Yet Another TV Review Podcast

I write an occasional TV Review blog (Click Here) as time permits,
You can follow me on twitter (Click Here) and/or Facebook (Click Here).
And I've collected some of my old reviews into a book (

Burn Notice season two episode reviews

Burn Notice
Season 2, Episode 1. "Breaking and Entering" It's been a long wait, but the wait has been worth it. This opening episode is a whole lot of fun. Yes, I feel cheated that Michael's "big exit" from last season amounts to nothing and he's back in town almost immediately. It has an air of "so what was all that about" after the big thrill of seeing him drive up into that truck last year.

Never mind. Michael is back in town, he has an interesting client and (most important) his team are by his side. Michael's cool, yes, but the show is the show it is because of the team he has beside him. I love Sam to bits (well, it's Bruce Campbell for frak sake!) and the relationship with Fiona is one of the very best romances on TV right now. How sad was that ending? She walks away and he admits (to us, if not to her) that he likes her...

Season 2, Episode 2. "Turn and Burn" The formula is well in place for this episode: interesting case with a twist, advancement in the ongoing storyline, Michael doing his undercover bit, explosions, Fiona being gorgeous, well-written scenes between Michael and his mother. Flawless fun, really.

Season 2, Episode 3. "Trust Me" Business as usual, again. For the first time this season, Michael is seen helping an ordinary person: a dumb guy who got conned, while trying to help his mother (the always wonderful Cindy Pickett). Michael's mum has some nice scenes with Fiona this week, a nice way for the writers to keep the Michael/Fi romance alive without actually giving them any romantic scenes together.

Season 2, Episode 4. "Comrades" Nothing special, but still very good. Michael's brother is back on the team in this one, and Sam (Bruce Campbell) pretty much takes the lead in both cases. Little touches like this keep the formula fresh. Good guest work, too, from Lost's Andrew Divoff.

Season 2, Episode 5. "Scatter Point" Another winner. Michael joins a gang of thieves planning a heist when one of them contacts him wanting to get out of the business. Michael comes to the rescue. Not for the man himself, but for his son. Michael's cool.

So is Sam and this is the episode where his long-time girlfriend (the gorgeous Audrey Landers) asks him to marry her. It's a delightful scene, and so is the aftermath. We get a lot of great Sam/Fiona scenes. The ones where she watches with glee while Sam is being beaten up is hilarious. Sam is trying to get seen by the police and get his attacker arrested. But they are looking the other way and Fiona takes forever to join in with a helpful scream. Very, very funny.

So... Michael being cool and the other two being funny? All's right with Burn Notice.

Season 2, Episode 6. "Bad Blood" An unrecognisable, but brilliant, Michael Shanks dominates this episode as the new recurring bad guy who shows up to blackmail Michael into doing some bad things for the bad people who are responsible for Michael's burn notice. All of this badness is actually very good. Especially Shanks.

The case-of-the-week is fairly ordinary. Rob Benedict is mis-cast as a greedy bad guy but the twists are still fairly fun to watch. It's fun to watch Michael putting his plans into action. It's even more fun to watch him adapt his plans when things go very wrong.

Season 2, Episode 7. "Rough Seas" Everybody's favourite reluctant hero is called in when some medicine (destined for sick kids, of course) is stolen. Never has the show more closely resembled it's forefathers (A-Team, Equalizer, etc.) than in a story like this. There are sick kids in it, for frak sake! And the bad guys have stolen their medicine! How can you not root for Michael and the team.

As usual, it's clever and funny. Michael even gets to be a little jealous of Fiona's mysterious date and Sharon Gless (normally underused) gets several great scenes. Funny lady.

Season 2, Episode 8. "Double Booked" Burn Notice breaks from formula and delivers one of it's most enjoyable episodes.

A hit-man calls Michael and offers him a hit! So, rather than having a client from the start, Michael is 'working for' the bad guy. So he has to find a way to save the target, without tipping off the hit-man (Tim Matheson, who also directed the episode).

Season 2, Episode 9. "Good Soldier" The case-of-the-week is a delight. Michael joins a gang planning a kidnapping and tries to derail the plot by being an uncooperative religious fanatic. The ending (when he rams the kidnapper's car from out of nowhere) is superb. And hilarious (as he spouts off a spiel of made-up religious-sounding guff to fool them).

