The Miami beat of hot Latin flavor welcomes us to another episode of Burn Notice. I crack open a yogurt to share with Michael Weston while he reads the paper. When someone knocks on my door, my dogs bark and my toddler cries. When someone knocks on Michael’s door? He brings his gun and advises us to keep our room clean of evidence. The voice behind the door threatens to be the police, but I recognize that voice. Hi Nate! Your cop glasses are awesome. It seems Michael’s brother has been dragged out of bed by none other than Michael’s new stalker Detective Paxton. According to the helpful labels, Det. Paxton is “Interested in Michael.” Yup, thanks for the foreshadowing. Paxton has a friend with her this time, her partner Detective Lopez who is only on screen for 2 minutes (spoiler alert?). Nice to meet you, Detective Lopez! Michael hands Paxton a relatively thick daily activity log for a man whose normal day consists of finishing a yogurt and working out. She ignores the log and instead goes straight to the threat. The good detective will be working through every friend, relative and associate of Michael’s until she gets something worth prosecuting him over. And with that, she and her partner exit unceremoniously. Nate reassures Michael that he didn’t give up any details. He also shares that he is still in the limo business (Wow! Commitment!), and he’s in town to talk to some investors about expanding his business. Mike and Nate head out of his loft and we flash to….
…that restaurant they’re always hanging out at that always makes me thirsty. The drinks look delicious and all I have is a glass of watered down iced tea. Sam, Fiona, and Mike are seated around a table discussing the Paxton situation. We all know Michael’s associates aren’t the most trustworthy of folks, excluding Sam and Fi of course, so they need to take care of the situation quickly before they get to someone willing to flip on him for a pack of gum. They formulate a creative plan to set up a relationship between Michael and someone Det. Paxton will “regret going after.” Being from Chicago, I was picturing a threatening mob boss, but apparently they’re going to go a different direction with it. I swear he’s given us contrary advice before, but Mike’s voiceover informs us that spies need friends. I thought spies didn’t have friends, they had assets. Ah well, the voiceover is usually right.
In our next scene we get reintroduced to Brennen, an “Arms Dealer With a Grudge”, who promptly shoots Michael’s car. I wish they’d give Michael crappier cars if they’re going to keep beating them up this way. It’s painful. Brennen privately financed a war in South America just to get back to Miami. I know it’s evil, but that sounds like a pretty awesome thing to do. It would appear that Brennen is the “limo investor” Nate is in Miami to work with. Poor Nate is currently in a meeting with a gentleman from Sicily called “The Butcher,” who apparently is equally skilled at posing as an interested business associate. That’s quite the varied skill set. Brennen’s new title card label is “Your New Boss.” I think Brennen should have checked out Michael’s resume of previous bosses before he decided to blackmail himself into that position. It never ends well. Wow, we’re just now to the Burn Notice title card.
When we rejoin Michael and Brennen they’re tossing Michael’s cell phone, keys, wallet, and sunglasses in the trunk of Michael’s car while Brennen explains the rules. 1) I give orders, you obey. 2) You try to escape, Nate dies. 3) Fail to complete a task, Nate dies. 4) Refuse an order, Nate dies. Anyone else seeing a theme? Despite the obviously serious threats, Michael insists on speaking with Nate to ensure he’s still alive. Michael’s voiceover informs us of the importance of establishing a quid pro quo when you’ve been captured. Your cooperation isn’t free. He stands his ground on speaking with Nate and Brennen allows it, on the condition that Brennen speak with Nate and Michael listen. It would appear that Brennen is a champion double talker. His entire conversation with Nate is as happy and cheery and fake as a normal business call, but filled with vague threats on Nate’s life. It was disturbing and hilarious; congratulations to Jay Karne’s for really pulling this off well.
Meanwhile: Sam, Fi, and Barry the money-launderer are at Michael’s mom’s house. Sam and Fi are enlisting Barry’s help to open a joint account with Michael and the mayor’s aide. That should set up a solid enough connection to send Det. Paxton barking up the wrong tree. Barry’s nervous at first, but quickly jumps on board at the thought of the cops thoroughly questioning him on…well…any of his activities. Barry is apparently doing quite well for himself, since he’s hired an intern (Fabian?!?) who can hook them up with the required tools. In the meantime, Barry will helping Sam rebuild Madeline’s sun porch, which is looking less and less exploded all the time.
