Burn Notice

Season 6 Episode 8

Unchained

2
Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Aug 09, 2012 on USA
AIRED:
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
62 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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TV.com Episode Review

  • SPY-JINX

    Burn Notice: Hope Springs

    There wasn't anything too special about "Unchained"—pretty much just a cruise control-type outing, though the scenery was just fine.

  • Episode Summary

    In order to find out more information about the government's investigation into Nate's murder, Michael must help the FBI take down a Boston mobster.

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    SUBMIT REVIEW
    • Unchained

      7.5
      Like the Van Halen song, "Unchained" was a good episode of Burn Notice tonight. We saw another seemingly impossible situation for Michael to get out of, yet somehow he did, and we saw a different kind of case for Michael and the gang tonight, that led to some highly entertaining moments.



      I do not like the idea of the FBI covering up Nate's potential killer though. Is Michael really THAT important to them?moreless
    • Calm before the storm?

      9.0
      Two seasons ago, Burn Notice was like this every week.



      Michael goes undercover with a funny accent, gets the bad guy to trust him, and leads him into a trap that gets him arrested. This was the BN formula back in the early seasons. The reason this episode gets a 9 is exactly because of that. You see, for those of you that don't know, Burn Notice used to be more of a comedy than anything else. Sure, there was a season-long storyline, but if Burn Notice was entirely focused on it's main storyline for the early seasons, each season would only have 3 episodes.



      With Season 6, the main plot has a much greater importance. Things are darker. Michael's actions have consequences. The good guys don't always win. This episode, I feel, is one of the last times we will see the team in it's state as it was way back in the good ol' days. The calm before the storm that Matt Nix has promised is coming.



      That's not to say the main plot didn't advance at all, mind you. We actually found out quite a bit, but this episode asks more questions than it answers. Basically we found out that there is some massive government conspiracy to cover up Nate and Anson's murder investigation. We don't know who or why, but we know some big boys in the government are behind this.



      There are 2 episodes left in the first half of the season. This episode pretty much serves the purpose of reminding us what Burn Notice once was, and also reminding me why Burn Notice is so much better now. The main plot has always interested me more than the random clients popping up every week, but I enjoyed this episode because despite my frustrations with being weekly unsatisfied, I really did enjoy the way these characters interacted, got the bad guys in jail, and themselves out of crazy situations.



      While this could, in some ways, be considered filler, I liked it because of the memories it provided. Fi is out, the team is investigating something, and a FBI agent needs Michael's help. Minor tweaks to what used to be a weekly routine. From this point until the end of Season 6 (which we won't see until winter) I fully expect fireworks.



      +Fi back in action.

      +Some scenes mirrored those of earlier seasons

      +Cover IDs

      +Awesome accents

      +Deeper mysteries revealed



      Not a perfect episode, but I can't think of anything horrible about it. And now, BN, bring on the good stuff.moreless
    • spoilers

      7.0
      "Because he was a Westen!". Ugh... probably the most cringe-worthy line in this show's history. That felt like something SVU would have spit out when that show was at its cheesiest.



      Anyway, Unchained snapped a streak of intense, high-quality offerings from Burn Notice. That's not to say it was bad, but this one had a very by-the-numbers feel to it. There was also very little if any advancement in the main plot, so for the people craving the BN format of old, here you go. The vast majority of the episode was consumed with Team Westen returning a favor to an FBI suit who provides them with the sealed file of the investigation into Nate's death. Pretty slow and uneventful, although the final sequence in Quinn's house saved things a bit.



      Also, it appears Lauren Stamile is leaving the cast. I remember hearing that she was pregnant, so this was to be expected. Still, the way her character's been written out feels lazy. Mike catches her fiance's murderer, so she's willing to fall on her sword for him and be re-assigned to f**king India for the rest of her career? Not buying it, writers. But then again this is the show that has Jesse constantly doing favors for Mike, who got him burned, for three-plus seasons now. Whatever. I'm perfectly willing to accept and even enjoy Burn Notice's heightened reality when the episodes are good, but when they're as frustratingly average as Unchained was, that's when I start picking it all apart. Simple bump in the road, hopefully.moreless
    Brian J. White

    Brian J. White

    Agent Woods

    Guest Star

    Billy Smith

    Billy Smith

    Jimmy

    Guest Star

    R.D. Call

    R.D. Call

    Quinn

    Guest Star

    Lauren Stamile

    Lauren Stamile

    Agent Pearce

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

    FILTER BY TYPE

    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (16)

      • Michael: (voice-over) A car on fire makes a great diversion, but it takes a few minutes to get it fully engulfed. If you don't have much time to spare, find the closest burning materials that will create the most smoke: old newspapers and fast-food bags doused in hand sanitizer. Stuff them in a rolled-up rubber floor mat, and you've created a vent that will focus the flames into one area. And the more focused the flames, the faster everything burns.

