Monday, August 29, 2011

Burn Notice - Square One... Can't Seem to get Past it...

by Jonathan Bredemeyer

Burn Notice (S05E05)

This episode opens with an uncharacteristic recap of Michael's time with Max, his new, dead best friend in the CIA. Michael and friends thermite the gun he found next to Max's dead body as Jesse creates an alibi for them. [Michael's hair is getting long.... odd...] In a dramatic scene, the crew burns the gun in a pile of bricks. Michael's heads off to meet with the CIA Bloodhound, Pearce, in charge of finding the kill. Pearce walks Michael through the killing and lets him know officially that she is Max's replacement as his agency contact... and that she runs investigations like her pit bull... [turns out his hair is long to make him look more emotional over things... it definitely works.]

He tells Fiona that he's on the investigation team for the murder, which puts her on edge. A former C.O. of Michael's has called in a favor and a new client walks up (Ethan) and refers to Fiona as Mrs. Weston [and no one corrects him]. [Apparently, Ethan beat Michael's sharpshooting record.] They go someplace to talk; turns out he's after his sister's ex-boyfriend who's a scumbag and has hurt her. Michael talks Ethan out of killing the guy, and then they take the job.

Fiona and Sam head off to find the scumbag, Brandon, with the storyline that he's the winner of cash from a class action lawsuit. His mom agrees to get the check to him and the stakeout begins. [Ethan's a bit crazy and insists he's on every shift.] Meanwhile, Michael heads off to meet Pearce and get on with the CIA investigation. Michael derails Pearce's idea to look in Michael and Max's last case. He convinces Pearce to let him work unofficially so he can work faster than the FBI. He grabs info and heads off for his shift on the stakeout.

Brandon shows up at his mom's house for the check. Michael and Ethan grab him when he gets in his car. Ethan tries to strangle him, but gets delayed long enough for them to talk and learn it was Brandon's boss that beat up his sister. Brandon has to leave the room for Michael to get information about the real bad guy, Ramsey.

Michael and Ethan visit his sister (who is on life support) in the hospital, then head off with Sam to spy on Ramsey's medicare scheme. They plan to send in Michael to learn the details of his operation and then turn him in (the usual plot line), but Ethan insists he should be the one undercover. In a very strange move, Michael agrees to train him to do it.

Sam and Ethan roll into Ramsey's party, offering a very profitable deal and inviting him to a bigger party to impress him. He turns down the invitation, but Sam reels him in with some numbers after Ethan almost blows it. Back at the loft, Jesse gets a bit freaked by Fiona's influence over the decor. He brings over cell phone records and Mike 'really' owes him. They comb through the records and find the killer's call to a pay phone after the kill, so Jesse heads to track that down. Sam calls and Ramsey has accepted the invitation to the party. He's also borrowed a Ferrari Modena and a mansion to impress him further.

At the party of the century (with more bikini-clad butts than you can count), Ramsey shows up and Sam introduces him to Jesse as one of the players. Fiona also comes along as a partner, and Ethan continues to flounder around and nearly blow everything. Michael rolls up in the Ferrari as 'the boss.' Even that doesn't sell Ramsey though, and he asks if they're cops. Michael throws a molotov cocktail into Ramsey's car and points him at Jesse's Porsche, claiming it's his 'thinking' car.

Back at the loft, Sam and Michael explain to Ethan the plan of collecting evidence for the cops, and decide to give Ramsey a nice-looking watch with a bug. They invite him back to the mansion, Ethan gives him the watch, and then they join Michael and Sam playing... target golf off of the dock. Ramsey hands over his 'medicare fee schedule', but the guys push back and ask for the details of everything, including doctor names, etc. 
Photo by: Robert Zuckerman/USA Network

Back on the CIA case, Fiona and Jesse head into the place where the killer's cell phone was purchased and pretend to be dirty cops. After 'Sharon Stone' threatens the clerk a bit, he turns over all the VHS tapes from the last month... and a carton of cigarettes. At Michael's mom's place, Michael drops off the goods so she can start going through them.

While listening to the bugged phone, Ethan gets pissed and takes off to go after Ramsey [getting sick of this guy]. Jesse and Fiona race him there and take a shot at Ramsey to warn him off. Ramsey gets scared, and, in his haste, rips off the back bumper of Jesse's Porsche. Ethan gets chewed out by Michael for basically quitting the plan. They let him cool off outside and Maddie reminds Michael of his youth with some memories. Michael heads out to talk him back into the game. He succeeds and they head off to meet Ramsey.

Ethan and Michael go to Ramsey's and convince him to turn in his partners, who are shooting at him. Ramsey gets all his information and hands it to Sam and Fi. Ethan shows up with stuff to burn his house down... which he sells him on... amazing. Ramsey 'does the honors' and lights the match himself.

He shows up at the airport hangar and Ethan asks him about any last loose ends to close up before they fly off. He confesses something about a 'bitch in a hospital bed.' They convince him to 'tie up the loose end'. They tell him to inject poison into the I.V. and the cops are waiting.

Back at the loft, everyone's happy and Ethan reveals he has signed up with the CIA recruiters. At CIA investigation HQ, Pearce is bitching someone out on the phone and Michael gives her the good news about tracking down security tape footage. He heads off to his mom's to get it, but she's more than a little rattled, demanding more information. His mom shows him... himself buying the phone on the security tape... Brilliant.

Best Lines of the Episode:
Fiona:"Don't forget there are no conjugal visits in CIA jail."
Jesse: "Is that potpourri? You're killing me, man..."

New Spy Lessons from Michael's Head:
  • "As a spy you're in the information business... Some secrets are so dangerous that you can't allow them to continue to exist." 
  • "Whether you're operating out of a war-room in Langley or a hotel room, analysts have information but don't know what's important. You have to pound the pavement for that."
  • "Integration 101: You lose your head, they stop talking."
  • "You don't choose a life as a covert operative unless something deeper is going on beneath the surface."
  • "Protecting a target from a bullet sometimes means taking a few shots at them yourself." It puts them on guard. "But you can never predict how someone's going to react to a bullet whizzing by their head."
  • "For a spy, revenge is a dish that is rarely served at all..."

In short: Another satisfied client, a bad guy in jail, and a new promising recruit for the CIA. Michael is extremely deep in covering up/proving he's not Max's killer, and only finding more of the wrong evidence.

Predictions:  The people that burned Michael are behind his new framing, and doing a really good job.
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