Burn Notice Recap 3.9 “Long Way Back”

burnNoticeSeason3Well, we’ve made it to the mid-season finale together. I’m so proud of us! I’m going to fight off the tears for my beloved John Hughes and we’ll do our best to make this the best Burn Notice finale ever!

Oooh! We get a previously! That’s rare. It mostly highlights Strickler, what a slimeball he is, how easily Michael has slipped into his web, and how Fiona unceremoniously left Michael last week. We’re loyal fans, so we already know this, though, right?

Michael sits in an elevated part of his loft I’ve never noticed before looking over pictures of Fiona and waxing poetic about the nature of self. Fiona wanders right back in like nothing ever happened. I guess she wasn’t happy with her low-key exit last week and wanted more drama. Michael, ever perceptive, notices that she’s driving a rental just by the sound of the engine. Fiona sold her car; she’s going back to Ireland. ‘You’re too worried about your own future for there to be one for us.’Fiona claims she only stopped by to pick up a favorite gun of hers, which Michael has hidden in his elevated den of solitude.

Diego and Mike, sporting identical sunglasses, meet at a seaside restaurant to discuss Michael’s prospects. The Deputy Director of the Agency is reviewing Michael’s file; Strickler is obviously a powerful friend. Diego will be his liaison while other agents review his story. Mr. Liaison doesn’t seem too pleased with this situation.

‘There’s a reason spies try to stay detached. When you get emotional about something, even if it’s just your ex-girlfriend’s 45 caliber hand gun, you get distracted.’Well, that can’t be good. He’s already referring to her as his ex-girlfriend. That seems the least of our worries, though, when Michael walks into Fiona’s apartment and finds Fi has a guest, her brother, Sean, aiming a gun at him. Sean met Michael in Ireland, while Michael was undercover. I giggle like a school girl, because Michael Weston now has to sport a seriously hot Irish accent to stay in character for Sean as Michael McBride. Sean’s not just in town for a visit; he’s there to protect Fiona from a would-be assassin.

Do you guys remember the original pilot for this show, when Gabrielle Anwar attempted an Irish accent? I’m SO GLAD she didn’t keep up that charade because it was horrible. On the flip side, though, it seems really strange to have her speaking almost-American accented English while her brother and Michael work strong brogues. Sean’s on my side, and actually calls her out on her lack of accent. Hah! Sean shares his story. Thomas O’Neill wants Fiona dead and will be making his move today. We don’t get much back-story on why he wants Fiona dead, but Sean seems to dislike him plenty. ‘Kinda man I’d love to kiss with a chainsaw.’Fiona’s apartment, uncharacteristically, is running low on assault rifles since she’s packing up for a move. Unfortunately, they don’t have time to restock, since a threatening black car just pulled up. Sure enough, ‘Thomas O’Neill: Bloodthirsty Hooligan’arrives with a posse. Sean wants to stay and fight, but Michael convince them to run. They’re vastly outgunned and outnumbered. As they run, Sean decides to take some potshots at a henchman, alerting them to the escapees. They find a hiding spot and make a call to Sam, catching him up on the crisis of the week.

Sam meets them at a foreclosed mansion they can use as a hideout until they take care of O’Neill. First nomination for quote of the finale comes from Sam: ‘So why is this guy so hot for you, Fi. I thought you bit the heads off all your old boyfriends.’Fiona’s reluctant to share much, but she does relate that she met O’Neill while she was trying to find the man who murdered her sister. Wow, look at all the family we’re learning about tonight! After her baby sister’s murder, Fiona was angry and looking for a fight. She hooked up with O’Neill, who related information to her about a bombing he was planning at a prep-school. She made sure the bombing never happened, and O’Neill vowed revenge. Michael wants Sean and Fiona to stay at the house while Michael and Sam hunt down O’Neill. They argue, but Fiona finally relents angrily. ‘I am not one of your damn clients.’The subtitles, my special friends, disagree. ‘Fiona: The Client.’I give the subtitles a high five and Mike and Sam head out.

Michael visits Strickler, who’s drinking his signature mohito, and has a quick conversation about his re-instatement. Strickler tries to give Michael advice on how to spin his burn notice story to the investigators. He advises against the truth; instead he’ll be sending Michael a script. Yeah…let’s see how that goes.

At Madeline’s, Sam hands over O’Neill’s Interpol file. I’ve seen 1st graders with thicker files than this. O’Neill has more of a reputation than a rap sheet. He’s never been pinned for anything. Sam did find one contact with a condo in South Beach that’s worth investigating. Madeline answers to the door to a VERY cheery real estate agent. Madeline is thinking about selling the house. For a guy trained to deal with change and stress, Michael seems unsettled.

Sam and Mike perch on top of a parking garage and watch O’Neill and his men suit up, armed to the teeth and apparently not caring who sees. Sam, tied with the subtitles for my favorite character: ‘Why does it look like the sons of the Lucky Charms revolution are getting ready for battle?’Fiona, hotheaded as usual, has tailed O’Neill to the same location, unaware that O’Neill is equipped with a full-on army. Sam tries to call her cell, but she won’t answer. Fiona and Sean grab weapons and prepare to head in to get O’Neill. Michael glances at Sam’s amazingly beautiful car (3rd place for my favorite character) and asks for the keys. I have a HORRIBLE feeling about this, because it’s been a while since this show has destroyed a car that I love and we’re probably due. Sure enough, Michael backs up the classic ruby red beauty and vaults it off the top of the parking garage. It kills the amazing car, but gives Fiona and Sean a chance to notice the trap and speed off.

Sam and Mike angrily meet with Fiona and Sean at Michael’s loft, but their anger is quickly abated when Fiona and Sean give a heartfelt apology for their stereotypical hot-headedness. Michael’s new plan is to get in close to O’Neill by approaching him with a deal, as an American businessman. Sean doesn’t think Michael can pull it off, since his American accent is ‘a bit dodgy.’Poor Gabrielle Anwar; I keep having a strong urge to pick on her, but then I remember ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’and I love her again.

Michael pulls up a chair and joins O’Neill at a restaurant. O’Neill and his cronies are none to pleased, but Michael wins them over quickly by claiming to be their connection to killing Fiona and her brother. He’s posing as an arms dealer who employs Fiona currently, but is willing to employ O’Neill instead if they can come to terms. O’Neill isn’t pleased with that idea, so Michael leaves him with a business card and heads out.

Back at Madeline’s, Strickler stops by and drops off Michael’s ‘study material.’He wants Michael to say he worked a job helping a Somali warlord. All the U.S. Operatives in that mission died, the location and timeline workout, and the ‘businessman’is willing to vouch for Michael for a price. It also sets up a job Strickler has been working on. Michael is starting to see how all this ‘getting in bed with the devil’stuff can come back to bite you. ‘This is all about getting your job back. What does it matter how?’As Strickler leaves, Michael gets a tense phone call from O’Neill, who’s now willing to take Michael’s offer to hand over Fiona.

Sean and Fiona wait for Michael at the foreclosure and chat nervously about their situation. Sean’s curious why Fiona’s coming home without Michael. ‘People are who they are, they don’t change just because you want them to.’Seriously…I’m fairly certain that’s embroidered on a million pillows. Every mother tells her daughters that, and not a single daughter ever listens. Michael arrives just then to interrupt the conversation and pick up Fiona and Sean. The plan is to have O’Neill deliver ‘a small package with a large prison sentence attached to it.’Sean asks Michael to make sure, whatever the plan is, that he doesn’t lose another sister. He also guilts Michael a bit by thanking him for being an honest man.

Michael meets the thugs late that night at the marina. He offers O’Neill the deal: he delivers Fiona if O’Neill delivers a shipment of assault rifles to a buyer. As good as that deal sounds, O’Neill prefers the ‘shoot little bits off you until you tell me where she is’plan. Michael planned for this bit of hooliganism, and points out the three laser sight dots on O’Neill’s chest. O’Neill agrees to play nice and Michael gives the signal to his posse to turn off the sights. There’s a bit of drama when Sean thinks he can take them all out, despite Michael standing in the middle of circle of bad guys, but they eventually talk him down and everyone gets a grip.

Back at the loft, the team lays out a plan to duplicate O’Neill’s signature bomb. There’s a rumor that O’Neill will take Fiona home and put her up for sale. She’d be his ticket to a higher profile. This rattles our heroes, but they get right to work putting together O’Neill’s bomb.

Michael heads over to Madeline’s to borrower some screws from the garage. Madeline finds him there and they argue about her decision to sell the house. She offers him a box of moments from his childhood and gives him an insightful lecture about normal people. Normal people go through their lives collecting memories and mementoes, not throwing everything away as they go. Michael, to his credit, agrees to look through his things.

Sam meets Michael at a random parking lot. Mike’s got an unmarked white van stocked with an O’Neill style bomb, and Sam adds a blueprint of the basement of the state department as icing on the frame-up cake.

Michael helps Fiona bring up the last two of her boxes. Madeline’s earlier conversation with Michael gets a callback when Fiona laments leaving so much behind. As a spy, you’re trained to leave in 30 minutes or less, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Fiona’s worried about returning home, where no one really knows her any more. ‘Who I am now, has so much to do with what I’ve done here. What I’ve done with you.’They’re about to have a tender moment, but it’s interrupted by Sean. Michael calls Sean out for parking his stolen car in an exposed side street. Sean complains that it’s not his car, and Michael realizes one millisecond too late what’s going on. A smoke bomb comes through the sliding glass door behind Fiona, Michael gets tasered in the back, Sean is shot in the chest, and Fiona is carried off. It happened so fast I had to rewind and play it back twice to figure out who went where.

