Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I had a huge crush on Gabrielle Anwar after seeing her in The Three Musketeers and For Love or Money in the early '90s, but I lost track of her after that. When she popped up on Burn Notice, I recognized her name, but barely the actress. In the '90s she was all fresh-faced and girl-next-door. Obviously she's matured in the last fifteen years, but on Burn Notice -- although she's still hot -- she looks worn and haggard. Like she's had a rough life.

Which, of course, she has. Or her character has, I mean.

I didn't like Fiona for a while. Like most of the other characters on the show, she seemed placed there merely to give Michael a hard time. She felt like a generic ex-girlfriend who could still fit in with the show because she also had a similarly shady past. But as the show's gone on, I'm loving her more and more.

Lately she's been pressuring Michael to talk about their relationship. That could get annoying fast, but it hasn't been thanks to the writing and Gabrielle's acting. Oh, she's nagging him, but underneath that is the knowledge that she's a fiesty, former IRA-member who could not only kill Michael thirty-five different ways, she'd do it while eating an ice-cream cone and listening to her iPod. Fi's got a streak in her that may not be sadistic, but it's close to sociopathic. Gabrielle plays her very calmly and dispassionately, but with a sad loneliness that's beautifully painful to watch.

It's like Fi knows that she's in a dark place and she's pretty much okay with that, except that she likes the way Michael makes her feel. I don't get the feeling that she wants Michael to "redeem" her or anything. He seems unequipped to do that even if she did. It's just that she loves the guy, so she flirts and teases and nags and tests, because Michael can't get past how bad their relationship was last time. But because she's so nearly unhinged, her nagging and testing carry a huge sense of danger with them. In last week's episode, she put Michael in harm's way a couple of times just to see if he'd support her.

Since he's Michael though, he can handle himself in those situations, so you never get angry with her. That's why they're such a hot couple. They'd totally kill anyone else they'd ever try a relationship with, which is why they're both so lonely. But they can survive each other. They're the only people in the world who they can survive. If only Michael would realize it.

Their relationship will always be rocky though. Michael's right to be nervous about her. Fi is to Burn Notice what Wolverine is to X-Men. She's unpredictable and deadly. Michael can take care of himself, but Fi is a monster in the way she deals with opponents. Michael's badass, but Fi's fifty times more. As capable as he is, Fi's the one he calls in when he needs super-muscle. It's a really good thing that she's so fiercely loyal to him. I'd be worried about his eventually pissing her off and making an enemy of her, but that's not the way things are going. Michael obviously cares about her and is loyal to her too; he's just not sure he can go where she wants him to romantically.

The result is a fascinating relationship between two characters I absolutely love. I started watching the show for Bruce Campbell (and he's great, don't get me wrong), but Fi's my new favorite. Not just on Burn Notice, but in genre fiction in general.


Unknown said...

I love this show as well.

I agree on the worn but hot comment.

Michael May said...

Hey, man! What's up? Good to "see" you. We need to get together.


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