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Review #2586: Burn Notice 5.3: “Mind Games”

Posted on the 11 July 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

I was all ready to write up a review for this episode when I realized that my attention had wandered at some point, because I had no idea what happened through much of the second half. I’m not sure if that’s a commentary on the episode itself or not, since a second viewing demonstrated that it was certainly entertaining and illuminating. Perhaps a case of bad timing?

Review #2586: Burn Notice 5.3: “Mind Games”

Whatever the case, I’m a relatively new fan, so I don’t have the familiarity with Nate that is probably necessary to get some of the subtext. All I know is that it led to a case where Michael got to play one of his more colorful characters, and that he exposed the main threat as not only someone working for the FBI, but a struggling former member of the “Prison Break” cast.

It’s a good thing that the case had lighter touches, because this episode gives us a good look at Michael’s mindset since the events of the premiere (and presumably, “Bloodlines”). Much like the audience itself, Michael is having a hard time accepting that the organization that burned him has been wiped off the map, and his paranoia is creeping into every little corner of his life. As Nate mentions, Michael is starting to act like an addict, obsessed with finding something that may not be there.

Of course, the obvious rejoinder is that being paranoid doesn’t mean that someone’s not out to get you, and in this situation, Michael may have the right idea, if not the right response. Chances are, there is some threat still lurking out there, and it’s probably much closer to home than he realizes. The CIA has been very accommodating to Michael, and it’s extremely suspicious as a result. I think there’s a very good chance that Michael is working for the enemy, and it’s just not apparent to him yet.

That said, the writers still have to put the other characters into the proper context before any such trigger can be pulled, so now that Michael is on edge and struggling to find balance in his life, I would expect to see a couple more episodes to fill in some of the blanks. I think Fiona has been well defined in this status quo, but Sam and Jessie could use a more solid foundation. In particular, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a step back, review Jessie’s character arc thus far, and try to find a way to reconcile it in a way that drives him in a meaningful direction.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 7/10


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