Michael and Brennen arrive at an office building where Michael will be tasked with retrieving a hardware access key. Fortunately, it’s the weekend, so Michael can stroll right past the guards by posing as a janitor and then have the place to himself. As Michael leaves Brennen’s car, he stares at Brennen’s cell phone long enough that I thought he was going to steal it. After Michael reaches the office with the hardware key, he searches around scavenging random office supplies. It’s the Macguyver section of the show! Yay! Apparently, you can make a “CANTENNA” hacking device to download cellphone information via blue tooth with some washers, a coat hanger, an empty Pringles can, a USB cable, and pencils to stand it up. Awesome! Michael needs Brennen to make a call for it to work, so he attaches a piece of paper to the window with an office extension on it and chats quickly with Brennen. And with that, Michael has now downloaded all the information on Brennen’s phone. I’m hoping for scandalous spring break pictures.
Back at Madeline’s house, Sam gets a call from Michael in handy-dandy split screen. Michael emailed Sam the details from the phone (What? No attachment size limit? I’m jealous!) and wants Sam to gather any and all intel he can.
Michael apparently needs some liquid courage, and takes a hefty shot from a fifth of something delicious looking. The office with the hardware key has an alarm, and his plan is to ram through the window with his janitor’s cart. He grabs a piece of glass and cuts his arm (Ew!). He plans to make the break in look like an accident and prey on the guard’s sympathy. My favorite advice of the night: The benefit of the doubt is worth a flesh wound. Michael grabs the key card and scrambles to read what paperwork he can while security runs up to check out the alarm. Michael quickly changes into drunk and stumbling mode and breathes heavily on the guards. He does indeed win their sympathy with his inspiring tale of a down on his luck drunk who’s almost late on child support and doesn’t want his ex to take the kids to Tucson. Even the flesh wound earns him some bonus points. He stumbles out of the building and wheels his cart up to Brennen’s car. Hidden in a plastic baggie in a bucket of water? The hardware keycard.
After an IPhone 3GS commercial taunts me with its video capabilities, we rejoin Michael and Brennen. Michael checks out Brennen’s pretty tie clip and asks if it’s from his wife. Brennen is super quick to dismiss the idea that he has any family at all, let alone that they’d buy him a gaudy tie clip. As they pull up to a row of houses that apparently face a marina (Miami…I really hate you), Brennen hands Michael a voice recorder. His job is to get Mr. John Carver to state his full name and the numbers 0 through 9. Mr. Carver qualified for this task by having no family, no dog, and no security. Alternatively, though, he owns and manufactures his own guns.
Michael decides to tempt fate by hotwiring a car and ramming Carver’s. When Carver runs out to confront him, Michael plays the fool and claims to not have his wallet or cell phone (which is true, I guess). Carver lets Michael come into his house to call his insurance company. Michael gets most of the numbers by asking him about his guns (one’s a 45) and his GPA (3.9). He also gets his name and phone number which apparently covers everything but 6 and 8. While Carver’s in another room, Michael calls Sam with Carver’s phone to check in. Sam and Barry have been working on the financial info they got off Brennen’s phone, since he apparently used it to check his bank balance. There’s not much there, but they’ll keep looking. Unfortunately, Carver walks in on the call and it’s quite obvious that Michael is not on the phone with his insurance company.
At a much nicer Miami restaurant, the mayor’s aide is finishing her meal. Fi, posing as a server, takes the aide’s bill and credit card. She quickly swipes it in a handy handheld machine and drops off the bill with another waitress. Fi calls Sam, who informs her that Michael’s in trouble. That’s enough information to get her in gear. She jumps a median to race to help.
Back with Michael and the Gun Nut, Carver is threatening Michael and asking for $2K. Michael is desperate to get his last 2 numbers, and doesn’t care much for Mr. Carver, so he starts screaming that Carver’s car was 8″ from the curb, rather than 6″. Carver’s incredulous about the 6″ (that’s #6), but still hasn’t said 8. Michael pins him to the car and makes him say uncle. By uncle, I mean he makes him say his car was 8″ from the curb. That’s #8, so Michael runs off to Brennen’s car as Carver shoots after him.
