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Burn Notice Review: "Center of the Storm"

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Between the hurricane that hit the city on "Center of the Storm;" the disagreement Michael got himself into with Vaughn; and his attempts to stop a hitman from killing a witness, Michael truly was at the center of it all this week on Burn Notice.

As usual, he was juggling many things. In this case, that involved helping the FBI find a witness, but also help a wanna-be-hitman find the path back to the side of good. Sam made a Star Wars reference early in the episode, and the discussions between Cole and Michael had a little bit of that “use the force” feel to them.

I really liked how Michael got a true sense of Cole and helped him realize that even when he was trying to be bad, he was doing it with an eye for being responsible and really was a good guy. I really hope that Cole turns back up. I liked the character at the end and he would be a great addition to list of recurring individuals.

In the Kitchen, with a Shotgun

While Fiona did not have a huge role this week, her time on screen was fairly powerful. There was her meeting with Vaughn, where you could see her struggle with wanting to help Jesse, and her giving the bible to Michael and sharing that she trust him.

We got a rare glimpse past the guns and explosives to the sensitive person underneath.  Did anyone else catch that Michael intentionally held her hands for a moment when she handed him the bible? It was the perfect answer to her more tender moment.

Who thinks that Vaughn and Michael being at odds could be a very bad thing? Granted, Vaughn did finally agree to setup a meeting between Michael and Simon. But I think the power play between these two is only going to get worse. I really hope that when it all comes out that Michael figures out how to direct Jesse at Vaughn for him being burned (it was him after all who gave Michael the key-card and code that was Jesse’s).

I would love to see Jesse take down Vaughn at the end. it would be such sweet revenge.

Speaking of Vaughn setting up meetings, Simon is coming back next week. While I am normally not excited about the return of a bad guy, Simon is so well played by Garret Dillahunt that I am really excited to see him again. Dillahunt has been in shows like Deadwood, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and John from Cincinnati.

He is one of my favorite people to see play a bad guy. From Cromartie on TSCC to this role, he always brings that little something extra to a villain.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Should Fiona have given the book to Vaughn? Do you think Michael and Vaughn are alike, as Fiona said? Check out a few Burn Notice quotes from the hour now!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (12 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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    7 Comments New Comment Subscribe

    Jimg

    Colleen,

    Again, excellent thoughts on Vaughn and Simon. I will be intrigued to hear your thoughts on up coming episodes.

    Jeff, you got quiet, I hope she didn't scare you off :)

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    I think Vaughn and Simon are cohorts in some scheme; don't know what it is yet. But I know I do not trust Vaughn and his "hale fellow well met" attitude every time he and MIchael meet up. And they want Michael on their "team", whatever that means. AND - Vaughn doesn't totally trust Simon either (is there really such a thing as honor among thieves?) so he doesn't want him and MIchael to meet because...maybe he thinks Michael will be able to get into Simon's head after all and cause him to turn against Vaughn.
    I was really glad to see some animosity between Michael and Vaughn. They are NOT buddies. I think Michael has kind of always tried to very subtly convey that to Vaughn but Vaughn doesn't get it. Michael is not fooled by him. Putting him out in the storm with such decisiveness underscored Michael's drive to do the right thing in this job. Vaughn's remark to Fiona about Michael's being willing to let anyone get into his head was misdirection at its best. (Only one (bad) person has ever gotten into Michael's head - Larry. And that's a different story.)
    Although Fiona's role this week was smaller, it was also very crucial. Had she given the Bible over, even in what she considered to be Michael's and Jesse's best interests, she would have also given Vaughn another weapon in his arsenal against Michael. The person he trusts absolutely would have betrayed him; that fact alone could be a step in his becoming more like Simon. Maybe neither Michael nor Fiona ever will know how important that act of faith was. (But we do.)
    I almost thought, when he was talking about the success of their mission, that MIchael was going to tell Fi he was done with the spy game! Oh such hope! But no such luck. However, I am beginning to understand that he is driven to restore Jesse's job and reputation before the secret gets out and therefore doesn't want to 'fess up yet. Probably not going to work out quite that way...but hopefully Jesse will see that it was a mistake he really tried to rectify. He would have done the same thing had he been in that position...

