Friday, August 01, 2008

Burn Notice, "Comrades": Hail to the king, baby

Spoilers for "Burn Notice" coming up just as soon as somebody punches me in the face...

Now that's what I'm talking about.

Again, I haven't really had an issue with the season so far, but "Comrades" felt like a significant step up from the episodes preceding it, highlighting all the best aspects of the series.

The how-to level was off the charts (I'm struggling to think of a scene that Jeffrey Donovan didn't narrate) and by making Sam the interrogation expert (and an enthusiastic one at that!) in addition to the guy having to wine-and-dine Larry Miller, we got a terrific Bruce Campbell showcase that didn't skimp on the other characters. Fiona still got to be Fiona, vengeful enough that she took real pleasure in marking up Michael's face, and hard-core enough to not mind tasering herself to take out Ivan. And Michael still got to be the man of a thousand skills (and accents), always in command of a situation.

And just as the writers seem to have recognized that Michael's mom wasn't working as loud comic relief, they've now begun to rehabilitate his brother, who was much less irritating when he was being semi-competent. Through in a standard creepy/hammy guest turn by Andrew Divoff (you may know him as Mikhail "Patchy" Bakunin from "Lost," but he'll always be Frenchy from "EZ Streets" to me) and you have an episode firing on all cylinders.

What did everybody else think?


R.A. Porter said...

My one and only complaint is having Larry Miller come on for a character we're probably never going to see again. He and The Chin were so good together, and I can only imagine how funny a scene could be produced with Miller and Sharon Gless.

Then again, maybe Matt Nix will surprise me and have Harvey Gunderson start dating Madeline.

Figgsrock2 said...

I agree--I'd like to see more Bruce Campbell and Larry Miller. ("Can I get some more crab cakes here?!?") Those were fantastic scenes.

And I really like how Nix and co. are fleshing out Michael's family. This show keeps getting better and better.

Mrglass said...

Great episode. It was refreshing to see a "ticking-bomb" scenario on TV resolved with good police work, and without torture. The opposite of 24 (I wonder if that series will change its tone when it comes back, after all the revelations about CIA interrogation technics).

A lot of the cases this season seem to repeat last year (con a con man, save a sex slave...), but I guess it is to be expected in a procedural. And I don't really mind as long as the show stays this fun.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to have something to say about last night's episode, besides how much I love Bruce Campbell, but I find that Burn Notice is the television equivalent of cotton candy (not that there is anything wrong with that). Unlike, say, Mad Men I'm not really drawn to discuss the intricacies of each episode nor am I particularly worried about how everything will work out by the end of the hour.

Instead, kind of like with Chuck last Fall, I'm just very happy when I realize that I'll have a new episode to watch when Thursday's roll around.

But if I had to find something to wonder, I'd have to reiterate somebody's complaint from last week: After all that stuff with the surveillance and the coffee machine earlier on, wouldn't Tricia Helfner be onto, and pissed about, all this digging into her cover operation?

Anonymous said...

Divoff is always the Wishmaster to me.

Anonymous said...

It was refreshing to see a "ticking-bomb" scenario on TV resolved with good police work, and without torture.

I loved Michael's how-to about torture and how it often leads to bad info because the tortured person will say anything to get the torture to stop (er, not that I want Jack "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR!?" Bauer to stop using that tactic).

This was definitely the best ep so far this season--just enough mom and Nate without being annoying (like the mom and sis are on "In Plain Sight")--and of course, lots o' Bruce! As long as it keeps going like this, I'll be a happy camper.

Karen said...

Great episode, I thought. Did ANYONE doubt that Fiona would taser the guy even if it meant tasering herself? Kudos to Anwar for creating such a strong character that you know exactly what path she'll take.

I was extremely happy with the explanation of the futility of torture. I don't watch "24" and never have, so I took it as a commentary on recent American practices, and I thought it made its point beautifully.

And count me as another person who wants more Harvey Gunderson!

Grunt said...

I just love the fact that Nate turned out not to be totally useless. Except for slipping too much info to Katya (which I can understand), he did a pretty good job for Michael and that was nice to see.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I really liked this episode. I thought Gabrielle Anwar's expressions were particularly good (I didn't care for her at first, but I really like the character now), and Bruce Campbell was in top form. I especially liked the scene where Fi claims that he's suffering from dementia and the one where she tasers herself. And the show is better now that the mother has more human qualities--she's much more sympathetic. Fun show, and they look like they're having fun with it, too.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I will always think of Andrew Divoff as Redeye in Oblivion, the SF/Western/Comedy. How's that for an obscure reference?

Love the bit where Fi tasers Ivan. The whole bit is just very well thought out: she looks up, sees Sam running toward them, you can see the wheels turning in her mind as she recognizes that he's not going to get there in time to help her but he will get there in time to deal with Ivan when they're both unconscious, and zaps him with the taser, taking the shock herself as well. Great bit.