Episode Title: "Reunion"
Writer: Rashad Raisani
Director: Craig Siebels
In the aftermath of the murders of Nate Westen (Seth Peterson) and Anson Fullerton (Jere Burns), Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and his girlfriend, Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar) take some time to reconnect while watching a sunrise on the beach. Michael asks Fiona to sit out of the hunt for Nate's killer, but she refuses. Back at Michael's loft, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) reports that none of his sources in the FBI have any idea who killed Anson or Nate. Michael also notes that his mother, Madeline (Sharon Gless) isn't returning his calls since he told her about his brother's death.
On a more urgent front, Sam tells Michael that Anson's former operative, Rebecca Anderson (Kristanna Loken) isn't answering her phone and the tracking device Sam hid on her is still stationary. Fearing that Anson's killer may have gotten to Rebecca as well, Team Westen races to the hotel where they hid her, only to find that Rebecca is missing and she left Sam's tracking device behind with a taunting message. Enraged, Michael says that Rebecca played them and he assumes that she killed Nate while trying to shoot Anson. In the midst of this, Sam meets his rich girlfriend, Elsa (Jennifer Taylor), who gives him the hotel phone records that may help the team find Rebecca.
Sam also gets Elsa to open up about her son, Evan (Brando Eaton); who stole a valuable bracelet from her after making desperate demands for money. Reluctantly, Sam agrees to postpone his commitment to Michael in order to find Evan and recover the bracelet. Sam also recruits Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) for the meeting with Evan and they easily barge in on him. Evan frantically gives them the bracelet and he asks them to hide when Morris (Richard Burgi) and his men show up outside.
From Evan's bedroom, Sam and Jesse hear Morris threaten to have Evan crippled if he hasn't assembled a team to help him steal a truck. To save himself, Evan claims that Sam and Jesse are his team, so Morris escorts them all to the job site. Meanwhile, Michael and Fiona trace Rebecca's clandestine call to a print shop; which they surmise is where she will get her fake ID and papers. They confront the owner of the print shop and force him to cancel all of his appointments for the day so they can lay in wait for Rebecca. Elsewhere, Morris brings Sam, Jesse and Evan to a nearby location and tells them that they have an hour to steal a truck filled with champagne from a competitor who stiffed him.
Despite Sam and Evan's bickering, the trio come up with a workable plan. As Jesse crashes into the power circuits of the club in a stolen car, Sam and Evan hotwire the truck and drive through the gated fence. Jesse is forced to make a quick retreat when the club owner's men light him up with semi-automatic gunfire. Back at the print shop, the impromptu sting goes bad when one of the owner's clients shows up and demands his ID package as agreed upon. Before Michael and Fiona can get rid of him, Rebecca sees the commotion and runs off down the street. Michael pursues and they exchange gunfire.
Michael is hit in his bulletproof vest, but his shot wings Rebecca near her shoulder. Regardless, she makes it back to a waiting motorcycle and speeds away. Elsewhere, Jesse is livid that his life was endangered as he fled the nightclub. But when he and Sam open the truck, they discover that Morris set them up to steal a mobile ecstasy ab. Worse, Evan tells the duo that Morris and his men are quickly driving towards them and they probably won't let them walk away alive. So, they leave Jesse in the back of the truck with the lab as Jesse and Evan take the truck out as fast as they can. Sam's defensive driving techniques help Evan keep the other vehicles at bay, while Jesse's improvised chemical bombs also prove useful.
But when Morris himself shoots a hole in their gas supply, Sam calls Michael in for help. Realizing that they can't get there in time and fight off Morris' men alone, Michael assumes the identity of a crooked Internal Affairs police officer who brazenly berates the club owner about his stolen drug lab and tells him where to go to take back his property before it blows back on all of them. Sam, Jesse and Evan are able to escape into the brush after threatening to blow up the truck, with Morris' gunmen right behind them. But Michael leads the club owner and his men straight to Morris and he urges them to clean up their mess.
The club owner happily obliges and he lets Morris' men escape with their lives. Morris isn't as lucky. The gunfire convinces the men chasing Sam, Jesse and Evan to return to the truck. With everyone safe, Sam brings Evan to Elsa, where he returns the bracelet. Sam also locks them in a room to work out their differences over a bottle of tequila. Back at the loft, Michael and Fiona find a bloodied Rebecca waiting for them. Rebecca insists that she didn't kill Anson or Michael's brother and she offers up her life if Michael doesn't believe her. Ultimately, Michael relents and lets her leave. But before she goes, Rebecca offers her condolences for Nate's death.
At Nate's funeral, Michael is reunited with his mother as they say goodbye to Nate for the last time. Fiona, Sam and Jesse also accompany them as they go up to Nate's casket.
If nothing else, the death of Nate Weston has been a gift for Seth Peterson. I don't recall any other season of "Burn Notice" in which he appeared in so many consecutive episodes, even though he's unlikely to come back after his brief casket appearance here. Michael's grief for Nate seems palpable and this is the sort of thing that should drive a huge wedge between Michael and his mother, Madeline. If their relationship is back to normal next week or soon after then Nate's death will be wasted. The only compelling reason to kill off a relatively major supporting character is to see how it affects the other main characters long term.
It was a little puzzling that Nate's estranged wife (or is it ex-wife?) Ruth didn't even make a cameo appearance at his funeral with their child. Maybe that will come up again down the line, but their absence was noted. Also, I am really sick to death of TV series trying to invoke an emotional response from the audience by playing a sad and sappy song over the onscreen action. It happened last week during Nate's death and again this week during his funeral. Enough already. If you can't make the demise of Michael's brother work on its own merits then you haven't done your job correctly.
Kristanna Loken made a welcome return as Rebecca after sitting out of last week's episode. But this may be the last time that we see Rebecca as well if she finally skips town. It still feels like there's some life to Rebecca's story, even if her conflict with Michael in this episode seemed pretty forced. Which isn't to say that there weren't fun parts. Michael and Fiona's infiltration of the print shop was one of their more entertaining cons. And Michael's corrupt IA officer was also one of his better cover identities. It also didn't involve Jeffrey Donovan faking another ridiculous accent. He's much better when using his natural voice. It actually makes Michael's lies seem more believable that way.
The bulk of this episode was the Sam and Jesse show, with guest star Brando Eaton as their temporary sidekick, Evan. Bruce Campbell and Coby Bell certainly deserve the spotlight, but the entire subplot with Evan and his mother felt like the series was ready to relapse into its case-of-the-week antics. There was also a noticeably fake CGI explosion during the truck chase that took me completely out the scene. Usually "Burn Notice" is pretty good with convincing explosions and stunt work. This looked like something out of a lesser show.
Now that Anson is dead, hopefully "Burn Notice" can move on to a new and compelling narrative beyond Michael's hunt for his brother's killer. Anson had to have been the primary target of the assassin, with Nate's death just an unfortunate accident… unless it wasn't an accident. There is someone out there with a potentially big grudge against Michael and company. Do you remember, Management? He was supposedly Anson's partner in the organization that burned Michael. Management's disappearance from "Burn Notice" was never satisfactorily dealt with, so I have to ask: what's John Mahoney working on these days?