Friday, December 17, 2010

Burn Notice - Season 4

Burn Notice's fourth season injected a much-needed breath of fresh air by adding a new main character to the mix. The chemistry between the three leads has always been fun and strong enough to carry most of the show's episodes, but just adding a new guy who's there from week to week really shakes it up a bit, especially when he's something of a loose cannon like Jesse. The character gets introduced when Michael accidentally gets him burned during one of his jobs, and he takes him on as another member of his group while trying to hide the fact that he's the reason he lost his job. There's some irony to Michael burning an innocent guy while trying so hard to get back at the people who burned him, and there's  the inevitable dramatic moment where the truth is revealed and things get messy. In the end though they're all main characters, so they manage to find a peace while agreeing to do their best to get everybody back to where they want to be.

Of course that's easier said than done, as every week the crew takes on a random job in Miami while making baby steps towards the conclusion of that season's main story arc. This year Michael finally comes face to face with the guys he's really after, or at least one of them, and for the first time in a while there seems to be some real movement on something resembling a plot. More and more familiar faces from the past come back as the show builds up a universe of spies and government officials, and sometimes Michael gets the best of them, while sometimes he doesn't. I definitely think I'd like the show more if it just focused on the story instead of a bunch of miscellaneous jobs to fill time every week.

Obviously the structure of the show is such that the stand-alone material makes up the bulk of the running time, but the two hour season finale had none of that, and it was definitely the better for it, easily being the most tense and exciting content on the show from the entire year. The ending suggested a big change in how the show will operate from this point forward, but if I know anything from past seasons, it will take all of fifteen minutes in the season five premiere for Mike to be back in Miami taking odd jobs. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made that exact comment at the end of season three. At least they fixed the scheduling issue - the show was on this weird pattern where the gap between the first and second halves of the season was actually longer than the gap between one season and the next, but they pushed up the second half this time to November instead of some time in 2011. It causes the odd situation of two season finales in one year, but it made it a lot easier to remember what had already happened before.

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