Burn Notice: Sins of Omission
Burn Notice is so stylish and so much fun to watch, and the creative team knows it. This episode starts with Michael recapping key recent events of the season and is filmed in a magnetic closeup, with Michael talking right into the camera, as if he were talking to us. It’s like Clive Owen’s opening monologue in Inside Man. But then the show cuts to a reaction shot of Carla. So Michael wasn’t talking to us, but to her. It was all a tease. But that’s what the show is: a fun tease.
But as the real action starts, Michael brings his mother Madeline to stay with him at his loft for safety. But she is barely there when Michael senses someone has breached his security. He and Sam and Fiona arm themselves and wait for the intruder. And this woman is an intruder, in more than one sense of the word: she is Michael’s ex-fiancée…also named Sam. Michael was engaged to be married? To someone other than Fiona? Come to think of it, that was just about Fiona’s reaction as well.
Madeline is also more than a little pissed that Michael neglected to ever mention that he was married. Well nobody’s perfect. Samantha, a thief, has sought out Michael because her son was kidnapped by a black market trader named Tyler Brennen. The ransom isn’t money however. It’s a high tech military device gadget thingy. I don’t know what it does and I don’t think the writers do either; it’s just a good McGuffin. Brennen wants it, so Samantha stole it. But she wants Michael to help her make the exchange. Sam and Michael also plan to recover the device because, well, Brennen is a bad dude. Brennen outsmarts them though and wins the first round.
It’s vital that Michael and Sam get the device back, because if they don’t, in a few days people will know it is missing and know that Samantha took it, and she will be on the run with her son for the rest of her life. Fiona reluctantly agrees to help Michael, even though she wants to kill him…and Samantha.
Meanwhile, Michael is also trying to make contact with Victor (Michael Shanks), who he realized by surprise last episode that it was Victor who had betrayed Carla and who was after Michael. They play their little cat-and-mouse game throughout the episode, and it culminates in a great bathroom fight. Who knew Michael Shanks could play such a diabolical baddie?
This is a great episode because it reveals a considerable part of Michael’s past and really fosters the growth of his relationship with Fiona and Madeline. Sharon Gless and Gabrielle Anwar do especially solid work here, and Jeffrey Donovan is a master as always. This has been a remarkably solid season for Burn Notice, I don’t care what anyone says. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a bad episode of this show. Hope they keep ‘em coming.
Season 2, Episode 15: Sins of Omission (originally aired February 26, 2009)
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Thursdays at 10/9c on USA
Photographs courtesy of Glenn Watson, NBC Universal, and USA