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    Jeff, you brought up some excellent points. I, too, rewatched the episode (for the 3rd time actually!) and I agree that Michael has been getting soft on some spy skills. In fact, I have been noticing that for a while. You're absolutely right about that 2nd gun - I thought the same thing myself when Cole threw him the one gun. Maybe it's all part of the plan to help Michael to realize that he isn't quite the spy material he used to be but he's plenty of badass for the criminals around Miami once his attention is off "getting back in" AND gets his team back into united action. I find it hard to accept that one person can be all that much of a legend anyway, especially once they are blacklisted. Great at his job? Yes. Someone to reckon with? Sure. Invincible? Hardly. The time for this story line was back at the beginning of the show when he was fresh out of the business and still a major contender. Then I would believe that Management would be putting "their biggest enemy and their greatest asset" in a room together. Michael has changed; he isn't that person any more and while I don't believe that Simon will "get into his head", I'm not sure he's going to get into Simon's either.
    Again, I don't see Simon as that big of a threat. Why hasn't he been tried by some tribunal? He has admitted to those "war crimes". They have executed people for less than what he has done. Why is he even an issue to security? Why is he still around?
    I guess basically I'm torn between the two formats. While the Simon story is intriguing, I'm not sure it's serving the program correctly any longer. I miss the Client of the Week action that made the other seasons sparkle. Why can't Michael just finally accept the fact the he is a major player in Miami, he and his team are good at when they do and by helping people at the grassroots level, he IS serving mankind and saving American lives? Is that too simplistic? I don't need to see someone try to save the world at large. I don't know. I cut my teeth on Magnum, MacGyver and The A-Team. I LIKE that kind of suspend-the-disbelief adventure programming! If I wanted reality I'd watch the 24-hour news!
    With all that being said, I still love the show and wouldn't miss it. I think I spend too much time analyzing it...I've crossed the line from fan to fanatic!

    Jimg

    Colleen,

    Your insight into Michael and Fiona is spot on in my humble opinion and I am so glad someone else has been seeing the little things like Michael taking the book.

    I agree totally that Vaughn over played his hand with her, and as both Jeff and I grabbed the exchange between Michael and Vaughn about his visit to Fi, I think we all agree it did not sit well with Michael.

    Jimg

    Jeff,

    you have some good thoughts there and I as much as I fanboy over Madeline nearly every week, I too am glad they are bringing her into the story more.

    As far as Michael getting away from Cole, I really took that more of Michael needing to use Cole to find the witness, You maybe right and it might have just been him slipping up, but I would like to think Mike was using Cole at worst, and at best, was hoping to get through to him.

    As far as James opening the door, I took that more of habit that stupidity. Try this next time your in public and see someone look at their watch, ask them what time it is. Human nature is to look back at their watch before answering. Same thing happens when someone yells your name and your not a trained spy, you tend to look and see who is yelling. You will notice James had a shotgun that Michael took away from him after bull-rushing the door. He was trying to be safe.

    You do have some great thoughts, and I very much enjoyed your take on the episode.

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    I had a little different reaction to the Cole storyline this week.

    I rewatched this week's episode again this morning and while Burn Notice is always an entertaining and engaging show to watch, this episode felt like a little air had been let out of the tires, especially compared to last week's exciting Fiona-centric hostage ep.

    It was an interesting turn of events that the FBI agents who have caused Michael so much grief in the past came looking for his help to search for James Bailey, a man who witnessed a Turkish mob murder and was now the target of hit...and who is on the lam after an attempt on his life had already been made. Always funny to see these somewhat bumbling feds eat crow, so to speak. But since they came bearing gifts in the form of a favor to be redeemed any given point in the future, Mike perked up and decided to take the case.

    Jon Seda played the part of Cole, a former-marine-turned-killer-for-hire, and one of apparently two hired guns on the hunt for James. But the resolution of this story felt too neat and tidy. I just can't buy that Cole, who felt betrayed by his country when he was given an undeserved dishonarable discharge and takes on a new career as mercenary/assassin, would all of the sudden realize "oh, you know, I'm really a good guy at heart, so here - let me turn over a new leaf" in the span of a single afternoon with Mike. I'm sure Michael is a very good judge of character, and convincing, but I certainly do not believe that any spy, current or former, would make such a risky move as lowering your weapon when the assassin's target is sitting right there next to you like a lame duck, no matter how confident you are that your character assessment is spot on. Risking your own life is one thing; risking someone else's? Seems a little presumptuous to me. And not very realistic.

    I am also increasingly disappointed in Michael's dwindling spy skills. First, he allows himself to be taken hostage (again) when he had plenty of opportunities to overtake Cole as they were leaving his apartment. Cole was a Marine. Mike was a well-trained, highly effective, covert operative for the CIA. You're telling me he couldn't take him? Then when Cole was trapped on top of the car, by the down power lines in the surrounding water, had Michael forgotten that Cole had TWO guns? The one he was holding at the apartment, and the one he confiscated from Michael. Cole only dropped one gun in the sparking water, and with a smirk. Dumb move on Michael's part to go ahead and rescue him after that. And then later, after exploding the air conditioner into the alley, Michael was so easily overtaken by Reese, the other hit man the Turks hired, which required Cole to come to his rescue. THIS is the dangerous legend of which, as we learned a couple of weeks ago, the Russians told tales? What happened to Michael the bad-ass? I think he might need to take a little time to hit the gym or do some sparring with Fiona to beef his skills back up.

    Speaking of dumb moves. James - opening the front door of the house when a complete stranger (Michael) comes running up the sidewalk yelling out his name? That was the most idiotic move I've seen made by any of the people Michael has tried to protect in every season of this show.

