One of Burn Notice‘s main characters is a mother. But she wasn’t the one being overprotective in this week’s episode, “Unchained.” After weeks of living in denial, Nate’s death has finally become a priority. And Michael’s reluctant to let anyone else get hurt.

The Players:

  • Director: Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
  • Writer: Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
  • Cast: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless, Coby Bell

Episode Title: “Unchained”

Michael tries to change the way the team works and goes back to basics. Him and Fi take on the Robby and Donna cover, where Michael allows himself to be arrested by the FBI to get close to the Boston mob. Sam helps behind the scenes via the tracker embedded in Michael’s belt buckle. As for Jesse, he and Pearce play blackmailers to get info about a weapons sale.

The Good:

  • Fi Doesn’t Take “No” For an Answer: When Michael goes into overprotective mode, he tries to keep Fi out danger. But to Fi, that’s keeping her out of the fun. She basically gives him a good “Sorry I’m not sorry” and invites herself along for the ride. Ah, just like old times.
  • Robby and Donna: Speaking of old times, Michael and Fi pose as Boston sleaze bags, which is a total throwback to their early covers. There’s something about Michael’s ridiculous accent and Fi wearing clothes only a toddler could fit that makes you nostalgic. Or is that just me?
  • Smoke Signals: Fi’s tutorial on how to create a super smoky fire (and cover for escaping the cops) is Burn Notice how-tos at their best. This show should really come with a “Don’t Try This at Home” disclaimer, because I always want to test these out.
  • Speaking in Code: Once Michael and Fi are captured and separated, he gets her on the phone for a description of his location. There’s also a promise that the house will be on fire when Sam and co. come barging in to save him. The fact that he gives her the clues right in front of the bad guys is icing on the cake.

The So-So:

  • Jesse’s Case: Jesse is a really fun character. But it seems like he gets recycled Michael plots week after week. I’d love to see him get his own “thing.” Michael’s “thing” is being great at everything, but kind of a jerk. Fi’s “thing” is being crazy and really into explosions. Sam’s “thing” is pretending to be named Chuck and ordering mojitos. Maddy’s “thing” is chain smoking and lying to police. What’s Jesse’s “thing”? Being the cool African American version of Michael? No thanks. You can do better, Burn Notice.
  • Sexy Time: Scenes that involve Michael and Fi making sexy time should be, well, sexy. He’s a badass spy. She’s a badass explosions whiz. They’re both attractive (Fi’s eyebrows are finally in check so we can call her that again). But there’s something about them bantering about sex that’s more like hearing your parents talk about it. This seems like kind of a problem.

The Bad:

  • Pearce’s Exit: Pearce gets in hot water with the agency for her involvement in Jesse’s blackmailing case. She takes full responsibility to shield Michael and gets reassigned doing glorified desk work half-way around the world. Harsh, but now she’s gone for good. I suppose this is an opening to bring in another agency contact for Michael. One who will spice things up since Pearce grew to be SO on his side, but it felt false. I don’t really buy for a minute that Pearce would have sacrificed her entire career for Michael and company.


“Unchained” was another up after a down. If Burn Notice stays on this season’s trend, that means we can expect a down next week. Still, I won’t look a gift BN episode in the mouth. This week was a lot of fun and long time fans will appreciate the emphasis on the Michael-Fi-Sam dynamic. Oh, and the accents. They’ll also appreciate the accents.

Rating: 8/10

Burn Notice airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on USA.

What did you think of this week’s episode?