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USA (ended 2013)

Burn Notice S07E10: "Things Unseen"


Ah, so that’s what Carlos’s deal is. How ironic that Fi’s boyfriend took every chance he could to apologize for hiding his past, when at this point his lady’s got more skeletons in her closet than a self-employed bone collector. In fleshing out Carlos and focusing on the increasing risk of Michael’s involvement with James, "Things Unseen" benefitted from two strong, thematically linked stories. Burn Notice is beloved for many reasons, and the majority of them appeared in tonight’s well-rounded episode. Carlos's efforts to legally remove a personal, neighborhood threat paired with Michael’s assignment to kill an old friend both progressed at an assured pace while seamlessly incorporating opportunities for character development, suspense, comedy, and action.  

So while Michael speechified on the dangers of going into a situation blind, Sonya/The Hand of James provided the details of Westen’s latest mission: Kill Roger Steele, a spy job broker too close to the Truth (though, more specifically, too close to a "female operative"). Yes that was Sebastian Roche (General Hospital’s Jerry Jacks and The Vampire Diaries' Mikael) welcoming Michael into his Canary Islands stead. It’s hard for any show that’s been on-air for seven years to offer up surprises, much less when it's a program that’s about 60 percent procedural. However, when Michael went through with Steele’s murder, uttering a distant "...I’m sorry" after his old acquaintance had offered him his favorite yogurt (blueberry) and $10,000 out of concern, the decision felt both characteristic and jarring. This close to the series' end would be a viable time for Westen to start fighting back, so the moment could have gone either way. Though he values his friends and family above all else, it's interesting to see how far that circle extends. Will he ever have to kill Sam to save Fi? That Michael couldn’t figure out a third option that would satisfy both Sonya/James and leave Steele alive speaks less to a weakness in his moral code and more to the challenges of this current threat. 


Michael Westen has no choice but to embrace his "dark side" (or at least the side that kills more frequently) because A) James sees it as a form of allegiance, and B) this allegiance is necessary to fulfill his deal with Strong. Chilling as it was to see him and Sonya plan a murder through smiles, while poolside at the home of a wealthy host, scenes like these give audiences the best of both Westens. He sleeps with the girl and goes through with the kill, but remains anchored to a more noble code by the very friends and family who tell him he’s losing himself. Were he able to contain the damage on a solitary level, there’d be no problem, but there’d also be no Westen. Michael’s defined as much by his deep knowledge of spy tactics as he is by an ability to maintain relationships. To lose his humanity would be to lose his identity. 


This season, Carlos has been less of a fully-formed person, and more of an obstacle whose sole purpose is to separate Michael and Fiona. To finally dive into "Carloco’s" history made this episode feel whole in a way Burn Notice has benefitted from in the past by giving worlds to otherwise one-off characters. Not only did Miami feel like a living backdrop again, but Sam and Jesse’s undercover trip as fake Department of Health agents offered the hour’s funniest moments. Statements like "Please read that" and "Hey, how are you sir, check that out" were just inane, while Jesse’s "loose stool" retort of "Yeah, it is nasty. It’s nasty and it’s deadly," and his convenient, accidental choke-out provided the right amount of levity in a set of otherwise serious stories.


Unfortunately, journeying to the turf of Mateo and Nando came part and parcel with Carlos’s exit, as he finally decided the cartel-attacking baggage of Michael Westen, and associated seven helicopter deaths were far too much for him to be involved with. An ex-boyfriend who keeps showing up is usually bad enough, not to mention one who can call in airstrikes. Fiona’s declaration of love wasn’t enough to sway her Latin Lover from moving out, who correctly cited that she was "traveling a path with Michael." But where is that path going?

In a series that excels most during moments of unpredictability, all the professional support, romantic sacrifice, and necessary betrayal making up Fi and Westen’s quagmire of a past together just might provide Burn Notice’s three remaining episodes with the one element necessary to go out on top: surprise. 