When Michael comes to, he screams Fiona’s name and finds Sam and Madeline attempting to stop Sean’s bleeding. Sean refused to let them take him to the hospital, since the time and paperwork required to explain a gun shot wound would surely stop them from finding Fiona. Michael looks anguished at his failure to protect her and runs out of the mansion, despite his almost certain concussion and broken ribs.

O’Neill’s posse brings Fiona to a sea-side location and locks her in a security shed. It’s probably best for everyone that O’Neill wants to sell her to the highest bidder, since it’s the only thing keeping her alive.

Michael storms into Strickler’s home and demands to know where Fiona is. Michael is PISSED, and thinks Strickler is somehow involved in this mess. O’Neill didn’t kill Michael because he had a deal with Strickler, who quickly admits to it. ‘I sent her home, like she wanted. What happens after she gets there? Well, she’s a big girl.’Michael takes an angry step towards Strickler, who pulls a gun. Strickler exposits that Fiona was in the way of Michael’s re-entry into the Agency. He locks Michael in and insists he’ll stay there for the next hour, long enough to ensure Fiona is in international waters and a rescue attempt is impossible. Michael in a terrifying calm, measured tone, asks Strickler to get out of his way. Strickler insists Michael is better off without Fiona. ‘You don’t get to have the girl and the job. She doesn’t fit into your future. Our future. Why don’t you do yourself a favor, and forget the past!’Michael glances up at Strickler, utters a single line ‘Fiona is not my past’, and shoots Strickler twice in the chest. That’s it. It was powerful and awesome. And now Strickler is dead.

Michael picks up Sam, who’s finally stabilized Sean, and heads to the marina where O’Neill is waiting. They’ll slip the bomb onto the fishing boat and call the coast guard.

O’Neill confronts Fiona in the shed. O’Neill is thrilled at the chance to get anything he wants from very powerful men, in exchange for Fiona. Fiona calls him a child-murdering monster, and he flat out punches her in the mouth. Ironically, she claims he hits like a girl.

Mike, in full scuba, loads the bomb onto the fishing boat and slips back to shore. Sam promises to get Fiona out of there, no matter what happens to Michael. To prove his point, he locks and loads some serious weaponry.

This scene is fast, so let’s see if we can recap it properly. Michael rams his car near the shed where the thugs are. Sam shoots a propane tank for distraction. While O’Neill holds Fiona at gunpoint and tries to get to the boat, Sam and Mike start picking off crew. Fiona takes the opportunity to head-butt O’Neill and dive into the water. O’Neill and his men jump into the fishing boat and take off. Sam calls the Coast Guard to tip them off to the bomb on the boat. Michael searches the water and spots a face-down floating Fiona in the water. He dives in to save her. She’s been hit in the arm, but seems otherwise alright. He gently strokes her cheek and holds her tightly.

Back at Madeline’s, Michael tends to the wounded siblings while his mom sneaks in to check on them. Maddie’s decided to take the house off the market. She knows how important the house is to Michael, who finally admits she might be right. Sean calls Michael over. He knows Mike is not ‘McBride’, but ‘Weston.’Michael admits to being American all along. Sean doesn’t react angrily, so maybe they have him doped up on pain meds. Since Michael’s been outed as an American by O’Neill, he can never return to Ireland, and neither can Fiona. Sean promises to keep any Irish threats at bay. He offers to help cover up Strickler’s murder too, if needed. Michael’s already taken care of that, though, and pinned it on O’Neill.

Fiona wakes and quietly calls Michael over. She doesn’t have the strength to say much, so he just quietly strokes her cheek. Our tender moment is interrupted again, though, this time by a frantic call from Diego. He’s horrified to learn that Michael was working with Strickler, who has left a giant mess behind with his death. Someone is in town cleaning it up, and Diego doesn’t know who he can trust. Someone is coming for Diego (who’s heavily chugging rum from a bottle) and for Michael.

Michael rushes to Diego’s location. It doesn’t look good. There’s a crowd and an ambulance outside. Michael finds Diego’s body on the pavement, apparently pushed from a balcony. ‘The worst feeling in the world is knowing nothing. Being caught up in something you don’t begin to understand. Because it’s not the enemy you see that gets you, it’s the one you don’t.’

After our hiatus: A fun mystery! Michael’s no longer trying to get his burn notice lifted! A man with a cool British accent decides if Michael is someone he should get to know or kill. That sounds like fun! I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow!


One Response

  1. CA January 23, 2010

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