Friday, August 15, 2008

Burn Notice, "Bad Blood": Where my Cheese at?

Very quick spoilers for last night's "Burn Notice" coming up just as soon as I glue some flair to my cell phone...

They're on a nice little roll of late, aren't they? Another strong episode, with a good personal case for Michael (albeit one that could have made more use of Method Man as the murderous hip-hop mogul, and one where Michael's solution again was to set up the bad guy to get killed in his client's place) and some interesting developments on the Carla (and now Victor) front. One of the pleasures of the show is Michael's ability to think, talk or fight his way out of almost any situation; his methods are so varied that his invincibility never gets dull. But it's still nice to see him go up against someone as smart, and talented, and vicious -- not to mention someone who's far better-connected than Michael's little network of himself, Fi and Sam. I never really watched "Stargate," so this is my first real exposure to Michael Shanks, but I thought he did a very nice job as Michael's dark double.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

It did seem like a waste of Method Man. I didn't really like the way the new handler acted. he seemed smart enough but just kind of crazy and not calm and collected as you'd expect from a spy type. His response to Michael's solution seemed weird with him laughing and joking. They are both pros and both know the score, he shouldn't laugh and be sociable with the "help".

Anonymous said...

Very solid episode, and Michael's Macgyvering of that X-Ray machine in his trunk was awesome. I agree that Method Man could have been used more, he is a solid actor unlike pretty much every other rapper.

Annie Bulloch said...

I agree that the episode could have used Method Man better, but maybe he can recur.

That's three in a row where they've set up the episode's bad guy to be killed by his fellow bad-guy associates. Michael sure is an accessory to a lot of murders!

Can't decide whether I'm sorry we didn't get to see Sam attend the aqua aerobics class.

Unknown said...

That was definitely interesting. The Victor bit, I mean. Crazy loose cannon not-terribly-reasonable man. Stick vs. carrot, indeed. I don't like him (as a character, as intended), but as someone who somewhat manages to trump Michael, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

So it goes said...

Anon 3:11 Mos Def, 2 Pac, Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg would like to have a word with you.

Michael Shanks' character from Stargate was such a polar opposite of this one that I initially found it a bit jarring but I like how he was introduced.

SJ said...

^ Ludacris isn't bad as an actor either.

Though, Mos Def was an actor before a rapper.

pgillan said...

Ice, both T and Cube, are pretty good in front of the camera, and Eminem did a pretty passable job in 8-Mile, though you could argue he was just playing himself. I've actually heard it said that rappers tend to make decent actors because hip-hop is as much about image and performance as it is about music.

I thought this had a little different twist on the pit-guy-against-bad-guy plot that we've seen in the last few episides. In this case, Method Man was less a bad guy than an authority figure. It could have played out the same way if "The Client" had been a cop framed for embezzlement by another cop. The solution was to get the bad guy (Ricky?) to confess on the record.

My point is just that aside from how Method Man might discipline an employee, he wasn't a "Bad Guy". As far as we know, his money came from legitimate sources, and the risk to "the Client" could just as easily have been a prison sentence.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean this to be a criticism of Michael Shanks (whose work I haven't really seen much of), but all of his odd mannerisms just reminded me of Dwight Schrute. This did not detract from the episode as much as you might think.


Unknown said...

I agree, the season is off to a great start.

The bit where Michael has to pretend to get beaten up was pretty funny.

As I watched, I noticed two things that I really like about this show.

(1) They overload him with things to do. He's always barely keeping up with all his obligations. For some reason I really like this. Veronica Mars did the same thing. Not a minute feels like filler.

(2) When Victor screwed up his con by talking FBI, Michael got the bad guy to trust him again. That's the social engineering equivalent of his fancy MacGyver devices and cool fighting moves. And it's the writers not being lazy. Even though Burn Notice may exist in the A-Team universe, they give Michael challenges that are genuinely tough and solutions that are actually believable. It's guilty pleasure tv that I find hard to feel too guilty about watching.

Mo Ryan said...

I don't feel a bit guilty about loving this show. sure, it's escapism tv, but it's far, far more well constructed (at its best) and well acted than most escapism.

I have, gulp, seen every episode of Stargate SG-1. Shanks wasn't a draw from me, especially at first, but I got to like his character so after a while I was fine with him. Overall I thought he was good here, giving Victor an edge of (occasionally glimpsed0 batshit-craziness that really kind of worked.

All things considered, a very solid episode.

And I have to say -- isn't Fi going to be wildly attracted to victor? You have to know they'll play that card. Because Victor has that edge of kookoo bloodlust that will absolutely make her wild.

Obviously her first and really only loyalty is to Michael, and I don't think she'll ever break that bond, but I can see Victor tempting her in a big way.

On another front, I really like the vibe that Sam and Michael's mom have. I'm glad they haven't overdone that stuff but clearly Sharon Gless and Bruce C. are having a good time in their scenes.

Mo Ryan said...

Actually, I should have said, BN is far more well-constructed and well-acted than most shows, period, not just better than most other escapism-tinged shows.

There aren't many shows where it seems like it's a long seven days between episodes, but BN is one of those few for me.

So it goes said...


As far as Shanks' odd mannerisms are concerned they are either a part of Shanks' that shines through his characters or an acting style that he hasn't dropped from his Stargate days. Either way he's been doing that for a while.

Rev/Views said...

It was a pretty decent episode, but it did feel exceptionally overburdened at times. Method Man was pretty much wasted in this, the perfomance he gave in the conference room was fantastic, he channelled some real De Niro (Untouchables) and also showed that he learnt a lot from his time on The Wire.

The short scene between Bruce and him was brilliant and I wish it had been longer. But Burn Notice has gained more and more scenes each episode and the pace has become almost blistering now.

I'm not convinced this is entirely a good thing, certainly there's no wasted time or pointless dialog. But also it seems we get less character driven conversational scenes now, and those are fantastic (especially the Fi/Sam ones).

Anonymous said...

I am not certain I understand why Victor/Shanks needed Michael to assist him on this operation. If this operation headed by Carla is so sleeky and sophisticated, why do they spend as much time as they do forcing Michael to do their bidding when they could probably simply hire someone else to do the job? One theme of the show is that there are always operatives lurking about. Why would a shady enterprise need to spend its time and effort meeting, stalking, following, tracking and hassling Michael? So that a gun could be stolen? A single gun guarded by two rent-a-cops? They couldn't rent a thug? I realize there will probably be some big reveal as to their purpose but it seemed pretty silly that the introduction of Victor and all of his wrangling was for such a petty crime.

Anonymous said...

it should have been a body in the box.

pgillan said...

it should have been a body in the box.

I was going to make a joke about how it should have been big metal letters that said "Not so fast, Michael," but that made me think about how I like that there's an actual game of cat and mouse going on. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses, and it's cool that there's a real possibility that whatever scheme he cooks up to get info on Carla may backfire.

Anonymous said...

it should have been a body in the box.

I was hoping for an alien.

I love this show and never feel guilty about enjoying it.

Not sure why, but watching Shanks kept me wishing that Kyle Secor had the role instead. Or any role, for that matter.