‘Burn Notice’: Complex Loyalties

When I say loyalty, what’s the first thing you think of? Family? Togetherness? Fighting for someone or something? Chances are, whatever pops into your mind has positive connotations. And well it should.

That's what makes this week's episode of “Burn Notice” so intriguing: loyalty is portrayed in an unconventional and not entirely positive-way.

For example, when Madeline receives a surprise visit from James, his intent seems to be to reassure Madeline that his purpose in surveilling her is to protect her. Yet, we see that Madeline, knowing James to be the bad guy, is quite upset by his visit and would prefer not to have his loyalty.

A more poignant example of loyalty gone awry is at the end of the episode. James winds up shooting one of his operatives who abandoned a team member in the burning building. James’ loyalty to his team and his word results in him executing that team member for – ironically – disloyally leaving a team member behind.

Using positive and negative examples of loyalty emphasizes the importance of being loyal to the right person or cause. Misplaced loyalty can have disastrous consequences, but as we have seen few things are more valuable than loyalty rightly placed.