".

Look on Michaels face as he tries to take it all in - the explosive, the sacrifice, the gesture - in a quarter second was superlative.

Nice shout out to the fact that Michael IS beautiful, every bit as much eye candy as Fiona is.. enough to warm the iciest gay sociopathic limey bastard's heart.