Burn Notice

Season 5 Episode 18

Fail Safe

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Dec 15, 2011 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
120 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

In order to release Anson's hold on Fiona, Michael plans on taking him down once and for all. Meanwhile, Pearce offers Michael a special mission: leading a team of operatives to capture a spy recruiter.

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  • Fail Safe

    The season finale of Burn Notice was high on action and suspense, and proven bad guy actor Eric Roberts did well in his guest appearance, but the ending was a little disappointing. We know they will find some lame "loophole" to get Fiona free next season, so why even waste our time with this?

    It was a good episode, but it could have been better had this season's main arc been stronger.moreless
  • Another excellent BN Finale, even if a bit anti-climactic compared to the others.

    Let's face it, Burn Notice has a reputation for awesome finales. What other show has a huge chase around Miami and the main character jumping out of a helicopter into the Atlantic Ocean? The next season's finale: Hunt for a deadly fugitive of whom we later find out is connected to Michael's Burn Notice , PLUS every law enforcement agency is after Michael, PLUS all the loose ends from not just Season 3, but seasons 1 and 2 are tied up. Season 4's finale tops them all, with awesome action, awesome "touching & romantic" scenes, and gave us huge answers for major series arcs, followed by the huge twist of the ending.

    Season 1's finale was a bit different, focusing more on Michael and Sam's friendship and less on action and series plot, but that was also a great episode. Season 5's finale is more similar to Season 1 because it isn't as climactic. Only one major plot of the season is answered in a rather pointless way, even if it is done very well.

    What made this finale worse than others was the fact that there was a CIA mission. Yeah, I get that we had to introduce the new CIA team and the new bad guy...or in this case bad girl... and it did tie in well with the main plot with what Anson asked Michael to do in the end, but I could've done without the fat that the pointless CIA mission brought.

    Sure it had great action and provided a small extra layer of drama, but I could've done without it. BN Finales are supposed to focus on the main plot ONLY. This has been true in every season. Season 1 stretches that a bit, but it still focuses on character development and plot over the usual client, and in this season's case CIA mission.

    But the action and drama provided throughout was excellent. So excellent and exciting that the writers wrote themselves into a hole by making Anson too smart, and thus had to do the unthinkable: take Fi off the main cast. Or at least that is what it looks like. As shocking as this moment is, it is also very sad. Anyone that really cares about these characters will find the final scene of this finale touching and heart breaking.

    And I honestly don't think the writers meant for it to be very climactic. After all, what would S6 be about then? The finale is about Fiona, and how to deal with Fiona's going to prison with the possibility of Anson rebuilding The Machine. And by the end of the episode: this problem is solved, in the form of Fiona going to jail. Anson has lost his leverage, so now all that's left is to put a bullet in his brain.

    What gets people pissed is that instead of a big epic gunfight against Anson's guys, it was a big gunfight against a few random bad guys for a CIA job. But it makes sense. Anson HAS no guys, and that is why he asked Michael to burn Pearce and the other agents. He's rebuilding the Machine. Now he needs burned spies to oil it.

    As well, there are many other indirect cliffhangers after the finale that weren't resolved, but I am fine with this. The main story WAS resolved, and in the premiere Michael will now go insane. I look forward to summer to see how the writers handle this.

    All in all, great finale, yet not as many questions answered as people would hope for, and the questions that were answered weren't done so in a climactic way. But still it is safe to say that BN continues it's streak of near-perfect finales.moreless
  • bring T3 back

    CIA newbies would be new blood for Mike's team. And I want T3 back.
  • Blind noobs = bn

    All the reviewers make valid points, though i'm inclined to agree with the blueripper :P

    i knew this season was going to end badly, which ever way you look at it there are alot of problems with either outcome as have been mentioned ansons death= hell reigns down, fi's arrest= mike going postal

    my problem with this episode was also sam's stupidity with fi , mikes choice of burning the people only to dump the responciblity of destroying the fake info on to jesse and anson's constant ace in the hole, i was sorta leaning toward dean cain being the mole. The warehouse guy (if he was a pedo/sex fiend) was justified, but i agree it was a bit stupid of fi and sam.

    mike should of talked to his mum to help decide, as for reed well he can be seen in a few ways, ansons competition, ansons lap dog, ansons next in line, ansons go to guy...

    the ep it's self was well executed considering the crappy plotmoreless
  • New and exiting finale

    I think Bgood is right.

    Come on, Theblueripper, its season 5, all the things you suggest is just a use of stuff that happened earlier. Why do we have to have a different bad guy every season. It just gets repetitive. And for the thing with the letter in the end. That was perfect in my opinion. Why does Michael always have to be the tuff guy, why does always have to end perfectly.

