Burn Notice: Mama Drama

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Burn Notice S06E07: "Reunion"

Bye bye Nate, hello more family members—just not on Michael's side. "Reunion" was the TV-quivalent of when a kid's puppy dies and instead of going too deep into mortality speeches and all that, the parents just buy a replacement. At least, that's what I've heard guardians with disposable income do; mine just gave me more chores and fed me the leftover dog food. So following the stunt-murder of a character we get the equally showy gesture of revealing Sam's oft-talked-about, never-seen girlfriend. Though I was secretly hoping Elsa would turn around and it'd just be Seth Peterson in a wig, batting his eyelashes, the lovely Jennifer Taylor was probably a better choice. Plus, fans of taciturn Michael finally got their wish as his emotional displays were relegated to about 15 seconds of screen time and a couple tense faces.

There are those who believe Westen's sensitive behavior with regard to Fiona's imprisonment, and now Nate's death, discredits his role as a cold-blooded action dude. In movies, his same character might be allowed one arc that involved serious lip quivers and "yearning," but since this is a serialized story I can see how routine vulnerability might call his toughness into question. Personally, I'm all for the guy's bouts of humanity because it adds a relatable context to his missions, regardless of how fleeting. It'll take some effort to reach that perfect balance of heartache meets "stuff-go-boom," but I hope Burn Notice keeps trying. That being said, it seemed like everyone could give a shit about Nate's passing. The only one affected enough to properly mourn his absence was Maddie, and she was barely in this episode. For everyone else it was business as usual. Fiona and Michael even enjoyed a beach day.

I really wanted the camera to pull out and show that Michael and Fiona had erected a sand sculpture in the shape of Nate's face (and used seaweed for his pompadour). Something about the ocean attracts people trying to work stuff out. I swear, go to your local beach during sunset and the shore will be lousy with lost souls, toesies firmly dug into the sand, staring distantly toward the Pacific/Atlantic/Indian but really looking within. If there existed special goggles that allowed a person to see thought bubbles, the salty airspace at dusk would be full of seagulls flying through weighty phrases like, "Just where do I fit into this big blue marble?" and, "My children deserve to be abandoned. It's what's right for both of us..." Hmm, in my America we would zone off sections of the beach for pondering because all that metaphysical seriousness really gets in the way of a good game of paddle ball.

Fiona was raring to help Michael find whoever killed Nate even though her boo was like, "Is this really the life you want?" She was all, "Yes because I just lurves guns!" It was a little overkill how emphatically she stated her affection for artillery this episode. Like a dude who is secretly respectful of women trying to impress his bros by ogling too hard, and then everyone gets kind of weirded out because all of a sudden he is flicking his tongue. Who are you, Sly Stallone from The Expendables 2: Shooty Guys? We already know you like guns, yeesh. After Fiona completed 42 minutes of miming her arm as a bazooka, she and Michael investigated Rebecca's old digs at Elsa's highrise. Unfortunately Anson's raspy-voiced crony flew the coop, but that was neither here nor there to Sam's girlfriend (by the way, Sam: nice work bro!), who was too distracted by a mother's worry for her son Evan.

It was weird there wasn't more of a "Ta-da!" with this character. I mean, this was the first time we'd ever seen her, and she more or less operated as a standard client. Hopefully she'll be around for a few more episodes and only wear white business skirts. Or develop a drinking problem. Something! While Sam and Jesse split to go check on the tyke, Michael and Fiona searched Rebecca's abandoned flat. I was pretty convinced she and Michael were square ever since he helped clear her brother's name, but I guess they were desperate for leads and her departure seemed like an act of guilt. Still, it's pretty obvious that if they want to introduce a larger threat this season, then Rebecca would be a step backward. Across town Jesse and Sam found this little punk about to skip town.

