Entertainment Magazine

Review #3145: Burn Notice 5.15: “Necessary Evil”

Posted on the 20 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Craig O’Neill
Directed by Alfredo Barrios, Jr.

I wrote in an earlier review that Michael’s new off-the-books CIA clearance would split Team Westen in two. This is truly the first episode to fully use that situation. It’s not unlike the situation earlier this season where Michael is working with Pearce and the CIA. The difference this time is that Michael is no longer lying to Pearce to cover his tracks and sabotage her case. They work together now, and a bit of that tension between them is missing. It’s compensated by putting Sam and Jesse in danger while Michael tries yet again to secretly get to Anson.

Review #3145: Burn Notice 5.15: “Necessary Evil”

The CIA’s mission involves rescuing a weapons scientist who is building a missile for an African warlord. Conveniently, Michael cannot be involved in this mission because he has spent time in the warlord’s region during his time as an unburned spy and might get recognized. So it’s up to Sam and Jesse to do this with Michael watching from the sidelines. It’s a fairly by-the-numbers kind of plot for a show like this. Sam and Jesse seemed to have learned much from Michael about talking their way out of any situation when the easiest thing for the Villain of The Week to do is to shoot them. Thus, the situation is hardly ripe with tension.

The writers try to make it work, like when Sam only manages to get half of the big gun inside the compound but the other half is in the truck that isn’t allowed inside, but then they manage to write around this complication. So it becomes a matter of time before Sam and Jesse gain the upper hand on the warlord. It also doesn’t help that the show doesn’t make the African warlord stand out in any way beyond the fact that he desperately wants the missile finished in order to kill his enemies on the other side of the world.

The writers could have easily escalated the situation by not allowing either Sam or Jesse to get even a sniff of the hidden guns Michael hid for them and had Michael ride to their rescue, perhaps by plowing through the fence or something. At the point where all three guys were at the mercy of the warlord, did it really matter that someone from the compound might recognize Michael?

Instead, Michael and Fiona are tasked with finding out that Anson has a contact who has been feeding him information on Team Westen. That contact is none other than Benny, Madeline’s seemingly good-natured boyfriend. I honestly can’t remember if Benny has been featured or even mentioned as Maddie’s boyfriend in the past on this show. Nevertheless, it becomes hard for Maddie to accept Michael’s assertions that Benny has been lying to her. Michael is almost never wrong on this show so I find it hard to believe that with everything Maddie has been through with her son, she’d choose just to ignore that. At least until she gets the incriminating proof she needs from (very poorly) hidden files in Benny’s house.

The fact that Maddie is on to Benny’s act costs Benny his life, as Anson blows him up with a packaged bomb. This might suggest that Anson already knew that Benny’s house was bugged before either Benny or Michael did. That secure military-encrypted radio network Anson is using in his otherwise non-descript apartment could have given him the drop on everyone, from Maddie to Benny to even Michael. If that’s true, it would make him a very dangerous opponent, one that Michael might regret taking down in the end.

The one thing I wished about this episode was that the writers shouldn’t sideline the Michael-Anson conflict like this. Anson doesn’t even appear onscreen in this episode (the actor gets a couple of minutes doing voiceover work for a phone conversation at the end) and Michael gets very little to do. The writers will have to step up their game with this long-term addressing of the show’s mythology as the season winds down to a close soon. The piecemeal approach is not going to work, especially if the main Villain of The Week is so bland like the one presented here. If the Villain of The Week is bland, that affects the Mission of The Week as well and adds up to a subpar episode by the show’s standards.

Grade: 6/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog