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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Burn Notice – “Center of the Storm”

Knowing when to walk away is harder than you think.”

This episode was a little bit like Christmas. Vaughn comes back to do something shady, and the lovable FBI duo of Lane and Harris also return, asking for help. All this episode needed was Barry and/or Larry Sizemore, and I would’ve been a very happy camper. On the character front anyway. On the plot front…well, meh.

“Center of the Storm” kind of dropped the ball a bit this week, with a lot of interesting elements that ultimately get bogged down by the episode’s hitman with the heart of gold plot. And I can’t decide if this was quickly re-written to accommodate the shift in episode counts (though I don’t think this was the case), as next week’s episode seems like it could’ve been the mid-season cap episode, or that the writers simply decided to let the serialized elements stay too far in the background, but it made for a bit of a messy episode.

But before I get to the plot points, let’s get this out of the way: you have a hurricane hit Miami and you don’t show it? Like, at all? C’mon. The episode would’ve been far more exciting had it all been happening during the hurricane instead of after it. Now, yes, realistically, you’re not supposed to go into a hurricane, and I don’t think that Michael Westen is going to willingly enter a hurricane ravaged Miami to save some random citizen. But it’s television, it’s okay to do things like that. I could’ve gotten a great “When you’re a spy…” tip about how to survive hurricanes. You know you wanted to hear that.

I get that a hurricane doesn’t exactly fit the perfect weather Miami appears to always have on this show (nor is it very blue skies/USA Network friendly), but stretch the brand and the story world a little bit here. Storms are exciting. Shakespeare knew it! Are you better than Shakespeare? I don’t think so.

I also understand that the hurricane is more representative of Vaughn’s return than Vaughn himself, and that the real danger is in the aftermath, when you think you’re safe. Again, though, this feels like a wasted chance to really up play the serialized elements of the show. I like that Vaughn reached out to Fi, in large part because it breaks down the character barriers that exist on the show (Michael’s seasonal antagonist rarely contacts his team). That stretched the story world a bit, and in a very good way as it plays up both the Jesse plot and Fi’s developing uneasiness about how Michael treated Jesse and her respect for Jesse as a teammate.

Instead of playing Deal or No Deal with Vaughn, Michael has to play Lie to the Hitman Who Used to be a Bomb Tech. It’s a dull bit of episode work, made only passingly interesting because Lane and Harris are the ones who asked Michael to do the job. But they’re so uninvolved in the project that there’s a slight disconnect between the idea of the plot and the plot itself. Had Lane and Harris tagged along, or simply helped out more, the through line of the episode might’ve been stronger, and at the very least, more interesting.

Hopefully this was just a weak episode hiccup leading up to next week’s confrontation with a bearded Simon.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Wasn’t thrilled with how quickly Vaughn changed his mind that it was okay for Michael to see Simon. Would’ve liked some motivating circumstance there, beyond maybe thinking it had something to do with Fi shutting him down.
  • Once again Maddie proves more competent an intelligence agent than actual intelligence agents. My mother has the same training, but as a physician.

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