Look at that weasel! I thought it was going to be annoying to have a young kid along for the ride, kind of like when action movies try to reboot franchises by adding teenage sons, but this dude actually fit into the dynamic pretty well. Maybe it was because Jesse and Sam for some reason don't have that unique a dynamic. They are fun to watch in the same scene, but they don't have a Michael-and-Sam/Sam-and-Fi' chemistry where I'm just jonesin' for the two to pair up ("Aw sweet, a Sam-and-Jesse episode!"). They seem like those two friends who belong to the same circle but when they're left alone they're all like, "So... weather?" Anyway, they didn't have much time for working out pal issues, because then Mitt Romney showed up to demand Evan steal some trucks full of champagne.

I hit up Wikipedia, and yes Mitt Romney demanded this once (as a prank in grammar school). Jesse got some good screen time creating a car-induced Fourth of July.

During some quality dad time with Evan, Sam learned that the kid acted out because of all the pressure his mom put on him. Such a rich-kid thing to complain about, but Sam seemed to relate. I wonder if Sam's mom was all hard on him way back in the 1950s—maybe there will be a graphic novel about it (available on iPad). Anyway, they stole the truck but to the surprise of no one it had something besides tax-free champagne in it: an MDMA lab. Thankfully Sam, Jesse, and Evan fought the temptation to just park the vehicle in a forest and roll on molly to Deadmau5, and instead used the supplies to throw bombs at Morris and his dudes. The road-flare bombs were awesome, by the way. While all this happened, Fiona and Michael tracked down Rebecca's phone records to a print shop run by the "oh face" guy from Office Space.

I wonder if he tries to sneak this "oh" expression into each role he does, kind of like how Jack Nicholson has his eyebrows. Using threats and violence (a few of Fiona's fav-o-rite things...) they made him trick Rebecca into picking up her documents early so that Michael could attempt to shoot off her lower back tattoo.

Did Rebecca got this sweet ink done at Miami Ink? What the hell even is it? A spread eagle with a crystal ball for a head? I would respect her more if it was that. Obviously the colorful design enchanted Michael too much for him to aim well, and she got away. He did exactly what I do at the slightest exposure to physical exertion and threw in the towel (also he got shot). Michael was all, "That's that. I wonder what Sam's up to..." then left to impersonate a crooked cop. Why wasn't club owner KC suspicious that two strangers had conversations with him on the front step of his club ("Jeronimo's")? Also, wasn't Rebecca's brother in trouble with another club owner? Wow Florida, you need to clean up your clubs. Yes, that is a threat. Meanwhile Fi' shoved a gun in Oh Face Guy's mouth while he made her free business cards and vanity mugs. Michael convinced KC that Morris was trying to do him wrong and the two factions ended up duking it out.

This was actually a pretty cool stand-off. One of the reasons I like Burn Notice is that all its mini-adventures could function as self-contained action movies. Stay by your phone KC, you'll be receiving a collect call from me soon to talk shop. As the Florida club scene lost an uzi's worth of shady employees, Sam returned Evan home safely and forced Elsa and son to drink tequila while talking out issues.

This was fun. I like how committed Sam is to his booze, and this tiny scene functioned as an example of the kind of father/husband role he'd play in the future, if given the chance. IMDB says these two won't really come back that much, but maybe with enough positive fan response, Sam will be allowed to develop a family unit of his own to one day be taken hostage. One can dream. Back home at headquarters Rebecca swung by to clear her name and Michael let her go. Mostly I think he just didn't want her bleeding all over the place.

I was right—she's clean! I think? I can't imagine another twist involving Rebecca, just let her go be a camp counselor for troubled teens or something. Luckily the crew wrapped up the action in time to make it to Nate's funeral, which his ex-wife did not even attend. Yes, I will be among those who miss Nate, but if it means possibly getting to see Sam's world grow before our very eyes then his death was worth it. Sorry Nathaniel, but Elsa and Evan bring out a new "father/lover" layer in Sam that can take us to some pretty interesting places. In any case, R.I.P. bro.



DEBRIEFING


– Should Michael feel guilty about his brother's death?

– Is Rebecca lying?

– What was her tattoo of?

– Who shot Anson?

– Did Elsa live up to your expectations/fantasies?

– Was Jesse pretty much harmless again?

– Where will Rebecca go?

– Will she be killed by Anson's superiors?

– How should Elsa be included in the future?