Monday, November 10, 2014

Burn Notice, Season 4, Episode 1

Once upon a long time ago I was watching and blogging TV show Burn Notice, episode by episode. Then I finished Season 3 and went on a holiday to England. Things got kind of busy and now I'm back at the stage where I can watch a few episodes a week and share my thoughts.

Season 3 ended as the show tends to do on a cliffhanger. After saving Management's life and having Simon get away to continue creating havoc, Michael had a bag put over his head (he just loves it when that happens) and was taken to an undisclosed location, seated in a well appointed room, bag removed and he waited.

From the start Michael knows the room is a front, very nice, but still a front. The character that enters it matches the room. Expensively dressed and very urbane.

Vaughn Anderson (Robert Wisdom) is a contrast to the type of attack dogs that Management have set on Michael and even Agent Bly who tried threats before being sent off with a flea in his ear by Michael. I found it an interesting role for Wisdom, because he's a big scary looking guy and the last thing I remember him in was Supernatural, where he played an angel and not a good one at that.

Anderson doesn't threaten Michael or his family or his friends. He's reasonable and understanding. He even admits that the CIA don't play nice or by the rules, but he does make it clear that it is in Michael's best interests to play with them.

Because of the approach Michael decides to see what this is all about and before he knows it he and Vaughn are in some sort of rebel camp in a jungle in South America. I know it was South America, because there were squirrel monkeys there and they're native to that continent. Anderson's teeth come out when dealing with a gun runner played by Michael Ironside, and he shoots him callously in the leg. They can't get much more before the camp is targeted by a drone strike and Michael and Anderson are running for their lives.

Michael decides to throw his lot in with Anderson and is reunited with his old life and his family and friends. Maddie is happy to see him, but what the FBI told her when they took her into custody about him, bothers her and she's more concerned for him than ever before.

Next stop is Fiona. I was half expecting her to hit him, she generally does that when he returns from somewhere and she doesn't know if he's alive or dead. However this time she hugged and kissed him, then immediately went back to assembling the machine pistols she had laid out on the table.

So Michael is once again pulled back into his regular job of white knighting around Miami. In his absence Sam and Fiona agreed to help out a lawyer who was being heavier by a local biker group called The Breakers. They did it because it was what Michael would have done.

By the time the trio arrive at the lawyer's house three of The Breakers have started a fire on his lawn and are threatening dire consequences. They're not quite as tough when Michael Westen appears with two fully loaded machine pistols that he's not afraid to use.

I found The Breakers a fairly soft villain. They came across as somewhere in between the incompetent Hells Angels Clint Eastwood's truck driving, street fighting Philo Beddo and his orang-utan Clyde tangle with in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can and the Sons of Anarchy in the AMC show of the same name. They're not as tough or as hard edged as SAMCRO, but they're a bit more competent than the Hells Angels in the Eastwood films.

They solved it all fairly simply with some help from Barry the Money Launderer (happy to see him back) in tying the lawyer into the club's financials, which means that if anything happens to him the FBI will investigate the club and their dealings. There was one quite amusing and well choreographed fight between Michael and Big Ed (the club president) and Sam and Big Ed's 'old lady'.

Anderson is well aware of Michael's 'extra curricular' activities and unlike Bly and Carla who hampered his other jobs, he didn't. At times it almost sounded like he approved, although he did warn Michael not to let it interfere with what he was doing for them.

He wound up accessing some sensitive information. This resulted in some poor innocent taking the fall for it. He later finds out that the innocent's name is Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) and Michael has just managed to 'burn' another spy.

I honestly don't remember seeing this episode before. It was a pretty standard season opener, no real indication if there is a 'big bad', although Vaughn has potential, and who called out the drone strike on the rebel camp when they knew two US agents were there? I knew Jesse came into the show this session, and his history, but I don't think I ever saw how Michael burned him.

It's good to be back.

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