Friday, July 25, 2008

Burn Notice, "Trust Me": Never con a con man?

Spoilers for "Burn Notice" coming up just as soon as I renew my "Cat Fancy" subscription...

Got this e-mail from a reader a few minutes after the episode ended:
I read your review of Burn Notice- just wondering- do you not detect that season 2 has lost it’s “snap”? Your review suggested that you saw season 1. With season two, it drags in places, the lines are not crisp, stories have been hokey, not nearly as much of the “how-to” overlays, and there’s more silliness, and now even gory violent deaths. It seems to me, just an average joe (or joe ann, as the case may be) viewer, that there has been a loss of someone key from last year. Some part of the show’s essence is gone.
This isn't the first complaint I've seen that season two is in some way a disappointment compared to season one, but I'm not seeing it. Not yet, anyway.

In some ways, in fact, I'd call this year an improvement. Now that the characters and premise are firmly established, the writers have dropped the idea that Sam can't stand Fiona and vice versa, and it's been fun watching the two of them and Michael work so well together -- and take such pleasure in their work. (Dig the smile on Bruce Campbell in that picture above.) And letting Michael's mom in on his work life -- or, at least, acknowledging that she knew about it -- has made that character much more palatable and interesting.

As for "Trust Me" in particular, I don't know that I loved the way the counter-con worked out -- given all the set-up about how Michael would have a five-minute window for the money to remain in the account, I expected the scam to depend on that window -- but overall, I enjoyed the story, and particularly Michael getting the loanshark the lifetime magazine subscription to remind him not to mess with somebody's mom.

And I really enjoyed all the steps in using the Pakistani spy to get some dirt on Carla. At first, I questioned why Michael, impersonating a newspaper reporter, would be using an actual newspaper as a prop (I don't tote copies of The Star-Ledger with me to interviews in lieu of a business card), but then realized it was there to hide the stolen documents. Carla's not going to be back until later this season, but it's important that her presence hangs over Michael even when she's not there.

So, for now, I'm satisfied. What does everybody else think?


pgillan said...

This was one of those shows that grew on me in retrospect. I watched the first season when it was on, and liked it, but found that the more time went on, the more strongly I felt about it. Re-watching season one in anticipation of season two supported that. I feel like this season is following a similar path. I like it, but I'll probably like it more later.

I also find myself easting more yogurt.

Mapeel said...

One logic point concerning Carla: why would she stop all surveillance of Weston? Last week it was so complete that she bought the coffee pot, etc.

Even if he isn't presently doing a job for her, wouldn't she keep some eyes on him? The fact that he could do the whole Pakistani informant thing without her knowing doesn't hold up for me.

I think some of the sagging snap may be because the burn premise was so unique last season, but now we are living in that world and so it's not as new.

But I will say that Bruce Campbell can really wear a suit when he wants to. Yum.

a said...

So far my only disappointment with season 2 is the work Gabrielle Anwar had done on her nose. Why, why?

Anonymous said...

As for that e-mailer to Alan, who was it who died a gory and violent death in last night's episode? The faux FBI agents were removed from the car before it was blown up, and we were never shown what happened to the con man after his partners found out that he had been tricked into giving away their money.

Anonymous said...

I really like this season so far. I feel like developing Mike's relationship with his mom is something that I didn't believe could be a highlight of the show. I tune in for the action and how-tos, but I find myself growing to like this development.

Regarding the arc, however, I find myself incredibly bored with the hows and whys of Michael being burned. I also can't help but wonder if at season's end/break, whether Carla will just be replaced by someone else whose claiming responsibility for burning Michael.

Kathy said...

I don't enjoy the rift between Michael and Fiona...the sexual tension and flirting was much easier to watch! I also like having Sam in more him!

Anonymous said...

For all we know, Carla is watching and letting Michael find out the amount of information she wants him to have. I'm willing to sit back and see if that's the case because the ride is so enjoyable. Plus Bruce Campbell rocks!

Karen said...

Count me as another person who disagrees with your ordinary Joe Ann: I think this season is strong so far, with more character development to balance the action. I'm really loving the Donovan-Gless scenes; last season the Mom was a one-joke part and now she and Michael give each other depth.

I don't care so much about Carla, and I didn't miss her this week. She doesn't strike me as someone who has anything to do with the burn, but it merely taking advantage of it. So I'm happy to see Michael continue to dig up clues on his own story while also helping out his "clients."

Besides, Donovan and Campbell and Anwar are just so damn good that I don't care so much about the trimmings.

Anonymous said...

This episode was better than the first 2. I just wish the mom would get killed off. She seems like a ripoff of the Brotherhood mom, except she is not worth watching. Also Phee's plastic surgery is kind of disturbing, such a pretty woman why would she do that to herself.

R.A. Porter said...

@kathy, that sexual tension isn't really gone, it's been subsumed. I suspect it's going to return to the forefront in an interesting new way in a couple of weeks when a new player comes into town. I have a strong feeling that Fi's going to be stepping out with...nah. Not even a guess at a spoiler.

Alan, no love for Rob Thomas fav Patrick Fabian? His doofus faceman was perfect.

I don't think the show's lost a thing, and I agree that Madeline, and her relationship with Michael, is much more interesting this year. Last year, she just frustrated me. A lot like talking with *my* mother. This year, I care about that relationship and am reminded of my mother. Yeah. I'm conflicted.

Anonymous said...

If he wants dirt on Carla, shouldn't he be contacting spies from Caprica?

Anonymous said...

Caprica! Now that's funny.