Burn Notice

Season 5 Episode 18

Fail Safe

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Dec 15, 2011 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
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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.

  • 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.
  • 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 plot
  • 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?

    First of all, this was good, solid Burn Notice episode. Sure, one could sit back and point out the possible loopholes in the plot, but BN has always had those. For the first 5 seasons, we thought to ourselves, "Where does Sam meet all of these buddies? And how do they conveniently work every area of law enforcement??" They would simply pop up in the right time to give critical intel to Sam so the episode could be solved. But who cares? We look over these minor details because the characters are so riveting, and never get old. I never once thought Pierce would be the rogue, it doesn't make logical sense. First of all, it would be pointless to have her on the show this long in her position and then say, "Surprise, she's a bad person. We fooled you!" Besides, if she was rogue, why would Anson ever need Michael? Pierce has higher clearance. Sure, you could talk about Michael's skills and blah blah, but the tasks that Anson gives Michael could all be more easily handled by Pierce. Having another unknown operative turned by Anson only goes to show that he always has someone he can put in, and pull out, whenever he wants. Pierce has too many connections. Morever, the episode was directed well. Fast paced, sharp camera angles, the works. And if people complain about Michael's softer side, at least he has one. It's why we can relate to him so much. If all he ever did was put bullets in people's heads, we would all have fallen asleep in the first season. His relationship to Fiona has to get deeper, it's been 5 years! What are they, robots otherwise? In the end, Anson wins and he loses. He wins because he owns Mike's head, and Fiona ends up in jail (probably would've happened anyway.) He loses because he does not directly get what he wants. However, every season the enemy is always quietly shut up and put away with, and to have someone who is going stick around, gives the show more meat to work with later. Will Anson eventually die? Probably. But to bring such a mastermind to the viewer and then pop his head off with a gun all in one season is too rushed, no matter how bad we want him dead. We always anticipated Larry to come back, and we looked forward to that. Same with Brennen, because they were excellent foils for Michael. To just get ride of them right away ruins their influence on the show and the audience. This season has been more about Michael internally than any other season, and how meangingful his relationships are to him; a stark difference to previous seasons. The show is obviously taking a shift in where it is headed, which every show has to do around this time (House, anyone?) Otherwise the audience catches on to the same bag of tricks, and we tap out. But now, Fi is in jail for who knows how long, psycho Anson is still on the loose, Sam feels terrible for dropping the ball, and Michael is close to an existential meltown. How is this not great material to work with? How can you not be excited for what is to come?
  • spoilers ahead

    While the ride was definitely entertaining and the episode was hardly bad, I felt Fail Safe took the cheap way out in a number of ways, the ending in particular, and this detracts from my view of the episode. I'm not a writer, or the mastermind behind the show, but I would have taken this episode in a different direction. First, Rebecca being the 'traitor' first hinted at in the episode teaser was weak. It's a character we have zero familiarity with, so it means nothing on a personal level. It's just a matter of how it will affect the op. I admit I didn't see it coming, but that's mostly because I thought Matt Nix was above those kinds of gags. Going in I thought it would be Pearce, and as things unfolded that belief only got stronger. But whatever.

    Then there's the ending itself. Fiona gets arrested, Anson's fate is unknown but there's nothing to indicate anything bad happening to him. I think we all know that Fi is not leaving this show. This is a temporary situation for Michael, who no doubt has to reverse the course and try to gain evidence on Anson for the crimes Fi's going down for. That last sequence with Michael calling out to Fiona and reading that letter was so hammy, I actually laughed once the annoyance of how season 5 was wrapping up sunk in. Speaking of Anson, what about him? Michael didn't beat him. Michael's enemies don't usually go quietly either, especially after their master plan was just wrecked. Anson was a good villain but I don't like the idea of his presence in season 6. I could see him wearing thin before too long. Even if he's only back for like 2 episodes or something, still feels like an underhand way to set up something next year. Past Burn Notice finales haven't been this blatant in their plugs for the following season.

    Another thing that irritated me was that Anson and this Reed Perkins guy were not directly connected, effectively turning that bit into a job of the week. Burn Notice season finales do not include jobs of the week. Sure, one of Michael's agents on the job turned out to be rogue, but come on. Season finale should have been all Anson, and a lot less figuring out how they're going to catch the meaningless Reed Perkins.

    Lastly, the characters were just being uncharacteristically stupid in this episode. Yeah, Anson had trackers on his warehouse goodies. Fi and Sam couldn't have accounted for this possibility? The moron blowing himself up by playing with the security device was classic too. Burn Notice loves to play the dumb civilian card but this was a little ridiculous. Fi and Sam made a stupid mistake and put the team (MIke & Fi at least) in a corner. Sam really screwed up later when he released Fi from the cuffs to 'make a phone call'. Come on now, Michael chained her up for a reason, Sam's known Fi plenty long, this was perfectly in character for her. Stupid. I never slam Burn Notice for having plot holes and characters behaving like air-heads, because it rarely happens, but all of what I described just makes the episode feel forced in retrospect. Honestly, I would've had Fi kill Anson in that opening bit, and allowed a hell to break loose that the team can dance with. Same with Pearce being the rogue and Mike burning the agents, there were plenty of possibilities with that.

    These beefs aside, though, Fail Safe was suspenseful and not the least bit boring for any of its run time. A good episode and a worthy finale in the end.
  • Fail Safe

    Burn Notice is one of my very favorite shows and tonights was the absolute worst. The producing was not good at all. Michael, Phee and Sam didn't act like their characters at all it was like they were not themselves. Please give them back their right personalities. I miss them.