Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Burn Notice - Besieged... by Denial

by Jonathan Bredemeyer

Burn Notice

Zooming by the crowded locals, Fiona and Sam are on surveillance duty for Michael's double (Jacob) who's involved in framing him for murder. They get bored out of their heads but stick around long enough to observed some Hispanics getting ready to kick down Jacob's door. Sam heads in to save him and takes him out back. After pushing Jacob and Mr. Pickles out the back door to Fiona, Sam covers his escape by driving his truck through the garage as the aggressors try to knock in the front door with sledgehammers. Jacob finds Fiona and they... finally... drive off.

Back at the loft, Michael is joyful after a two-hour meeting with Pearce, and Fiona fills him in. She explains the situation and how Jacob came to be in the loft. Apparently, the person who hired him to impersonate Michael is trying to get rid of him now. Michael's not too happy when Fiona forgets to mention he brought a dog...  which apparently Jacob carries around like a purse.

Questioning Jacob, they find his boss only communicated through email and mailed cash for odd jobs. Learning the boss's contact phone is back at his house, Michael heads off for a job with Sam while Fiona heads to get the phone.

After meeting Sam at the bar, Michael is concerned that Sam is drinking iced tea. Sam's lady friend will apparently do 'anything' if they'll do her a favor, so he starts to explain the situation when Denise crashes the party. She explains how her husband, John, went crazy and kidnapped her son. Sam and Michael promise to talk to him and head off to do just that. They arrive at a fortified residence and Sam stays positive, despite Michael's foreboding feelings [but who's not happy when they get to put a tracker on someone's truck?]. 

Sam plants the tracker on John's truck as Michael knocks on the front and goes for the direct approach. John says Tom, his son, is fine, and even lets Michael come in to see that everything's ok. John pulls a gun on him as soon as he's inside. Michael explains he's an Army Ranger, just like John's brother. This doesn't calm down John, and he begins getting all fired up about the judge from Chicago who decided the custody arrangement. Splitscreen-like, Sam picks the lock to a shed around the side of the house as John finally puts down the gun. Of course, as soon as Sam gets the door open, it triggers an alarm inside the house and John freaks. Tommy makes his first temperance, responding to his dad's request to 'get the packs.' John forces Michael to lead them outside at gunpoint as he chooses not to try disarming John, for fear of hurting Tommy.

After they get outside, Michael warns Sam, who ducks just in time to avoid a shot from John's shotgun. He and Tommy take off in the truck Sam placed the tracker on earlier. Sam's still optimistic, but Michael doesn't think it'll be "quite that simple."

Back with Denise at Maddie's place, Michael is going over photos of a training facility from John's house, where they think he's taken Tommy. Apparently, it's the home of a fringe militia group that is very anti-government. Denise explains that Tommy is asthmatic and needs his new inhaler, which Michael thinks he can use to get John to deal. After saying he's called in some friends to help, Michael explains to his mom the need to keep Denise there.

At the camp, Sam and Michael scope out the facility, vehicles, weapons, and nutbag in charge: Zachariah. He's under investigation, etc. Michael calls John and explains Tommy's inhaler is running low and convinces him to bring Tommy out so he can see him. Sam and Michael create a plan to sabotage, and then replace, a fuel tank. Jesse and Fiona are still trying to get into Jacob's house around the gang-watch out front. After some verbal trickery/flattery by Jesse, Fiona agrees to stay in the car and cover him if needed as he heads into the house to grab the phone. Stereotypically, the gang members are inside, asleep in front of a soccer game (and elsewhere). Jesse sneaks in, grabs two phones and heads back. Ticked at Fiona for miscounting the number of back guys, he easily rebuts her questioning him over taking the extra phone.

Back at the compound, Sam returns with liquid nitrogen and Michael claims he can buy Sam the 10 minutes he needs to sabotage the tank. After setting his watch, Michael steps out into the street for the 'encounter.' John and Tommy, along with a small army, come out of the gates to meet him. After being patted down, Michael starts explaining the medicine to John. Sam heads to the fence and begins fashioning a long tube. Zachariah comes out and introduces himself as the 'Hand of God' [in this review, henceforth referred to as HOG]. HOG spouts a bit about his mission in life before Michael belittles him and returns to explaining medical information. Michael wants to examine Tommy in exchange for the medicine and 'oxymeter,' but HOG threatens him and they leave... three minutes too early. Michael stalls a bit longer by addressing John, claiming he told the boy's mom he would check his vitals. HOG claims only he can make decisions, and Michael eggs him on a bit. Sam finishes up during another HOG tirade about his seeing of truth. HOG hits Michael in the stomach, and that's that...

