Monday, March 9, 2009

Tube Steak: "Burn Notice" Season Finale

It is probably no secret to those who read this blog regularly that I am a pretty big fan of a little show called "Burn Notice". I stand by my statement in which I describe the show as "The Rockford Files" imbued with the instructive spy teachings of "MacGyver" without the cheesiness of "MacGyver"--think "MacGyver" with a slightly more hell-raising mindset.

Season Two* has focused on Michael trying to get out from under the thumb of a dastardly mysterious black-ops organization. These are the same people who were presumably responsible for him having burned in the first place, and the evidence continues to mount that the reason Michael Westen was burned was to force him into becoming an operative for the organization.

*I like how USA has taken to breaking their seasons up into two uninterrupted runs. Every few months, I get a new mini-season of my shows "Burn Notice" and "Psych", and when they end I'm not stuck waiting two years for a new season, like I'm having to right now for "Curb Your Enthusiasm"...

So the show's second season has had Michael carrying out tasks for the very people he is investigating. Their reach seems to know no bounds, so his blows often glance off, having been misdirected by their defense network at nearly every turn. Every time he gets close to some information about who the people that burned him were, the information lacks the substance he hoped for, leaving him searching for more answers.

What works for this show in the same thing that worked for "Veronica Mars". Each episode has its own self-contained mystery to solve/client to help while also advancing the season-long story arc in its teaser and coda with a little drop here or there in the middle of the show. Also like "Veronica Mars", the show is largely character-driven. Without having a rooting interest in what the protagonist is fighting for, the show is dead in the water, but Jeffrey Donovan has charisma to spare and his character is nothing if not nobly inclined.

Much like Ms. Mars, Westen also has a support system in place filled with likeable characters and able actors. Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar play off Donovan really well as peers, and Sharon Gless plays the overbearing, guilt-tripping mother to a 't'*.

*Is that right? Is it 'tee'? Never knew that one. I took a stab.

The only casting issue I have was with Tricia Fucking Helfer. I may or may not mentioned this, but Ms. Helfer cannot act. She is always cast as this hardcore tough-ass who is not to be fucked with, and she can never fucking pull it off. To make matters worse, she does this bullshit eye-acting that just looks like she has a tic whenever she is angry. As I said before, she's "a model saying words on a screen"*, and it sucks to have her take a show down a bit each time she 'graces' the screen.

*How douchey is it that I just quoted myself? Jesus, I am an asshole. I can't believe I haven't read Ayn Rand and that this self-obsession is entirely fueled by my own massive ego.

Now, here is what KRD was waiting for...

Spoiler Alert!

She gets shot in her model gut at the end of the episode. FUCK YES! Holy shit, you have no idea how elated I was. You see everytime she dies in BSG (still hate it), it is an empty death. You know she's coming back, and there are more of her out there anyway. It's like when Captain Kirk dies in the beginning of Star Trek: Generations. You had seen the trailer, and you knew he's coming back meaning you got to deal with more of his special brand of 'acting'*. The finale of Season Two of "Burn Notice" is like the end of Generations where Kirk dies for real. Glorious.

*I don't hate William Shatner. As a recording artist. When working with Ben Folds. Sure, his early covers are funny, but I sincerely like his solo record and his tracks on Fear of Pop "Vol. 1". As a Captain on Star Trek, he does not cut it. Give me Patrick Stewart or Avery Brooks any day. I never saw an episode of Enterprise, but I'm sure that Bakula kicks his ass, too. Call me a blasphemer, but his special brand of camp acting seems like it belongs in a autistic summer camp production of The Cat in the Hat.

That alone made this pretty much the best finale of anything ever. In the history of time.

And then it got better.

Management shows up. Management is John Mahoney! FUCK YES AGAIN! The world of "Frasier" collides with the world of "Burn Notice"? This is really what Martin Crane has been up to since retiring from the Seattle Police Department, isn't it... Wait, was he always a spy? Was the cane a put-on? Is Kelsey Grammer going to be in season three? Matt Nix & Co. are trying to make up for past transgressions in a hurry.

Speaking of past transgressions, the final couple of minutes set up the third season for what promises to be a new but exciting season in which Michael's past comes running up on him as fast as he can take it.

So if you want resolution from your finales, hated characters getting gunned down by favorite characters, and exciting directions for the show's next season to go in, then "Burn Notice" gave it to you here.

3 comments:

KRD said...

Yay. Everything I thought it would be, and more.

I was also surprised to see Diane Court's father in the helicopter. But pleasantly so.

I was particularly pleased that it was Fiona who shot Carla. Good on her.

Old Man Duggan said...

Yes. And thank fucking god Carla's dead. Fi should be unshackled a little more, coz she was a one-woman wrecking crew in that episode.

Weibel said...

I just liked the ending..reminded me of of series finale of "Angel"..in the sense that ending was epic...Burn Notice needs a dragon or a guy with a chainsaw for an arm.

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