Meanwhile, over in the continuing story arc, things get very confusing. Carla's plot increasingly makes no sense and it seems that (a) she knows every move that Michael is about to make, and (b) she wants everyone dead. Including Michael. We fade to black after a booby trap goes on at Michael's front door, and an explosion sends him flying...

Season 2, Episode 10. "Do No Harm" A scam artist (Stacy Haiduk) steals from the father of a sick child.

I love this show because Michael is such an old fashioned TV hero. As this story opens (picking up from the cliff-hanger that ended the previous episode) Michael is on the run and in danger for his life, but he takes time to stop a suicide in progress and take on 'a case'. A case involving a sick child. Sure, he's on the run for his life, but Michael won't walk away from someone in trouble. Particularly a sick child. And that's why he's cool. He's the modern successor to Magnum, pi, Spenser, The Equalizer and all the great TV heroes of bygone days/nights.

The story that follows is good. It doesn't follow the usual Burn Notice pattern. In fact, things don't fall into place for much of it and it looks as if this is one time that Michael won't be able to get the job done (towards the end he looks set to go to his enemy Carla to get the money needed).

A cool hero (who cares about the problems of ordinary people) and an exciting story: Burn Notice is back.

Season 2, Episode 11. "Hot Spot" Michael, Fiona and Sam try to run a gang of car thieves out of Miami.

I can't think of a show that is more fun to watch than Burn Notice. It's cool and I love it. This episode set some sort of ratings record by beating NBC and I could not be happier. Anyone who sampled the show last Thursday is definitely going to come back for more. It's a slick show, driven by great characters and - right now - there isn't a show on TV that is more fun to watch. You cannot have more fun in front of a TV.

Case in point: Michael, Fiona and Sam dress up as the coolest-looking gang of car thieves ever to grace a TV screen and proceed to unleash a barrage of bizarre stunts on the members of a rival gang in a effort to run out of town (to save the client-of-the-week). Scene after scene is delightful, as is the 'sting' at the very end when they finally provoke the gang into (what appears to be) an attack upon a much more powerful gangster. This is one of my favourite elements of Burn Notice: when Michael is able to make the Bad-Guy-of-the-week do something stupid that makes an even worse Bad Guy (who knows nothing about Michael) mad at them. In this way, Michael is able to walk away and let somebody else finish the job. Often it is implied that the bad-guy-of-the-week will be killed by their new enemy. Michael's hands are clean, the case is solved and the client-of-the-week is saved.

If all this episode had going for it was a fun case-of-the-week it would still be a great hour of TV. But this episode had a lot more: ongoing developments with Carla and ongoing developments with Michael & Fiona...

Carla is the recurring bad guy, with ties to the people that burned Michael in the show's pilot. She's had cameos in a few episodes so far this season, but she takes a larger part in this episode and - at this point in the story - she seems less in control of events that she previously was. It's apparent at this stage that other forces are at work... and Carla is scared. Showing this side to Michael (and to the viewers) makes her seems less scary, more vulnerable, more interesting...

Then there is the stuff with Fiona...

The final minutes of this episode are among the very best that the show has ever done.

About five minutes from the end of this episode, Fiona stumbles into a trap and when Michael arrives at the scene he panics and assumes that Fiona has been killed in a house fire. Distraught, he returns home to find... Fiona waiting on him: not thinking he knew anything about the fire and totally shocked to find Michael so upset.

The ongoing love story here: we all know Michael loves Fiona but he's not very good at expressing it, so they never make a go at having a relationship. Except now, overcome with emotion, he - for once - can't hold back, he can't repress his feelings: he takes her in his arms for one of the most romantic love scenes I've ever seen on TV.

I not only love the fact that happened, but I love the way that it happened. But in terms of how it happened for the characters, and in terms of how it happened in the closing minutes of Episode 11 when we had no reason to expect it. It really took me by surprise. And it was very romantic.

Gabrielle Anwar is very sexy as Fiona, but she's more than sexy. Because of Anwar Fiona is utterly lovely and her unrequited love for Michael makes her vulnerable and much more likable. Thanks to Jeffrey Donovan we can see that Michael adores Fiona but we can also believe that he cannot bring himself to express it. Until now. I'm not sure what direction their story will take from here on in, but I cannot wait to see the next chapter...

Season 2, Episode 12. "Seek and Destroy" Michael goes up against a nasty arms dealer.

