Burn Notice Review: Loyalties Questioned

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With nothing to lose anymore, Michael’s frank and honest answers to James didn't surprise me as much as James’ total trust in Michael to lie to the CIA on Burn Notice this week.

Then again, Michael’s lied to the CIA before, always when he thought it was the right thing to do, so I really shouldn't have been that surprised by his willingness to do it for James in "Sea Change."

In Over His Head

Of course, my new man-crush James didn’t disappoint: he came to the logical conclusion that sacrificing himself would keep the organization, Michael, and Michael’s friends all safe. A fair trade, really, James going to jail while his work continues... stronger than ever.

It was all a good plan except for Michael’s conscious, which just happens to be located in Fiona Glenanne’s heart. Like Jiminy Cricket, Fiona has been there to help as Michael’s compass for right and wrong. Okay, so Sam contributes, but Fiona is attached directly to his heart. 

That’s not to say that Sam and the gang didn't fumble a little on the plan to "rescue" Michael. Sam, of all people, should have known that Michael would see through a lie and been ready with a Plan B when he did. Getting into a knock-down brawl on the bridge and ending up in the Atlantic didn't seem like it was well thought out. 

Actually, when Michael and Sam began having their fight, I wondered why they didn't send Fiona to talk to Michael (and/or pick him up). She could have gotten close enough to drug him if needed, but as we saw on the rooftop, she didn't need to. If Fiona wants to remind Michael of what is right and wrong, all she has to do is put herself in harm's way, by confronting Sonya, for example.

In fact, the only thing that Sonya could have done to make Michael change his mind about taking over the organization from James was threaten to harm Fiona. There is no way Michael would let Fiona get hurt in the process of finishing the mission. I was surprised that Sonya couldn't see that. 

On the other hand, I wasn't expecting Fiona to burn down Madeline’s house as a distraction to get her and Charlie away from James’ men either.

Actually, add Madeline to that surprising list too; she actually agreed to let Fiona burn down her house that she’s lived in for 45 years. All three of them shocked me this week.  

In the end, I’m betting Michael will have shot Sonya and saved Fiona, but we will have to wait till next week’s final episode to see if I’m right, and if so, how James will take it. 

With only one more week of Burn Notice I find myself looking back at the years I've been reviewing the show and marveling at how far the show has come. In my very first review I mentioned that USA had taken a gamble on the series renewing it for seasons 4, 5 and 6 at the same time, but I expected it to pay off. I’m happy I was right!

Overall, even with a cliffhanger ending, it was a great episode and I’m giving it 4.9 Mojitos for Sam, who will need them to soak his broken pride and busted nose back to health. 

As we go into the final week, what are some of your fondest memories of Burn Notice? Any predictions you made on how the show would go that came true (or didn't)?


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (80 Votes)

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


Ok, I saw the fact that James wanted Michael to take over the organization, six episodes back. Its the reason why he didn't suspect Michael of betrayal and why he didn't kill him. Its also the reason why he allowed Michael's friends in on the ops. What truly pisses me off is that Sonya didn't see this coming. I'm not talking about Michael sleeping with her. I'm talking about the fact, that she has been with James for years, has been tortured for him, gave up her country for him and he chooses Michael as co-leader, WTF! We all know that Michael will be the true leader of the organization. Why she continues to do the scut work. She should have stepped up and shot James when he put a gun to her head, I would have and then shot Michael next. Her indecisiveness will cost her life, rightly so.


Maybe the beloved "Chuck Finley" dies, but not Sam! :)


Jesse or Sam shoots sonja


I think we will find that James is not really the head of the organization. Something is not quite right about his decision to surrender. It was too easy. All that he fought for and he just gives it to Michael and Sonya??? If I am wrong...well...




I agree Micheal was in a state right at the end and there is no way he took the shot. If Michael does ends up being the hero then Fi would end up dying (very unfortunate but necessary). That would be the impetuous he would need turn on James and the organisation and take them down.


First, i like this season's finale more than last season's. The suspense was lacking for me last year. Its right up there with 4th season's double bill episode. Second, Michael's situation is very reminiscent of Jack Bauer's predicament in its final season. Lastly, Michael's life as a spy has come the full circle. From being the burned spy to burning a fellow spy (unintentionally of course) and now leading a group who and are too different from other organisations Michael's has taken down in the past.


I will repeat what I told a friend before last night's episode. This near the end, there are ten or more plausible endings, all of which would be satisfactory endings to the series. That is a credit to the great writing and to the writers' ability to portray the inherent moral ambiguity of the espionage world Michael inhabits and that of his childhood and family. This has been the most satisfying TV series as an episodic story I have ever watched. I am confident that the ending will be one of the best, probably the best, endings in series history.


If Michael has to turn his back on his family and abandon all of his principles, how could that possibly be a good thing?


I see a lot of people commenting that they hope Michael chose to kill Fi and take over the Organization, but I have to wonder if you've really been paying attention. First of all, Michael loves Fiona and it would be wildly out of character for him to harm her. Most of all though, James' Organization is EXACTLY what Anson Fullerton and Tom Card's organization was. Look at the parallels: (1)it is an unsanctioned quasi-governmental organization, (2) run by people who hold various positions within the government and use those positions to further their own interests as opposed to the interests of the US, (3) that operates outside of established rules and laws, and (4)kills anyone that gets between them and whatever their mission is. The Organization that Michael agreed to take over is exactly like the organization that burned him. Michael may have the very best of intentions, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If Michael has to turn his back on his family and abandon all of his principles, how could that possibly be a good thing?

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Burn Notice Season 7 Episode 12 Quotes

James: What we do here together, what we stand for. Do you believe in it? And don't give me the answer you think I want. What I want is the truth.
Michael: I have always agreed with your methods, but the jobs I've helped you with, the ones no one else was willing to do, they needed t be done. We protect what is important. You made me part of something that is bigger than you, bigger than me. You made me believe there is something worth fighting for, something to believe in.

Sonya: I wanted you to tell me something. Was any of it real, between us?
Michael: I had a job to do Sonya. To get close to you and close to the people you work with.
Sonya: You didn't answer the question.
Michael: I was under cover for us long I lost track of who I was. Part of me, the part that believe in what we were doing, that part cared for you.