Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Burn Notice, Season 4, Episode 7

Another effort by Jesse to find out how he was burned and have it overturned results in a rather sobering experience for Michael.

The gang go to a swanky hotel in Miami because a spy convention is being held there (apparently spies do have conventions) and Jesse wants to see if he can get help from his old boss; Marv, to unburn him. Marv was played by Richard Kind. I first saw Richard Kind as the quirky gynaecologist in Mad About You, but since then he's made a career out of playing the same sort of odd, often hen pecked, or under pressure type of character. He's currently the mayor in Gotham. He does like Jesse, and does wind up having evidence that could alter his burning, unfortunately if it gets out it will lead to Michael and that will not end well. Someone will die and I have the feeling it won't be Michael. At Michael's request Fiona destroys the evidence, but doing so causes a rift between her and Michael, because she's come to feel for Jesse in the time they've known him and he's very much part of the team.

While scoping out the hotel Michael spots a group of Russians who simply scream hit squad to him. They kidnap one of them and find out that they're Spetznaz and are in Miami to kill a former spy with whom they and their government have an issue.

This was Paul Anderson and played by the big guest star Burt Reynolds. The story around Anderson isn't really that important. It gave Reynolds an opportunity to chew the scenery and be effortlessly charming and cool. Burt Reynolds was for many years a Hollywood A lister. These days he appears in the occasional movie or even TV show like this. Although Reynolds never actually played a super spy I felt his casting had some creed, because at one point he was rumoured to have been looked at as a possible James Bond. I think this was in between Connery leaving for the second time (Diamonds are Forever) and hiring Roger Moore (Live and Let Die) as his replacement. I can see why the studio wanted to cast Reynolds, he was big at the time and he would bring a younger audience in as well as a big part of the US market. Conversely I can also see why Cubby Broccoli and Harry Salzmann vetoed the idea. Reynolds is identifiably American and Bond isn't (yes, at the time they hadn't cast a Brit, Connery is a Scot and Lazenby an Australian, but neither were names when they were cast and hadn't been identified by their nationalities), then there was Reynold's height. He's 5'10". Broccoli always saw Bond as at least 6 feet tall. (Interestingly enough Daniel Craig doesn't fit that requirement, but he was never cast by Cubby Broccoli). Of course there was also the moustache. Reynolds is, and was, known for the moustache. Bond could never ever have a moustache.

For Michael looking at Paul Anderson is like seeing himself in 20 years time and I think that's the point the show was trying to make. Michael probably doesn't want to wind up like Anderson, but if he doesn't start making some changes he most definitely will become Paul Anderson.

There was a nice little thing with the Russians about Michael's reputation. He's a sort of bogeyman for them. The stories about him and what he's done have reached mythic proportions. At one stage 4 of them surrender to him without him even having to fire a shot, because there are only 4 of them and he's Michael Westen!

Maddie got to do her spy thing, by accosting a congressman and threatening to make a scene in public unless he went with her to help clear Paul Anderson's name.

Anderson went into a sort of witness protection program with a new name and identity, so that ended happily, although there was a very strong hint at the end that he has Alzheimers.

The spectre of Jesse's burning and Michael's part in it hangs over the heads of everyone else, though.

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