This post contains spoilers through the August 18 episode of Burn Notice.
Okay, this may make me a total nerd, but I really dug that tonight’s case had Fiona, Jesse, and Michael going all vigilante on a corporate goon (James Frain, who someday is going to play all sweetness and light and vulnerability and people’s heads will explode) in the name of making generic drugs available to the people—and romantic payback. Burn Notice can be a little random when it comes to picking villains, especially those who end up in Miami—though interestingly, there have been protests about biotechnology developments at the University of Miami—but this felt a little fresher than usual. It’s a big season for evil pharmaceutical companies or executives on television, between this episode and Torchwood, and it’s nice to see the issue of drug access bubbling up in popular culture at the same time that steps like the Obama administration’s regulations on birth control copays are making things a bit better.
Other than that, this episode felt a little frustrating. Old, generic war criminals (I mean, is it that hard to think of a particular war?) with electrocuting metal grates are kind of fun in an eccentric, James Bond kind of way, and Sam’s promise that “Just tell us who you built the bomb for and we’ll share these delicious carrot sticks,” was new and entertaining ground in interrogation. But introducing these people and then killing them off or helping them escape isn’t really making this conspiracy against Michael very entertaining to investigate. Nothing here is adding up to a coherent season-long arc.
And Paulie mentioned in comments last week that he’s frustrated by the way Fiona’s supposed badassness and moral ambiguity are something that we’re told about rather than shown in a sustained way. And I think that’s right. I want nothing more than to see Fiona break with Michael and see what happens, but setting her up as a whiny girlfriend doesn’t really seem like the way to do it. Yes, it’s irritating when you ask a fella “You want me to cancel the reservation?” only to realize “there was no reservation.” But I think Michael needs to do something where he definitively treats her like staff, or really makes a decision that she violently disagrees with. We need a big conflict here, not the squabbling of two people who are at the getting-stale stage of their relationship.