Burn Notice Review: Besieged by Mediocrity
After several exciting installments, this week we were "Besieged" with an absolutely mediocre episode of Burn Notice.
It was simply not of the quality and caliber we have come to expect from Matt Nix and his team. The entire plot was like walking through a mud puddle. Sure, it was a little amusing, but it had no depth.
To start with, Jacob was inept to the point that I don’t see how he lived long enough for Michael to even find him. In fact, it seemed that Sam found Jacob so forgettable he spoke to Mr. Pickles (the dog) more often. How did this guy learn to portray Michael? Where is the confidence and strength it would take to walk into a store "in character" and not slip out before you leave?
Maybe the title is referencing that we are besieged with clichés and stereotypes?
The lead villain was a gun-toting-nut with a southern accent and a personal agenda? Yee Haw! Where are the Duke boys when we need them? The only thing that wasn’t a cliché about Zachariah was that he was in Miami and not in Texas.
I had thought the private military group had some potential; I was even more expectant when Zachariah turned out to be played by W. Earl Brown. I loved Brown’s work on Deadwood as Dan, and he was perfect for a gun-crazed southern boy.
Yet when his dialogue about being a free man in a country oppressed by the government went on for more than a minute, he lost me. He could have been saying it in a bar with a beer in his hand, and it wouldn’t have changed the impact of the scene at all.
He wasn’t scary, he was barely threatening, and not even very bright. Simply put, he was not in the same class as Michael, who walked all over him.
Early in the episode, it was hinted that Denise was about to lose her mind. It’s okay if you didn’t get the hint because by the midway point subtly was thrown out the window. We had it spelled it out for us.
Even then, nothing about Denise's behavior or speech gave me the feeling she was on the edge. She was distraught, yes, but she was also lucid, alert, and engaging people in conversation.
Which made all the slow and calm talking Michael, Madeline, and Jesse did to her come across like they were trying to order food in a third world country. I would like a glass of w_a_t_e_r, you know el-water-o?"
Then we had John. I could never figure him out. He was a Veteran himself, but his PTSD was from losing his brother in the service, which led him to take refuge in a third-rate para-military militia that was led by a man who never served. Sorry, I still don’t get it.
Maybe it’s because, like Michael, I have served in the military and he is right. It’s not hard to pick out the wannabes from the previously-was. Honestly, John’s character would have made more sense if the writers had made him the E.N.I.C. (Extremist Nutbag in Charge) and had him spouting the drivel that Zachariah had done instead.
But the episode was not entirely without its merits. The biggest being Michael’s haircut! My wife is never going to let me live it down that I finally mentioned his hair, and then it got fixed.
Past Michael's styling new hairdo, there was some entertaining quotes (who didn't love Sam talking to Mr. Pickles?) And there was one great comment from Michael implying how he had a loving mom right at the end of the episode when he said Tommy would be okay because he did, too.
Have opponents like Eve lowered my tolerance for one dimensional bad guys? Probably. You tell me, am I being too hard on the episode? Has the previously amazing writing made me jaded to average writing or was this truly a near-sub-standard hour of TV?
Burn Notice: "Beseiged"
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.