BURNING QUESTIONS:

– Was Michael right to kill Steele?

– What other murders has Michael committed that were justifiable?

– Was Carlos right to leave Fi?

– Why did Maddie’s words soften Lloyd’s heart?

– Will Michael betray his personal values in taking down James?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/12/2013

Season 7 : Episode 13

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No, it was not right for Michael to kill Steele. It simply wasn't. And unfortunately I like him a lot less after he took that shot.
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For some reason, Jesse's 'Have a blessed day' in this episode has turned out to be one of the funniest, best lines of the entire show for me.
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Much better than last week's ep. Yeah, like people said, a lot of this was contrived and convenient.....but that's pretty much always been Burn Notice in a nutshell. The procedural-of-the-week of the first several seasons was always full of conveniences and contrived plots with things falling just right or people showing up at just the right time. At least this episode progressed the overall plot and added some nice character development at the same time. It worked for me as an episode leading down the final stretch.

I was surprised Michael killed Baltazhar. For the most part he's always been able to resolve things without killing and keeping his hands pretty clean. This was a dark departure, and it worked as a lead up to the series finale because it showed how things are changing and getting out of control for the gang.
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Did I miss something? Did Mike kill a friend to keep other friends out of prison? That would be completely out of character, so I must have missed something.
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Mike's not the same anymore. This whole thing with relatively honorable James vs the corrupt CIA has really gotten to him big time.
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Sad to say, but this was a so so episode that wasn't up to scratch with the Burn Notice standard. Ever since James has been introduced it's beenf going downhill and isn't making much sense. And it 's making for a lot lesser Michael Westen...i seriously hope they can improve for the remainder of the final season. Kill James and Sonja already and have our foursome back, true Burn Notice style! C'mon son!
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Was nice to see Sucre (prison break) and Newton (fringe) in this episode, this whole season has had great special guests/supporting actors. The season has been vintage burn notice, though some people may see that as played out, I'm glad they're not straying too far from the formula in the final season. I'm also glad they found an interesting way to get rid of Carlos. He had to go, and his storyline in this ep wasn't that bad.
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I think it was a pretty good episode. Michael chose a dark path and I think that's interesting and cool. I can't see him leaving CIA after all this ends. I do believe Fi and Michael will be together in the end, but it won't be a fluffy kind happy ending. I love this path.
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Why not just kill James, Sonya and the CIA guy? They´re all equally bad for the gang´s future lifes.
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Way too many conveniences for me. Mike visits old friend, old friend gets attack, you would think if he was that good he would have made the connection. Mike gets home just in time to help our Fi and Carlos. Maddie has to make an unnecessary appearance for no reason what so ever.

Now don't get me wrong, I liked the darker version of Mike. But the rest of the stuff was just kind of Meh.
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well carlos predictable exit falls flat for me..

he suddenly becomes the client for jesse and sam, but everyone is out to get him whoa shocker !

Then it all goes south when his case officer just happens to be the dirty cop.. whoa shocker !

Then fi calls micheal, who just happens to of killed his 'friend' and got 'home' again in the nick of time to save her boyfriend...whoa shocker !

Then this 'uber bad' group of dudes mike is trying to take down for the cia kill more people for leverage to save this idiot...

anyone else think the writers have given up ?

This is bullshit..
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Yep, the writers did well through the first 4 seasons, but since then it's all been contrived bullshit. Making things hairy all the times is not good drama. These people should all be dead several times over. Luck as a premise for spies is as you said--BULLSHIT.
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also the fact we've had some guy controlling a 'secret' outfit/organisation that is somehow completely undetected by the government already in this show, so many times before...surely 2 times is enough but no they do it a third time.... i can understand anson was one of the guys behind 'management' but you'd think 'james' and him would of had some kind of issue with each other assuming james isn't just ansons replacement..
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While Burn Notice isn't the kind of show to pull a Leverage-y type 'rewind', I kept hoping that there'd be some kind of revelation that Michael told Steele straight up... "Dangerous people want to kill you, we need to fake your death. Use a signal jammer on the road, and have some squibs on your person when I call you later to meet me. Either you work with me or these people will find another way to kill you, and I won't be able to stop it." But alas... Still a good ep, I have no idea how the show will end, and I like that a lot!
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There was some lazy writing in this one. Michael visits "Balthazar" for the first time ever and asks for a job. He refuses to give him one. Then there's an assassination attempt that same day. He should already suspect Michael. So when Michael calls him and tells him something that only proves that Michael knows what the assassins look like, he immediately agrees to stand outside like a target for a while.

