In the first two-hour Burn Notice season finale, the writers and actors did not disappoint. There were moments I was fearful that it was the series finale as they were wrapping up a lot of story points. Thankfully my fears were relieved by USA’s promotion of the shows return in Summer 2011.
The main character, Michael Weston, is a burned spy, working to find the men who got him expelled from his life. He, along with his militia happy girlfriend, Fiona, best friend Sam, chain smoking Mom, Maddie, and a fellow burned spy Jesse work to find the men and the reason behind Michael's expulsion.
The undercurrent for the episode, and the show, is Michael’s struggle with what he was born to do versus the people he loves. Being a spy, as Michael explains, is not a social activity. It is a solo affair leaving little room for any life beyond the next assignment. When Michael is burned, he is forced to set up shop in Miami. To make money, as all of his assets have disappeared, Michael starts helping people with unique challenges. (i.e. Missing family, blackmail etc…). The rest of the cast joins him and the ‘work’ reestablishes his previously lacking relationships with family and friends.
The writers brought back two of our favorite villains for this season’s cliffhanger Larry, Michael's psycho ex-spy buddy and Tanner an unstable underworld player. Michael bested both of these villians in previous episodes, however they return together for double impact. Effectively adding tension, impossible situations and choices the cast must navigate through to survive.
This episode directly addresses the now established rift between the two worlds. When Michael finally resolves the mystery of his burn, his spy life is dropped back into his lap for the taking. The cast of characters all know what this means, including mother Maddie and love interest Fiona.
The people in Michael’s life are strongly opposed to his return to life as a spy, and fight his insistence at every opportunity. When push comes to shove their loyalty and love wins out and they will stand beside him to the bitter end. In a twist that writers rarely use, the self confident, emotionally resistant suave operator is stripped away revealing Michael's emotional attachment to the life he has built and the people he loves.
The two episodes are brilliantly tense, emotionally shaking. Action packed, commercial cursing fun. When the credits roll you are left wondering what is going to happen in June when Burn Notice returns. Which will Michael choose? The life of a spy, or the life he has built in Miami? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.