Burn Notice

Season 5 Episode 17

Acceptable Loss

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Dec 08, 2011 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
99 votes

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Episode Summary

Michael wants to find out more about Anson's plans, but this requires the help of a former enemy. Meanwhile, an old friend contacts Jesse, asking him to help bring his diamond-smuggling employer to justice.

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  • Acceptable Loss

    So, somebody who was pretending to be a victim a few weeks ago then revealed his identity and now he has all this power over Michael and can burn other spies? Sorry, but that was a bad development at the end, and the idea of Vaughn being so afraid of those low-level criminals hurt his cred as well.

    Some scenes were enjoyable today, but this episode was just good, not great.moreless
  • can you say WOAH

    i remember when many people were complaining tbey didn't like Jessie, well Matt Nix proved ya all wrong by writing a great character! Can't imagine Burn Notice without him now - he's Gold.

    And Sam is Platinum - that scene with him misprouncing the bad guys name is vintage "chuck". Heck anytime he's on screen is bonus! what a cast!

    Gregg Henry was great too - it's good to see him on screen again

    I LOVE THIS SHOW..moreless
  • spoilers ahead

    After last week's masterpiece, Burn Notice followed up with arguably an even better outing this week. While at first I thought the whole Anson saga was kind of dragging along, after the past 2 shows I feel it's been handled masterfully. We got tidbits, but until the final minutes of Acceptable Loss we never really knew what the deal was. Burn Notice's winter season has had a very ominous overtone to it that's only gotten more prominent as things have moved along. It's an accomplishment for a show like this to still be coming up with new, suspenseful bits and story arcs, without ever appearing to have held back in its lifetime on that front.

    Michael's way of finally picking up some info on Anson, who does not appear in this episode, brings him back to his buddy Vaughn, the villain for much of season 4. After a few scenes of teasing, Vaughn finally tells Michael what he thinks Anson is up to, after a bit of blackmail. I won't spoil the secret, but I personally thought it was a little cliche. The one thing in this episode I didn't care for.

    The job of the week started out fairly mundane, but that picked up steam as well, culminating with a terminally ill man insisting that he be murdered by the diplomat in order to put him away. The jewelry store bit was also pretty intense.

    And, as excellent as this episode was, my favorite part of the hour might well have been the trailer for next week, the finale. Lots of options, and what they did show us looks very, very interesting. One of creator Matt Nix's favorite episodes of the series, apparently. Next Thursday seems like an eternity right now.moreless
  • A superb episode of Burn Notice which shifts the season story arc into high gear - and a case of the week that ends in some shocking choices. (spoilers ahead)


    Following hot on the heels of last week's excellent episode - is yet another excellent episode! The guest stars for the last two eps have been fantastic. Jere Burns (Breaking Bad) has made for one of my favorite villains so far in Anson Fullerton - and this week brought the return of the great Robert Wisdom (The Wire) reprising his season 4 baddy character Vaughn. Both of these guys are great fun to watch. Fullerton was absent this week - but the return of Vaughn more than made up for it. I love how Michael took control at the end - a move which I think was inspired by the self sacrifice of the client of the week - Jesse's friend Ian. Ian's speech in Michael's loft during the case of the week was very powerful - talking about not walking in shades of grey any longer and taking a stand to do what's right. Michael's mom also made it clear she holds Anson responsible for the death of Michael's father - and she wants Michael to do "whatever it takes" to stop him. Great ep - can't wait for the finale next week. And check out TheBlueRipper's review posted right below mine for a great, more fleshed out review.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Michael: (voice-over) Whether it's betraying their country or committing a murder, getting someone to make a life-altering mistake is less about logic than passion. You have to create an environment fueled by emotion, make them rely on instinct, and make them believe they're in a do-or-die situation.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Communication in the field is critical for a mission's success, but it's even more important when an operation's going south. Best case, you have a secure line or a system of signals to warn your team without your enemies noticing. Worst case, you do whatever it takes to get your message across. If your enemies notice, so be it. So if you find yourself in a situation where modern methods of communication won't work... you can always send up a smoke signal.

    • Ian: You still don't agree with this, do you?
      Michael: Not too late to change your mind.
      Ian: Nope, I'm tired of living in a gray world. My line of work, alliances change, priorities shift. You wouldn't believe how easy it is to make up good reasons for doing bad things. Sooner or later, you have to see yourself for who you really are. Whatever. A guy like you fighting the good fight his whole life wouldn't understand.
      Michael: I understand completely.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Making deals with prisoners in covert detention facilities is always a challenge. The problem is there's not much to bargain with...no lawyers to discuss plea deals, no judges to reduce sentences. It's usually just you, the prisoner, and a lot of razor wire.

    • Michael: (voice-over) When approaching an underworld target, you don't get points for being subtle. Most bad guys live in a world where the point of money is to show it off. It's one of the few times having a blue silk shirt and diamonds on your watch sends the message that you're a good business partner.

    • Michael: Breaking into a diplomatic residence that's well guarded even with weeks to plan, it's iffy. With a few days, impossible.
      Ian: I thought impossible was what you did.
      Jesse: He's heard a few Michael Westen stories.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Most people assume that the best time to rob someone is on a dark street at night. But the fact is, a daytime heist has its advantages. Bystanders are more focused on their own business than on what's going on around them. And, most importantly, the target is less likely to have his guard up.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Audio surveillance is more difficult than it sounds. Taking coherent notes on a half-heard conversation is a challenge. And aiming a directional mike at a target without being too obvious takes the skills of a marksman.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Law firms are used to run all sorts of shady businesses for good reason. They're discrete, powerful, and protected. Between the high security and privacy rules, getting intel from a law office is more or less impossible, unless you're willing to break those rules.

    • Michael: (voice-over) A spy's life rarely starts with a happy childhood. The fact is, the best preparation for a career filled with danger and paranoia is a home life filled with danger and paranoia. It makes for a complex relationship with the past, under the best of circumstances.

  • NOTES (1)