Entertainment Magazine

Review #3575: Burn Notice 6.3: “Last Rites”

Posted on the 04 July 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Edmund B.

Written by Ben Watkins
Directed by Nick Gomez

The latest “Burn Notice” registers a slight uptick on the Anson-meter, as Anson leaves Agent Pearce a voicemail. (Jere Burns has some sweet gig here: a credited role that took him all of five minutes this time.) The result is the usual downtick in the team’s intelligence prowess. Not so much in the operation it inspires, but in its motivation.

Review #3575: Burn Notice 6.3: “Last Rites”

Anson tempts Agent Pearce with the identity of her fiance’s murderer, Ahmed Damour . Damour is now a protected CIA asset, thanks to the intelligence he stole from said fiance. The presumption made is that Anson knows Pierce is helping them to get Fiona released, and wants her to ruin her career going after the guy. The problem is they spent the previous episode going around Pearce, because she wasn’t much help with Fiona. In a season where they’re foregoing clients-of-the-week for more focused stories, they still have trouble keeping the storyline consistent.

The show has more than enough standard DNA to justify the course they take, and actually make it even more personal. Michael is always a sucker for avenging a wrong. In this case, Pearce could have become the client. Michael takes on her case, regardless of what consequences it might have for the good graces with Langley he built up last episode. If anything, it makes Anson look cannier. He distracts the team from Fiona, while they jeopardize future CIA aid if the operation goes south.

Where I did think Anson was being canny was roping in the Westen clan into the operation. There is an initial disconnect, with Sam still seeing the family as the “desperate” option of the opening credits. Michael may be too unconcerned in response, but at least his attitude reflects the fact that Maddy and Nate are exactly rookies any more. However, as the episode progressed, I kept wondering if Anson’s goal was the hard drive. A true mastermind could have anticipated all of Michael’s plans and swooped in at the end to snatch it from the less experienced half of the team. (Especially since I couldn’t believe Jere Burns wasn’t going to appear on-camera. He really does owe his agent a drink.)

Even with these quibbles taking up a chunk of this review (I can’t help it. Anson drives me to it!), I did like the operation. After all the gunfire and explosions, it was good to take a step back and have a solid “Mission Impossible”-style con. With cruise ship pandemics a news staple, convincing Damour he’d contracted an incurable bug made perfect sense, even if Jesse had to take one for the team as the convincer.

Jesse again felt more integrated. His “I love the dice, so I let them go” craps routine was priceless. He was credible at calming Pearce as she had to grit her teeth and play nursemaid for the villain. The “Smile, you’re supposed to be on vacation, Pearce” humor was a bit forced, but it didn’t detract from a well-run operation.

Meanwhile, Fiona continues to make me wonder how much help she really needs. Life behind bars is looking remarkably like life outside. Hook up with the top procurer/fixer, blow some things up, find out what you need to know. Of course, she still needs Michael to act on that intel, which brings us to their meeting (you know, the one arranged by Tom Card, not Pearce.)

The show has never ventured deeply into the Irish roots of Michael and Fiona’s relationship, and now we know why. Michael’s egregiously bad Irish accent would have gotten him dumped in the alley behind an IRA pub within 20 seconds of opening his mouth. Of course, Fiona’s accent isn’t much better (in its rare post-season one appearances), so it’s probably for the best they faded the sound into the now-ubiquitous pop song outro. Let’s hope they spring Fi soon, so we don’t have to endure too much more weepy, brogue-y Michael Westen. Otherwise, the Irish Embassy is sure to lodge a protest.

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

Final Score: 7/10

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