Episode Title: "No Good Deed"
Writers: Rashad Raisani & Ben Watkins
Director: Jeremiah Chechik
Previously on "Burn Notice":
Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) cleared his name with the CIA and he began working with the agency again on a provisional basis. He even teamed up with his new CIA handler, Max (Grant Show) to track down and capture or kill everyone on the NOC list. However, Michael was unable to find anyone who could tell him the reason why he was burned in the first place. And the lack of answers made Michael disturbingly paranoid; much to the concern of his girlfriend Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar).
Fiona attempted to get Michael to destroy his files on the people who burned him and move on with his life. Even Michael's brother, Nate (Seth Peterson) recognized the signs of addiction in Michael's behavior and he urged him to pull back.
Michael and his CIA handler, Max (Grant Show) are watching their latest target, a Swedish tech expert who is selling secrets to a foreign power. Michael inquires about his latest intelligence report that he submitted to Max from his final look at his files on the people who burned him. Max says that he submitted the report and that there was nothing new to find. He urges Michael to drop the matter. As their target makes the hand-off to his buyer, Michael pretends to be a drunk and he deliberately acts belligerent towards the buyer in order to slip a tracker on him. Michael's actions get both he and Max thrown out, but they succeeded in their mission.
Later, Michael is approached by his sometimes ally, Barry Burkowski (Paul Tei) who needs Michael's help for his brother, Paul (John Ross Bowie). Paul explains that that in his capacity as an IT man for a Teacher's union, someone has stolen a server with the identities and financial records of all of the members which could ruin their lives unless they find the hackers who stole them. Michael is reluctant to take the case, but Fiona urges him on. Soon enough, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) track down the janitor (Paul Wight aka The Big Show) who may have been complicit in the theft.
After subduing the big man, they convince him to introduce Michael to the hacker who led the operation, a beautiful young woman named Eve (Aviva) whom Michael intentionally antagonized by pretending to be a degenerate. He gives her a dummy file to hack which was cooked up by Barry, but Eve proves too slippery to follow in traffic. Later, Michael and Max break into the office of the government that accepted the stolen secrets. At Michael's behest, Max uses CIA resources to track Eve. He also indicates that Michael may soon be rehired to the CIA for full time work.
Eve returns to Michael with the dummy file decoded and he offers her an even bigger payday if she can decrypt a larger file. Eve takes the bait and Barry sets up a fake escrow account to fool her. However, Eve is too good to fall for the ruse and she threatens to kill Michael after drugging him. Using the little information that have on Eve, Michael convinces her that she was set up to be killed by her longtime employer. Angered, Eve keeps Michael as her prisoner and she forces Fiona, Sam and Jesse to help her rob her employers. The operation goes off without a hitch, but Eve prepares to kill Michael anyway. But Fiona saves the day by blowing up Eve's getaway car and the stolen information.
With the case successfully closed, Michael goes to the local CIA office to get his debriefing from Max. Instead, he finds Max fatally shot as his killer gets away. Michael is tricked into picking up the murder weapon to defend himself just as the police arrive. He quickly calls Fiona for help as he attempts to beat the frame up by removing traces of his presence and taking out the security footage placing him there. Fiona pulls up in Michael's rebuilt Charger and fires a line to the roof of the building so that Michael can escape. Later, Michael, Sam and Fiona ponder their next move and wonder who would want to kill Max…
Just when it seemed like "Burn Notice" was struggling to find itself this season, the show finally managed to pull off an impressive surprise for the new season long storyline.
Make no mistake, this was a badly needed shakeup. The CIA cases have injected more life into the series, but the increasingly contrived A-Team of the week plots have been getting stale lately. However, those stories are clearly the bread and butter of this show and they aren't going away anytime soon. "Burn Notice" needs a strong overarching narrative to keep it from becoming a mediocre series. And it looks like this plot could be the nail upon which the season rises or falls.
The most likely scenario here is that Michael's latest CIA report on the people who burned him got a little too close to someone who is still active and free; so they basically set in motion a plan to kill Max and make it look like Michael pulled the trigger… effectively burning him again. Max wasn't around long enough for the audience to really invest in him, but he seemed like a decent man and this episode built him up to the point where Michael at least genuinely liked him.
Max's last words to Michael were something along the lines of telling his wife that he loved her. But was Max really married? If not, was that some kind of clue for Michael to find Max's killer? Michael's escape from the building was an exciting sequence and the Charger's return was a suitably heroic moment. "Burn Notice" may not be known for its subtlety, but it can really pull off some entertaining spectacles when it wants to.
The case of the week wasn't bad either. As a client, Paul wasn't very memorable and I have never, ever liked Barry's character. It was Aviva's portrayal of Eve that made the rest of the episode fun to watch. She basically came off as an evil Avril Lavigne crossed with Angelina Jolie's character from "Hackers." The best Eve sequences came when she was constantly ahead of any steps taken by Michael and his crew. I especially liked her ability to shake a tail in traffic. Eve's obvious disgust for Michael's faked advances were also pretty funny. It's almost a shame that she's so bad, because Eve would probably have been a good addition to Michael's team if he could have turned her. The show could really use another female cast member.
WWE's Big Show was pretty wasted in his role here, which amounted to little more than a cameo. I've seen Paul Wight before in earlier guest spots on other series and he is really funny when given the chance. It would have been nice if his character could have stayed around for the entire episode.
For the first time since last season, I'm eager to see where the next episode of "Burn Notice" will take us. Don't screw this up, USA!
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.