Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Burn Notice - 4.13 - Eyes Open - Recap

Previously…Michael used to be a spy until he got burned. (Hey, Matt, shouldn't you stop referring to Fiona as Michael's ex-girlfriend. They look pretty involved to me.) Michael's not going anywhere, but he sure saves a lot of people, including a kidnapped kid. Everyone was angry, nothing changed, John Barrett was the bad guy, and Jesse found out Michael burned him, which didn't lead to mojitos poolside. It does however lead to Jesse shooting Michael to save him. Is this what they call frenemies? Barrett wants answers but Michael would rather joyride upside down. As Michael fades out, Military Pants steals the Bible and with it, Michael's answers.

We begin with a Senate hearing pondering the effects of the Drake Corporation Cabal. Michael is hooked to countless machines but Barrett bit the dust. Death by car accident doesn't have the same appeal as being splintered by liquid nitrogen only to reassemble yourself before melting in an inferno, but I guess you can't always be the Terminator. Still, this was kind of a let-down. He was arguably the most evil person we've had on the show. Shouldn't he have a spectacular death? Aw, Fiona's holding Michael's hand and Sam looks worried.

Fast forward three days and Fi's impatient with a still sleeping Michael. Bwah!! Heralding back to the pilot, Fi kicks Michael awake and proceeds to get the audience up to speed. Michael blearily echoes her words because even super-spies can't take in that much info post-coma. In summation, Michael was shot, had 2 surgeries, almost died, and the Bible is gone. Michael steps up to play Exposition Fairy by explaining it was a NOC list. Michael and Fi are excited about destroying those who burned Michael. I am more concerned about CIA security since their NOC list gets stolen a couple times a year. Haven't all spy/military movies and shows done this?

A day or two later finds Jesse "I Will be Avenged" Porter visiting Michael. Really? Already. I expected them to be at odds at least a few weeks, but I suppose missing NOC lists heal all wounds. Jesse: "I was trying to save your life. Shooting through you to do it was just a perk." I like this new snarky Jesse; he's got attitude and he deserves to dish it out. Apparently Jesse is healing rifts with the whole gang since he got the 411 from Sam. Or not. Jesse's going to do the right thing, but Michael better not "game" him again.

Back in the hospital, Maddie badgers Michael to take it easy and stay with her until he recovers. Michael naysays but Maddie "could beat (him) in a 40-yard dash right now." Fiona's place is out as she is moving. Maddie says termites; I say plot contrivance. Maddie does her best mom drill sergeant to get Michael to stop his dangerous ways, but the hospital goes code orange, which is code for Michael to go reckless. Michael runs into Sam who takes the Exposition Wand to talk explosion. Or is it a gas leak? Who are they kidding? It's Burn Notice; if you played an explosion drinking game during their marathons, you'd be searching for your liver the next day. They find Alicia, innocent bystander and sister of Dale Lawson's lackey. She twirls the Exposition Wand and before you can say Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo, Dale's dead, Lackey's deaf, and Adam Scott likes his revenge served piping hot. In case you missed it, Sam tells you this is bad. Alicia becomes the unsuspecting client, while Michael checks himself out against Sam's and medical advice. "I'm fine. It's time to get back to work." Oh, Michael.

Michael's idea of fine and mine vary a bit since he can barely make it up the Scott fortress steps. Fiona scoffs at the "talking to him" plan but Michael is eschewing his inner Dear Abby. He's not there to make nice. Adam Scott wasn't expecting Fiona and I'm not sure why this exchange was so awkward. Weird. Michael gets straight to the point. "Three days after you told me Dale Lawson is a dead man, Dale Lawson IS a dead man." Scott spouts his alibi but this isn't another Law and Order spin-off and Michael isn't Wapner. Spies don't do coincidence. Random body guard (Red Shirt) comes to accost Michael and just 10 minutes in, Fiona pulls a gun. Not bad. They leave, but Michael gets the last word. "Go be with your daughter. Enjoy the time. Prison visits are hard on kids."

Back at Maddie's Makeshift Rehab, Michael is using Fiona as a crutch. The poor man really needs to sit down. But fate is not on his side, as Vaughn is waiting for him. "One minute - then you never have to see me again. Ever. If you don't want to." Fiona: "Next time you show up unannounced, nobody will ever see you again." I love Fiona. I hope she makes good on that threat. Vaughn is finding Miami way too hot these days and skedaddles back under his well-furnished rock. (or perhaps joins the civil war in heaven as his alter-ego Uriel - sorry Supernatural reference) Unfortunately, there are no Bahaman cruises in Michael's near future so he's destined to stay Miami-bound. Management will send someone new for Michael to play with when the media circus pulls up shop. Vaughn tells Fiona to "be good" and Fiona snarks, "So that's how the devil disappears. I'm a little disappointed. There wasn't a puff of smoke." You aren't the only one, Fi.

