Review: Burn Notice – ‘Past & Future Tense’ / ‘Where There’s Smoke’

Episode: Past & Future Tense (Season 4, Episode 7)

Synopsis: A toasty but not quite burned Cold War era spy teams up with Michael to dodge a Russian hit squad looking for state sponsored vengeance.

Review: Can any episode featuring Burt Reynolds as a cold war spy be a bad one? Of course not. Though, to be honest, it wasn’t as great as I expected. Reynolds seemed to phone it in at times, though he’s not the youngest chicken in the game anymore. It was fun to see Paul’s willingness to fire off rounds down range at the Russians.

There wasn’t a lot of bad ass super spy stuff going on, though watching them play up Westen’s background and infamy as a super spy was pretty cool.

For me, the end of the episode wasn’t all that satisfying. First, Paul pretty much murders a Russian Spetsnaz member and the douchebag Congressman not only gets off on sending 15 young men to their death, he gets a boost out of it and turns the whole thing to his favor. Doesn’t quite seem right.

On the long running storyline, we meet Jesse’s boss who believes he was framed. Fiona destroys some evidence that could eventually implicate Michael’s role, but to be fair it would implicate her as well. Then she throws her mandatory once every three episode hissy fit, which I don’t buy for one second. Fi is supposed to be a bad ass killer, willing to throw grenades and forgot the questions, but because they got a guy fired she’s freaking out?

A good episode with a decent car chase and an awesome guest star.

Episode: Where There’s Smoke (Season 4, Episode 8)

Synopsis: While working on a private security detail, Fiona lets herself be kidnapped to keep a close eye on the client. Sam and Michael have to split up and rescue both the missing ladies before the kidnappers end the episode with bullets.

Review: While at SDCC (which is what delayed the previous review), Bruce Campbell talked about this episode, describing Fiona as “a little shit” who would do anything to escape her kidnapping. The coolest part about this episode was Sam in a tuxedo doing a touch of his Chuck Finley act, but it mostly focused on Fiona and her bomb making skills and explosive alcohol.

I watched this episode paired with the last one and I’ve got to say overall this was kind of a weak double feature. There were elements of this I really liked – the style seemed on point and the set up was pretty good. I didn’t enjoy the through-plot. The part with Madeline seemed kind of rushed and uninspired, while the final break in involved them just coming in through the roof. Last I checked, most bank vaults were actual vaults, not just rooms with drop ceilings.

I thought the villains in this episode, despite apparently being cold blooded killers, were kind of stupid and manipulated very easily. It also seemed like Fiona had a couple of open opportunities to just beat the hell out of one or two guys at a time and end the situation early, but didn’t. This was just a Fi episode and for the most part, her acting was on and she was nice to watch, it’s just the story around her wasn’t as badass as I was hoping.

Even a bad episode of Burn Notice is entertaining to watch (thanks to Sam!) and while this wasn’t great, it was still pretty interesting. Could have been amazing though, with that set up. Hopefully we get more Sam and more gunfire next week.

What did you think of these episodes?

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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