And A Beautiful Beginning For Some

In the series finale of Burn Notice, Michael comes back from the brink of evil, but finds that the only way to get the life he wants is to pay a terrible price.

Burn Notice series finale

I really wish I could take at least a day to absorb this episode and maybe watch it a few more times before having to write this review, but there is also something to be said for just letting go with my gut reaction first.

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A lot of things that happened in this episode I saw coming, but it was still the most emotional episode of this series that I've ever seen. And that's counting some of the amazing episodes we've had this season. One thing that I wasn't positive about, but was very hopeful would happen, was Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) choosing Fi (Gabrielle Anwar) over Sonya (Alona Tal). Looking back at everything that happened, it seems like an obvious choice now, but with the way he was acting last week, who knew?

Once Michael decided to go back to the good side, he and the rest of his team faced some of their biggest challenges yet. Strong (Jack Coleman), understandably disappointed to lose out on James, set the entire CIA and local law enforcement on them all and they had to run from James' (John Pyper-Ferguson) people as well as the law. Michael came to the conclusion that the only way to be safe was to capture James themselves. Of course he wanted to do it by himself, but his team wouldn't let him get away with it.

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It was fantastic to see how quickly Michael's team rallied behind him as soon as he went back into their midst. There were no hard feelings, no guilt trips — everyone just got back to work. I also loved that, as soon as they saw where his head was at, all of them put the kibosh on his death wish, but quick. Another possible option I saw was to have Michael sacrifice himself for the rest of the team, but it wasn't him who got that honor.

Oh man, just thinking about what Madeline (Sharon Gless) did for her son, her grandson and the rest of her makeshift family is making me tear up as I'm typing this. Throughout the series, Maddie has apologized over and over again for not defending Michael from his father when he was a little boy. And yet, without the abuse from his dad, Michael would not have become the man he was. Still, it seemed like Maddie always held that guilt inside, and her sacrifice was her way of finally paying back that debt. I had predicted that Maddie would die, but I didn't imagine it would happen the way it did and I'm glad for that. In my head, I saw Maddie being the victim of James, causing Michael to seek revenge. The way the writers wrote it was imminently better. I should've known that Maddie was much too strong to go down under anything other than her own will.

After Maddie gave her life so that Jesse and Charlie could escape, the team went to work on their plan to get James and his entire network. In the end, James caught Michael and Fi and it appeared for a little while there that Maddie's wasn't going to be the only loss in this episode. I had a feeling we would see them again and I was right. Again, the writers handled it beautifully. Sending Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse (Coby Bell) to the CIA with the disk to take down James' network, clear their names and "bury" Michael and Fi as heroes. Leaving Michael and Fi to escape with Charlie.

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I seriously lost track of the amount of times this episode made me cry, but the biggest bawl-fest happened when I heard the soft Irish music as the camera went over the snow globe. When I saw Michael, with little Charlie asleep on his lap and Fi by his side, I was a wreck. But it was the final line that really, truly did me in. Michael asked Fi what he should tell Charlie about himself when his nephew grew up and her reply was the perfect way to bookend a series that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

"Start with the beginning: My name is Michael Westen and I used to be a spy."

My favorite bits:

Michael shooting Sonya. There was no other choice, but still. Wow.

James ordering his people to give no mercy to Michael.

Michael and Fiona touching each other's cheek before running off the roof. Ugh. What a moment.

"Figured we could use a bigger ride." — Yes!

Nearly dying through that long pause before Michael nodded his head after Sam asked if he was in.

Michael admitting that he almost didn't pull that trigger. Wow.

"I knew if I was wrong about you, it didn't matter if I got out of there alive."

Jesse and Michael's discussion about the supplies.

Yes! A reference to The Chin. My life is complete. Thank you, writers.

Michael driving the car into the shop. Whoa!

Michael taking that bullet —  like a boss. And then taking down the bad guy.

"You think it was tough being burned? You haven't seen anything yet."

The team refusing to hide while Michael went after James. Darn straight.

Michael reassuring his mom that Fi got to him before it was too late.

"I don't want to lose another son."

"Sometimes sacrifices have to be made."

The party and the strawberry ice cream and the hug and... *bawls like a baby*

Michael pointing out that an armored car wouldn't drive if its wheels weren't on the ground.

"He's serious, shut up."

"There's a difference between a necessary risk and a death wish."

Noticing that Jesse used the duct tape to close the bag.

Jesse reassuring Maddie that everything was going to be okay.Burn Notice series finale

"I never had a family, and now I got one."

"There is no way out. There is only the reckoning."

The way Michael's face fell when Maddie said she knew how to get Jesse and Charlie out.

"If saving you means I don't get out of here, it's fine with me."

"I am so proud of the man you are."

"Good-bye, mom."— No. Words.

I held it together, right up until Maddie said goodbye to Charlie. That was the moment I was a goner.

"Go, Jesse, please."

Michael declaring that he wanted to fight and that he owed it to his mom to use the second chance she gave him.

"Should we shoot them?" — Nice reference to the pilot.

Maddie smoking that last cigarette

"This one's for my boys." — Love that woman. LOVE HER.

"I want to live, maybe more than I ever have."

Michael putting his hand on Fi's cheek before he executed his insane plan.

