Entertainment Magazine

Review #3649: Burn Notice 6.9: “Official Business”

Posted on the 21 August 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Edmund B.

Written by Bridget Tyler
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

“Burn Notice” continues its revival tour with some “Official Business.” Unfortunately, the returning act is the CIA’s resident knuckle-heads, Bailey and Manaro, as the officials in question. Not content with contributing to Sam’s discharge from the Navy or the mission they bumbled around in last season, they’re back to call in Fiona’s CIA marker. They need to crack a high-tech arms dealer’s safe, and Fi has the right, um, assets to gain access. As the dealer, Durov, confirms during his initial frisking/mauling.

Review #3649: Burn Notice 6.9: “Official Business”

Fiona poses as a friend of his girlfriend, Angela, the CIA’s contact inside. Between the handlers and a few hints dropped along the way, some suspicions should have been aroused. But Fiona and Angela (telenovela bombshell Angelica Celaya) are distracting enough to ensure that isn’t what comes up. Suggesting a threesome to explain hanging around Durov’s office was pure smutty genius. It reminded me of John Hiatt’s line about a guy being “so easily led, when his little head does the thinking.”

Between the eye candy and Angela’s breathless nerves, the reveal that she is the thief, stealing and selling Durov’s secrets, works very well. Certainly the idea that she conned her handlers into supplying the safecracker she needed is no stretch. Even better is Fiona’s quick thinking to maneuver Angela into confessing she planted the bomb in the safe, then convincing Durov to turn her in, not kill her. It’s too bad Michael’s price for bailing the doofuses out is tearing up Fiona’s marker. The CIA really did lose a fine asset.

In the “slowly, but surely, finding Nate’s killer” part of the episode, the guys approach Jack Vale, CEO of the Pryon Group, the mercenary outfit that bought the gun that killed Nate. Michael plays a billionaire seeking their services, courtesy of some bling Sam borrows from Elsa (a scene we really should have seen.) It’s then left to Sam and Jesse to inspect their training facility. At this point, with Michael on the sidelines in both missions, I actually checked to see if this was one of Jeffrey Donovan’s directing gigs. (It’s not. Jonathan Frakes is Number One on this one.)

Sam and Jesse target the assistant with Rolex envy for some negotiated bribery, finally cashing in on his life-long yearning to visit Dubai. Unfortunately, the files only identify the shooter by his initials, T.G. Fortunately, Vale comes sputtering into their next meeting, fuming that their requirements only point to one man, Tyler Gray. At which point he is shot by a precision, high-speed rifle shot delivered by, if I had to guess, Tyler Gray. So, of course, Michael screams at the dead man for more info, rather than delivering a voiceover about how a spy traces a bullet’s path and lighting out after the shooter.

Once again, we have a decent enough episode, but nothing we haven’t seen before. Normally, I wouldn’t keep beating this horse. Many a show has thrived sticking to one established formula. But Matt Nix keeps talking about how liberating it is to get away from case-of-the-week and follow a serialized story. I don’t buy it. All that’s happened are slight tweakings of the concept, more a shift of context. The situations are very familiar and unrelated to the mystery, while the clues to the mystery are still being doled out a piece at a time. Perhaps the winter half will see some fresh ideas, but as the summer half draws to a close, my overall reaction is: been there, done that.

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

Score: 7/10

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