The only cop we ever saw turned out to be the dirty one. What a surprise.

The witness tried to fight them when it didn't make much sense to do so. This is BN's version of the "I hate it when they run" procedural cliche.

Jesse Borrego's character was pretty dumb. First he rolls up before getting confirmation that the witness is there. Then he blames the cop who's being extremely helpful and did everything right, and kills her the moment she sort of talks back. Is it really that easy to find cops who will go so far as to hand over a witness to be tortured and killed?

Michael's plan was kind of dumb too, especially the part where Fi threatened to kill Michael, under the pretense that he was the witness. The writer threw in some line about "answers" to make it seem less ridiculous, but it didn't really work. Jesse Borrego's character needed the witness to die. He didn't need "answers".

Jesse Borrego seems to have been firmly established as a creepy killer actor, after e.g. Con Air and Dexter ("the skinner" in season 3), but when I see him, I'm just thinking FAME...I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly...

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Lazy writing, OR, clutching at straws? They need to all just die in the finale so they learn their lesson, which is, when you're burned, just give up and open a junkyard. And if anyone needs help, refer them to Sam and Dean.
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I thought it was interesting that Fi is in a situation with Carlos that is similar to Westen's situation with her. She is doing what she has to-working with Michael to help him succeed so that everyone stays out of a CIA prison and as a result Carlos feels like she is making a choice to help Michael when she doesn't have to. How many times did Fi get all pissy about Michael and what he was doing for the same reason? Maybe now she will be a bit more sympathetic to Michael and give him a break.
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Is it just me, or do you think this season is not looking like a grand finale that you were hoping for, considering the previous seasons' story build up? Episodes look like fillers and I'm wondering whether the finale will be any different. Too many cliches, lack of consistency and continuity too. Anyways, first three seasons are all worthy of Blu-Ray!
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Male that the first 6 seasons buddy!
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This ep kind of felt like a filler to me. Sure, it showed how far Michael would go for the mission. It also kind of wrapped the who Fi and Carlos story, but the whole thing was just felt kind of there.

1. Why wouldn't steel just have Michael brought to his seemingly super awesome fortress of safety...
2. Someone like FI would NEVER have a front door with hinges on the outside.
3. I did enjoy how earlier in the episode Fi questioned Michael about letting James kill someone for the mission and Fi ends up doing the same thing (x7).
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Very good episode. Like you said, it was very well-rounded. It had a good bit of drama, humor and action. Seeing Michael kill a friend was chilling to watch. Roger Steele wasn't perfect, but he was willing to help Michael despite his awful situation, and even tried to get him out of trouble when he was being hunted. The man didn't even hesitate to help!!! So while James the terrorist is still in question for me, he definitely crossed the line to my bad side making Michael kill Roger Steele. Yes, he was just covering his bases, but the look on Michael's face and the "I'm sorry" were all I needed to see. I would love to see this show last a season or two longer, but the more Michael and the team suffers through things like this, I just want this to end cause I feel bad for all of them, especially Michael. What if Roger were Fiona, Sam or Jesse? This is great drama to watch, but getting hard to take.

