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Review #2357: Burn Notice 5.8: “Hard Out”

Posted on the 12 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

I found myself oddly disinterested in this episode. It’s not that it was terrible or anything; it was just fairly stock and trade ‘Burn Notice”. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are treading water at the moment, but they’re not exactly tossing unexpected twists into the mix, either.

Review #2357: Burn Notice 5.8: “Hard Out”

I suppose some would consider it a twist for Agent Pierce to work with Michael and Jessie on this CIA-driven operation, but since the “B” plot was all about Fiona, someone had to step in to fulfill her usual role. And since recent episodes have demonstrated that Sam is not a viable team member when it comes to the CIA side of the equation (at least in an overt sense), this was the only team that could work and still keep somewhat to the formula.

Part of the problem is that I just don’t like Agent Pierce all that much. I’ve not been convinced at all by the supposed “frame job” against Michael, but the writers keep acting like it is a serious threat, so one would think that the CIA wouldn’t take their investigation so slowly. The net result of all this delaying is the undermining of the CIA’s competence in the narrative.

One could say that this allows Agent Pierce to see what it’s like when Michael is off on a mission, with little or no support, thus providing her with the necessary perspective to adjust their working relationship in a positive way. But does anyone really expect her to be around long enough for that perspective to matter? Besides, as we saw with Jessie in the fourth season, the writers are more than willing to switch gears with a character with little or no notice or justification.

As for Fiona’s subplot, her old flame Armand fills the role that Michael would usually assume. But that also fell rather flat for me, despite his clear morally ambiguous approach. Was Armand on the show in an earlier season? Even if he was, why would one assume that he can make any insightful commentary on the current Michael/Fiona relationship?

Maybe this is just more fallout from the disappointing lack of progression since “Square One”. I expected them to stick to formula in some fashion this season, but certainly not to the extent of making only cosmetic changes. I’m still waiting for them to do something with a little risk, especially since the show has long since been picked up through the sixth season.

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

Final Rating: 6/10

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