One of the little things I've loved about Burn Notice is that it doesn't just make characters up and then forget them; like real people, they come and go, and are often heard from again. That's the case with this week's episode, as longtime reluctant ally Barry Burkowski (Paul Tei) asks for help on behalf of his brother Paul, whom he describes as "screwed six ways from Sunday" after he's been framed for the theft of a valuable server at his credit union. The bickering brothers provide the episode's comic relief, but are also the in to a much more complicated story. With Burn Notice, nothing is ever simple, and that's the way I like it.
It doesn't take Team Westen long to identify the giant perp (that's wrestler The Big Show), who quickly gives up the woman who hired him. Her name is Eve (Aviva Farber), and she's a high-priced hacker who's got a vicious streak. When she outs Michael, it gets ugly in a hurry, even as he convinces her to turn on her employer. She's a much more 'wicked witch' than last season's Kendra (no offense to Navi Rawat), so it's pretty delicious to see her get hers with a well-placed foot on her throat. I wouldn't mind seeing her make a return appearance.
Meanwhile, Michael's still on CIA time, and tasked with handling theft of his own - namely, committing it to get the Agency data that's already been stolen by the French. The subplot exists to show us that Max (Grant Show) is sympathetic to Michael's side jobs, and not averse to helping him where he can. It's a refreshing change from the stodgy type we'd normally see in his position, and adds yet another layer to Max's character - which makes it a real shame that he ends up murdered. His demise is shocking, but it also makes me think about how much more we won't get to see done with him. Only time will tell if the plot surrounding his death makes up for the potential that existed in keeping him around.
The episode is a great example of the dual nature that exists when evaluating television. As a writer, I have two objectives and they often conflict. I want to create an episode that is immediately satisfying and that works on its own, but I also have to look at how it fits into the season as a whole. Oftentimes, what I look at now and think doesn't work actually will when I regard it later on, which may be weeks or months later. It's hard to give certain elements of shows a complete evaluation when we're only privy to the small picture, not the big one.
On its own, I don't think that "No Good Deed" is as good as the previous two episodes, but it definitely qualifies as the first "game changer" of the Burn Notice season, and just in time (if season five runs the average thirteen episodes, we're almost a third of the way through already). It begins a whole new arc for the season, and who didn't cheer when they saw the Dodge Charger roar into view at episode's end? There's certainly plenty of possibility here, and we'll have to see where the show takes it.