Such a clever episode from this wonderful, fun show. Most episodes stick to a rigid formula: Michael meets his client, Michael poses as somebody and meets the bad guy, Michael runs a scam on the bad guy and wins. End of episode. This episode cleverly, and easily, flips the middle part and puts it first. Michael needs money so he poses as a security expert and gets himself a job. By the middle part of the episode he's found out what is really going on and meets his real client for the first time. From then on it is business as usual, until the happy conclusion.

It's a great, fun show and I very much admire the way they cleverly flip things around in the formula to give us a 'fresh' type of episode.

Also, there's some nice continuity with Michael and Fiona after the romance last week...

Season 2, Episode 13. "Bad Breaks" Michael gets taken hostage during a bank robbery.

Superb change-of-pace episode. It is nothing like a typical episode of the show, but it still manages to bring all the stuff to the table that Burn Notice manages to do. Even though he's just a hostage, Michael still manages to set up several tricks and cons. The ending (where Sam phones up the lead bad guy and fools him into thinking he has stumbled into the middle of something much bigger than himself) is extremely clever and satisfying.

Alex Carter, Rodney Rowland and Mark Sheppard are superb in their guest roles.

Season 2, Episode 14. "Truth and Reconciliation" Michael must prove that James Black is a bad guy and get him deported back to Haiti.

Average. It's still enjoyable, but there's nothing special about this one. Yet another client trying to avenge the death of a loved one. Michael's elaborate plan... doesn't work. So, in the closing minutes, the team just kidnap the guy and ship him back to Haiti themselves. Cool, but makes you wonder why they didn't just try that in the first place...

Season 2, Episode 15. "Sins of Omission" Michael's ex-fiancée shows up needing help. Michael's ex-fiancée!?!?!

Let's just run down the cast of this episode: You have Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Sharon Gless and Bruce Campbell in the regular cast, you have Michael Shanks and Tricia Helfer as semi-regulars, and the episode throws in Dina Meyer and Jay Karnes as guest stars.


I've been a huge Donovan fan since his turn as The Pretender's brother, Anwar was one of the best things about Press Gang, I've had a crush on Sharon Gless since her time on Switch (how I love that show!) and Bruce Campbell is awesome beyond belief. Don't believe me, then check out Brisco County, Jr. Shanks and Helfer were standout, scene-stealing cast members on ensemble shows. I've adored Meyer since her time on Beverly Hills, 90210 and the opening episodes of Michael Hayes. Not to mention that she is responsible for one of the best sex scenes ever filmed for mainstream cinema. Then there's Jay Karnes who almost stole The Shield out from under Michael Chiklis (if such a thing were possible).

And here they all are, appearing in the same episode of Burn Notice.

Who stole the show?

Jay Karnes blew everyone else off the screen as - quite simply - the smartest bad guy Michael has ever faced and - it must be said - one of the smarted bad guys any action show has ever delivered. The battle of wits between him and Michael really felt like a game of chess, and I hope we see this guy again. And again.

In other news: it was a great story, with lots of superb character moments. Michael's scenes with his ex-fiancée, his mother and Fiona (especially that lovely final scene with Fiona) were superb character sketches.

Season 2, Episode 16. "Lesser Evil" Michael teams with Victor and goes after Carla. Who comes after them, with all guns blazing.

A full hour of action. Car chases, explosions, gun battles, etc. Recurring bad guy Victor is given a backstory/origin and Michael opts to trust him, just as Carla's people arrive and chase them all over Miami.

Action highlights? The hand-to-hand combat between Michael and Victor was cool, the escape from the parking garage was clever and exciting, the street of exploding cars was stunning (I'm so in love with Fiona right now) and the shoot-out at the boat was a fitting conclusion.

But, all told, this was an action-packed episode from start to finish. Amid the action we got many superb character-driven moments for Michael, Sam and Michael's mother. Even Victor got his character fleshed out in this, his final episode.

Carla met her demise in this episode. It was, I felt, a bit too low-key. It was satisfying to see her brought down by a sniper shot from Fiona (I'm so in love with Fiona right now) but it was over a bit too soon. Shouldn't we get to see Carla suffer a bit, register her defeat for a while before the kill shot?

Anyway, that's a minor complaint. Loved the episode. Great season finale.

No comments:

Ignoring Friday Night Lights renders the Emmy's meaningless.

The podcast's URL is View RSS XML Simply enter this url in your podcasting software of choice. Thanks!

A Briefing With Michael

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Yet Another Film Review Blog

    Yet Another TV Review Podcast

    Yet Another TV Wallpaper Blog