Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Burn Notice, Season 4, Episode 2

The ending of the first episode kind of made it a foregone conclusion that Episode 2 would be all about Jesse Porter and exactly what Michael could do for him.

Jesse, like Michael before him, has been unfairly burned and he's out in the cold without a friend to call his own. He isn't like Michael in that he has an ex girlfriend who likes blowing things up and shooting people and is highly skilled at both, and a good friend who was a former Navy SEAL with some useful skills and even more useful contacts from his former life. He also doesn't have a mother that gives a damn, even though Maddie does drive Michael to distraction on occasion.

Because he was the reason Jesse got kicked out, Michael feels a sense of duty to help him out. Sam and Fiona, particularly Fiona, agree, and I don't think in Fiona's case it's entirely because she thinks Jesse looks 'fine', although she does.

First Michael has to call Vaughn off. Jesse has some useful and dangerous information in his head as before his burning he worked counter intelligence and again Vaughn shows that he is a company man and doesn't much care if there's one less burned spy walking around out there. He will however let Michael do what he can to keep Jesse alive, just as long as push doesn't come to shove with the CIA.

Michael witnesses a botched attempt to take Jesse out and it's too amateurish to be a government sanctioned hit. In getting himself out of it Jesse displays skills that he didn't get from driving a desk. He does later confess to Fiona that before moving into counter intelligence he was a field agent. He didn't have the right temperament for it, though, in that he couldn't let something like seeing a target beat their girlfriend and not hand out some payback. Fiona very much approves of this, as domestic violence is one of her hot buttons, but she can also see why this makes him a liability in the field.

Jesse actually comes to Michael for help and this is where Michael starts to walk a very fine line. He wants to help Jesse, but he also doesn't want to let him know that he was the one who got him burned. Jesse's not the sort of client Michael wants. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and he can work certain things himself, which occasionally means he's going to go off on a tangent and that hurts what Michael's trying to do.

Interestingly this episode dealt with one job, which isn't something that happens a lot. The job was all about keeping Jesse alive. It was also probably an audition to see if he could become a member of the team. That has a double edge to it, too. In one way it's Jesse Porter the character seeing if he can add himself to Team Westen and in another it's a way for the show to test out Coby Bell the actor with audiences and if they react favourably he's the new regular cast member.

Sam doesn't react that well to Jesse initially. I had forgotten this. In the later years of the show Sam and Jesse form a very a strong team, so I'd forgotten Sam didn't really like him. He felt sorry for him, but in some ways he saw himself being replaced as Michael's right hand man, so the jealousy crept in. It's understandable. Jesse is younger, he's got a recent background in intelligence, he's fitter, good looking, why wouldn't you trade in the old model for a younger, better performing one with more features?

Sam does have a point though in that Jesse is a loose cannon, it's his own reckless behaviour that throws Michael's plan out the window at one point, gets Jesse caught by the bad guys, tortured and requires both Michael and Barry (yay!) to do some very fast improvising to pull it all off and save Jesse's life.

While all this is going on Maddie's trying to rent out the garage that Michael, Sam and Fiona like to use to stash and make stuff in, to prospective tenants. The first one leaves after his cat gets blown up when it finds some detonators that Michael hadn't managed to clear out.

Jesse winds up taking the room, and Maddie winds up liking him. They can swap tips about how to clean guns. Maddie doesn't even like cats, she does like people Michael like, though. With Jesse living at Chez Westen and getting the Maddie seal of approval there's very little doubt that this will be the last mission he works with Michael and Co. Welcome to the family Jesse Porter.

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