Friday, February 12, 2010

Burn Notice, "Enemies Closer": I've got a name

I'm almost relieved the NBC comedies will be off the air for a few weeks, because the Thursday programming pile-up means I only just got done with last night's "Burn Notice." Was very glad to have Tim Matheson back as crazy Larry, because the show is always more fun when Michael's dealing with an opponent who's as smart as he is. And the story was also a good showcase for Sam and Fi, and Michael's relationships with each.

I'm still unenthused about the Gilroy arc, which leads me to a question: at this point in the life of the series, how necessary are the arcs? Michael knows who burned him, and he's evolving into someone who doesn't seem like he'd want to be a spy again, and the show's serialized elements have only occasionally been as entertaining as watching Michael, Sam and Fi help the client of the week. I know some people feel the show would be too lightweight if Michael wasn't working towards some larger goal, but given how much better the show is when he's dealing with other people's standalone problems, I don't know that I'd mind if we got a long stretch where Michael stopped worrying about getting unburned and just built stuff to blow up.

What does everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

i watch the show and i cant figure out why gilroy is there. why michael needs him. the burned part just isnt interesting. theres no clear arc

Anonymous said...

Aaaanndd the company Michael keeps once again offends Fiona's delicate sensibilities as a terrorist.

WWWeaves said...

Fi is a former terrorist. If I wrote this show, next season's arc would be... Michael gets unburned and is assigned to....Miami! Fi gets a blanket pardon up until the day they unburn Michael, and after that its his responsibility to keep her from breaking the law. And he's not allowed to tell her why. Hilarity ensues. (Maybe.) Sam gets to know, setting up all kinds of fun with Sam and Fi. And his job is just to continue being James Rockford, attract and deal with trouble. And write reports.

Sous Chef Gerard said...

The show does seem more enjoyable when the "who burned me now" segments are relegated to the way background just like when the "who is the mother" stuff is on the shelf on for an extended period on 'How I Met Your Mother.'

Mike said...

I think part of the reason for the arcs, even if I am drifting towards the ether when Gilroy is around, is so that Sam and Fi and occasionally mom get to be something more than Michael's flunkies. Whenever he has been off doing arc related planning, the Sam, Fi and mom have had a chance to develop their relationships while they work on the episode job. I think that if Michael were more involved on a weekly basis with the client of the week, the relationships of the secondary characters would begin to lag. And I like how Sam-Fi/Sam-mom/mom-Fi have developed.

I still laugh anytime Sharron Glass mentions the curtains to Bruce Campbell.

Stealth said...

I enjoyed the episode, but the most intriguing aspect was when Michael starting getting all John Constantine with his friends. But then it turned out to be largely through Larry's manipulation of Michael's phone, and everyone reconciled at the end.

I'm not necessarily disappointed, because that might be too dark for the show, but it was interesting to see Michael let loose that part of himself.

Anonymous said...

Anybody else watching the same Burn Notice I am right now? It's gotten so stale so quickly you wonder if Nix abandoned his baby in favor of working full time on this other show he's now running for FOX.

I literally feel like they took elements of all the old scripts, put them in a blender and made season 3.5. Examples? For anyone that's paying attention, they've been reusing locations to the point of overkill (is Miami really that small that we have to see the Hotel Victor or the same outdoor bar over and over?), recycling guest stars (Sugar, Larry, etc.) and regurgitating the same spy tips we've seen again and again. Even the lower thirds have gotten annoying. They're so smug it's almost painful to see them come up.

The show now seems to be talking down to its viewers and just a general all-around mess. The burn arc makes no sense (and really hasn't since they killed off Carla and Victor), and at this point I no longer care who/what entity or organization burned/hired/fired/is chasing/not chasing/attempting to kill or not attempting to kill Michael.

I used to love this show but was always worried about its longevity given the premise. Hopefully there's a strong finale and a better season 4 around the corner.

Liz said...

I always liked Victor's attitude about his burn notice.

That said, I have enjoyed previous spy story arcs, but I'd be just fine if they were more of an occasional thing.

Dizzee said...

Question and a Comment:

Do we know yet why martin crane needed to burn Michael in order to get him to work for his splinter organization (and is said organization part of the ring)?

I like the serialized elements as long as they keep making sense. It seems the USA shows that work allow the serialized elements to show character development (early years of Monk, In Plain Sight). The ones that don't have this element (Psych) have lost me in the repetition.

But this arc with Gilroy makes me cringe. It has nothing to do with Micahel getting unburned. Michael just assumes he is planning something big and Michael wants to stop it. I would feel better if he would show that he wants to stop it in order to show the company what an asset he still is.

Otherwise why not wear a bug, get Gilroy on tape and hand him and the tape over to the police.

I'll hang up and listen to you answer

Anonymous said...

I *think* what they're trying to do with Mason Gilroy is pivot from the big story arc being that Michael tries to get unburned to just having a Big Bad to try to bring down each season, right?

Mason has nothing to do with burning him and I don't believe he's made any promises that he can do anything about Michael wanting to get back in. In fact, Michael has to pretend to be ok with being burned for Gilroy to want to work with him.

Michael crossed paths with Gilroy just because Gilroy happened to kill Michael's handler for unrelated reasons, and Gilroy saw him at the scene. Michael sees Gilroy as an incredibly dangerous guy that only Michael is capable of bringing down (which continues to beg the question, why not just shoot him, as Fiona and Sam have suggested multiple times).