Fi and Sam were busy during Michael's 3 day rest stop. They tracked the Bible to one Mark Sweeney, former Barrett bodyguard. "Sweeney. Doesn't exactly sound like a super villain's, you know, cool name." Bwah!!! Shot Michael is funny. Perhaps Fi should remember this the next time he goes off on his own tangent. Michael has high hopes for this lead, but he's distracted by the South Beach Bomber and goes off to do surveillance with Sam. Enter Dennis Barfield, court-certified loony. "You get the sense there's a manifesto in the works." Michael confuses himself with Cranky Superman again and takes a peek so he can call the police. It's a new tactic for them, necessitated by Michael's new shoulder accessory. Michael ponders, "How does a delusional killer afford a place like this?" and Sam claims rich parents, but apparently Dennis has no parking tickets so that's…um…nope, he's still disturbing. Michael uses vending machine money to break into Delusional Dennis' place. Anyone think this was going to end well? Yeah, me neither.

Dennis Wayne Barfield ("give him that serial killer flavor") comes home. Michael overconfidents and Dennis confronts him. Michael goes into the dumb guy routine he does so well, pretending to be Barfield's greatest fan. Serial killers and reality TV stars - it's all about the attention. Dennis gloats over his vast superiority and proves it by hinting he has something else planned. Have you seen a movie Dennis? This never turns out well for the villain.

In Maddie's Pain-filled Garage, Michael says he's alright while wincing and groaning. Maddie doesn't buy it so Michael uses the "innocent people are going to die" card and you can literally feel Maddie's eyes roll. She hands responsibility for Michael off to Fiona. I have to admit I feel sorry for her; sick overachiever Michael is no fun. Fiona asks why he didn't run before Dennis saw him and Michael claims it was tactical. Nope, not buying it. These two have a hard time admitting weakness, don't they? Michael's hero complex is spiking, so he decides to distract Dennis while Sam searches his place. Fi votes her "cute little Walther" but Michael needs more info. Michael: "Shooting him is just not the right move." Fi: "Yet" Michael agrees.

While Michael plays Simon Says with the delusional, narcissistic serial killer, he sends Fiona out with Jesse to ransack Sweeney's car at the impound lot. Fi protests but Michael says, "Do a job together. I'll forgive you. It's always worked for you and me." Fi: "I don’t want relationship advice from you today." Me: "Do you honestly expect me to think Jesse is a serious threat to Fi and Michael's relationship. Give it up. They sabotage it themselves nicely. They don’t need outside help." Back at Fi's House of Plot Contrivance, Fiona unwraps home ware and attempts to mend fences with Jesse and wine. Jesse isn't in a forgiving mood so Fiona suggests, "I will find my boxing gloves. Maybe if you punch me in the head a few times we can turn the page." Shut up, Fiona. He has every right to be mad. Fiona decides they will play a married couple at the impound and Jesse decides, "Our marriage is on the rocks." I love this new Jesse, especially at the impound. Who knew being a jerk could be a spy tool? Maybe I am secretly surrounded by spies. Or your average jerks.

Meanwhile back at Casa Crazy, Michael lures out Dennis with promises of bomb making materials and finds that Dennis is dumber than he looks, which is a feat. Sam finds Dennis' bombing notes in the trash can because crazy trumps careful any day. Since this is going nowhere, I sit back and enjoy Jeffrey Donovan's dumb shtick. Trying to find the 5 rogue bombs, Michael heads back to Adam Scott's fortress to shove blurry pictures in his face. Apparently Adam saw something I didn't because he hypothetically knows where the next bomb is going off and when. Lackey is the next target, and Alicia, the unsuspecting client, comes back into play.

Sam and Michael plot in front of Lackey's house where he's the new head honcho. Surprise, Delusional Dennis is calling. Adam Scott and Red Shirt are goners. Just to reinforce his reputation though, Scott told Dennis about Michael and Fiona before he died. Isn't he so thoughtful? Dennis threatens Michael but doesn't realize who he is. The Anvils of Plot Contrivance are about to converge. Michael and Sam go the delivery guy routine and I wonder about the average IQ of Lackey's bodyguards. Not going to make it much longer Lackey if you don't get some new help. Delusional Dennis scores a bit higher on the IQ chart with his bomb HD TV. Lackey can't hear so Client Alicia explains. I laugh at how everyone is yell speaking. Sam wants some duct tape and it reminds me of my favorite line. "Guns make you stupid. Duct tape makes you smart." There was so much to love about season 1.