At Maddie's house, Denise is still there and gets updated by Jesse. He retrieves her cell phone as the team is hoping John will answer her calls since he stopped answering Michael's  Meanwhile, Fiona is trying to get Jacob to make a call to his 'boss.' She presents him with a script and he finally dials. Jacob leaves a voicemail... very obviously scripted. He immediately gets an all-too-nice-and-helpful text back claiming the 'boss' is happy to help and that Jacob should stay safe [ha].

Fiona meets up with Sam and Michael at a gas station 'shopping for a ride.' They find the truck headed into the compound to restock. The plan is for Fiona to hitch a ride inside and then hide until dark. Michael calls John from Denise's cell phone and freaks him out over Tommy's asthma enough to get him to put trash bags over the windows. Fiona ducks under the trucks, attaches her harness to the bottom of the truck, and is set to go.

Sam and Michael beat the truck back and meet Jesse outside the compound in the bushes. [you'd think the crazy army of government conspiracy theorists inside the compound would be paranoid enough to watch the bushes more closely...] As the truck approaches, vehicles from the gates of the compound head out with HOG in the leading driver's seat. Apparently, they've discovered Fiona's aboard the truck, and Michael tells her to drop. She falls out onto the road and the militia stops their cars and start shooting. Michael and friends try to cover her, but Fiona is pinned down by the way-too-ambitious trigger fingers of HOG's men. Seeing this, Michael shoots the fuel truck (getting a good laugh from Sam), giving enough cover and time for Fi to run, and causing HOG and friends to retreat back inside their chain-link ant hill.

Regrouping in the amazing camoflauged woods right outside, the foursome discover that this renegade militia has stolen government technology that lets them listen in on cell phone calls, and Michael's been calling John, so they've got his cell number. The brand new plan is to lure out HOG and his army using a fake phone call containing a new plan that when overheard, will force a last, all-out attempt to stop them.

After setting up a fake, heavily-armed shack, Michael and Jesse stage an angry phone that discusses cavalry on the way to help attack the compound, plus a plan to stay put until it arrives in an hour. HOG hears this, and, of course, decides to take everything and hit first. The crew watches HOG and the army roll out, then sneak in through a freshly cut hole in the fence. They knock out the solitary guard, set Jesse and Fiona on lookout duty, and Sam and Michael head in to get Tommy. HOG and army yell demands to the empty shack, as Michael and Sam find that John has stayed behind with Tommy. HOG blows in the shack as Michael heads in to talk to John alone. HOG apparently broke his leg when he decided to stay behind in a field exercise for Tommy's sake. As John decides to trust Michael, HOG breaks into the shed to find it's a fake.
Photo by: Barbara Nitke/USA Network 
In an entry for the worst-dad-of-the-year-award, John decides to stay behind and cover their escape with Tommy, but claims he'll make it out. He tells Tommy to go with Michael, then gives his final best wishes to him and his mom. Safe and sound back at Maddie's house, Michael and the moms talk about getting Tommy back and the fact that... somehow... John made it out of the compound and checked himself into a hospital. HOG has been arrested by ATF and Denise and Tommy are moving to Georgia. Michael learns his mom has spilled their story to Denise, and is slightly embarassed.

Sitting around bored as hell in the loft throwing cards at a bucket, Jacob's boss finally texts again. Michael and Sam get the details for the meet and give Jacob a refusal to return his borrowed clothes before saying goodbye for good. They are to meet at the marina. [why is so much of this season happening at a marina? did they get a good rate?] Sam and Michael run over the possibilities and decide the boss wants to meet on the boat to kill him and then dump the body. Michael heads into the boat gun-first and finds it empty. Getting a text on Jacob's phone telling him he can't make it and to meet him in the Bahamas, Michael then finds a bomb wired up to a depth-finder. Not wanting to spook the 'boss,' Michael casts off and then bails out to let the boat bloat up empty.

Still racing the CIA to find the real killer...

Best Lines of the Episode:
Sam: "There's a tiny, little woman in a Hyundai who's gonna protect you."
Michael: "This is my 'I'm concerned we kidnapped our only lead back to Max's killer' face."
Finona: "Well, be glad it's not your 'our only lead got murdered by a Latino gang' face."
Sam: "He's the ENIC: Extremist Nutbag in Charge."

New Spy Lessons
  • "A lot of missions depend on the world not knowing you were there. Sometimes you have to sneak out, acting like the person you're saving. So if the person you're saving is an untrained civilian, you need to make it look like they escaped like an untrained civilian."
  • "When confronted with a family situation... it's a good idea to tell the truth."
  • "You can tell a lot about group by looking at its base... The most important thing to check: their weapons."

In short:  Michael's double is handled, Nutbags are to be avoided, and no new leads.

:  We've seen the person who's setting up Michael before...
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