Burn Notice: Season 2, Episode 16

Lesser Evil (5 Mar. 2009)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama
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Michael captures the rogue agent responsible for trying to bomb him, but he decides to form an alliance with him and together go after Carla and her boss. But that decision also puts Michael's mother in jeopardy.



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Title: Lesser Evil (05 Mar 2009)

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Episode complete credited cast:


Michael has kept Carla dangling long enough to capture Victor alone. The hit-man soon convinces him, or as good as, their common problem is ruthless Carla, so they team up. Meanwhile Sam has a hard time with ma Madelin, who refuses once again to be evacuated to safety without explanations. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Release Date:

5 March 2009 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

Season 2: The fragmented feel still limits it but S02 does benefit from a bit more polish and slickness than S01
20 August 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When I watched season 1 of Burn Notice, I was continually struck by how it appeared to be a show that had had so-so expectations put on it by the network and could have done with a bit more love in terms of money, writing and the overall ambition of the show. Season 2 returned with the offer of a season long thread that could produce a good overall arch that gives some cohesion to the slightly "A-Team-esque" structure to the "case-a-week" nature of it all. This does happen to a point and the season is better for it but it still never moves away from being what it is – and nor should it I suppose and me criticising it for this is like criticising water for being wet.

So as before it does appear to know what it is aiming for and it is not a b*lls-out serious thriller but rather light entertainment with a bit of edge along with the fun. In this regard it continues to deliver easy plots that don't challenge the viewer but do engage sufficiently to be of worth. Some of the episodes are weaker than others. Some of the cases are a bit weak and benefit a lot from having the Carla thread be a part of the episode to keep it interesting. These "cases" are generally less inspiring and are delivered with the rather stop/start, fade-out nature that limited the first season. It is hard to describe but it often feels like the tension is never built up or maintained rather well and that any one scene that has pace or thrills sort of "ends" and then the next scene almost has to start from scratch. This is more evident with the stronger episodes because these ones do keep all the balls in the air and do manage to have a good build to them – the final 5 or 6 episodes of the season are good examples of this, specifically the bank robbery one did a good job of keeping things tight and having a plot that allowed drama to build rather than stop/start.

Of course the writing is still not all that great and there is still nothing that really gets me excited about the show beyond quite liking it as something easy, amusing and diverting to watch. The humour is amusing but not as much fun as I would have liked it to be. Likewise the action scenes are good enough but nothing to really lift the pulse and the actual plots are engaging but not gripping to the point where I can't wait for the next episode. It is full of convenience and lazy writing as well – Michael's brother comes and goes as required and, when Michael's family comes under threat in the final episodes, nobody even mentions the brother. This is getting more obvious as time goes on because it does often feel that the world of Burn Notice is not building or growing as no ramifications really follow through episode to episode beyond those necessary for the "bigger picture" thread or those that the writers want to keep around to make their job easier.

But yet I quite like it. The easy nature of it is appealing and it does have a good presentation by using Michael's voice-over – often explaining the plot while also being interesting as little tips on the spy game (albeit from a TV writer's point of view). There does appear to have been a bit more cash spent on it as well as it looks a bit more polished across the board, making it fit better with the "glossy light entertainment" feel of it. Donovan continues to be good in the lead and has much more of a screen presence here than in season 1. Although the opening credits still remind us of her terrible accent in the pilot, Anwar works well with him despite forcing "sexy" to the point of it painful – does she always have to walk like she is on a runway? She doesn't do that well with the odd moment where she is asked to emote so perhaps this is for the best but the simple limits of her character do tire after a bit. Campbell continues to be fun while Gless continues to be "OK" – not her fault, her character just feels the least interesting of the lot. The addition of Helfer adds to the "big picture" and she is solid, while the weekly stories are helped by some familiar faces – some of whom are actually pretty good.

Season 2 does improve on the first but it continues to impact me in the same way. Yes it is all quite good for what it is but it still has the feeling of a show that lacks bigger ambition and is happy to continue to do what it does without being better (note I said better, not "different" – it can improve without becoming something it doesn't want to be). It never excels at anything in particular and it makes it difficult to get excited about it. Hopefully season 3 will bring more improvements in the writing.

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