    Its called character development. And if you say, we know Michael is getting Fi out of there, no doubt about it. But why is that bad, if he beat Anson in this episode that would be predictable too.

    And maybe the Reed guy was some kind of competitor to Anson, so he needs to get rid of him, and even of Jesse, because he is of much help to michael.

    And the things you suggest. So he should get another couple of spies get burned? Didn't we allready went through that with Jesse? What is gonna happen then, they will go after Michael.

    To the escape of Fiona, ok, the thing with the warehouse was stupid. But if they make no mistakes the episodes would be done in 10 minutes. For her escape out of the loft, Sam didn't release her. He handed her her bag with the phone in it. And then she hit him with a bottle. Didn't you watch at all?moreless
Dean Cain

Dean Cain

Ryan Pewterbaugh

Recurring Role

Kristanna Loken

Kristanna Loken

Rebecca Anderson

Recurring Role

Eric Roberts

Eric Roberts

Reed Perkins

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Michael: (voice-over) In any operation, one of the toughest parts is dealing with collateral damage. When you're alone in the field, you have to decide whether to take actions that could hurt innocent people, weighing the consequences against what happens if you do nothing. And when you act, when you take that step, you know that whatever your reasons, whatever the costs or benefits, you have done something terrible. And when it's done, all you can do then is carry on with the operation, knowing that it's your job to repair the hurt you're about to cause and the damage you're about to do, or die trying.

    • Michael: (voice-over) One of the most useful tools in domestic-intelligence operations is local government. One call from the CIA, and most federal and state agencies will help out if they can.

    • Michael: (voice-over) The key to breaching a building is getting inside quickly and dealing with the occupants before they have time to respond. When you can't use explosives, sometimes you have to get creative. If you can find utility equipment that is built into the wall, you just need a couple thousand foot-pounds of torque to make yourself a door.

    • Michael: (voice-over) With some planning, you can stop a large vehicle with a much smaller one. It's a matter of calculating the physics involved and very precise timing. Unfortunately, when timing is that precise... any obstacle whatsoever can cause a very large problem.

    • Michael: What do you want...what do you want me to say, Fi? I'm doing this for you.
      Fiona: Stop. Just stop. There has to be a line.
      Michael: There is no line when it comes to you!
      Fiona: I can't do this anymore. We can't do this. Let's just go. We'll go to the FBI, and I'll turn myself in. I'll make them understand.
      Michael: They won't understand us. We start down that road, we can't come back. And I'll lose you. And I can't lose you.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Getting the attention of someone who recruits traitors for a living is an art. You can't exactly run around a security conference, yelling, "I want to betray my country." You have to be subtle. Just make it known you're desperate enough to do something stupid and let the bad guy find you.

    • Michael: (voice-over) In espionage, you often deal with people who are working undercover some legitimately, because their identity needs to remain a secret, and some illegitimately, because they're betraying the country they've sworn to protect. Either way, they go to great lengths to keep their regular life separate from their covert lives, keeping their secrets far from view. Which is why there's nothing quite so unsettling as seeing one of those secrets show up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • Agent Pearce: Congrats. You're in charge of an official CIA team for the first time since you got burned. It's a try-out of sorts. There's a general feeling you're the best person for the job, but no one wants to be personally responsible if you screw up.
      Michael: It's progress.

    • Michael: (voice-over) When an operation goes bad, you don't get much time to decide what to do. It's just a matter of facing the consequences of immediate failure or the risks of trying to save the operation on the fly.

    • Fiona: (on the letter) Even before I knew your real name, I loved you. Before I should have, I trusted you. Because I've always known your heart. You do what's right, no matter the cost to you. And I've learned that when you love a spy, you have to be willing to make that sacrifice, too. At times, your job has made it hard to be with you, but it's never shaken my faith in you. I can't let you ruin anyone's life to save mine. I have to force you to tell what you know. If you don't, you won't be the man I love. Do the right thing. I love you, Michael. Forever.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Abandoned facilities are often used to cover up covert activity. Set up in a crumbling building covered in graffiti, and no one takes much notice. There are ways of figuring out if a facility is truly abandoned, however, like the power draw. If a building's using electricity, chances are someone's home.

    • Michael: I am not letting you put the pieces back together.
      Anson: Pieces of what? A covert organization that does things you happen to disagree with? How's that any different from the CIA? Or any one of the other acronyms you work for, Michael?
      Michael: It is entirely different. You ruined my life!
      Anson: Ruined your life? I gave you a life, Michael. You were alone. You hadn't talked to your family in years. The love of your life was lonely and abandoned in Ireland, not sure if you were dead or alive. Look at what you have now. You want to throw it all away? Can you throw it all away?

  • NOTES (1)