    I have enjoyed how Madeline ("Smoking Mama") has been brought more into the action, rather than simply being relegated to the worrisome mom sitting at home by the phone. She was instrumental in rescuing Michael this week when she was helping search James' apartment. She found some pictures Jesse was able to use to give Michael some clues as to the location of the James' girlfriend's house where he was holed up. When she "deciphered" the clues and rattled them back to Jesse and Fiona, it was clear they were impressed. So was I. Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree I guess.

    Speaking of Vaughn, and the ongoing thread of trying to find out who the people are behind burning both Michael and Jesse, Vaughn wanted the Bible they had stolen from the bank safety deposit box, but Michael has other plans. He wants face time with Simon, and Vaughn doesn't want to give it to him, claiming it's for is own safety. I'm not sure I believe him. The clash between them ended in a standoff, with Michael removing Vaughn from the premises, but not before Vaughn warned him that a bigger storm was coming, and he would not forget his ejection from Michael's place.

    Vaughn then tried a different tack...Fiona. He tried to play on Fiona's concern for Jesse and her feelings for Michael to convince her to get the Bible for him, claiming Michael would turn into a monster if he continued down the path he was headed. I hesitated for a moment, wondering if Fiona would cave in. She's wanted Michael out of this mess for months (years?) and this might be the way to end it. But ultimately her loyalty to - and love for - Michael won out and she gave the Bible back to him. She told him that she has faith in him, but that once the dust settles she didn't want to realize she gave it to the wrong guy. I absolutely adore Fiona.

    I really enjoyed how the feds returned Michael's favor, at least in part, at the end of the episode, by threatening to put Vaughn on the Most Wanted list if they didn't do what Michael asked. Sure, he'd be #2, but still "high enough to make the weekly podcast." Classic. Vaughn was not happy, but capitulated, and so next week Michael gets his face to face with Simon, and (he hopes) his chance to find out who the people are that Vaughn works for.

    Did Vaughn really want to keep Michael away from Simon for his own protection, or does he really suspect Michael's true intentions? Is Michael strong enough to avoid letting Simon "get inside his head?" Will Michael find the answers he's looking for inside Simon's demented brain? And how much longer can Michael stave off Jesse into thinking he doesn't know/can't find Simon? A bigger storm is coming, indeed.

    Favorite quotes of this week:

    Fiona: So your search for the root of all evil let you to rob a bank, and you're rewarded with the word of God. What is that, irony?

    Sam: I thought the weird feeling in the air was just the calm before the storm. No. It's a disturbance in the force.

    Fiona: I was mocking you, I wasn't saying you were wrong.

    Madeline: I raised two boys Jesse. I know how to search a house.

    Madeline: If I'd taken off for Jacksonville like those other Chicken Little's, who would've found the photograph that saved your skinny butt?

    Favorite exchange of the week:

    Vaughn: I could have had them killed. You, too.
    Michael: You pay Fiona another visit, you'll need to.

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    So many thoughts. First off, I really liked Cole and thought Jon Seda did a great job. I, too, hope he shows up again. He had a nice chemistry with Jeff Donovan and was a good match to Michael. It said as much for the evolution of Michael's character to recognize the inherent good in Cole as it said for Cole's in realizing that he was pursuing a life he really didn't want. (Echoes of Tommy D'Antonio from "Fearless Leader").

    Vaughn's visit to Fiona was a total surprise; I did not expect that and it was a great twist on a couple of levels. He handed her the best reason of all to turn the book over to him and that was Michael's "addiction". However, Fiona recognized that he had overplayed his hand at that point and she (correctly) affirmed her faith in Michael by telling him what happened. I think Michael is more than a match for Simon; as fun as he is to watch, I just don't think Simon is that much more evil than Michael is good.

    Frankly I think Vaughn is much more of a threat to Michael than Simon ever was. I do not trust him at all. ("Vaughn" is, after all, a vampire's name. Sam said so!) And maybe Michael and Vaughn share a single-mindedness of purpose but that's where all similarities end. Fiona needn't worry, as Michael has told her many times. Evil always works towards the benefit of the person perpetrating it; Vaughn is on the side of evil, no matter how well he cloaks it in fine rhetoric. The bottom line is in these shows, good triumphs over evil. Eventually. (This show just does it with more style!) Fi's faith will be rewarded.

    These early Michael/Vaughn face-offs are just the tip of the iceberg; better things are coming!

    And yes, I immediately noticed how Michael took the book from her; those are the gestures I look for every week to assure myself that their relationship is still alive! For a few episodes there I was a little worried! Not much going on for a while...til last week which was the best!

    For a while I thought maybe Fiona would take Jesse out when he became a serious threat to Michael. Now I'm thinking along your thought line - that Jesse will take out Vaughn. The friendship between Michael (and the others, since they, too, perpetrated the secret) and Jesse will change forever, whether it be for the good or the bad. I'm on the fence about that; I have come to enjoy Jesse as part of the team and two 2-person teams makes things easier to get done. But the team had to scramble more when it was just the 3 of them and that sense of urgency was exciting and dramatic. I miss that.

    Whatever plot twists lie ahead, I am enjoying this season.




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