Top critical review
"Sacrifices must be made"
Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2017
For the final season of “Burn Notice” Matt Nix takes the series to a very dark place; this means no jaunty salsa inspired theme music, virtually no bikini babes strutting around, and lots of soapy drama, Mike crying, Fiona crying, Jesse crying, heck even Sam looking a little misty. Make no mistake; the breezy “Burn Notice” of the first few seasons has been left behind. Once again we find Michael being manipulated by an omnipotent foe into doing their bidding in order to save friends and family. This time it’s the CIA on one side and cultish figure James (John Pyper-Ferguson, Tex on “The Last Ship”) who runs some sort of off the books organization the folks at Langley want to see taken down.
Michael and Fiona have parted ways and she’s got a new boyfriend while Michael’s getting cozy with a Russian acolyte of James named Sonia (Alona Tal, cheerleader Meg from “Veronica Mars” who happens to be a knockout blonde). Michael and crew wind up rescuing her from the Russians who haven’t taken her defection to James very well. Supposedly she’s been held for 2 weeks in a black site being tortured. Inexplicably there’s not a mark on her, hair and makeup are perfect and she looks ready for Vogue cover shoot.
Mom Maddie Westen gets custody of deceased son Nate’s child Charlie. Maddie has certainly evolved over seven years and is way more comfy with the spy business. That said it’s quite lot to ask us to buy her unrealistically helping Fiona with a kidnapping, blowing up a loan shark’s office, and waving around a handgun like it’s no problem. Her character’s ultimate fate will no doubt trouble some long time fans.
Meantime Sam and Jesse’s lives appear to be status quo. Without going into the plot details there’s plenty of torment for Michael trying to decide how to save his friends while he’s torn between his CIA handler’s demands and his growing regard for how James’ operation is doing good work (with albeit sometimes questionable methods). Some viewers may like this sort of thing but I missed the good old days of helping folks out tough situations and the lighter mood of the first 3-4 seasons. Within the 13 episodes the writers insert certain tag lines for the characters to speak one more time like Sam’s “You know spies, just a bunch of bitchy little girls” or Fiona’s “Should we shoot them” which was about all the fun you were going to get on this last outing of the show.
Frustrating elements for me included Fiona’s adoption of the Walther PPK pistol as her weapon of choice. It’s a great little pistol (just ask 007) that’s easy to conceal on a small person but only has a 6 shot magazine (assuming .380 caliber). In the final episode when an opponent is shot and she’s got the opportunity to take their bigger caliber, higher capacity handgun she just leaves it on the ground…not smart when you’re trying to shoot your way out of a bad situation. Later she and Michael have their backs against the wall and are down to Fi’s PPK she says she has 3 rounds left, then shoots 2 of them, tosses the pistol to Mike who then shoots at least 3-4 more shots, must be a Hollywood gun.
The iconic black Dodge Charger makes an unexplained comeback midway through the season and is in perfect shape; glad to see it but didn’t seem probable as I think it was blown up in Season 6 (again). Speaking of cars, part of the action takes place in Cuba giving the set dressers an opportunity to display an array of classic 50’s and early 60’s American automobiles. While I love these cars the ones used for the show are pristine looking like they just rolled of the stage of a Barrett-Jackson classic car auction. Not only does the team manage to procure show winning cars but they mostly are bright tomato red…ideal for stealthy and covert operations. Then again there’s Fiona’s red Hyundai…
We get to see Sam in Navy dress blues at the end of the final episode and once again must be the same wardrobe consultants from “The Fall of Sam Axe”. It looks pretty legit overall but again for a guy for whom the core of his character is that he’s a Navy SEAL they don’t have him wearing the SEAL trident badge! He’s looks like he’s wearing some surface warfare officer insignia instead…one of the most famous military insignia and it’s twice now they have used the wrong thing.
The DVD has very limited bonus features, given the bleak tone of this season it’s amazing there was a gag reel at all but not surprisingly it’s only a couple minutes long. There’s also a 10 minute vignette about ending the series that’s mildly interesting. All in all if you’ve been a long time fan of “Burn Notice” then you must watch the grand finale despite the fact that it’s strayed far from its appealing original vibe.