Though I haven’t written a lot about Burn Notice lately, that’s not because the series has been slumping. In fact, I think the last few episodes have been fairly strong, even if the ongoing arc is getting simply ridiculous at this point. However, the combination of Chuck Finley and Jesse’s realization helped make “Blind Spot” my favorite episode since the premiere.
Sepinwall voiced his frustration over Michael’s insistence on not telling Jesse the truth about who burned him, and while I agree that it all feels like a way to introduce false drama between the core group of characters — especially Michael and his mother — I don’t agree that Michael has been stupid in lying to Jesse. I fall somewhere in between calling Michael stupid and tactical in his choice, but I do see the logic. Michael knows how it felt to be burned and out there naked with possibility of people coming after him for unknown reasons. And early on Jesse was adamant about killing the man who burned him, so it makes sense to both me and Michael to turn that someone like John Barrett (Robert Patrick) into that man. It isn’t the most full-proof plan on Michael’s part and there might have been a time to sit Jesse down and deliver the truth, but at some point, you’re too far in and that’s where Michael has found himself over the last few weeks. Should have he burned Jesse in the first place? Of course not. But Michael knows that Jesse would have never accepted his help if he knew the truth about the burning.
For Michael, I wish this would lead to more conflict with his mother. The end of season three set up this whole mini-arc with Maddie hearing that Michael was actually kind of bad guy, and although she didn’t appear to believe it, there had to be a seed of doubt in her mind from years ago. So to have her watch Michael “destroy” the life of a good guy is noticeably getting to her, but I hope it leads to more. Maddie needs to do more than just leave Miami for a while, she needs to really chew Michael out and give him a more guilt trip and lecture. That might not seem like a lot, but of all the people around him, Michael’s going to listen to his mother’s scolding. If Jesse is disposed of and that’s it, there will be no lasting effects or consequences for Michael — and that will be disappointing.
However, what was not disappointing was Coby Bell’s performance as Jesse in this episode. I think he’s done a solid job fitting into a well-oiled machine of a team all season, and the subtle hints of paranoia throughout the episode were good, but his work as the snapped Jesse was surprisingly stellar. His eyes were clearly full of pain, disappointment, distrust and rage and it could have been easy to just play it all as a crazy asshole. Putting him in the room with Fi made it work, obviously. But the kiss garbage with them earlier in the episode was really lame. We don’t need that, Burn Notice.
One other thing about the Jesse story that I’ll probably use in a coming-soon about USA series and “mythology”: the video footage. Are we really supposed to buy that Jesse wouldn’t have looked into surrounding building footage until just now? I know Michael and co. got to him pretty quickly, but this is life we’re talking about and to have him find out in this way (and not by Maddie telling him like I hoped) seemed a little false. But of course, when USA series reach the mid-season point it’s time for all the plots to converge in obvious ways.
Like I mentioned up top, the other great thing about this episode was Chuck Finley, who was in fine form here. I definitely like the more playful, slick Chuck Finley better than the dangerous one, so it was nice to see Bruce Campbell let loose and slowly dismantle the smug British villain’s life while cackling all the way.
Next week brings the mid-season finale (though it’s more like the 3/4 finale since there are only six episodes left), and probably lots more Robert Patrick and explosions. I bet Michael yells and someone and actually shoots a gun in that one, which always happens in the finales. Thankfully, unlike either finale of S3, I’m actually excited for this one.