Thursday, September 8, 2011

Burn Notice - Better Halves

by Jonathan Bredemeyer

Burn Notice (S05E11)

In short:  Fiona and Michael take a trip to Venezuela and capture a cute girl and her husband for the CIA, while Jesse and Sam find Max's killer, but Pearce screws up everything.

Recaps & Remarks
: The team is in 'hardcore homework mode' on Max's killer, Tavien. Sam and Jesse think Michael should stay far away from this operation as Pearce is getting close to discovering the truth about Michael's involvement in covering up details about the murder. Sam and Jesse head off to meet up with Stigler, the guy Tavien's money flows through. Stigler doesn't care what Tavien did with the money, only that he killed Lucien, who was apparently a friend [who knew all these bad guys stay so well connected?], and agrees to check it out before he decides to kill Sam and Jesse.

In Pearce's temporary office, she's obviously been pouring over the files Michael had to give up last episode. Michael has been doing such good work that the CIA wants to send him on yet another mission. Pearce was supposed to accompany Michael as his wife, but she wanted to stay on Max's killer's case, so she booked Fiona instead. Apparently, she's easy to disavow... ha. Surprisingly, she's against the idea because it's work, and not 'connecting' time.

Sam and Jesse are waiting at a bar for Stigler when he and the posse show up. Since Sam's story of Lucien's death checked out, Stigler gives up Tavien's location and Sam and Jesse go about planning his capture.

In Puerto Laz Cruz, Venezuela, Fiona and Michael tip extravagantly to get access to everything, everyone, and an upgrade. Hacking into the hotel database, they look for 'Cheshire' amongst the guest registry and narrow it down to four couples. Putting on their fake wedding rings, Fi tries to get Michael to assume the proposal stance, but he coldly places it in her hand and doesn't seem amused.

Photo: Robert Zuckerman/USA Network
Down at dinner, Michael and Fiona dance while gathering intelligence and strategizing about how to proceed. They tango up to couples and eavesdrop, check for guns, and gather intelligence on marriage status. They deduce the fake couple (two actually since they disagree on the choice), and skip out early to break into their room. As fortune has it, they are both right: Michael's couple is the death merchants, while Fiona's pick is the bodyguards. Getting trapped in the room, Fiona and Michael have to destroy her new $2000 dress to escape off the balcony.

Back in the room, Michael listens to the death couple argue, and the wife Nicki slams the door, upset over being trapped and followed by bodyguards all day. Michael continues to stonewall Fiona's romantic attempts. The next day, Michael sets up a convenient meeting between Fiona and Nikki at the pool with champagne and caviar. The ploy works and eventually Nicki takes Fiona back to meet her husband. They show up with an offer of a helicopter tour and cute Nicki forces her husband into it.

In an alley outside the back of a bar, Jesse and Sam plan the capture of Tavien via a bomb in a storm grate. They're also borrowing Fiona's car for the operation... what could happen?

At dinner, Kevin un-invites himself and Nicki from the copter tour. Michael gets a bit desperate, and pitches a line that he's a buyer for Kevin's treasonous material and will double the Russian's offer. Pressured by Nicki [how ironic], Kevin agrees just in time to avoid the Russian bodyguards' scrutiny. The next day, at the pool, the foursome discuss the plan to head to the helicopter pad. Kevin is extremely nervous, but Fiona reassures them of the plan, and Michael reassures him of the money. Nicki keeps prodding him on, and all seems well.

Sam and Jesse are getting tired of waiting for Tavien, so Jesse heads in to see what happened. Tavien shows up while he's gone and kidnaps Sam. He drives him into the woods and demands a meeting with Michael Westen. Tavien wants a truce in exchange for "the questions he doesn't even know to ask."

Michael and Kevin go for a steam and Michael prepares for an altercation.  After reassuring Kevin of the money, he hides, ready to surprise the Russian bodyguard. The Russian enters and Michael dispatches him according to plan. Meanwhile, Fiona and Nicki are at lunch and it's now their turn to ditch their bodyguard. Nicki can't lose her 'bunny eyes' and gives them away. Their plan blows up and they end up swimming to get away, successful for the moment. They reach a dock and Fiona hot-wires a dirtbike. The Russian body guard has called in reinforcements and trapped them in an abandoned building.

Michael and Kevin get to the meet-up point, and discover the wives aren't there. Kevin's ready to abandon Nicki, but Michael races back to find them. The Russians close in with orders to kill, and Fiona starts taking them out one by one. With one bullet left, Fiona misses, but Michael comes in to save her. More Russians roll up, and Fi and Michael perform the ending scene of Mr. and Mrs. Smith nearly exactly. They protect Nicki and make it back to the car while under fire. When they arrive at the chopper, Kevin's mad when he learns the truth and claims he won't talk. Nicki, on the other hand, says she'll spill everything.

At the Tavien meetup, Jesse has called in homeland security to lock down the entire area, claiming a weapon was leaking radioactive material. Tavien calls, mad that Michael hasn't shown (he's still flying back). Sam breaks the news that he's trapped and will have to wait for Michael whether he likes it or not. For some reason, Michael and Fiona stop to unpack at the loft, and it seems Fiona has warmed up to the idea of CIA couple ops. Upstairs in the loft, Michael finds Pearce eating yogurt. She has tracked down an image of the killer's car speeding away after the murder... which turns out to be the Charger. Pearce pulls a gun on him, and Michael tries to explain. She won't even listen, and makes him put on a ziptie...

Best Line of the Episode:
Jesse: "... I'd prefer to be sober for the rest of my life."
Pearce: "I'm an equal opportunity extractor."

New Spy Lessons
  • Once you pick up a bad guy's money trail, finding them is just a matter of homework.
  • An outlet is an ideal place to plant a bug in a hotel. Not only is there power, but you can use the wires to transmit the audio to any other room in the hotel.
Predictions: Ads ruin everything and next episode won't see the bad guy caught, only reveal who he is...
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