"‘Burn Notice’ Open Thread: Guns And Flowers"
This post contains spoilers through the August 11 episode of Burn Notice.
I’m getting to the point with Burn Notice, like with House, where I don’t really care about the case of the week, so I want to take this week to talk about my favorite character on the show as it exists now: Fiona. Fiona strikes me as an interesting — and underdiscussed — action heroine. Sure, she fits some of the stereotypes that people criticize in the genre. She dresses beautifully, uses her sex appeal on targets, and is preternaturally talented. But she can also take damage in the field — she gets shot, and recovers — and she’s flawed in reasonable and interesting ways.
Among them, she’s impulsive, and has a genuine appetite for destruction. “A timer attached to a depth finder,” she sighs, examining the bomb that was meant to take out Michael. “I’m kind of jealous I didn’t think of it myself.” She doesn’t fit lady-like stereotypes of only using violence when it’s absolutely necessary. She’s got an appreciation for the craft of violence, and more restrained people like Pearce envy it in her. “As an employee of the U.S. government, I’m probably not supposed to say this, but wow,” Pearce tells Fiona when they meet, a meeting that’s already giving Fiona anxiety given how pretty Pearce is. For most of her relationship with Michael, Fiona’s had a way to channel those appetites in a way that’s in line with Michael’s interests. But it would be interesting to see what happens when they reach an actual impasse. Michael’s already pushed Fiona by having overall goals that differ from hers. If their conceptions of justice diverge, they’re in real trouble.
And there’s the long-term question of what happens if Michael does get fully reinstated. Does Fiona settle down and become a well-behaved CIA wife? Do they split up? We’ve seen Fiona consider alternatives to Michael, Jesse in particular. But with Armand, we see a guy who values Fiona for her darkness. “After all the effort you put to get to Miami, I expected something more,” Armand asks Fiona when he arrives at the loft she shares with Michael bearing fancy guns in lieu of flowers. “Are you happy? Was it worth it? To come here and live with an absentee boyfriend?” He’s not the only one — Michael’s mother thinks Michael needs to take Fiona out more.
And when he does, their dinner turns poisonous, and their fight is interrupted, unresolved, by the arrival of Michael’s mother and her new boyfriend Ben. “To supportive partners,” Michael toasts. But if he’s going to reduce Fiona to that, he might as well give her up. And he might not like the cost if Fiona demands equal support, no matter what her goals are, in return.