Entertainment Magazine

Review #3188: Burn Notice 5.17: “Acceptable Loss”

Posted on the 16 December 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

One of my biggest problems with the second half of the fifth season, and one echoed by other fans I’ve discussed the matter with, is the notion that Anson is the biggest threat that Michael has ever faced. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: they’ve worked out far more difficult problems than blackmail against Fiona, so taking out Anson should not be an issue. Anson has yet to be shown as enough of a master manipulator to justify the degree to which he is feared.

Review #3188: Burn Notice 5.17: “Acceptable Loss”

Before getting to the revelations of this episode, however, a few words on the “case of the week”. Considering how criminally underused the character of Jesse has been, it was nice to see this case revolve around one of his old friends. That said, they pretty well telegraphed how the scenario was going to play out, between the title and the fact that Ian had pancreatic cancer. That particular type of cancer is so well known to be vicious that it makes perfect sense for Ian to want to go out on his own terms, before the illness takes its horrendous toll.

Otherwise, this episode did a nice job of reminding me (and hopefully others, such as the writers) of how useful Jesse is in the context of the show. Having four members of Team Westen makes it a lot easier to split the team in half during an episode. I just wish they would use the character better, especially since his fourth season arc fell short in the end. I still feel like they are holding on to Jesse so they can use him as a sacrificial lamb when they feel a team member’s death is required.

In terms of Michael’s storyline, I liked the fact that they tied Vaughn back into the story, since it more or less ties up the loose ends associated with his fourth season activities. To a certain extent, I was happy to hear that Anson was actually working behind the scenes to put his organization back into place. At least they gave him a little more of a motivation for messing with Michael, even if it doesn’t quite make sense.

Here’s my problem with this plot arc: Anson’s activities, in terms of rebuilding his organization, would have gone off without a hitch if he never contacted Michael at all. Michael had all but abandoned the notion that there were any loose ends to his mission, and Anson came along and confirmed that there was still an enemy to fight. By revealing himself to Michael, he essentially gave Michael a reason to uncover his true motives. Unless his plan was to distract Michael just long enough to finish the job of rebuilding his organization, and then kill his entire team, Anson’s gambit seems like the very definition of a plot convenience.

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

Final Rating: 6/10

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