A couple of weeks ago, I said that Burn Notice reminds me a lot of a dime novel with snazzy cover art, but that’s not the only pop culture artifact that BN resembles. It also recalls some or the more stylish adventure comics over the years—like Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury books, or Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg, or J. Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl—and tonight in particular, it reminded me of late ‘80s/early ‘90s action movies, along the lines of the Lethal Weapon series. And all because of Seymour.
Our old arms dealer pal Seymour returned in “Seek And Destroy,” at first terrified that Michael was going to kick his ass again, but quickly becoming so enamored of Michael’s overall super-coolness that he agrees to help our hero track down the people who bombed his apartment. The way that Seymour feels about Michael—loving him a little—is the way I feel about Seymour. He’s a classic helpful weasel, like Joe Pesci’s Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2. I dig the way he makes Michael and Fiona matching daggers “to celebrate our first operation together” and the way he sheepishly notes that the shotguns he modified for Michael are “loaded… with the shells I made… specifically for this job.” Michael of course ignore Seymour's attempts to impress, and instead takes those guns—loaded with water shells, which knock out explosives without igniting them—and bulls his way into the home of someone associated with his would-be assassins. And thus The Master-Plot I Don’t Really Care About inches forward for another week. Thank you, Burn Notice, for distracting me with Seymour while moving that story along.
But as Fiona—one half of what Seymour refers to as “a molten-hot action couple”—points out to Michael, “If we looked for everyone who tried to kill you, we’d be doing nothing else.” So we vary up the day by meeting this week’s client, an art-dealer named Chandler who hires Michael to find the person who’s been spying on him. By locating and disabling the hidden wireless keylogger in Chandler’s computer keyboard, Michael’s able to bait the culprit. (“More spies get caught changing batteries and fixing wires than any other single activity,” he explains in voiceover.) The spy? Chandler’s receptionist Melanie, who’s trying to help bring down her boss because she blames him for the death of her pop-artist pop.
Due to Michael’s heightened sense of justice, Melanie becomes his other client, and Michael begins spying on Chandler himself in order to feed his original client’s paranoia. In the meantime, Sam and Fiona investigate Melanie’s claims, and find themselves cozying up to an art-thug played by Lost favorite M.C. Gainey. In one of this episode’s funniest scenes, Fi knocks a lecherous Mr. Friendly on the head with liquor bottles while Sam tries and fails to bust down the hotel-room door. Eventually, through some simple manipulation, Michael and his crew are able to bring the art-thug and the art-dealer into conflict with each other, and that’s all it takes to end things. As Michael points out, bad guys who work alongside other bad guys have trust problems. “If you kill with him, he knows you’re a killer. It’s a serious management issue.”
“Seek And Destroy” was another solid Burn Notice episode, if not quite as loaded with fancy spy tricks as I would usually prefer. I always like the stories where Michael works from the inside of a legitimate business operation in order to ferret out corruption, but the way this episode played out was a little too remedial. Nothing came too hard for our boy; I prefer more of challenge.
I was thinking while watching “Seek And Destroy” about how uncomplicated Burn Notice makes its hero, from a psychological perspective. When Michael tells us via narration all about learning how to fit in with his targets and how to “get used to the idea of lying to everyone you meet,” I thought about how some TV shows and movies would make Michael into a tortured soul who doesn’t know who he is anymore. But that’s not the case with Burn Notice. Michael just does what he has to, and usually has fun while he’s doing it.
So I’m with Seymour when it comes to Michael. He is such a bad-ass. It is kind of awesome.
Seymour: [to Michael] Let me get you a smoothie. Do you like mango?
Seymour: [to bartender] Mango!