Burn Notice Review: "Dead or Alive"

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There is one thing you can say about Sam Axe: he is a dedicated and true friend. On "Dead or Alive," we saw how deep that friendship can run when he helps clear a pal’s name.

The normal routine for Michael and the Scooby gang is that someone needs help, they come to Michael and he recruits the others to help him. If you think about it, the show’s introduction actually tells us this much every week. However, there are rare treats, such as this installment, where the mold is broken.

Dead or Alive Scene

I have said before that I think Bruce Campbell is awesome, easily one of my sci-fi heroes. This episode was a great example why.

You could feel his anger when Ted told him that Kevin was dead, or when he held a cop at gun point and said he would take his lumps as long as Kevin’s name was cleared. I want a friend like Sam Axe. Of course, I wouldn’t mind having a friend like Bruce Campbell, either.

On the other side, Jesse and Michael seemed like they were so close to being back in. We all knew this was not to be, though. First, it was way too easy and, second, it was not the season finale. Rest in peace, Marv, you were a good handler, the viewing audience and Jesse will miss you. Okay, maybe just Jesse.

Seriously, though, given the sheer volume of foreshadowing that Michael, Jesse, and Sam did about how “hot” this list was, was anyone really surprised when it turned out Marv was being blackmailed into get the list for Brennan?  Let me clarify, this is not a complaint; my palms were sweating as Jesse and Michael met Marv on the parking garage’s roof. I was waiting for swat, helicopters, something. I was totally not expecting Brennan.

What did you think of the episode? Did it build expectations for next week's two-hour finale?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

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


Coby Bell is a great actor, but he could also NOT be on the show, and it would be somewhat the same. Though, I like the twist of Fiona having feelings for someone other than Michael.
Still, I can't imagine whats going to happen in Season 5. I hope they dont cut off any characters! In fact, I'm pretty sure Michaels gotten his job back, but the situation seems a wee bit too easy for the plot. I'd have to imagine him still in Miami.
For those who want to catch up on Burn Notice at its most extreme, the season 5 first episode is called "Company Man".


I think Coby Bell is doing amazingly on the show. He eased into the role without throwing the show completely off course. I hope he's permanent but I doubt it since 'The Game' was renewed.


Still dont' like Coby Bell at all. He's just terrible and a blemish on what is an OUTSTANDING show. Fantastic dialogue, stories, settings the works. Coby Bell just doesn't fit in.


I totally enjoyed the episode too but I gotta say - the people who write the hand-over-the-important-information scenes have got to retire! Seriously, can no one set up a clandestine meeting? Must the important stuff be waved aloft like the American flag? Brennen is a smart man; he could have figured out a "secret" meeting place. It is no surprise that the good guys get overturned when they act in plain sight - and no, it wasn't a surprise that it was Brennen. We knew he was showing up in the next episode. And I have expected to see Vaughn again because the scene where he asks Michael how he feels having him (V) as an enemy has not been aired yet. I figured it was coming. Vaughn would know about Brennen - he knows all about Michael - and it's absolutely brilliant that Brennen brings in Larry! I think it will be Brennen's undoing but can you think of more fun than Larry and Brennen conniving together!?! Fun! Fun!


@ET, Ever heard of CopySafe PDF? It's DRM-enabled software that prevents all forms of document copying, including Printscreen screenshots and other forms of screen-capture software. Also, writing info like that on a piece of paper creates issues with authentication, rendering it basically worthless for what they were trying to use it for. Great review. Can't wait for next week. Not looking forward to waiting for new episodes though :^)


Ok, I know it's just a show, but...the file can be opened and read, but not copied?? C'mon now. Can't take a photo of the screen? Can't use a screen capture program, or even write down the info on paper? Wow, that IS interesting encryption...lol. Love the show though!

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Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 16 Quotes

Michael, I hope you're never in a situation where your survival is dependent on your ability to understand relationships; you would be dead in seconds.


Either tell me where my friend is or find out what it feels like to be a casserole.