Friday, September 13, 2013

Burn Notice: The Final Season

Burn Notice aired its final episode last night, with Michael Westen taking down yet another criminal mastermind. I didn't like every direction the show took, especially in the last two seasons. Its humor and helping the underdog fell by the wayside as Michael became consumed with trying to get "un-burned", a concept I never thought was plausible.

Season 7 gave us the deepest exploration of Michael's psyche and, as a side effect, threw his moral compass out of whack. It wasn't much fun to watch. The major message of Seasons 6 and 7 seemed to be that Michael and friends had to pay for their years of exacting personal justice, but it was a mixed message with Sam and Jesse ultimately getting passes. I did appreciate Michael and Fiona escaping an exploding building so narrowly that perhaps only Sam and Jesse knew they had survived. Being presumed dead was the only way the couple could worm out of the trouble they were facing.

The series would have worked better for me if Michael hadn't worked for a standard government agency. That raised a tough question for the writers: How do we clear Michael for government work with all the less-than-legal stuff he's done since getting burned?

The realm of spies has leeway to be murky. In the pilot, Michael said he didn't work for anyone officially. If he worked for a fictitious, off-book subsection to begin with, the protocol for getting cleared back to work could have been made up, and the show could have delivered the same message: Working with a small group of trusted friends is better than working for a larger organization.

All this said, Burn Notice ended the way I wanted, with Michael giving up his old life, embracing a new life with Fiona.

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