Burn Notice

Season 5 Episode 3

Mind Games

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jul 07, 2011 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
132 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Nate returns to Miami to seek Michael's help to go after a loan shark who's harassing a widow. However, the guys soon discover that the loan shark is not all that he seems.

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  • Finally, a good Burn Notice

    Season 5 got off to a pretty slow start. Company Man was slow and dull, Bloodlines was just annoying, as with any episode in which Madeline gets more than a few speaking lines.

    This was a good and interesting episode. Michael isn't crazy, I actually think he's suffering some kind of withdrawal. He's uncomfortable now that he actually does have (to a degree) the answers he was so desperately and constantly searching for about 4 intense years. But there's that little bit left that needs to be answered, he's so close. That's why he's obsessing.

    The main plot was cool too, although we've seen this general story many times on Burn Notice. I don't recall the show ever introducing an undercover situation quite like this one, though.moreless
  • 7/7

    "Mind Games" was another solid Season 5 episode of Burn Notice. The show has a little bit of a different tone this year, and while that change is welcome, it is going to take a bit of getting used too. The way Fiona and Michael were bickering as the episode faded to black, it felt like something to close out an hour of Melrose Place, not Burn Notice. The obligatory annual Nate appearance disappointed me a bit. Michael had some good lines, and the story worked, even if the action was a little bit forced tonight. While it was a good episode I am beginning to question how much longer the show can keep things up. It can run for another three or four years, but do they want to go out on a high note or just make new episodes to make money in syndication and dilute the quality?moreless
  • Perfect example of why I watch this show. (Spoilers)

    Season 5 has been off to a good start, but there hasn't been any advances in the main plot since the Opener. This episode does a lot for the show, not just because it was awesome, but because it teases the return of "The Machine" storyline, while bringing back Nate and having an awesome client case.

    The usual BN client formula is that Michael goes in, makes friends with a bad guy, and then gets him to turn on his own crew resulting in his death or getting his bosses to believe he turned on him, also resulting in his death. This episode was looking to be simmilar to that, with a loan shark organization beating up people that owed them money. The plan was simple: make the boss think one of his guys was an undercover cop to get them to back down. The plan quickly turns against them however, because it so happened that he actually was an undercover cop. This twist was so unexpected, I actually found myself at the edge of my seat for a client case, which wasn't something that I usually find myself doing. It was very well written and thought out, and the way they resolved the twist was almost just as good.

    The B Story of this episode was Michael's paranoia. Everywhere he turns he thinks the people that burned him are still out there, and at the end of the episode he finds that there may be some evidence that they still are out there. It's not a huge advance in the plot, but it teases what's to come. And I really, really think that next episode will get the ball rolling again.


    +Nate is back and hopefully here to stay.

    +Great client case with clever and exciting twist.

    +Michael's paranoia was well-played.

    -Very little of Madeline and Jesse. 9.5/10 (A)moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Michael: (voice-over) When people are whipped into a murderous frenzy, standing between them and their target can get you killed. To stay in the game, you have to seem just as crazy as everyone else. You have to come up with a reason you need to stay close and the target needs to stay alive.

    • Michael: (voice-over) One of the most powerful techniques in a spy's arsenal is accusing a bad guy of being a good guy. Your enemy's associates dispatch their version of justice faster than any law-enforcement agency, but they're often more ruthless. Of course, that's the same reason that spies live in fear of the day they accidentally accuse one of the good guys... of being a good guy.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Stalling someone with a car accident is about calibrating the perfect amount of impact. You don't want to cause a major injury or create a massive scene. You just need enough contact to keep your target from leaving right away, and it's all about the timing. You want to make them... hit you.

    • Michael: (voice-over) When you're running an official operation, the mission is over when your superiors say it is. Documents are locked away to a basement vault, and you walk away. When you're investigating events from your own life, it's harder to turn the page. Even if you've read a file 10 times, it might still hold a secret.

    • Michael: (voice-over) As a spy, you get used to people having whispered conversations about you. It's a little like being in high school. But when people are whispering about you in algebra they're a lot less likely to try and kill you afterward.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Gaming facilities provide a natural habitat for loan sharks who are always hunting for gamblers who need a quick buck at a bad rate. As long as they don't turn on each other, they're at the top of the food chain.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Post-operation paranoia isn't something you can control. It's with you always... when you're working, when you're relaxing. Even sleep is no escape.

    • Michael: (voice-over) As a field operative, some aspects of life aren't part of your daily experience. You may be familiar with the mountains of Afghanistan or know how to break down a .50-caliber machine gun, but that expertise comes at the cost of certain normal activities people take for granted. Keeping up with sports teams, for example, or the details of lawn care... or dealing with babies.

    • Michael: These forged documents are so good, they make real ones look fake.

    • Fiona: Hoping to scare off that lone shark with your shirt?!
      Michael: It's part of the Nate Westen collection. It won't get into my regular rotation, I promise.
      Fiona: I should hope not.

    • Nate: (to Michael) Listen bro, I know you're going through some stuff, but half of you is better than all of most people.

    • Sam: The spa is so relaxing, they got to bring in a defibrillator to wake you up when you're done.

    • Michael: (voice-over) One of the toughest parts of adjusting to civilian life after a major operation is the paranoia. You can't turn it off. If a shopper behind you is carrying a suspicious package and avoiding eye contact, they could be there to do you harm. And if you are right about the threat, the consequences could be serious. Of course, if you are wrong, the consequences could be serious as well.

    • Nate: So, how's Fiona? Mum told me you guys are living together?
      Michael: Yes, we are.
      Madeline: It's moving fast. At this rate they should be married by 60!

    • Michael: (to Nate about his crying baby) You're sure it doesn't need medical attention?!

  • NOTES (1)