Burn Notice – Episode 4-1 Review

Well Burn Notice fans, it’s been a few months since last we saw Michael Westen and the gang in action, but last night our 3 month wait for the return of Michael, Fi, Sam, and Maddie ended…and have to admit that I’m glad the wait is over. Just to refresh how we got here: Michael was targeted for assassination by a man named Simon (whose case file had been transferred to Michael thus resulting in his “burn notice” being issued), Madeline was arrested by the F.B.I., and Michael went rogue again even though he promised Sam and Fiona he’d work more directly with them. Season 3 ended with Michael and Simon both getting arrested, and Simon telling Michael that “Management” owns him now. A hooded Michael was taken to some unknown location and found himself in what appeared to be a fancy study in a ritzy house.

Enter Vaughn (played by Robert Wisdom of “The Wire” fame). Vaughn explains to Michael where he is (of sorts) and proceeds to flop a thick intelligence file into Michael’s lap. The people he works for want Michael’s help. After reviewing the file from the confines of his holding cell, Michael conveys his opinion and ideas to Vaughn, who agrees with Michael’s assessment. Michael points out that everything in the file leads to an arms dealer named Gregory Hart (played briefly by the always fantastic Michael Ironside), and Vaughn notes that whomever is behind Hart has the power and the resources to ensure that their business remains unaffected…even if it means killing numerous people in order to achieve their desired endgame. Michael and Vaughn pay a visit to Hart, who is residing in the jungles of South America. Before they’re able to get any information from Hart (which most likely would have been none since Hart says that he works “for a 16-digit Swiss bank account and an anonymous e-mail address”), an Unmanned Ariel Vehicle, or drone, comes out of the sky and opens fire on the site, killing Hart in the process. Michael informs Vaughn that Hart must have been being investigated by the government because of the file Michael saw on Hart’s table. He’ll help. but on his own terms. Vaughn agrees.

Finally we head back to Miami, where Michael pays a visit to Madeline to see her briefly before heading out to find Fiona. He finds Fi, they share a kiss and hug, and then she tells him that her and Sam are working a case protecting a lawyer named Winston (played by Rich Sommer of AMC’s “Mad Men“) from a biker gang. Michael joins them on assignment and bluffs the bikers into leaving the house, but not before they promise to return…and finish their job. Following that, Fiona infiltrates the biker gang headquarters and is able to scan some of their confidential documents, before being forced to escape through an air duct. Michael then met with Vaughn, where he is given an access card needed to enter a secure military facility, so he can steal some files. Sam and Michael pay a visit to Big Ed, the head of the biker gang, and convince him to drop the hit on Winston by threatening to send forged copies of the stolen documents (compliments of our old friend Barry the money launderer) to the feds, which would result in the whole biker gang facing federal charges. Big Ed agrees and calls a private meeting with Hunter (the club member who was trying to kill Winston earlier in the episode). Hunter and two of his cronies meet with Big Ed, even though Big Ed ordered him to come alone. Hunter doesn’t like that the hit is being called off and proceeds to shoot Big Ed. Michael and Sam engage the bikers in a gunfight and lure them to another location where Fi shows up with the rest of the biker gang following her (she stole a motorcycle to bait them into following her. Big Ed confronts Hunter, beats him, takes his colors and puts them on Winston. Winston is now in the clear and will never be touched by the gang. After that, Michael and Fi go to the military facility, Michael uses the access card to get in, and steals the documents. As soon as he gets into the car, the F.B.I. show up and arrest the man responsible for protecting the data. Sam informs Michael later that the man that was arrested is a spy, and that Michael just burned him.

All in all, I loved the episode, but then again I’ve loved every episode of the show since its inception. I’m looking forward to the more permanent introduction of the newest character/cast member Jesse, who is played by Coby Bell from television’s Third Watch and The Game. Jesse was only briefly introduced to us last night, but that will change with next week’s episode, when he becomes a more permanent fixture to the Burn Notice world…for part of this season at least. As with every episode, I can’t get enough and I yearn anxiously for the next week, so I can get my Burn Notice fix. I also think that the addition of Tim Matheson as a regular director of the show is great. I’ve enjoyed his acting all the way from National Lampoon’s Animal House to 1941 and Fletch to his most recent appearances on Burn Notice as Larry “The Un-Dead Spy,” and I think he’ll helm many more episodes of our favorite spy show. That’s it for this week folks. My own personal ‘burn notice’ just came in. See you next week.

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