Saturday, February 06, 2010

Burn Notice, "Noble Cause": Micro-rave

The Thursday night TV show pile-up meant I didn't get to this week's "Burn Notice" until last night. But even if I'd watched it on time, I don't know that I'd have a lot to say about it. Chris Vance is being a little too hammy and eeeeevil as Gilroy, and the case of Sugar and his slow cousin Dougie felt like that occasional instance of a "Burn Notice" plot that wasn't so much a retro story with a twist, but a story you might have seen on a show 30 years ago.

On the plus side: Michael's microwave shenanigans, the return of Chuck Finley, the reason behind Madeline receiving a crime-stoppers award, and Erik King (Doakes from "Dexter") getting some employment. Not a bad episode - just a blah one.

What did everybody else think?


Grunt said...

I wasn't even sure that was Eric King, he was such a bad-ass in Dexter and such a not-bad-ass here. Good acting job!

Yeah, not the best episode, and was anyone else bothered by the fact that Michael and Gilroy were basically wearing the same shirt in one scene. I can't tell if that was intentional or not, but it really bothered me and I don't recall any mention of it.

Also, if this show becomes the type of show where a bad-guy getting murdered is a moral problem for Michael, I'm going to have a problem. The building climbing expert's death was revealed a little too much like, "oh, oh. This guy MURDERS people." when we all know that Michael is not incapable of doing the same thing himself when necessary and it adds to the credibility of the show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I didn't read that as a moral quandary so much as Michael thinking, "Uh-oh, this guy has a really quick trigger finger," and he therefore has to be extra careful around him.

Grunt said...

I think you could read that scene either way. I'm just concerned that they're going to turn Michael into a big fluffy bunny with a lot of fire power, which is the kind of thing that happens to these types of shows after 4 seasons or so.

Anonymous said...

The return of yogurt!

LyddieGal said...

I loved the microwave bomb, but I'm really not liking Gilroy, he feels too familiar and one dimensional, and I keep forgetting why Michael wants to have anything to do with him in the first place.

But even still, the episode had some fun parts and Burn Notice is one of my favorite parts of my week.

Karen said...

I didn't find it so blah. I liked the interplay between Sam and Dougie. I liked the continuity of Fi's indignation when bad guys exploit those who can't look out for themselves (kids and the disabled have a stone friend in Fi). I love the scene of Michael and Maddy giving their full-bore smiles together, because Donavan and Gless have the Exact Same Smile and it's uncanny how perfect a choice Gless was for his mom.

I agree with Alan's read of the Claude's-dead scene, by the way. I don't think Michael is shedding any tears for the death of Claude, who was prepared to kill a security guard who got in his way. It was in that scene that we saw Michael reacting to the news of someone's death.

So, yeah, I liked this episode. I even found myself sighing, "Oh, I love this show," when the team trapped Lynch in the flower depot.

Liz said...

Not my favorite episode ever, but I still enjoyed it. The microwave bomb was great. And the scene where Michael tries to explain to his mother why he can't attend the Crime Stoppers award dinner had me laughing so hard I had to rewind and watch the whole thing again.

I do agree with some of the opinions of Gilroy. I kept finding myself wanting to skip over anything having to do with him and get back to the Sugar storyline.

Mapeel said...

Grunt, I noticed the shirt thing between Michael and Gilroy too. Michael is trying to convince Gilroy that he is a fellow psycho, maybe it played into that (although I don't know how Michael would know what G what going to wear). I thought Gilroy said something about them being a team and looking like a team. And somewhere around that scene, when Claude shows up, Michael says "maybe we should get uniforms." So something was going on there.

As for Gilroy, the writers should know that no one can pull off "Ta ta."

Maura said...

We've seen enough Gilroy-type characters on the show that I'm not all that interested in him, although I admit I was a tad shocked that he'd kill Claude for not finishing the job. But as long as Michael, Sam, Fiona, and Madeline keep being themselves, I won't complain. This wasn't their best episode, but it's still Burn Notice, which I won't miss for anything.

Jim said...

It was precisely the smallness, for lack of a better word, that I liked about this episode: Three international superspies coming together to stick up for a mentally handicapped guy (and yeah yeah foil an armored car heist). Odd coincidence that BN makes 'the R word' a flash point at the same time it becomes one in the political-media echo chamber. My only complaint is that I wanted Fi or Sam to physically lay a very big hurt on the bad guy whose name I'm blanking on, one good shot to the head or gut. "He's going away for a long time" wasn't enough, and a little Batman/Scoobydooish.

The Gilroy plot does feel like wheel-spinning.

Anonymous said...

It was not a bad episode, but I did not see the point of the Gilroy elements. it introduced the Australian SIS guy for no reason, then killed him off. For what? to prove Gilroy is a psychopath? we already knew that. He and Michael are right right where would be if the entire episode had been omitted. It was nothing but fluff.