Michael and Brennen pull up to JLA industries, a weapons manufacturer. Michael is to break into the R&D lab to fetch a little gray box. Michael realizes this may be the last stop on his journey, and insists on knowing what’s in the box. Brennen calls up Nate and has yet another creepy business conversation with such veiled threats as “Life is too short” and “It makes me want to kill someone.” Michael, though, calls his bluff and Brennen gives up the details. Brennen claims the weapon isn’t a weapon at all, but a biometric lock for advanced infantry weapons. Brennen tries to coax Michael into finishing the job so he can get out of his life. My favorite quote from Brennen from the night: “An hour from now I’m just a guy sending you mean spirited Christmas cards.” I so desperately want to see a mean spirited Christmas card. Can someone send me one?
Michael starts in on his last task, taking out a 2 man security team. He decides to use the parking garage to lure them out into an ambush. Michael breaks open a trunk, setting off a car alarm, and overloads the electricity in the garage to kill the lights. He then ambushes guard #1 and locks him in the trunk. For guard #2, he pushes the call button at the garage entrance and tells him the power’s out. Then he ambushes guard #2 with a choke hold and tosses the unconscious guard into the Electrical room and lifts his keys.
At the same time, Fi and Sam have arrived at the last of a list of possible Nate locations. They are well armed and prepared for a fight. It appears they’re at Brennen’s house in Miami, and it was indeed the place where Nate’s been for most of the episode. Unfortunately, he’s not there anymore. Michael calls and Sam has to give him the bad news.
Michael doesn’t have to wait long to figure out where his brother could be though, since Nate is just arriving with Mr. “The Butcher.” While Nate and Brennen talk limos, Michael walks up. It quickly becomes apparent to Nate that something is up, especially when Brennen shoots him in the arm. Now he and Michael have matching flesh wounds. Now that Michael knows whose in charge, Brennen gives him a hardware key and the voiceprint to get into the lab.
Michael calls Sam from the lab while he scrambles for information. Michael finds the grey box and is desperately trying to find a way not to give it to Brennen. Sam lists of the few pieces of intel he could find. One transaction is to a “BelleAnna Holdings” in Switzerland for 80K a year, which seems an odd amount to go through the trouble of hiding offshore. Michael finds a family photo in the lab, which gives him some inspiration.
Fi wires Brennen’s house with C4, which she keeps in her glove compartment for emergencies I guess. They blow up his house and take a picture with Sam’s phone.
Michael walks out to Brennen’s car empty handed, but looking plenty confident. Brennen gets a text message showing his exploded home. Michael informs Brennen that they’ve drained his bank accounts. Brennen’s incredulous, but calls his bank to check. The call gets routed to Barry, who pulls off a decent British accent and informs him that his account is indeed drained. Brennen is rattled, but still committed to killing Nate if Michael doesn’t steal the box. Michael brings up “BelleAnna”, or rather, Annabelle, Brennen’s daughter in a private school in Switzerland. I think this was a guess on Michael’s part, but he’s apparently dead on. Brennen freaks out and calls his daughter to check in. Michael threatens to send an assassin after her. Brennen takes the bait and runs, but threatens to make a return appearance. I hope he does. I really enjoyed him in this episode, even if I don’t understand why he didn’t just steal the box himself after he had the key card and voice print. As Brennen leaves, Michael helps a pale and clammy Nate to his feet.
Back at Madeline’s house some time later (Nate’s arm is in a cast), Michael drops by to check in. Apparently Nate told Madeline he was mugged. I don’t think she’ll buy that. Nate is really disappointed that his big business deal turned out to be a con, and Michael is actually really cute about empathizing with him. It’s nice to see them being brothers. Madeline walks in and totally proves me right by not buying the mugging story one bit. Oh! She and Barry are now best friends and he’s bringing over eucalyptus hair gel to have a product party. I wonder if he’ll bring Fabian too.
Back and Michael’s loft, Fi is eating yogurt on the steps. I’d complain about her stealing what little food he has, but the girl needs to eat. Michael is feeling guilty about messing up Nate’s life, and sincerely thanks Fi for her help. Detective Paxton knocks on the door and arrives sans-partner. Apparently, Det. Lopez has been suspended after grilling the mayor’s aide for 3 hours over what appears to be a “bank error.” Paxton is not amused, and threatens to play rough with Michael. As an example of this new-found hardness she….throws papers on the floor? Alright, I guess she’ll start playing rough next week.
Next time on Burn Notice: Detective Paxton turns up the heat. Nice play on words there, with Burn and Heat. See you then!