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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Burn Notice: “Reunion”

Illustration for article titled Burn Notice: “Reunion”
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Are you serious, Burn Notice? For two years now, I’ve been covering you for TV Club, through all the ups and downs, plot twists and explosions. I’ve faithfully chronicled and critiqued the whole Anson storyline from the beginning. And last week—the week I go on vacation—everything happens. Anson is gunned down by a mystery assailant! Fiona is released from prison! And freakin’ Nate suffers collateral damage and dies in Michael’s arms! I can’t believe you did all of this without me, show. But I’ll try to get over it and get on with this week’s episode.

As “Reunion” begins, Michael has little time to celebrate Fiona’s return, as he’s in vengeance mode once again. In hopes of getting a lead on Anson’s possible enemies, Michael and the team set out to question Rebecca, who has apparently been holed up at a condo owned by Sam’s elusive lady friend, Elsa. As it turns out, however, Rebecca has long since made her escape, leading Michael and company to believe she’s the one who took out Anson and, in the process, Nate.

While Michael and Fiona try to track down Rebecca, Sam takes on a case for Elsa—meaning we finally get our first look at Sam’s sugar mama. That Elsa is played by Jennifer Taylor may have some resonance for Two and a Half Men viewers, but since I’ve never had the pleasure, this reveal was a bit of a letdown. Anyway, Elsa puts Sam on the trail of her no-account son Evan, who has stolen a $10,000 diamond tennis bracelet. (I guess diamond tennis bracelets are things that very rich people have.) Sam and Jesse set out to knock some sense into the kid, but end up getting roped into a truck heist on behalf of the loan shark to whom Evan is deeply in debt. By the way, if you guessed that the truck was not actually full of bootleg champagne, as Morris the loan shark claimed, congratulations. You have seen Burn Notice before.

This whole escapade is disappointingly run-of-the-mill, especially coming after last week’s fireworks. Jesse does get to channel his inner Walter White by using drug lab chemicals to construct an incendiary device, but otherwise, nothing particularly interesting happens, unless you’re fascinated with Evan’s sob story about never being good enough for his mother.

The other storyline isn’t much better, as Michael and Fiona track Rebecca down through a forger making a fake passport for her. They exchange gunfire, but later Rebecca turns up at Michael’s loft, proclaiming her innocence. But did any of us really think she’d done it in the first place? Mainly, the episode just served to move the pieces into place so that Michael and company can spend the rest of the season searching for the real killers, just like O.J. Simpson.

The episode closes with Nate’s funeral, no doubt a festive occasion for many in the Burn Notice fan community. I can’t say I’m happy he’s dead, though. Not because I ever liked the character, mind you, but because I spent the entire hour tonight in dread of the Maddie Moment. You know what I’m talking about. We dodged the bullet tonight, but there is a reckoning to come—a big, showy outpouring of grief and anger for Sharon Gless to send to the Emmy committee. Nate’s demise also serves as another reason to keep Michael in dark avenger mode, unable to enjoy even a moment of levity or relief upon Fiona’s release from prison. I suppose Matt Nix and his creative team see this as a way of keeping the dramatic stakes high, but at this point, Michael is so tightly wound, I’m not sure he can ever lighten up again.


Stray observations:

  • This is the second week in a row the show has resorted to noticeably fake CGI explosions. The least they could do is really blow shit up.
  • Thanks to Kevin McFarland for filling in last week. For the record, I probably would have given the episode an A-. I really enjoyed most of it, although I thought Anson’s death was a little abrupt and unsatisfying, given the mastermind treatment he’d been given all along. But I guess Jere Burns is too in-demand these days.