Saturday, November 5, 2011

Burn Notice is "Damned If You Do"

     As USA's Burn Notice returns to finish their fifth season in "Damned If You Do," Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) is sent by Anson Fullerton (Jere Burns) to get a computer guy hiding down in Puerto Rico. Michael and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) make the snatch, but when the guy takes them to his girlfriend (Carla Gallo, Bones, Men of a Certain Age), a cocaine dealer is soon after them. Michael figures out how to get the info Anson wants, let the guy and girl escape, and have the cocaine dealer end up in jail. All in a day's work.

     Carla Gallo should guest star in every series, and she is well on her way, with many credits already under her belt. She is cute, funny, and a pretty darn good actress. Despite her very small role in Burn Notice, she still adds to the episode's enjoyment greatly. Wonderful decision to cast her.

     Anson is making Michael do things that aren't right. Anson isn't the first man that leads Michael down a dark path, but this time, the stakes are considerably high. If Michael doesn't keep doing as Anson asks, his love, Fiona, will spend the rest of her life in prison. But what Anson asks is not only dangerous and illegal, but could get people hurt. In "Damned If You Do," Michael gets a horrible virus for Anson that could cause some real damage. Considering what a psychopath Anson is, there is no telling what he might use it for. Is saving Fiona from being behind bars really worth other lives?

     Even scarier, Agent Pearce (Lauren Stamile) ups Michael's security clearance with the government this week. Michael now has more access to sensitive things, and Anson will surely take full advantage of that. Since, somehow, he knows. Is there a leak in Pearce's camp, or even higher up the food chain?

     At some point, Michael is going to decide that it's not worth it. He has to. True, he could end up clearing her name first, but it would be far more interesting if he doesn't, and has to sacrifice Fi. Of course, he wouldn't let her stay in prison. There could be a Prison Break-esque arc where Michael and friends break Fi out and spirit her away. This would make a fantastic final season, as the gang, or possibly just the couple, dodges bad guys and authorities alike. Given Burn Notice's penchant for taking some chances and changes, but not going too far, this probably won't happen. But how cool would that be?

     Instead, Michael and co. will find some way to clear Fiona's name and stop Anson. That's how the series works. On that front, Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse (Coby Bell) get Madeline (Sharon Gless) to break into a police laptop in "Damned If You Do." The point is to discover if there is currently any evidence in the investigation on Fi. Or rather, the bombing Anson promises to frame Fi for. Not only don't they find anything helpful, but Anson reveals he knows what they're doing, and he's too smart to be tricked. His arrogance may be his undoing, but for now at least, he maintains the upper hand.

     For some reason, the opening of Burn Notice remains the same as it was in season one. This isn't cool, because Michael is no longer burned. Plus, Jesse, now a main character for two seasons, isn't a part of it. It's past time to change the opening. It's understandable that the series is going for consistency, but this is one area in which it needs to stop. It used to fill the viewer in on what is going on. Now, it may just confuse them, if they are not up at current plot.

     Watch Burn Notice Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.

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