‘Burn Notice’ – ‘Fail Safe’: The things we do for love

“Burn Notice” just wrapped up its fifth season, and I have some thoughts on the finale and the current state of the show coming up just as soon as I’m smarter than a keypad…

I’ll be honest: since the show returned from its fall break in November, some of the episodes have sat on my DVR for a good long while, and I ultimately wound up skipping the last one or two (I definitely missed Vaughn’s return) just so I could watch the finale in time to write it up. The way “Burn Notice” is structured, I reasoned that the “previously on” clips, plus the usual exposition-fest at the start of the episode, would help me catch up on what I’d missed, and I was right.

I don’t think the show’s been doing anything especially wrong lately that’s made me less intent on getting to each new episode. I just feel like, five years in, I’ve seen everything “Burn Notice” has to offer, and while I enjoy watching on occasion as a classic laundry-folder, my interests fly more towards things that feel a little fresher.

That said, the back half of this season had some clear pluses and minuses. On the plus side, I really enjoyed watching Jere Burns, and though I’d have to go back and watch a few Tricia Helfer episodes to be sure, at the moment he may be my favorite of the show’s various big bads. On the minus side, it felt at times like the show figured the best way to make Anson seem smarter was to make Michael slightly dumber and/or gullible. I appreciate that Fi spent a lot of the finale pointing out to Michael how many bad things he was doing – and how many other people he was potentially hurting – just to protect her, but it’s been hard for the series to trade on their relationship emotionally given how little we see of it most of the time. I know it’s a private eye action comedy without a lot of room to show the hero and heroine being schmoopy with each other (and I liked the episode from September where he tried to turn a CIA mission into a romantic getaway, or vice versa), but for our hero to run around like the villain’s puppet for a half-dozen episodes, we have to be more invested in the reason he’s doing it than I think I still am in Michael and Fi’s one true love.

I’ll keep watching, but maybe not as regularly as in the past. The people who make “Burn Notice” are very good at what they do, even if they’ve been doing it a while. But the thing with some shows is that once you skip an episode or two, you realize how easy it is to skip more.

I imagine those of you still watching are feeling more passionate right now, so what did everybody else think? Were you satisfied with how the fifth season wrapped up? Did the cliffhanger with Fi and the cops make you eager to jump ahead to summer 2012 already?