Count me in as one who believes the SIS man's death was a moral quandary for Micheal, even if he does not want it to be. i think the show is headed in the direction that Michael will ultimately pass up the chance to return to the spy business and keep helping people the way he has been. Fiona was right earlier this season. He is not as cold and morally vacuous as he used to be.

Maybe I am reading too much into things, but I thought Michael and Gilroy wearing the same shirt in one scene was to force viewers to compare the two so the changes in Michael attitude since being burned are more glaring.

Anonymous said...

The Gilroy accent bothers me, for some reason. But the episode was entertaining for me and the combination of Madeline /Sam's efforts to get her the Neighbor Watch award based on turning in cars Michael had stolen was great.

Michael's reaction was hilarious.

Brandy said...

I can't remember the last time the Burn plot interested me but I can't think of anything this week that made me giggle as much as Madeline and Michael discussing the civic award.

mary said...

I just got around to this episode myself. I am so lost about the Burn Notice. We had Richard Schiff, Carla, and Frasier's dad. Where are we now? Was Karla's organization the one who burned him or the one who took advantage of burned spies? I thought the taking advantage was Stricker. Then Diego - he was just a convenient CIA guy who was going to help him. Do now I am totally lost as to who Gilroy is and how he ties in - who can help?

Schmoker said...

I was really excited by the microwave bomb, but let me just say that it would be a huge mistake to try it at home. I went from owning Garfield to owning Mr. Bigglesworth.

I do think that it is believable that Michael's growth includes a growing ability to feel death in a way that he hasn't in a long time (if ever, considering the house he grew up in), so it didn't bother me that he was a little freaked by Gilroy killing Claude. But I do have to say that Gilroy does nothing for me. Swapping out one mystery psycho for another often provides increasingly diminishing returns, and I have to say that the actor who played Strickler was a hell of a lot more interesting and fun than Gilroy, who comes off like Sindely Whiplash. And I still think they blew it when the teased us with one the greatest actors they ever had on the show, Richard Schiff, then just killed him off immediately and have never replaced him with anyone even remotely as interesting. For a minute and a half, it looked like John Mahoney might be coming on board, but he was also a one scene wonder whom we have never seen again.

If Gilroy is the best they can come up with, then they need to resolve the burn notice situation pronto or make it more interesting.

Still, I love the show for the characters, and that is keeping me tuned in every week for now. Such great actors, for the most part, doing great work every week. Gotta love the return of Chuck Finely, master of the slurve.

Sister T said...

Anyone see the "What is 'Burn Notice'" skit on SNL last night? Because I watch and enjoy Burn Notice, the skit made no sense to me. Was the joke supposed to be that even though it's a highly rated cable show most people don't know it? That's not funny, that's just the reality of how fractured television viewership has become. I didn't get how it was funny.

Or maybe I'm just an extra sensitive Burn Notice fan.

Matt said...

My sense is that "What Is Burn Notice?" was originally written as "What Is NCIS?" (where the joke is that even though it's incredibly highly rated, it gets next to no online buzz), but either the lawyers told them they couldn't do it or the joke didn't land.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm pretty sure the joke is "What is Burn Notice?" because no one seems to have ever seen this highly rated, 4-yr-old cable show. And you can say that it is a niche audience, but even Mad Men, which has a much SMALLER audience than Burn Notice, has managed to filter into pop culture to the point that people who have never seen Mad Men can at least identify that it's about advertising, set in the '60s, or maybe that it's about a guy named Don Draper. But no one seems to have a clue about Burn Notice. I know you don't understand this because you watch it and probably love it. But trust me, no one other than the specific set of viewers for Burn Notice knows ANYTHING about it. I think it's safe to say that most people have never even heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Yes the shirt thing bugged me too, but I thought it was played for the jersey joke and previous callbacks to when the team has put on uniforms.

Michael sure had a lot of "tough calls" in the voiceover this episode.

Very curious about the family dynamics, it seems too much like we've come to a point where Michael will be annoyed but always give in to mom now. I couldn't believe he'd ever CONSIDER going to a cop filled event like that not even in costume.

And Gilroy- yawn. Give me Alpha any day.


Anonymous said...

On the "What is Burn Notice?" I thought it was a funny one especially when they played the commercial because you really couldn't tell ANYTHING from that.

In fact that was probably the ONLY laugh it got from me all night, was just a horrible night for them.


Unknown said...

The "Australian's" accent was appalling, so he was better off dead. Vance's monotone isnt much better. I actually quite liked him in some of the Mental episodes, but I haven't seen anything to like so far here.

What really is annoying me though, and I've noticed it several times in the past few episodes is the voice over work, not Michael's famous in episode voice over - but the damn actors' voicing over actual lines when they have their backs turned and lip syncing isnt an issue. Both the pitch AND the volume have been out of whack on several occasions and that's high school video editing level stuff to be getting wrong.

I find it really amateur hour and irritating, and lover of Burn Notice that I am and have been since day one, I for some reason immediately think of the super high production values of a "similar" show like Human Target and go "ouch". Surely in the third season its not that hard to spend a bit more time and effort and get some of this smaller stuff right?