I've enjoyed how the show has mixed it up a bit in season 5, and I've especially appreciated the ways in which the continued presence of Jesse (Coby Bell) has allowed the show to vary its approaches to both weekly storytelling and the ongoing tale of Michael's dealings with the CIA and his rocky re-entry into the espionage world.
Being able to split the 'Burn Notice' crew into two different teams has often led to situations in which both pairs' adventures were equally enjoyable, and characters have been able to easily transition between the client of the week tale and more "mythology" oriented story lines. Multiple stories could be a little harder to sustain when the core cast was basically the trio of Fiona, Sam and Michael (with some assists from Michael's mother, Madeline).
The gigs that come in from Jesse's private security firm (which seems to be able to spare him quite a lot) have allowed 'Burn Notice' to give a good deal of variety to the kinds of problems the gang has tackled. Plus there was fine work from guest stars such as Todd Stashwick and Matt Lauria, among others (and the mid-season finale features an appearance from the always enjoyable Jere Burns, who's seen above with Bruce Campbell).
All in all, season 5 has been quite pleasing, aside from some whiny Fi moments (those "Give me more, Michael" scenes get repetitive, because they usually don't go any deeper than that) and aside from Gavin Rossdale's painful guest stint as an arms dealer. I think we can all agree that Rossdale should stick to his day job.
Truth be told, though, I was a little disappointed that Grant Show's CIA agent character, Max, bit the dust so early in the season, only because Max and Michael Westen had a good rapport and Show fit seamlessly into the 'Burn Notice' vibe. Still, the fact that the search for Max's killer is personal for Michael has lent this season's quest some welcome heft.
Michael feels guilty about Max's death, and I can invest in that arc a bit more than I was able to get on board with last season's story, when it was all about Jesse being inadvertently burned by Michael. Dealing with the Jesse situation felt like something of an academic exercise to me ("Look at how Jesse's story parallels Michael's," etc.), but the search for Max's killer feels a little more visceral and emotionally engaging.
Of course, as was the case last season, Michael has spent a lot of time working with someone from whom he's hiding a big secret. He was at the scene of Max's death, a fact that he had been concealing from CIA agent Kim Pearce (Lauren Stamile), who's investigating the crime. In last night's episode, Pearce finally realized the trail led to Michael and put him in cuffs. As if being suspected of the murder of a CIA agent wasn't enough of a problem, in next week's episode, Michael's old frienemy Larry (Tim Matheson) stops by. He wants Michael to help him with a job, and you know how Larry gets when he wants something done. He is, shall we say, persistent.
In this clip from Thurday's episode, things don't look great for a manacled Michael. Time for Jesse and Sam to ride the rescue...
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