When we last saw Michael Westen, he made an agreement with the CIA to save his friends and mother in the aftermath of killing his former mentor, Tom Card. The Burn Notice season 7 premiere opens with Michael on assignment satisfying his deal while everyone else in his life tries to move on without him. It's been nine long months since Michael said goodbye.
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Spoiler alert: This article contains Burn Notice spoilers and clips. You've been warned.
Michael is working with a new handler, Andrew Strong (Jack Coleman), deep undercover in the Dominican Republic. He's drinking hard, fighting and taking odd jobs to survive with the hope of catching the eye of a former associate and terrorist Randall Burke (Adrian Pasdar). Michael's not allowed to contact his friends or family and must live his cover to the fullest.
His Friends Move On ... Until They Get Sucked Back In
While Michael satisfies his deal, his friends move on with their lives. Jesse's working at a new corporate security job. Fiona has moved on with a new man. And, Sam spends his days with his girlfriend, Elsa.
Even though they have moved on, they still worry about Michael and wonder if he is dead or alive. They get pulled into Michael's mess when an associate of Burke's investigates whether Michael is legitimately helping Burke or if he is a government plant.
Madeline Suffers the Most
Michael's poor mother is left in the dark about Michael's status. After losing Nate, she's distraught over having no idea what has become of her remaining son. With Nate dead and his widow back in rehab, Madeline is left to raise her grandson.
As Madeline has been known to do, she heads to different government agencies to try and find out what happened to Michael. This puts both her and Michael at risk.
Beware the Opening Sequence
After six years of getting to know Michael Westen and to care about him, the opening scene is difficult to watch. It's beautifully filmed and the tragedy of his situation is brilliantly captured without words. This is not the lighthearted Burn Notice of seasons' past, instead it's quite distressing to watch.
When Michael's voiceover starts, it's jarring to hear. Michael's life has never been easy, but he was usually upbeat about his missions and the tricks of the trade. That joy is absence from his tone after his time deep undercover.
Through the first two episodes, Michael is forced to continually make sacrifices as part of his deal with the CIA. While he had the best intentions for his family and friends when he made the deal, they are not understanding or forgiving.
There are several utterly heartbreaking moments. After 100 episodes of watching these characters, it's painful to see where they have ended up and the ruin that has been left behind.
Michael and Fiona's Love
In Burn Notice's 100th episode, "Forget Me Not," the show flashes back to when Michael first spotted Fiona in a bar in Ireland and how they fell in love. Given their present day separation, it's touching to see how quickly their love bloomed, while distressing to see how they have been forced apart.
After all their years together, Michael's understanding of Fiona becomes critical at a key moment. Is their love strong enough to overcome Michael's deal with the CIA and Fiona's new relationship? That's unclear, but if it happens it's not going to be an easy path to travel.
Will he be able to make amends to his friends and family in these final 13 episodes? Or, will Michael be left to live out the consequences alone?
Check out a Sneak Peek of Burn Notice season 7.
Burn Notice airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET on USA.
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(Image and video courtesy of USA.)