Also feel sorry for Fiona. She DEFINITELY tried to move on, bless her heart, but being associated with Michael Westen comes with a lot of baggage, including being able to call air strikes on your enemies, with probably innocent people as collateral damage. I figured those two would break up, but not like that. I still believe that Fiona and Michael will find their way back to each other, but still not yet. All this did was make her a single woman again. Fiona will most likely be quite pissed at Michael for this for a while.

Sam and Jesse as the health workers was hilarious!! Seeing Jesse choke the guy out and being surprised that it worked to well had me in tears lol!! Then seeing the two of them carrying the witness out of the house: LOL!!!

1. Yes, he was. Steele was getting to close and had to be put down. It's unfortunate, but part of the mission. I hated Michael having to smile through it all cause I could see how it was affecting him, especially before he took the shot.

2. Tom Card was the most memorable justified kill to me. Honestly, if he didn't do it, I would've been angry.

3. Carlos did the right thing. Fiona is still very much connected to Michael, and like I said, being associated with him comes with a lot of consequences that Carlos simply couldn't handle.

4. I'm not sure how, but they just did. They were heartfelt, but I've heard better speeches from her.

5. Honestly, I think he just may have to. James the terrorist is still out there somewhere, but James the monster is definitely present. He's doing vigilante justice, but his methods are extreme and resources are incredible. Michael has had to kill a friend, watch him execute someone right before his eyes, and help his organization all while keeping his sanity intact and family and friends at a distance. That much baggage could give anybody's personal values a run for their money. James's unpredictability is what's giving Michael a "crisis of conscience" right now, and I don't know how this will end because of that. It makes for great dramatic television, but makes the dark side of Westen come out, and I feel sympathetic that it has to be like that for Michael.
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Is it just me or Sonya's accent changes often during the episode??
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She used her Russian accent when Sonya (depending on the words accents are not always so heavy. I did not notice it drop completely.)
She used more or less her actual accent when she was pretending to be the girlfriend
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Sam and Jesse's comedic exchanges have been a lot of fun this past season. I could maybe even see the two in their own much more lighthearted spinoff. Well, not really. Then again...
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They kind of remember me of the FBI agents from the early seasons. Though seriously, I do enjoy how apparently Jesse's job just let's him do whatever seemingly whenever.
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That's not really a bad idea. It should be more cons, fewer guns, and a lot more jokes. It could have a kind of "It Takes a Thief" vibe. I can see it.
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Probably the darkest, most murderous episode of Burn Notice ever - but in a kind of necessary way. Glad to see it go out with a bang! 9.5/10
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This was a really thoughtful review. Thank you. Made my night.

