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Burn Notice Review: Besieged by Mediocrity

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After several exciting installments, this week we were "Besieged" with an absolutely mediocre episode of Burn Notice.

It was simply not of the quality and caliber we have come to expect from Matt Nix and his team. The entire plot was like walking through a mud puddle. Sure, it was a little amusing, but it had no depth. 

Jesse and Michael

To start with, Jacob was inept to the point that I don’t see how he lived long enough for Michael to even find him. In fact, it seemed that Sam found Jacob so forgettable he spoke to Mr. Pickles (the dog) more often. How did this guy learn to portray Michael? Where is the confidence and strength it would take to walk into a store "in character" and not slip out before you leave?

Maybe the title is referencing that we are besieged with clichés and stereotypes?

The lead villain was a gun-toting-nut with a southern accent and a personal agenda? Yee Haw! Where are the Duke boys when we need them? The only thing that wasn’t a cliché about Zachariah was that he was in Miami and not in Texas. 

I had thought the private military group had some potential; I was even more expectant when Zachariah turned out to be played by W. Earl Brown. I loved Brown’s work on Deadwood as Dan, and he was perfect for a gun-crazed southern boy. 

Yet when his dialogue about being a free man in a country oppressed by the government went on for more than a minute, he lost me. He could have been saying it in a bar with a beer in his hand, and it wouldn’t have changed the impact of the scene at all. 

He wasn’t scary, he was barely threatening, and not even very bright. Simply put, he was not in the same class as Michael, who walked all over him.  

Early in the episode, it was hinted that Denise was about to lose her mind. It’s okay if you didn’t get the hint because by the midway point subtly was thrown out the window. We had it spelled it out for us.

Even then, nothing about Denise's behavior or speech gave me the feeling she was on the edge. She was distraught, yes, but she was also lucid, alert, and engaging people in conversation. 

Which made all the slow and calm talking Michael, Madeline, and Jesse did to her come across like they were trying to order food in a third world country. I would like a glass of w_a_t_e_r, you know el-water-o?"

Then we had John. I could never figure him out. He was a Veteran himself, but his PTSD was from losing his brother in the service, which led him to take refuge in a third-rate para-military militia that was led by a man who never served. Sorry, I still don’t get it.

Maybe it’s because, like Michael, I have served in the military and he is right. It’s not hard to pick out the wannabes from the previously-was. Honestly, John’s character would have made more sense if the writers had made him the E.N.I.C. (Extremist Nutbag in Charge) and had him spouting the drivel that Zachariah had done instead.

But the episode was not entirely without its merits. The biggest being Michael’s haircut! My wife is never going to let me live it down that I finally mentioned his hair, and then it got fixed. 

Past Michael's styling new hairdo, there was some entertaining quotes (who didn't love Sam talking to Mr. Pickles?)  And there was one great comment from Michael implying how he had a loving mom right at the end of the episode when he said Tommy would be okay because he did, too.

Have opponents like Eve lowered my tolerance for one dimensional bad guys? Probably. You tell me, am I being too hard on the episode? Has the previously amazing writing made me jaded to average writing or was this truly a near-sub-standard hour of TV?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

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

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I loved this episode. With the exception of the guy in charge of the compound. But am I the only one who nearly fell out of his chair laughing when Sam guffawed at the explosion? Why is nobody mentioning it? My god I just couldn't stop LAUGHING. I don't know why I enjoyed that so much, but it was just awesome. Bruce is awesome.

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Well Jim its good to see you taking more of an interactive approach with your readers (really). An intelligent dialogue on the show is a very good thing. I agree and disagree with you about this episode. On the plus side I thought it was much better than the previous one that left such a foul taste in my mouth. The reason I was disappointed in this one was that it showed in a glaring manner why its precedessor was so bad. I mean if you are going to provoke a war with a drug lord because you need his army and firepower then would not this episode had been the place? Apparently not. That goes to my earlier point about E of my E. Instead of risking Sam's life for an unknown and unseen asset, why not grab a henceman of the known bad guys and interrogate him yourself (the way the drug lord did) because apparently there was time to do it. Then do a besieged manuveur to get the drone out. If they do it that way (and apparently that could be done) then you don't need to stir the beehive up or you stir the nest up to attack the armed militia. While we are talking about what our significant others notice on the show, mine is upset that the opening dialogue still refers to Fiona as Michael's trigger happy EX-GIRLFRIEND. Especially since the opening was modified for Sammy once he stopped spying on Mike for the FBI. And finally, I am still holding fast that I am right about Raines. Nix is doing with him exactly what he did with Victor back in Season 2 (hide him out so you forget about him until its time to spring the trap). Ciao for now,
John

Jimg

Hi RealDiehl Sam asked him about the haircut when Michael joined him at the restaurant to meet Denise. As I mentioned in the review, my wife has taken great pleasure in pointing out that the very next episode after I pointed out his horrible haircut, they took the time to point out the change. Thanks for stopping by! Jim

Realdiehl

Good? Bad? I can't say for sure. That's because my mind kept drifting during the episode. I had to rewind several times because of this. Usually my attentioned is riveted. Could be an indication that the episode was substandard. Sounds like my comments are suitably politically neutral. I'm not 100 percent sure of this but, did one of the characters actually make a reference to Michael's haircut?

Jimg

Hi Kic, It appears that we will have to agree to disagree on this episode. I will mention that taking two sentences (out of context) from my reply and hold them up as if they were the only thing I had said for my perceptions of the episode,(instead of presenting examples that support a different idea) doesn't leave us with any way to discuss the different perceptions. I respect that you enjoyed the episode and that you do not agree with my perception of the events. I am sure Matt Nix would be thrilled to know that different people saw the episode from different ways. Cheers! Jim

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This was probably my favorite episode of the season. The show has been a little bit off for me this year especially with the pacing of the main story arch and the dialogue. It almost felt like this scene was made by a new team... This episode stayed truer to the previous IMO.

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A "mediocre" Burn Notice episode is better than the majority of other crap on TV.

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Seriously? "Keep her calm" and "Your job is to be here for your son" indicates in anyway coming unhinged? Wow.

Jimg

Hey fortyseven, See! now that would have been awesome.... but sadly, no Jacob was dimmer than Mr Pickles..

Fortyseven

Poor episode. Jacob was so inept that I started thinking it was an act and Mike was walking into a trap at the marina.

Burn Notice Season 5 Episode 7 Quotes

Michael: I got your message. This is my "I'm concerned we just kidnapped our only lead to Max's killer" face.
Fiona: Be glad it's not your "Our only lead go murdered my Latino gang face"

So let's scrap this cloak & dagger act, and go have a little chat. I am wearing my door-kicking Jimmy Choos.

Fiona
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