Burn Notice – Better Halves

As a follow up to the show’s two-part reunion for The Pretender (Jeffrey Donovan has his own roots on the show, and then Patrick Bauchau was on “Eye for an Eye” and Michael T. Weiss was on “Army of One,” plus the Suits episode airing the same night featured Andrea Parker), tonight’s episode also had a prominent guest star. Charisma Carpenter, best known for playing Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (and a reoccurring role on Veronica Mars), plays the trophy wife of a physicist working for the Russians.

Charisma’s not the first connection Burn Notice has to Buffy and Angel. The show’s Coby Bell briefly appeared on Buffy, and the actors who played Whistler and the potential Rona also showed up on Burn Notice. Navi Rawat plays both a psychotic slayer on Angel and an only slightly less psychotic assassin on Burn Notice.

The episode’s entitled “Better Halves,” in reference to Michael and Fiona having to go undercover as husband and wife to extract another couple from a luxury resort. But it also hints at the episode’s split story – Michael and Fiona are doing one mission while Sam and Jesse have another. It’s a shame that the episode doesn’t have the whole team working together (or at least the trio) like they do so well.

Fiona is still in a bit of a whiny stage, but in this episode it’s clear that Michael is far too content with the way things are between them. At least as the episode ended they seemed at a better place with each other – I was hoping the writers weren’t going to steer toward a breakup for the cliffhanger. The tango was fun, but I wish Michael’s voiceovers hadn’t ruined the mood of it. And I love Michael going back for Fiona and their shoot-out in the abandoned building.

Charisma had a tough role – making an unhappy trophy wife be manipulative but still likeable. And the show even put in some Cordy-like lines for her. But you don’t get a true sense of how messed-up her marriage is until her husband wants to cut his losses and leave her to die. At that point, it doesn’t matter how manipulative or needy Nicki can be, you’re rooting for her.

When Max’s killer says he has answers to questions Michael doesn’t even have yet, he could be bluffing, but I’m pretty sure he’s not. After all, the show was renewed for two seasons, so Michael can’t just go back to the CIA with a season and a half left (at least). There have to be more layers of conspiracy to uncover.

The cliffhanger scene startled me a bit at the last minute, since I would have guessed it was new information the killer brought to light. But I’d been expecting Pearce would catch onto Michael, and I knew it would probably happen in the summer finale. Really, though – an agent coming alone with one gun? She’s no match for Michael, even armed, and Fiona is right outside. Either she has serious doubts about Michael being the killer (and thus reasoning that he won’t kill her), or she’s just plain stupid. And even if she was smart enough to have a backup team, they’re at least a few minutes away or Michael would have spotted them.

However that scene plays out, I think it’s safe to say Michael won’t exactly be in the CIA’s good graces anymore. And while that’s a bad thing for him, I think it’ll be a good thing for the show.

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