It was a bit of a relief to hear the announcement at the end of “Army Of One” (and I’m sorry, but that will always be a Sopranos episode to me) that only one episode remains before the summer finale, because I think Burn Notice fatigue is starting to set in. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. While tonight’s show had its moments, it too often played like a rerun. Everyone loved that episode earlier this season that showcased Sharon Gless, so here we have Michael pretending to be mean to Maddie again while working undercover. And how about a couple weeks ago, when Michael infiltrated a crew of hardened criminals and got them to do his bidding with Jedi mind tricks? That was fun, so what say we do it again?
“Army of One” follows the recent pattern of splitting the gang up for two separate missions: the one that relates to the overall “Max’s killer” arc and the one that takes up 90 percent of the running time. The B-plot is even more perfunctory than usual this week, as Fiona and Sam are tasked with recruiting a hacker to retrieve data from a laptop recovered from last week’s warehouse fire. Said hacker is Dixon, an old friend of Sam’s, and with the way this show has been reviving obscure guest stars from early episodes lately, I can’t be sure whether we’ve ever seen him before. He’s not happy to see Sam, who apparently tasered and kidnapped him last time they met, and making matters worse, he’s under house arrest. None of this really ends up making much difference, though, and it just seems like most of this subplot ended up on the cutting room floor.
The main action concerns another one of Jesse’s corporate security gigs. We’re told at least three times in the first 10 minutes that it’s nothing to sweat about, just white-collar industrial espionage-type stuff, so it’s especially unsurprising when the big end-of-Act-I reversal arrives and we’re suddenly in the middle of a hostage situation at a private airport. Michael, who is undercover with the bad guys posing as a computer expert (yes, it’s Hacker Week on Burn Notice), is forced to improvise in order to keep everyone alive and safe. His solution is kind of fun, although it might not have worked if any of the hostage-takers had ever seen one of the Die Hard movies. He invents an imaginary ex-special forces agent-turned-airplane mechanic named Jack Marsden (Get it? “J.M.”? John McClaine? Hello, is this thing on?) and convinces everyone that this badass is on the loose and working to take them down.
It was pretty amusing stuff, and the hour passed by painlessly enough, but I’m getting a little weary of these bumbling crime teams that do everything Michael says just because he speaks loudly and convincingly. And I’m definitely ready to see some resolution on Max’s murder, especially since the writers appear to be losing interest in that storyline at an ever-accelerating rate.
- Last week, I wondered about the cars Michael torched in a parking garage, but that was nothing. This week, he blows up some poor schmuck’s private airplane.
- Tons of MacGyver-ing this week: homemade guns and bombs, electromagnets made out of tire irons, all kinds of good stuff.
- We got the oh-so-rare “Previously on Burn Notice” this week, which led me to expect major developments. Not so much. We did see Max’s killer and learn his name, but I didn’t find that particularly revelatory.