I know that in my last Burn Notice recap I said I wouldn’t be doing any more of them since the new primetime television season is about to begin. But then I actually took some time to check out the Burn Notice schedule and realized that the Season 1 finale aired Thursday night, and that Season 2 isn’t slated to begin until next summer. Awesome! This is definitely a show I can latch onto during the summer, so I’m glad the USA Network execs decided to renew and to keep airing during the offseason. And now let’s get to the recap of Parts 1 and 2 of “Loose Ends.”
Odd Job of the Week: Sam’s friend Pete hooks him up with this job. It’s a blackmailing scheme involving the client Gillian and her co-worker Melissa. Gillian is a supervisor at a company called SXG, a weapons system manufacturer that relies heavily on government contracts. Gillian has security clearance, which her friend Melissa took advantage of by having Gillian sign in Melissa’s boyfriend for after-hours rendezvous on the premises. The guy, just some random hustler from a bar, took pictures of himself and Melissa in the building, and is now trying to blackmail Gillian into signing packages in and out with no questions asked. Oh, and Melissa’s abusive husband Kent might not be pleased to find out about Melissa’s affair either.
Michael is too busy to help Sam with the case, so he gets Fiona instead. The two start their investigation, and slowly begin to get to the bottom of what’s going on. It turns out that both Gillian and Ray (the hustler) are just patsies in a heroin smuggling operation out of Turkey that Melissa and Kent are a part of.
When Sam and Fiona try to take Melissa and Kent down, things go terribly wrong. The higher-ups in the smuggling operation managed to learn what was happening, so they kill Melissa and Kent, and take Sam hostage. They also get a visual on Fiona, but she manages to escape by jumping off a bridge into a river.
At this point, Michael can’t ignore the situation any longer. He poses as Sam’s boss, talks to the hostage takers, and negotiates a meeting time. But then he and Fiona get to work on a plan to break Sam out of captivity before during the time the meeting is supposed to take place. They’re successful, and rescue Sam before any real damage is done.
Burn Notice Progress: Michael and Phillip Cowan (played by Richard Schiff), the man who allegedly issued the burn notice, go through a whole song and dance routine prior to actually meeting in person. Once they finally do get to the same place, Cowan tells Michael that things aren’t what they seem. Cowan wasn’t the one who burned Michael, and Michael shouldn’t believe that just because he read it in a file. Then, Cowan tells Michael that the people who burned him have something else in store for him, but just when it seems like he’s going to explain further, he gets shot by an unseen sniper.
Later on, Michael talks to the person who seems to be behind everything, and agrees to yet another meeting. The only thing we know about the person is that it’s a woman and she does seem to be pretty high up in the chain of command. The episode ends with Michael driving into the trailer of an 18-wheeler on some highway 110 miles outside of Miami.
Character Development: Not too many new tidbits surfaced in these two eps. We learned that Michael and Sam go back far enough that Michael can recognize specific poses in photographs. We also learned that Michael stole his first car at age 11 and that Madeline (Sharon Gless) was actually proud of him for that. And we learned that Nate (Seth Peterson) is now doing pretty well for himself, with a nice new house and involvement in a legitimate-sounding business.
My Reaction: I have to admit that I didn’t really like these two episodes very much because of the fact that Michael wasn’t involved in the OJotW until the end. While Sam and Fiona had some good scenes, that whole plotline just served to reinforce the idea that Michael is indeed the main focus of the show. Without him, the investigation, stakeouts, etc. seemed incredibly boring. I know that Jeffrey Donovan can’t be in every single scene, but I’d settle for something like 95%!
I thought the segments with Phillip Cowan were much better than the drug smuggling stuff. I loved the casting choice of
Toby Ziegler Richard Schiff as Cowan, and wish we could count on seeing him back on the show. Too bad he’s dead already.
It was good to see Madeline and Nate get a fair amount of screen time again because I really do like the way Michael interacts with his family. I am getting a little tired of the way the Madeline character is written, though. It seems that all she ever says is, “Michael, what’s going on here?” I mean, on the one hand, I can understand where she’s coming from; but on the other, you’d think she’d have gotten used to Michael’s mysterious ways by now.
All in all, I thought this was a solid first season for Burn Notice, and I’m excited to see what happens in Season Two!