Which is all to the good, I think. The getting unburned storyline was getting stale, and having another reason for a multi-episode operation seems good. But the execution so far hasn't been that great. Witness how confused people are in terms of how Gilroy fits into Michael getting burned. Plus, why no fallout from the CIA yet that Michael's handler was murdered?

Oh btw, speaking of spy stuff, Alan, when are you going to start writing up Archer? That might be my favorite show now.

Andy L said...

I think the arc stuff is ingrained in this show, and I like that there is movement from time to time. That said, I don't think the arc has to be about the burn notice forever. I'd like to see a case or an enemy come up that creates a problem and an obstacle that can't be overcome in one episode. Maybe Larry has something big going next season, or Jay Karnes' character comes back with a masterplan. In between steps of those plans, Michael and his team can still take their cases of the week or occasionally focus for the whole episode on a piece of the puzzle.

I know that sounds like what Gilroy is presenting, but I have yet to hear any reason why, at this point, Michael can't put a bullet in his brain base and end things.

Mapeel said...

Andy L., Fi suggested that they just put a bullet in Gilroy, but Michael thinks Gilroy is working for some sort of Big Bad, and that he Michael is the only person in a position to flush out the Big Bad, so he can't just off Gilroy. It is a testament to the show that it can be so enjoyable with so many holes in the basic story fabric.

Frank Bullitt said...

What is Burn Notice?

Brandy said...

My main problem is it's become such a big part of the show. The first season it seemed like only a few episodes where the burn notice plot. Now every episode is that and it's too much.

Otherwise, though? I loved the episode. I might even love a big bad if it could be Larry.

Nate's wife, "are you going to smoke in here?" who is allergic to cucumbers and doesn't eat protein? Hee.

The matress trick was pretty cool.d

Billiam said...

I like Andy Al's suggestion: maybe we could have an ongoing big bad, who causes the plot of the week for a few episodes without going away. Maybe Michael gets set against a powerful gang boss for a while?

Jeff said...

Bravo Frank with the SNL reference...

I agree with most everyone here, the "burned" arc seems to have run its course. I'd like to see Michael have to deal with the dozens of people he's crossed while in Miami...all of the people he tricked or hoodwinked.... some of them still have to be around somewhere.

Steve said...

What happened to the police woman (Moon Bloodgood) anyway? I thought she was supposed to be "a big part" of season 3?

Anonymous said...

Hard to argue with many of you about the story arcs - I feel the series turning point was perfectly set in place with him jumping out of the helicopter and hearing "hell will be unleashed on you" or something like that.

Maybe this Gilroy bit plays into the fact that he has no protection from the "agency" anymore and bad guys from his past are starting to come after him. The great think about Michael is he still feels the commitment to protect the country even though the powers that be burned him. But the Gilroy arc feels like a one or two episode one and not a full half season - maybe the pay off will be better than we expect - I hope so.

That said - this remains can't miss viewing for me and my wife. Way better than 95% of the shows on.

Maura said...

For me, Alan got to the heart of it with this:

I don't know that I'd mind if we got a long stretch where Michael stopped worrying about getting unburned and just built stuff to blow up.

I can put up with a lot if stuff is blown up in an awesome way. And Burn Notice rarely disappoints me in that regard.

But, yeah, the Gilroy arc is kind of a snooze, because it's feel like a retread. I can get behind a Big Bad of the season for some shows. I just don't know if Burn Notice is a show that needs one. Or, if they're going to have one, make the villain more villainous and interesting.

But it's not like I'm watching out of habit. I still watch this first, and record Project Runway for later. If that's not devotion for this fashion addict, I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

It was good to see Crazy Larry back and he drove Mike crazy this time too.

I also liked how they strained the established relationships and wouldn't mind seeing that go multiple episodes.

The scenes between Nate's wife Ruth and Madeline were gravy this time.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I'm reading. Bored with the main story arc? Are you kidding? It is the only link we have to the mystery that is Michael Westen. Elimate that and we just have what some complain is the "formulaic" weekly caper. The burn notice theme is changed up every season. S1--Who and why was Michael burned; Season 2-- Michael finds out who and why; First half of Season 3--Michael is obsessed with getting the old job back (only 5 minutes of 4 episodes devoted to this) while living with the fallout of turning down Management; ends with Michael giving up the ghost for something he realizes is more important, friends and family. Second half of Season 3--With no authoritive entity to direct his moves, pat him on the back, or give him cover, Michael assumes the role of vigilante, finding validation by continuing to do what he was made for, even if nobody appreciates it(Psychology 101).

Patience kids, the Gilroy arc has just gotten started. (Carla and Victor had a whole season). And remember, Gilroy is "only the tip of a very big iceberg." Give the writers a little credit. Do you really think Gilroy is just a another Dr. Evil for the sake of the burn notice arc?

I have faith they won't sacrifice the integrity of the show just because we have the attention span of a three-year old.

Schmoker said...

The people that Michael does not just shoot is now becoming flat out silly. Gilroy, perhaps the most boring fey villain ever, is jut the latest, but having both he and Larry in the same episode only pointed out what is becoming increasingly wrong with the show: Michael's a killer who kills everyone BUT the completely amoral sociopaths that the actually deserve it.

Not killing Gilroy can be hand-waved away, but not killing Larry was, to me, a shark jumping moment.

7s Tim said...

And Sam and Fi should become a couple already. Sexual tension is palpable. boycott (or has this been ground to death already?)

Michael said...

I liked it that the "client" really had to do with Michael's life so it felt more like the whole episode had to do with the show's story.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of Michael always working "for" someone- it's way past time he really went into business for himself.