Burn Notice Review: "Better Halves"

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After last week’s boring, cookie-cutter offering, "Better Halves" turned things around completely, reminding us why we love Burn Notice.

One thing we learned from the extraction mission is that Michael is either an idiot or isn't ready to settle down.

I'm going with the latter, based on his behavior. Consider when he slapped the ring into Fiona’s hand and when she invited him to the tub after snuggling on the couch... and he turned her down. Then, finally when he took the ring back and kept it "for another mission."

Couple Undercover

All of these moment made it pretty clear Michael's not stupid, he’s just not ready to settle down. Yet, one hopes.

Of course, the entire mission was made more fun with the addition of Charisma Carpenter as Nicki. I forgot how well she does on this type of show, where she gets a mix of action and humor. Someone really needs to give her another series.

A little too late for viewers, we also got a good amount of Tavian Korzha as he took Sam hostage and demanded a meeting with Michael. Sadly, outsmarting Jesse/Sam and killing Stigler didn’t do much to make him scary or threatening. We just haven’t been exposed to him as much as we had with other scary characters such as Simon.

His “I have the answers to questions he doesn’t know to ask yet” was supposed to be suspenseful and dramatic. But it came across as lame because we have no frame of reference for what he knows or what he is capable of. I really hope they wrap up this particular bad guy fairly quickly and give us a bad guy to be afraid of.  

The Rule of Cool: It doesn't matter if something could really be done in real life, it's permitted in a movie or TV show if the resulting action is cool to watch. Makes sense, right? Matt Nix and his team took full advantage of this during the firefight Michael and Fiona got into with Karina, cranking the cool meter to a kick ass 13.

Here it is by the numbers:

• Michael showing up just in time to whack Karina on the head = 9 (fun) 
• Fiona noticing bad guys behind Michael, him noticing bad guys behind her = 10 (cool)
• Fiona pulling weapon and them firing past each other while pressed together = 11 (way cool)
• The two of them turning at the same time to continue shooting = 12 (awesome)
• Michael and Fiona pinning Nicki in between them while they moved and shot = 13 (kick ass!)

This scene summed up everything I watch Burn Notice for; a little romance, a little humor and a lot of action. It was made even more perfect when Fiona told Michael thank you for the quality time after they got out of the mess.  

And let's not forget the big twist: Pearce figured out Michael was involved with Max's death when she found footage from a law firm camera 30 stories up that got an image of Michael’s car driving past the building.

First, I called it! I have said previously that Michael needed to bring Pearce into the inner circle before she found something on her own. I knew she would not react well if this happened. Let this be a lesson to you, Michael, don’t wait so long to bring in your legit support next time.

Second, this is another scene that follows The Rule of Cool. There isn't a commercial camera (hi-def or otherwise) that could be setup with a wide angle lens for security that could have gotten enough date in a digital image 30 stories below for anyone (NSA, FBI, Lucas Arts) to get a usable image out of it. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the episode. We are going into next week’s summer finale with a lot going on. Will it change any games, such as last season's concluding installment? Come back here in seven days to find out and discuss.


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (38 Votes)

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


i think the story just got started .. i have hard feeling that Vaugn got something to do with this, you remember the black guy in season 4. the guy who had simon. i dont think jesse is up to something. this whole setup is from someone who knew micheal from his spy days and had something to do with his burn notice


This was such an improvement in the series since I suppose the second episode, which was ruling over the others, but this was such an amazing one :) It had me sucked in till it ended, even the Sam-Jesse parts, which weren't as great, but they were ok. I could not have asked for a better episode to make up for all the Michael-not-connecting-with-Fiona times. I think that was the prime motive of the episode, especially considering the title "Better Halves". But thankfully, we got another few minutes of the bad guy, in which I was like, OMG, him? He doesn't convince me as bad guy, especially one to pin a murder on Michael. I really wish Max wasn't dead. I was so unhappy, because I really appreciated his character. Perhaps he could have aided Michael around now...
Speaking of, the last scene had me praying for Michael. Pearce really brought back her tough-woman persona here. I haven't been this excited or awaiting for an up-coming episode for more than half of the episodes in the entire series, and I have a good feeling about the next episode, however the situation may be right now. I really wish Sam has some action in the next episode, I don't want his role to be pushed at the back of the line like Madeline's. My favorite part was the whole dinner scene and dance, all the way to when they were on the balcony. It was dynamic. It brought out a feeling of Michael-Fiona that I haven't noticed for forever. This episode gets a full five from me, compared to all the others. Made up for last week indefinitely. Whats going to happen to Michael now? I hope to find out next week, despite my exams. Oh, the life of a teen :( P.S. Don't you think that they should use some season 4 scenes for the theme songs now? Its been long since they changed it :P

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Burn Notice Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

So Michael and Fi get to sit back and drink Mojitos and we get to set a trap for an international killer. Sweet!


Sam: Hey, want a beer?
Jesse: Neah, I prefer to be sober when risking my life.