‘Burn Notice’ Season 5 Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 24th, 2011 at 8:28 am,

burn notice season 5 premiere Burn Notice Season 5 Premiere Review & Discussion

The Burn Notice season 5 premiere removes almost all familiarity that fans of the series expect, and unfortunately takes with it the core reason for why the series exists in the first place: to find out why Michael was burned.

With a set of unfamiliar characters (Grant Show) and awkward scenery, the season 5 premiere of Burn Notice opens in a manner much different to what was expected from those who fought their way through the season 4 finale.

As the introductory scene continues, not only are we presented with Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) in a new environment, but we’re also shown why the series has worked so well with its familiar series format and Miami-locale.

While seeing Michael Westen in new environment was an interesting prospect, the lack of familiarity serves to provide an awkward setting for the fifth season of USA’s hit series to begin. To add insult to this proverbial injury, the given plotline of Michael on the hunt to capture the last remaining member of those who burned him was presented in such a way that the actual importance of this storyline was all but lost.

Besides proving that Michael’s rag-tag team of Sam and Fiona can pull of an operation better than anything the government may officially sanction, the majority of the premiere feels like we’re watching The Sam Axe Movie 2 – and not in a good way. Even though Sam and Fiona are able to become a part of the CIA’s “off-the-books” style of missionary endeavors, the overall feel of the series is noticeably different.

burn notice season 5 premiere grant show Burn Notice Season 5 Premiere Review & Discussion

Whether it’s the chaotic handheld camerawork, the awkward storytelling, or the fact that the production designers did that good of a job at playing the Miami filming locations as another country, the notion of “what has this series become” will certainly resonate for those who tune in. Following the monumental revelation in the season 4 finale that Michael has all but returned to his former occupation, the progressive attitude in storytelling that Burn Notice chose to take in its fifth season premiere does nothing but disconnect the fans with what they original loved in this series – something that one can only hope will soon be corrected.

As Michel, Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) walk their way through this technically important mission (from the standpoint of the series’ mythos), the action scenes seem similar, the supplemental episodic characters feel familiar… yet there’s something missing. Alas, after three viewings, I am still unable to confidently specify what that may be – but it’s not good.

With a simple gunshot to the head, the all but quick importance that the character of Kessler was given is gone – and so is the entire plotline that this series was created around. Like White Collar, Burn Notice has swiftly thrown aside the core reason that it was based on. For four seasons, fans watched as Michael took the lengthy trail of escalating bad guys and unknown “powers that be” to find out who burned him – and why. Unfortunately, as the premiere presents itself, Kessler was the last remaining character behind it all. Without even the slightest bit of cliffhanger, the episode ends on this fact: we will never know why Michael Westen was burned.

burn notice season 5 premiere 2 Burn Notice Season 5 Premiere Review & Discussion

While it’s likely that this is not the end of Michael’s “burned” story-arc, the information presented does nothing to combat the theory that it might very well be. If the aforementioned White Collar can quickly toss away Neil’s entire motivation for “doing what he’s doing,” why can’t Burn Notice? More importantly, why would Burn Notice do that in this manner?

Even if a complete redux of the series’ core motivation is what the producers had in mind, why would it occur in such a lack-luster fashion. If one even acknowledges that this isn’t as “over” as is appears, the motivation to present such a definitive conclusion to something that’s most likely not is nothing but poor storytelling and a disregard for those watching.

As this season of Burn Notice is just beginning, it’s hard to completely dismiss the series as a whole. For all of the faults that are present in the season 5 premiere, one cannot help but think of the wonderfully engaging storytelling that preceded it. For fans of the series, a return to form has certainly become the overall hope and expectation as this season progresses. I suppose only time will tell whether or not this will be the case.

…it would be a pity if it didn’t.


Burn Notice airs Thursdays @9pm, on USA

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. They need to simplify. Too many characters is not giving the main characters enough time together. It is the chemistry between them that we all eagerly wanted to see each week. They need to lighten up. Let Fi and Michael enjoy living together. Let them work together. The new girl FBI agent with the pit bull needs to go. They are working in a half hearted manner all by themselves without each other. Something in the chemistry is wayyyyy off. They need to fix it.

  2. The opening 2 episodes of this new season have been really rough to watch for all of us die-hard fans, who love these characters and their chemistry … and have watched this series from the very beginning.

    It feels like the writers are having a tough time with bringing the story to a new point of discovery/reveal, which has slowed everything down and taken us out of the sexy, beautiful color palate and energy of the Florida and “international” action we have grown to love … and count on — with all of those fantastic location shots and expert editing that really help move each episode along. This “look and feel” element along with the on-going “chemistry” of the 3 main characters as well as the extremely entertaining voice-over narrative by the main spy-character are truly what has made this series work so well.

    On another note, the hair color of Fiona and Michael (the actors) is way too dark and does not “read” well on TV — it makes them both look much older. Also Fiona’s and Michael’s faces look swollen with Fiona’s face now being an unusual shade of orange-brown — are they OK? These are 2 beautiful people. Has there been a complete change in the Hair and Make-Up for this season?

    We love these characters and the fantastic movement of each week’s story line as it was originally created — please bring them back to us in their best form and we will show up to watch this show for many more seasons to come.

  3. who was the head bad guy in the “Army of One” series of burn notice in season 5 which played tonight(08/25/2011) and what show did he play on?

    • Michael T. Weiss, he starred on Pretender along with last week’s episode guest starred Patrick Bauchau.

  4. I can’t remember that actor’s name but shouldn’t he be listed as a guest star? The bad guy in season 5 episode 8 “Army of One”. The head bad guy who kidnapped the people at the airport.