Michael Westen’s gotten himself into a number of sticky situations over the years; this week, it’s Sam and Jesse’s turns to lie under the gun.In “Necessary Evil”, another semi-official job for Agent Pearce leads the team to try and recover a kidnapped scientist and his daughter, who’re both being held by a warlord who’s trying to create a new sort of missile that will allow him full dominance over his countrymen.Meanwhile, Michael and Fiona trace the signal coming from Anson’s transmitter right to an unfortunately familiar-to-Madeline source.
This one is a showcase for the tandem of Coby Bell and Bruce Campbell, and both men bring their talents to the table in spades.Campbell is particularly good as Sam tapdances as hard as he can to keep the entire deal from falling apart and Jesse from dying – Bell was stalwart and empathetic; while Michael saves the day and coordinates the rescue, this is both men’s show, and they run it with aplomb for the full length of the episode.
Meanwhile, Sharon Gless and Jeffrey Donovan knock it out of the park for a second week in a row as Michael and Maddie struggle to beat the clock and find out if there’s a way to redeem Maddie’s boyfriend or if he is, indeed, Anson’s plant.Only Gabrielle Anwar was left with little to do, though, after her heavy use in the emotional half-season finale, I can understand why they’re giving Fi’s character a bit of a rest.
I have to admit I have a qualm with them using Benny when they already have the ready-made character of Virgil.We’re just not too terribly attached to the guy, whom we were briefly introduced to in season 4 and who, unlike Virgil, wasn’t the main focus of his episodes.Think of how much more impact Virgil betraying Sam, Michael AND Madeline would’ve had.
The feeling that Burn Notice has lost its way continues to linger in the air.While things still go boom, intrigue still perfumes the air and the actors all have excellent chemistry with one another, helping a guy whose son has been poisoned by ruthless medical swindlers is a far more gripping than Michael saving yet another kidnapped scientist or hacker who has mcguffin x, y or z in his grip.Thus, while Michael’s being semi-unburned may have heightened the stakes of his missions, but it’s reduced the human rooting value a bit. For what it is, "Necessary Evil" is entertaining and even nail-biting on occasion.
LETTER GRADE: B+