Burn Notice Review: "Square One"

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Never let it be said that Burn Notice is not educational.

This week we learned that the liberal use of thermite burning at 4,000 degrees will melt down a gun. We also learned that if you’re Michael Westen and you want to determine who’s trying to frame you for murder, it’s best to begin at “Square One.”

Let’s hear it for the return of Jesse, whose screen time was a season high! While he did play a much bigger role on camera, he still had two off-camera solutions from his company.

Burn Notice Photograph

First, the planted receipts showed the gang in Key West. The other solution came after he worked his magic with the cell phone tracing.

Maybe I'm being too hard on his off-camera fixes. After all, isn’t a lot of what Sam has done all these years using contacts (CIA, FBI, USN, etc.) to help cases along?

Besides, he was pretty quick on his feet, having Madeline watch all the tape footage.

Did any other Chicago Code fans recognize Ethan being played by Matt Lauria? I really liked how Ethan was impatient, bold, and blamed himself for someone else being hurt. He was very much a young Michael, as Madeline pointed out.

Michael and Madeline have such great interactions. Her feedback allowed Michael to look at Ethan objectively; in turn, Michael passed on some of the wisdom he learned about how to take down the Ramseys of the world.

What do you think of Agent Pearce? I really hope she and Michael stay on the same side as their banter is pretty awesome. At the same time, she felt a bit forced to me, whereas Grant Show as Max felt more natural from the start.

I know she has only one episode, but haven’t we seen the “tough as nails cop” or “I am so manly in my approach to running things” several times before? Were there really no other choices for a stereotype to cast Pearce in?

Of course, the shocker of the night was someone pretending to be Michael to buy the disposable cell phone. Someone is really going to a lot of trouble to point all the evidence to Michael, who's been lucky to remain a step ahead so far.

Speaking of a step ahead, where the hell is Raines? While I didn’t expect him to be around for every case, I would have thought having one of his agents die would have brought the man back to Miami. Maybe Raines is behind Michael’s frame up.

Honestly, I have no idea who is behind it and the suspense in my house is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Who do you think is trying to frame Michael? The Agency? An old enemy? Raines? Comment below with your thoughts!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

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


Great episode! Exciting reveal with a look-a-like murderer. Agent Pearce is a fantastic Le Carre type protagonist--tough with a sense of humor--perfect casting too--as these roles often fall into cliche--but Stamile has a warmth that makes the character real. Burn needs another female force besides Fi and Micheal's mom. In terms of speculation over Raines--Nix has kept me entertained for 5 seasons, I'm not going to expect it to be obvious.


I thought it was Raines, but now I am reconsidering. Maybe the actor just isn't available because he is on another show rather than because he is the one doing the framing. Wouldn't he be around more if he was part of the overall arc? I think Larry might be involved. On the other hand, maybe thinking it will be Larry is what the writers want us to think and they will surprise us in the half season finale. This thought process of mine is why I don't like reading mystery books--I read enough to see what mystery has to be solved, thenI always just go to the last chapter to see who did it---and then never bother to read the whole book. I loved the episode and espeically appreciated Jesse's reaction to the changes at the loft and how Michael is dealing with the "process".


You got an eye!!! I thought the same but with BN no way to see how things turn out. I also thought it was the new agent who is framing Mike


@ john
Alot of evidence as to Raines being the guilty party. Although if we've learned anything in the last couple of years. Which was also reinvigorated last night. That evidence can be manipulated to point us in a wrong direction. As there has to be more pieces on the chess board than we've seen. I think it's a Senator on Select Committee on Intelligence.. Who happens to have a personal connection to Michael. @ Jim G nice review. Great questions as I asked them again immediately after this weeks show.


This was a great episode :) What struck me most was the guest characters. Lauren Stamille and Matt Lauria was amazing actors for this, and its rare of Burn Notice to use semi-famous performers, so I enjoyed this weeks episode :)
The ending gets five stars from me. Its so bizarre for such a serious show to do something like this, but at the same time, it adds about ten thousand times more suspense than if it were on another show, and I'm pretty sure that the main reason for people to tune in next week for episode six will be to find out who was responsible for Max's death.
I noticed that Fiona wasnt much in the episode, but that was not a problem for me.
Can't wait for the next episode :)


I think Pearce murder Max and that's why she requested the assignment so she could keep a watch on Micheal and continue to screw him.


Hi John, I do read the comments, I even reply on occasion :) Thanks for the extra info on Raines. It will be interesting to see how he comes back in.


Enjoyable. Pearce was forced though she and Michael had good banter.


Hey Jim, do you read the comments your readers leave for you after you post a review? Apparently not. This reminds me of one of my nieces on Facebook that loves to post, but never bothers to read anything other people write. For your convenience I am going to copy and paste something already posted to answer your question on Raines. OK this is getting a little too easy folks. Let me start at the end so that you can follow me here. RAINES was part of management. Raines recruited Michael to the CIA and the reason Mike was chosen by management to be the spy to be used after being burned is because Raines recommended him. How did Kessler know the CIA was coming and and the secure CIA frequency that was in use that he jammed? Because Raines tipped him off. Why was Mike framed for Max's death? Raines reburned Mike because those loose ends Mike was pulling on were going to reveal that Raines is a member of management that was not on the NOC list.

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Burn Notice Season 5 Episode 5 Quotes

Michael: Am I a suspect?
Pearce: Honestly, when I heard there was a burn spy was mixed up with max, my first instinct was to fit you for a head bag
Michael: I appreciate your restraint

Sam: this train is rolling brother; the only question is if you're on board
Jesse: Hell yeah, I'm on board.