      • Michael: (voice-over) There's always a risk when using a stolen car in an operation, but there are ways to minimize that risk. Take it from an employee parking lot during midday and chances are it won't be missed for hours. You want an older model to avoid anti-theft devices and a common, neutral color that won't attract attention. Of course, it doesn't matter how carefully you choose a car if you have to drive it through a police checkpoint.

      • Michael: (voice-over) Taking a hostage is only as effective as his relationship with his rescuers. The more they value his life, the more leverage you have. Of course, if your hostage doesn't value his own life, all bets are off.

      • Michael: (voice-over) A good defensive position is known as a force multiply. One man can hold off three others as long as he can remain well-protected while keeping up a steady stream of suppressant fire. Only problem is doing that requires a lot of ammunition. And when it's all gone, your defensive position very quickly becomes a death trap.

      • Michael: (voice-over) When you've been driven to a meeting in a head bag, figuring out your location can be a challenge. If you know how long you were on the road, you can use the local speed limits to calculate a general area, and if you can get to a window, local landmarks can narrow it down even further. It's the sort of thing you learn in the boy scouts, except boy scouts rarely do it with a gun to their back.

      • Michael: (voice-over) Spies feed enemies false information all the time. Sometimes, though, you have to give up the real thing actual intelligence that puts innocent people in danger. It's rough, rolling the dice with someone else's life. But sometimes it's the only play.

      • Michael: (voice-over) The passage of time is one of the most often-used tools in counterintelligence. It allows an adversary to observe you and determine whether you've been followed, then it's just a matter of whether they've seen enough to make a new acquaintance or a corpse.

      • Michael: (voice-over) A successful blackmail depends on the psychological state of your target. Leading with your demand can risk putting him on the defensive right from the start. But if you start by showing him how his world's about to crash down first, he'll be looking for the key to his salvation and be more likely to take it when you offer it to him.

      • Michael: (voice-over) Once it's time to spike your target's drink, the important thing is to control the dose. Mix too much sedative with alcohol and you shut down the part of the brain that controls the heart and lungs, which means your target won't be sleeping. He'll be dead.

      • Michael: (voice-over) Setting up a blackmail is about more than knocking your target out and snapping pictures of things he won't remember. It starts much earlier, with all the things he will remember. You need to make sure that by the time you knock him out, he's ready to actually believe that he did anything.

      • Michael: (voice-over) As far as cold approaches go, there's nobody spies would rather deal with than salespeople. They're talkative, eager to please, and most meet too many people in a given year to remember them all.

      • Michael: (voice-over) Whether you're trying to run someone off the road or just trying to sell that you are, it all comes down to the vehicle you use to do it. You want a light frame so you can maneuver faster than your target...and a low center of gravity so you don't flip. Choosing the right car can mean the difference between a clean stop and a nasty spill.

      • Michael: There's no reason for you to take unnecessary risks.
        Fiona: Why don't you let me decide that?
        Michael: If you're trying to prove how tough you are...
        Fiona: I'm not trying to prove anything.
        Michael: We still don't know what kind of situation we're walking into.
        Fiona: When do we ever? When has that ever mattered?
        Michael: Since Nate died!
        Fiona: Look, I know you feel responsible for what happened to Nate. You're not. He volunteered for this mission because he wanted to do something worthwhile, something good, because that's who he was. Because he was a Westen. I'm gonna do this because it's who I am. It's because of who we are. And you can't change that.

      • Sam: Hey, look who's not in jail.
        Pearce: Well, I just got an earful from Langley about your little stunt. What the hell were you thinking threatening an FBI agent like that?
        Michael: I didn't threaten him. I asked him questions with a gun in my hand, a gun I have the right to legally carry.

      • Michael: (voice-over) If you need to get information from a government official, it's often best to approach him outside his usual place of business. When he's not in an environment that reinforces his authority, you're a lot more likely to get something out of him... Especially if you can catch him alone.

      • Michael: (voice-over) As a spy, you get used to dealing with government bureaucracy. If you need to requisition a weapon, get an interrogation log to an analyst, or even arrange an emergency evac from a hostile territory, a bureaucrat can be your best friend. But when you need a simple answer to a straightforward question, that same bureaucrat can become your worst enemy.

    • NOTES (2)

    • ALLUSIONS (0)

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