When we left Michael and his friends on the Burn Notice Season 6 finale, we knew he had made a pact to keep them all safe.
As the name implies, "New Deal" offered our first look at what Michael actually agreed to in order to protect his friends and family.
In the years I've been watching Burn Notice I've seen Michael slip into many, many, many different personas as he’s gone under cover for various jobs; from a slick mafia type all the way down to playing a lowly errand boy for a mob boss. He’s run the gambit of accents, hair styles, clothes and attitudes.
But they all seem a bit pale in comparison to the newest persona: drunken-brawler Michael.
The episode opened with a slow-motion scene of Michael washing his hands and then did a slow pan up across his sweaty well-muscled chest, ending on the scruffy beard over a hardened and angled face. If it seems like I've got a man-crush on drunken-brawler Michael, your probably reading it correctly.
It was clear this persona/cover was different from previous ones for a couple of reasons:
- He’s playing Michael Westen, not a made up personality. He has to really become the role of down and out drunk he’s supposed to be.
- He’s alone. He traded his friends' freedom for the hell his life has become and that resulted in him not having them as backup.
Speaking of his friends, what have they been up to for the last nine months? Well... Sam and Elsa are back together. That made me pretty happy; I was upset he almost lost her last year. Jesse apparently went back to work finally and I wonder if he had enough vacation time to cover his adventures or if he got a new job.
I was mildly surprised that Madeline was trying to become the legal guardian of Charlie, her grandson. But Fiona’s comment about Nate’s widow falling off the wagon and being in rehab cleared that up.
The real shock came from Fiona. Not only did she find work, she apparently replaced the love of her life in less than a year. Now, before you start posting flaming comments, I know she’s rebelling and trying to prove to herself she doesn't need Michael, blah, blah, blah.
But come on! This is Fiona Glenanne for Pete’s sake! She’s loved Michael for years; there is no way short of amnesia that she would replace him that quickly! I would have had a better chance of believing she was in love with Harry Potter than Carlos.
Meanwhile, Michael is under the thumb of his new handler, played by the amazing Jack Coleman (Heroes, The Office, Castle... pretty much everything), trying to get close to a man he use to work with, Adrian Pasdar (also a Heroes alum). The choice of Coleman as the “good guy” handler and Pasdar as the “bad guy” seemed a little off at first. I’m going to attribute that to having watched these two in the reverse roles on Heroes for a few seasons.
In the end, they both worked: Pasdar’s offer of “the best rehab program ever” was completely believable and Coleman’s insistence that he needed “pre-burned Michael” had me rooting for him not to be another boss trying to kill him.
Overall, it was a gritty, sweaty, man-crush inducing, enjoyable hour. I’m giving the episode 4.5 shots of whiskey in salute to Michael and company getting started on their seventh and final season.
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.