BURN NOTICE 4.7: Past & Future Tense

michael and paulThere can be no doubt that having Burt Reynolds (Smokey himself) on BURN NOTICE looked good on paper, and probably looked even better in previews. But in practice? Well, not so much…

This episode was one of those rare installments of BN that I really just didn’t care for. It’s not that the episode was bad, but rather it could have been so much more. I wanted to like it more than I did.

I have to lay the “blame,” if one can call it such, at the feet of Burt himself, because he did not look like he was having much fun playing Paul Anderson, a retired spy who lost his protection and became fair game for a Russian hit squad attending a spy convention. (Yes, you read that right; they have spy conventions.) Though he was playing a boozy rogue, Burt seemed almost to be laboring… or at least merely collecting a paycheck. Where was the spark? I expected to see at least some of that wild, fun-lovin’ Smokey & the Bandit persona, or maybe a bit of the macho bad-ass, Lewis, from Deliverance. (Imagine him drilling a baddie right between the eyes with one of those hunting arrows.) But it just never materialized. Did creator Matt Nix and co. bother Burt when they offered him the part?

Now, I know the-powers-that-be were trying to draw a link between Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) and Paul; a cautionary tale of how Michael could end up one day, but it just didn’t ring true for me. I think Michael hopes to survive long enough to eventually qualify for a pension — not that he would ever give up helping people on the side. And we know Michael desperately hopes to have an actual official job to retire from! That’s the reason he wanted to get un-burned. Paul and Michael did work well, together, I’ll give them that. But now that I think about it, Paul actually seemed to bear more of a resemblance to impulsive hothead Jesse (Coby Bell); Paul’s temper got him into more than one jam in this story. I mean, assaulting a U.S. Congressman?

Speaking of Jesse, the B plot saw the recently burned counterintelligence agent redouble his commitment to killing the person who burned him – and he got a line on a source who could put him within arm’s reach of the guy who did it. Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) had even more serious doubts about continuing to lie to Jesse – and not just because she likes him, but because he’s getting so close to the truth, and she doubts that he will be in a forgiving mood when he learns Michael torched him.

I, however, am in a forgiving mood about this misfire. There may have been Smokey, but there was no fire when this BURN NOTICE fizzled.

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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