The explosions going off in silence. Wait. WHAT???

"You know spies, bunch of bitchy little girls." — Another great reference to the pilot.

I KNEW IT!

"Where do you think they are?"
"Hard to say. Lot of places with C4 and yogurt."

Sam and Jesse deciding to get back to work. I loved that little moment so much.

"Good luck, Mike. wherever you are."

I knew it was coming, but still. Charlie on Michael's lap and Fi telling Michael what to say when Charlie grew up — Wow.

What did you think of the Burn Notice series finale? Did you expect it to end the way that it did?

Image courtesy of USA

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Comments on "Burn Notice series finale recap: A beautiful ending"

Thomas Karlmann October 13, 2013 | 6:55 PM

My reaction is a bit different -- I did not know this was the last episode! As soon a Fi said: "Should we shoot them?" I started to suspect a Series Ending. Maddie's death, then Sam saying: "You know spies, bunch of ie little girls.". I was still in hope that is WASN"T the end of many good time I've had viewing the series, but everyone's life must go on -- and it will. A Fond Farewell to everyone in the cast & crews -- you guys really did a fantastic job. Now Gabrielle can be with her kids.

ackack September 23, 2013 | 10:35 PM

I've watched every episode of Burn Notice, and if this finale wasn't the biggest piece of crap I ever saw, I don't know what was. Full of logic problems and cheesy as hell. The only reason I watched the whole thing is I was hoping there woul be SOME redeeming point. There wasn't. Crap crap crap. Of course it followed, after this last season was pretty mc a ---- season anyway. Like many shows, they lost their way this year, and should have hung I up already. Sad to see it end this poorly, but the way it was going good to see it end. Wasn't worth the time any more.

vtjean September 17, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Burn Notice was my favorite show and I will miss it! The ending was everything I'd hoped it would be and then some. Loved that Michael and Fiona ended up together in Ireland with Charlie. Great shot of the Miami Beach snow globe in the cottage. It definitely was a feel good ending! I hope they make a Burn Notice tv movie to show where everyone is and what they are doing. Maybe Fi and Michael with a new little Westen baby and Charlie, to complete the family...

GJ September 16, 2013 | 2:57 PM

Loved the ending.

chris September 15, 2013 | 8:36 PM

I've been watching this show since I was 13 and, like a lot of people became attached to the characters. This episode was the ultimate heart-breaker; watching an old life sacrifice herself in order for Charlie to live just epitomized Madeline Western's character! She never goes down without a fight. So glad that the gang managed to survive and that, in the end, Michael got the girl! The references to the shows intro and pilot episode, especially the "shall we shoot them?" was just perfect. A little cheesy, sure but could we really live without hearing that famous line one more time? I'm feeling a little incomplete knowing that Matt Nix's genius show is over and I'm sure it will take many years til I find a show I love so much. I'm glad the show went out in style and without a cliff hanger!

Daphne M September 15, 2013 | 1:44 PM

Third best series finale ending after M*A*S*H* and ER (I had predicted that Dr. Greene's daughter would become an intern at her late father's hospital). This one was classy, fun and tough.

Annie September 14, 2013 | 7:30 PM

It was a fantastic ending....I held it together until the last few minutes, then fell apart! Bawled like crazy! My husband and I are in our late 60's and have watched Burn Notice from the very beginning! Incredibly great writing and the camaraderie among the "team" is like none I've seen on other shows! (We were wondering if there might be a "Sam and Jessie" spinoff...)

Stu September 14, 2013 | 3:17 PM

@BKS I disagree. Far too many shows try to do the 'cliffhanger' ending that leaves you asking questions. This works for movies and some TV shows. But when you're invested in characters to the level that a long running series creates, sometimes it's just nice to have everything wrapped up. The ending was satisfying and doesn't leave me wanting more. It ended the way it should have, even if a few of the lines were a little cheesy.

DJG September 14, 2013 | 1:55 PM

Did anyone notice that Jeffrey Donovan's real life wife and baby girl were in a cameo in the series finale? They are in the restaurant looking at a TV screen with Michael Westen's photo. The baby is posed right under her father's photo.

Ml Fabbri September 14, 2013 | 12:05 PM

Loved every minute and every character especially my Massachusetts boy!

Jennifer M September 13, 2013 | 8:14 PM

I loved this show! Just finished watching the finale and bawled my eyes out! A show I'm definitely going to miss...

Colleen September 13, 2013 | 1:19 PM

"A show that will forever hold a place in my heart". Well-said. There is no room in my heart for any other characters - I will miss these guys forever. And like Coby said and my mother tells me often "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." But - I'm still crying! And I will for a long time.

BKS September 13, 2013 | 10:49 AM

Last scene--too neat, tiday and tied up with a bow. Last scene should have been taking the plunge and leaving the rest to our imaginations.

Tom McKelvey September 13, 2013 | 8:06 AM

Surprised you didn't mention all 5 lines from the opening of the show were said during the show. Also that Barry and Sugar were at the funeral. Tons of references to themselves and the die hards. Was worried that this show would not get the proper send off it deserved, but it did.

Dave September 13, 2013 | 4:08 AM

Great ending, should be a historical series finale

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