Burn Notice

Season 5 Episode 14

Breaking Point

2
Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 10, 2011 on USA
AIRED:
8.1
out of 10
User Rating
99 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

When the life of one of Michael's childhood friends is taken by gang warfare, things get personal as he decides to team up with the victim's brother to entrap the gang in a weapons scheme.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Not what i was hoping for

    7.0
    Ben Watkins returns as the brother of Michael's best friend and wants Michael to help him find out who killed his brother. When I first saw him in the episode, Bad Blood, I was hoping his brother would come out and turn to Michael for help. Usually ex-cons have a hard time readjusting to life on the outside. But instead we learn that he got out of prison where he was in the episode and then got killed. I was hoping to see him and Michael interact. Too bad.moreless
  • 514

    7.7
    "Breaking Point" was a little bit different than your usual Burn Notice. They jumped right into the super serious passing of Michael's old friend and had about 7 minutes of somber tone, before introducing the client. It was different, I'll admit that, but not necessarily great.

    But this was an entertaining episode once the premise was introduced. And Friends with Benefits star Andre Holland was not terrible in his serious role, but I'd stick to comedy if I were him.

    Great show tonight though.moreless
  • Whenever Michael and the gang take on a "this time it's personal" gig, my heart sinks a little.

    7.0
    It usually means Jeffrey Donovan is going to be in humorless, self-righteous mode as Michael, which is not my favored flavor of Burn Notice. As I mentioned last week, the show is usually at its best when it's able to balance a breezy, comedic tone with all the explosions and double-crosses. It's not that Matt Nix and the rest of the creative team should never reach for more serious, emotional moments, but in general, Burn Notice works best when its dials are set closer to "Glib" than "Earnest."

    So when tonight's major plot became clear—that Michael's best friend from childhood, Andre has been shot and killed, and that Andre's brother Ricky wants Michael to help him find the killer—I cringed a little. Part of the problem is that Andre is so near and dear to Michael's heart that we maybe heard his name once in passing three or four seasons ago. But that's just a TV trope we have to deal with; even Tony Soprano had a childhood best friend and cousin we never heard of until the fifth season. No, what really bugged me about this storyline is that the show has just established a worthy adversary for Michael in Anson, and already, he's relegated to the sidelines while our heroes take on another case of the week.

    As it turns out, however, "Breaking Point" wasn't nearly the worst case scenario I'd braced myself for. Yes, Michael did have his "grim avenger" moments, but he also broke out another ridiculous new voice for his arms dealer character, so it all balanced out. It turns out Andre was killed because he found out gangster Dion Carver had whacked and robbed the leader of his gang. Michael and Jesse set up a fake arms deal in order to flush out the cash Dion stole, a scheme that provides the only excuse needed for the pyrotechnics of the week.

    This episode also introduced Charles Finley, Environmental Lawyer, as Sam tricked cause-conscious college students into occupying Anson's condo and figuring out which unit he lived in. This subplot kept Anson in the story, but just barely. It's frustrating, because Michael finally has an enemy who is immune to his powers of persuasion and seemingly three steps ahead of him at every turn, and he's already been shifted to the back burner. Burn Notice could have its own Ben Linus here, but I fear Anson is destined to make brief appearances at the beginning and end of each episode until the season finale, which would be a waste of his supervillain potential. As always, I invite Burn Notice to prove me wrong.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Michael: (voice-over) Whether it's a stray hair arranged to detect someone's opened a drawer or a cabinet booby-trapped with explosives, skilled operatives know how to secure their hiding places. So if you're searching a pro's home, you can't just toss the place like a cop with a warrant. If you don't find any measures taken to counter intruders, that tells you something too, usually that there's nothing worth finding.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Intelligence-agency computers make use of the most sophisticated anti-hacking techniques on the planet, but any system can be compromised if it's compromised from the inside. Hackers know you can't put a drive into a computer port without it registering. So if you need to sneak software into a system without leaving a trace, you need to hide it in another accessory. Wiring a thumb drive to the inner workings of a mouse gives you access without raising red flags after you're gone. Sometimes betrayal is as easy as pushing a button. But the hard part is being able to live with yourself after you've done it.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Breaking into a trained operative's place is an extremely dangerous thing to do. The consequences of getting caught range from jail time to death making it crucial to protect your team at all costs. That's why it's best to schedule a break-in for a time when you're sure your target is going to be away from home ideally because they're meeting with you.

    • Michael: (voice-over) As a spy, you get use to the idea, that today's enemy could be tomorrow's friend. Unfortunately, it also works the other way around. Under the wrong conditions, your friends could turn into adversaries. And the closer they are, the worse it is.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Part of being a good operative is knowing what to do when things go wrong. If an entire operation depends on a single witness to a crime and that witness gets murdered, you've got a hard choice to make risk more lives or cut your losses while you still can.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Whether it's getting a bureaucrat to hand over state secrets or a gangster to bring out the stolen money that will get him busted, spies know convincing people to take action when they don't want to is only half the battle. The hard part is making them do it on your schedule.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Like con-artists, spies sometimes find themselves in the unique position of selling things they don't actually own. To close the deal, you just need a believable story and a lot of confidence. Of course, when your cover I.D. is a weapons supplier who's crazy enough to deal with a murdering gangster, it doesn't hurt to act a little crazy, too.

    • Michael: (voice-over) A tough reality of surveillance is that no matter how many hours you spend outside a building, you can't see through walls. So, if you want to learn which unit in an apartment your target has used without raising his suspicion, you need to find someone else to go in for you. College campuses are a great place to find a highly intelligent and enthusiastic workforce. The student body may not get up before noon, but they'll be eager to give you their free time, if you can come up with a worthy cause.

    • Michael: (voice-over) It's a good idea to keep your initial contact with someone who might be dangerous non-threatening. You're a lot less likely to get shot at. Although just because something's less likely doesn't mean it never happens.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Whether it's espionage, international gunrunning, or managing a local street gang, the preferred method of communication used by people involved in illegal activity is the burner phone. Cheap and disposable, they can be used a few times and thrown away which means, if you're using one to trace someone, you've got to move fast.

    • Michael: (voice-over) The advantage of having a GPS tracker on a vehicle is it allows you to stay close to your target without being seen. The disadvantage a following someone without visual contact is that when they get out of their car, you've got to catch up in a hurry or risk losing them.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Stoplights are one of the worst places to approach a target trained in counter-surveillance. Without having to worry about driving, their full attention is on their surroundings. They can use their mirrors to pick up tails and check the area for surveillance teams. But if you need to plant a tracker on someone who's on the move, you have to go the extra mile.

    • Michael: (voice-over) For spies, top-secret clearance is just the beginning. S.C.I., the right to view sensitive compartmentalized information is reserved for the most trusted people in the intelligence community. That kind of access comes with fewer constraints, limited oversight, and a frightening ability to do real harm.

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  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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