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'Burn Notice' recap: Left hanging 'til January

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Burnnotice_lYesterday’s half-season finale delivered high action (that fab motorcycle chase), great guests (24‘s John Allen Nelson and Law & Order‘s Larry Clarke), two character returns (Nate and Carla), a love triangle (Campbell/Fiona/Mike), and some choice Sam quips (“You gotta love it when you tail someone to a place that makes a great mojito”). My only gripe: Not enough closure. I expected cliff-hangers like Mike diving off his front stairs as the loft burst into flames and the screen faded to black, or Nate going to lockup under a Carla-fabricated laundering charge and Fiona continuing to date clueless Campbell. But I hoped to at least learn Carla’s true identity and what deadly hijinks she’s got up her sleeve (or in her tankini, pictured).

Following last week’s revelation that sniper Bill was another of Carla’s pawns, Mike and Sam tracked him to a bayside building, where he used episode 2’s forged access card to gain entry. Later, while Bill chilled on the Daytona club circuit (mentally preparing for Carla’s killing mission, Sam presumed), Mike risked life and limb to sneak in and figure out that Bill’s target must be someone riding the daily ferry that passes by the fourth floor conference room window. Then he and Sam stalked Carla (or as the latter calls her, “the burn notice lady” and “tall, blond, and evil”) to a fancy-pants hotel where she did a lot of sexy swimming. Whatever she’s up to is apparently “big,” because between breaststrokes she conducted several poolside meetings with “international types” and installed a facial recognition security system outside her room — which, of course, Sam found a way to use his masculine wiles to help Mike break into. There Mike discovered a dossier packed with photos of himself, Bill, dead forger Nefzi, sad sack hacker Jimmy (who’s now Jimmy Barrett on Mad Men, btw), and one unfamiliar face (another operative maybe?), but no other clues.

Carla, of course, blew her top when she realized Mike had been in the building. (“There are things in the works that are far, far over your head. Stay out of them, or there will be consequences.”) When he didn’t back off, she retaliated by having Nate arrested — which may cause Madeleine (who took out a loan to help sonny start his limo business) to lose her bungalow. She also lured Michael, Sam, and Fiona on a fake stakeout, while vaporizing Bill (so much for his sniper skills) and planting explosives in Michael’s house. Which makes me wonder: If she knew Mike was eventually heading home to certain death, why did she follow him so fervently? Did she think he was going to Bill’s first? Was she going to chat with him first or kill him herself?

More importantly, on the burn tip, we’re left wondering what it all means. Who is the unknown man in Carla’s file (whom she met with during the episode)? Who’s going to be on that ferry that’s worth stealing a Dragunov to kill? And once it’s all over, will Mike get his job back?

addCredit(“Tricia Helfer: Glenn Watson”)

Speaking of jobs, Mike’s P.I. gig for the week had more to do withteaching us about his relationship with Fi than the actual assignment(foiling the planned snatching of a Venuzuelan heiress). Otherwise, Ithink, the plot would have made more sense — did you understand thestuff about her disappearance influencing the well-being of certain oilconglomerates? I didn’t (though I’m assuming they could blackmail Daddyinto making certain business decisions). But I didn’t care much either.I liked seeing Mike (or Mike’s persona, Brad) go head-to-head withNelson’s swarthy kidnapper, Lesher. We also learned something: “There’san art to drinking without getting drunk. Start with a lot of ice todilute the alcohol. Order a new round before you’re done so yourhalf-full drink gets taken away. And, of course, spill.”

Yet the most important thing to note is that Mike took the work toprotect Fiona, who wanted to please Campbell, who hoped to help Lesher’spatsy, Henry (Clarke), get out of this mess. And that Mike used Brad’sspeech to Lesher about finding God and undergoing life’s tests to tellFiona he basically thought she was an angel (among other great things).PopWatcher Steph, you were right, it melted my heart. My wish: We seethem work things out without Campbell getting hurt. He did cook up thattuna tahini for Mike, after all.

In the end, it’s going to be a long wait until the show returns inJanuary. Those who live close enough to the Windy City should try andcatch Jeffrey Donovan on stage in the comedy Don’t Dress for Dinner come November. My colleague Jason Clark, our Footlights theater columnist, says he’s not to be missed.

So, what did you guys think? Do you feel satisfied, or are you, likeme, wishing the episode had revealed a lot more? And thank you so muchto PopWatcher Robin for finding Fiona’s fanny pack online. I’m buyingone!

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