Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Burn Notice, Season 1, Episode 2

After having who Michael Westen was and why he came to be where he currently is in the pilot episode, this one opens with a voice over briefly covering that. This would be the start of the show over the next 7 seasons. They only changed it after season 4 when a new character became a regular, and even then the little out cuts introducing Fiona, Sam and Maddie remained the same, so we got some of Fiona's Irish accent right throughout.

There was a little bit about the season long arc of Michael trying to find out who burned him, but this was largely a mystery of the week (motw) show.

Michael wanted information from his mother about the guys who had questioned her as to his whereabouts and bugged her house, she refused to give it to him until he agreed to help a neighbour of hers who had been ripped off.

I knew from the opening credits that Mark Pellegrino was going to be the bad guy. Honestly, has he ever played a good guy? The basic scheme that he (he played a con artist called Quentin) and his two cohorts ran was to get little old ladies like Madeline's neighbour to hand over their bank details and then steal from them. That he found it necessary to rough up this lady ensured that Fiona was going to be on board if he required back up.

Sam moved in briefly with Michael as he seemed to be between 'sugar Mommies' and this was when Fiona and Sam renewed acquaintances. Despite keeping up the fiction that they actually disliked each other intensely for some time, they got along fine and worked well together. A personal highlight was when they posed as Detective Cagney and Detective Lacey to heavy Quentin's young accomplices. The in joke with the names was that Sharon Gless (Madeline Westen) played Christine Cagney (her accomplice Mary Beth Lacey was played by Tyne Daly) in the TV cop drama Cagney & Lacey.

Gabrielle Anwar also showed some nice comic timing when she played Michael's doting girlfriend the first time she met Maddie face to face. I did enjoy her clearing the table as Michael's still desperately grabbing food from his plate.

One thing I did notice that differed from later episodes in this one was that as a group they were nowhere near as slick and well practised as they later became. They made more than a few mistakes here and that was to take down someone who was strictly small time.

Another thing that altered was Fiona's accent. She had dropped the Irish accent, they explained it away as her actual accent would make her stick out too much in Miami, so at least they did acknowledge it and that they probably made a bit of a mistake in the pilot.

This may crop up again later (I can't remember), but in the pilot they highlighted some downsides to where Michael chooses to live. He regularly has to make his way through crowds of nightclubbers when trying to get to the gate in the fence that leads to his warehouse and he also gets the lights, music and noise filtering through to late into the night. That wasn't present this time, although I am sure it will crop up later as the show were relatively good about most continuity things.

Despite them taking on various aliases they rarely use elaborate disguises. Mostly it's done through clothes, glasses, maybe a little facial hair or hairstyle. Jeffrey Donovan does a few voices that he cycles through depending on what persona he wants to project.

This one ended up almost HEA. Quentin went to jail, his young accomplices escaped on his boat, Maddie's neighbour got her life savings back and Michael got the information he wanted. I found the pilot stronger, but this was solid and a good example of what to expect, it kept me watching.

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