Sunday, March 23, 2014

Burn Notice 7.13 - Reckoning

Plot: We pick up where we left off, Sonya and Fi playing Devil and Angel on Michael's shoulders. Sonya gets ready to shoot Fi, so Michael finally snaps out of it and shoots Sonya. James, in the helicopter above observes this, and furiously orders his men to kill them. His men fail, Mike, Fi, Sam, and Jesse escape. But so does James, which means Strong got nothing, and now he's put a 50 grand reward out on them. Which is how Sam and Jesse wind up prisoners of a shotgun-toting convenience store clerk. Michael demonstrates a continuing disregard for his life by driving a car into the store and hopping out to attack the clerk, getting shot in the arm in the process. But they all escape.

Mike concludes their only chance is to catch James, which he wants to do alone, but no dice. He does, however, convince Jesse to look after Maddy and Charlie, so it'll be the original three going after James. Or rather, all of his records. Jesse uses a friend to find the guy who set up James' communication relay. Which turns out to be in the abandoned remains of an old newspaper. Things are looking up, until James arrives. He recognized that they took some phones from that convenience store, and he tracked the numbers. Three of them are inside his communications relay, and two of them (Jesse and Maddy's) are in a house his guys are surrounding. Madeline makes a gutsy call, asking Jesse to protect Charlie, while she takes out as many of James' guys as she can with an explosive they had. Was not expecting a kamikaze play from Madeline, but there you go. At this point, Fi and Mike are in a shootout with James and his guys, while Sam flees with all those records they swiped. He escapes his pursuer, Fi caps everyone while they're busy shooting at Mike, but James reveals the explosives the building is wired with are not just to stop people from breaking in, and so it appears our heroes are dead.

In the aftermath, we learn Jesse and Sam spent some time in custody, but were eventually released. Mike and Fi are presumed dead, and there's a funeral, but we see they outran the explosion and jumped into the bay/river/ocean/large body of water the newspaper sat at the edge of. They're living in a nice looking home, someplace with snow, taking care of Charlie. As for Jesse and Sam, it appears they'll continue the work of helping people in need.

The Players: Look, nobody new shows up, and I don't feel like making up titles.

Quote of the Episode: Fiona - 'Michael, we don't have much time. What do you want to do?' Michael - 'I want to fight.'

Does Fiona blow anything up? A wall.

Sam Axe Drink Count: 0 (6 overall).

Sam Getting Hit Count: 0 (5 overall).

Michael's Fake Laugh Count: 0 (3 overall).

Other: I'm curious how Michael and Fi got Charlie from Jesse before Jesse got arrested. I'd assume the explosion of Maddy's sacrifice would have attracted law enforcement attention, but maybe Jesse was able to elude them until Mike and Fi could find him. Otherwise, I feel like Charlie's absence would raise questions about Mike and Fi actually being dead. Unless Jesse told Strong Charlie got blown up along with Madeline, which I feel should raise some eyebrows.

That whole scene with Maddy as she talks to Michael, and as she asks Jesse to watch over Charlie, that was heartbreaking. I was choked up a little. The thing I thought of was the end of Season 3, when the feds were leaning on her to help them catch Mike (this was while he was running around Miami with Simon), and she refused, even under threat of arrest. The fed told her not to pay for Michael's mistakes, and she replied, 'He paid for mine.' 

I think this was that, on a grander scale. A lot of this has been people paying for Michael's mistakes. His impetuous decision to kill Tom Card, or maybe his decision not to kill Anson from the start, or arrest him him and turn him over to Pearce as soon as he showed his true colors. But I guess the biggest mistake was not accepting the truth of what he opens every episode with: that he used to be a spy. He kept trying to get back in, and that drove him to do questionable things, as well as giving people a lever to use against him. Dangle that carrot, and watch the incredible things Michael will do to get it. I'm not sure I buy how completely he seems to have given it up now, though. Even when the fact the CIA was willing to use Simon disillusioned him, he seemed willing to latch onto James' cause. He was still set on doing the work, simply without the bureaucratic oversight. But now he's done with it?

Maybe he realized that the closest he'd ever get to doing important work how he wanted, without having to leave certain people alone because of their connections was when he was helping those folks Carla derisively referred to as 'the little people'. The ones Sam and Jesse will apparently continue to help. Maybe Mike and Fi will do that stuff sometimes where they are. It's kind of like the send-off Peter Parker and Mary Jane got in the Clone Saga, where they went to the Pacific Northwest. You knew Peter was going to focus on being a husband and father, but every once in awhile, there'd be a mysterious masked guy who might save a life.

There were a lot of callbacks to the Pilot. Fi's 'shall we shoot them', Sam's 'you know spies, bunch of bitchy little girls'. Also, I think the fact that Maddy uses Charlie as a bit of a lever on Mike. Obviously Charlie didn't exist in the first episode, but Mike's client did have a young son he was trying to provide for, and the boy did look up to Mike. Which made Michael go further in helping than he otherwise might have. Which kind of set the tone for Mike being drawn into helping everyday people, when all he claimed to want to do was get back into the government spy business. This time around, it was the presence of his nephew that sort of helps pull Mike out of this grim death wish mode he was in. He was determined to fix things, and die trying, but once Madeline sacrificed herself, that wasn't an option. He had to survive, for Charlie's sake. And he had to trust Fiona to do it. Even though he does trust Fi, Mike usually likes to do things by himself, so it was nice to see him tell her outright that he wasn't planning to die because he knew she had him covered.

As far as an ending to the series, it's pretty good. Maybe a little too neat and happy for some, but I like happy endings when I can get them. I still think Season 3 is probably my favorite overall - the Gilroy subplot being a major part of that - and that 2-4 was the strongest stretch. I missed Brennan, and especially Dead Larry in later seasons. Anson was easily my least favorite villain, but I thought Vaughn got the worst deal, as he was portrayed as sort of incompetent, right up to the moment he was out to kill Michael.

Season 7 was a mixed bag. I didn't entirely understand the almost religious fervor James inspired in Burke, Sonya, and even Michael. I understood why his plan would appeal to them, it just seemed a little much. Carlos never felt well integrated into the story, but I thought the strain on Michael was laid out pretty well. I could understand why he might actually decide to hell with the Agency, and side with James. And I liked how all his friends stuck with him, even if they didn't want to at first. I'm a sucker for "power of friendship" narratives sometimes.

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