- Matt Nix
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Wait seriously?
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That's what I was wondering too.. sent him a message - got no response so far. Check out the eps he has given 10's to in his profile though - all Matt Nix eps. Pretty ballzy. Odd's have to be at least 50/50 it's him.
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it will come down to the end of those bastard who keep using michael. I guess the ending of this story is the retirement of Michael Westen and back to his friends and being a hero to other people that will be a good ending isn't it? From episode 1-4 the series always come out that Michael is like a robin hood helping those who need his help. It will give good impression to those people who love the show plus it would be nice if they will keep it light at the end with humors and of course the whole yoghurt gang..
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Do you really think Michael could ever just retire?
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Nah, he'd be bored in less than a week. They as much told us that already.
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Seriously, I only see two possible endings, Michael buys it, or he just goes back to Miami and we that things are going to go on as before, just without the bad-guy overlord thing they've been doing for the last seven years.
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This was a really good episode all around. Maybe one of the best this season. Answers: 1. Yes Michael was right, he had no choice. Which is why he is one of my all time favorite tv characters, he does whatever it takes. 2. The obvious answer here is Card. That truly showed the new "dark" Michael Weston. 3. To me Carlos is acting as stubborn and hard to get along with as fi and maddie have been this season why does no one in this show understand the words "no choice" !!!!! But Carlos leaving pretty much is a dead give away tha Michael and fi will get together which I don't want to be the ending. 4. Honestly I don't know, that was no where near maddies best speech and some how it worked, go figure. 5. I hope he doesn't take down James and joins him instead but if he does take him down... Honestly what more can he do to betray his values?!?! I'm pretty sure the old Michael Weston is dead, or atleast drastically changed forever no matter what.
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I liked this episode a lot, but I also disliked it some. For one, I was slightly disappointed that the friend Michael was being sent to kill was someone new to the show that the audience had never seen before. It allowed just enough cognitive dissonance on the viewer's part to be unable to have too much emotional involvement in what Michael was about to do. Sure, from an objective perspective, this is hard on Mikey. He's gotta kill a friend, someone he had a positive and mutually endearing relationship with (considering all the enemies he has, that's saying something). However, as soon as the episode opens us up to Mike's emotional turmoil, it does its best to almost justify his upcoming action. Sonya says Steele is investigating Michael, so there is hurdle #1 to liking this person, as he is getting in the way of our protagonist, even if he's doing it for good reasons. EXCEPT then Strong tells us that he's probably NOT doing it for good reasons, because his job is to sell intel to other intelligence agencies, and sometimes that intel means that spies (such as Michael, hint hint) die (Hurdle #2). So this friendly guy that Michael knows is too darn nosy for his own good and also his nosiness means that other people like Michael sometimes, may have, died. Presented with this dichotomy, the audience (this guy right here), is supposed to still sorta want Michael to do the "right thing"? Which I guess is not kill Steele? But then he says no to Zen Master James? And then Zen Master James responds with killing all of Michael's friends, and that can't happen. So now I'm supposed to want him to do the "other right thing" I guess? And have him kill Steele for his friends (i.e. the greater good here, according to 7 seasons of work). So anyway, that bothered me just a smidgen. What if he had to kill Barry for some reason? Or Sugar? These are people we are emotionally invested in, and then Michael's moral dilemma becomes OUR moral dilemma, and things are way more interesting (to me, who has way too much empty headspace to consider these things).
Questions-
1) Idk, man. IDK.

2) Card, probably. Pretty much every bad guy during Season Six's opening sequence, and other people, probably.

3) This break-up bothered me. Can't there be another way to end this silly relationship? Tough guy hipster Carlos can't handle that Fi did something questionable (i.e. desperate) to save his life, because that meant innocent people got killed. Never mind that 10 years ago his snitching caused all this to happen in the first place and get all the innocent people (Fi.. Jesse.. Sam.. Michael.. the witness dude..) here in the first place... but that's Fi's fault... soo... yeah. They could have done that better.

4) Because Maddie is everyone's Mom on this show, everyone's. Want proof? Charlie. Even Ruth admitted that and gave the cute little kid up.

5) What personal values does Michael have left besides his loyalty to his family and noble and honorable desire to spare killing innocent lives? I love the guy, he's one of the most complex characters on all of television. Will he betray his friends (and yes, the CIA) for James after all this? That would be insane, and maybe Matt Nix is diabolical. Will he betray his personal value of loyalty by betraying James, whom he's been loyal to (you have to admit). We're all hoping so. Will he uphold both values of loyalty and spare any remaining innocents by somehow killing himself (or allowing himself to die, Jesus style) for the greater good and saving everyone and thereby ending the show? You ask too many hard questions, Sandoval!
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This week's episode took something out of me. To see Michael have to kill a friend, and Fi lose her boyfriend because of Michael-not being able to free herself from his influence -again...if the series wasn't already ending, I would be saying Uncle right about now. I feel genuine pain for this crew and their current situation. The pressure is real. Yes, Carlos was right to leave Fi. Can you even imagine being in his shoes? His girlfriend's ex can make a call, and people die. Will Michael betray his personal values to take out James? No, he will truer than ever to those values when he takes down that madman. It will all become clear for Michael in that moment, and later he will sleep better than he ever has since he joined the CIA.
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The way they filmed it was ridiculous. Seven people died in a gunship attack, boo hoo.
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