Meanwhile back in a cubicle, another brain child decides the best way to stay inconspicuous is to run out the door. Fi says progress but she isn't the one chasing the guy. Thankfully he isn't in great shape either and Jesse gets the info they need. Brain Child makes me laugh, "I can't go to jail. I'm very thin." I don't think that's a valid defense these days. As they start to leave, Michael calls Fi about triangulating Delusional Dennis' cell phone trigger. Fi arm wrestles Jesse into helping and I wish he would tell all 4 of them off and be done with it. They all deserve it. But Jesse's a sucker for doing the right thing today, so he helps out. The bomb goes into the pool and they play find the bomber, technology-style. Do underwater explosions count on this show? It's different but a bit underwhelming.

Surprise, surprise, Delusional Dennis is in Fiona's neighborhood. Raise your hand if you didn't see that one coming. What? Nobody? Fiona is excited to christen her new place with the insides of a bomber but Killjoy Michael says no. "Dammit Michael. I am not letting some psycho be the first person to bring explosives in to my new place." Aww, Fi. I love your priorities. You win the Character Who Rocks award. Again we hearken back to season 1 with Michael repeatedly telling Fiona to "get out of there." I really loved that episode when Fiona wheedled her way into a key to Michael's place. I think she could have gotten something this time too if she had waited, but I guess she's happy where they are now. Delusional Dennis is disappointed when he finds himself in an empty house.

Outside Fi's Home of Plot Anvils, the gang meets all together for the first time since Jesse found out Michael burned him. Sam extends the welcome; Jesse scorns them all. Michael and Sam exposit Dennis' loony plan and Michael is the only one who can go in there and fix things. That's a new one; haven't seen this plan since…well…every single episode of the last 4 years. The others give token protest but we all know where that ends. There's a tender albeit slightly awkward scene between Michael and Fiona and Michael enters the loony bin.

Dennis is suffering from grandiose delusions. Michael, again playing dumb, gets Dennis to spill where the bombs are. The 3 musketeers dissuade the police from going in or using cell phones and Michael leaves the house, only to be arrested. Sam and Fi realize that Michael got the info, but Tell-It-Like-It-Is Jesse reminds them that Delusional Dennis is still in the house with the bomb. He doesn't want the police to get hurt. Sam asks Fi what she wants to do, which was a great touch, but Post-Betrayal Jesse is more of a black and white guy than an elaborate planner. He uses his walkie to trigger the device. What the heck! Are you kidding me? This Jesse rocks! Sorry Fiona, but I'm passing your trophy to Jesse. Am I surprised to see Dennis dead? Absolutely not. Am I surprised that Jesse did it? Yep. The Burn Notice crew have taken pains to show us that these guys are the good guys. They fight the bad guys and get them arrested or make them move. Rarely do they kill them themselves; they usually let others do that work. I'm not saying that Jesse was wrong here. There isn’t much else they could have done, but to do it with no conversation, with no brainstorming of other solutions; it was cold, hard murder. The last time I remember one of Michael's crew shooting someone that wasn't holding a gun on them is when he shot Strickler. I had the same reaction then. Completely awesome and a jolt to my system. Then to have Jesse so matter-of-fact about it, "Sometimes you got to put the rabid dog down." while the others are freaking out. Fantastic scene with kudos all around.

Back at Maddie's, Michael broods and "Why me's" and hates himself. It's all mopey until Maddie stops it. "Whatever!" This may be the best use of that word since the 80's. Maddie doesn't know why Michael does what he does (childhood trauma, military, destiny) but she knows "You're one of the good guys Michael, and I'm proud of you." Let's contemplate how far these two have come in 4 years. In the beginning Maddie was comic relief, a pain in the kiester, and pretty tedious if she was around too much. Now she's part of the gang, sometimes out-conning them, and this conversation proves how much Michael needs her emotional support. I love Maddie, no matter how many contrivances they put in to make her fit. Then, just when I thought I couldn't like Maddie more, she delivers on her other skill - shopping. The show wouldn't be right without Michael's glasses. Or the Charger. Or the loft. (I miss you loft. See you soon?) Sorry Jesse, but the Character Who Rocks award definitely goes to Maddie this episode.

Before we fade to black, Michael and Jesse head to Justin Walsh's house. Jesse snarks that he doesn't know much about the guy. I love Snarky Jesse so much better than Pre-Hiatus Jesse. Great character make-over, writers. They find a dead Sweeney there; I guess Walsh is a much better "super villain cool name", huh Michael? Michael exposits us into the next episode and we're done.

I liked this episode. I thought it tied up some loose ends, gave us a compelling, if a little stale, overarching storyline and allowed for some good character development, especially with Jesse. There was some off-pacing, but all in all, a good start to the second half. Here's to next Thursday when Natalie is back. I can't wait for a little Fiona payback. I swear Michael if you stop Fiona from exacting revenge, I will come to Miami and exact a little revenge on you.

Screencaps taken from here I'm not sure whose they are but if they are yours, please let me know so I can credit you.

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