Burn Notice Recap 3.4 “Fearless Leader”

Burn Notice Recap 3.4 “Fearless Leader”


No yogurt for me tonight, so let’s kick it right into gear. Michael Westen’s voiceover informs us to lay out a plan of action before anything starts. Mommy and Daddy shouldn’t fight in front of the mark, after all. Fi and Michael pull up in front of a Miami home to do a little bounty hunting. Michael’s hoping to use the extra cash to bribe his way back into his old job. Fi would…rather spend it on drugs? Really? Michael uncovers a nice sized weapon from the trunk and agrees to compromise by buying Fiona dinner. They synchronize watches and Fiona runs inside, with a 3 minute deadline. Michael watches her walk away with a smirk (and a clear glance at her almost non-existant butt).

Fi walks into a party and eyes Randal, the ‘Charmless Sleazebag.’Michael waits outside, and Detective Paxon makes her first appearance, as a ‘Distracting Cop.’Inside, Fi demands her client’s $20K from Randall. Michael tries to talk down Paxon outside, while the 3 minutes tick away on his watch. Inside, Fi’s threatening to carry Randall off, waiting on Michael to rush in to help. Paxon’s holding Michael hostage outside, so Fi resorts to violence (no shock) and busts her way out with a chair through the window. On a side note, there are some fantastic cars in the driveway. Do you think the production crew shelled out a ton of money just to park them in a driveway for one shot? They must’ve had some extra budget money left over this episode. When the awesome-car-owning thugs try to rush Fiona, they’re stopped in their tracks by the sight of Paxon and her clear air-de-police. Besides the ability to ward off angry hordes, Paxon has come with a gift: a police tail for Michael. That might cause some issues with their extra curricular activities.

Fiona and Michael are on their date later that night at the Carlito, their usual restaurant. Fi is unimpressed, but to be fair they are just as poor as they started that morning. To make the date complete, Sam arrives. As our B plot for this episode, Sam’s being audited. Poor Sam, I feel for you. The three of them are looking equally depressed. While Fi starts into her dessert, Sam invites himself into the….no longer a date.

Michael’s voiceover tells us: ‘When you’re being followed by the police it’s important to remember that having cops around is a problem for criminals, but it’s an even bigger problem for a detective trying to remain inconspicuous on a stake out.’Mike surprises Det. Paxon as she sits at a table, apparently staking out someone involved in a case she’s been working on for over 8 months, one where ‘people are dying.’Michael taunts her, and also tries to convince her they’re on the same side. Maybe that may have been more effective without the taunting. Nontheless, Paxon challenges Michael to prove it to her. Michael seems to think that’s a great idea. He calls Sam and tasks him with finding out some more info on Paxon’s case.

Michael arrives at his mom’s house where she is making cookies. Oooh! That’ll be my snack for the evening. Ok, Madeline is a solid contender for line of the night: ‘Michael, I’d appreciate it if when you stopped by it wasn’t only to lose your police tail.’Who hasn’t heard THAT one from their mom? Am I right? Michael sneaks out the back, escaping the police and his mother as fast as he can.

In a nice switch, Michael is now staking out Paxon, at a funeral. Sam slips in the passenger seat of Michael’s car and hands him some info on Paxon’s case. A harassment complaint was filed against her a month ago. She’s been hunting down a man named Rick Mattheson. Mattheson has a habit of ripping off drug dealers, and has left a trail of bodies in his wake. The current funeral is for an innocent bystander, a neighbor of one of the heists. Paxon took some swings at Mattheson, he filed suit, and the DA made her back off. Michael decides to assist her on this case, whether she likes it or not. The subtitles re-lable Paxon as ‘The Client’, while Sam runs off to his audit. IRS agent Stacey Conolly is the next victim of the ‘Sam Arsenal’which I bet involves a large amount of cologne and a flipped up collar.

Sam waits at an outdoor café for his IRS agent, while Michael’s voiceover informs us about the power of flirtation and romance in an operation. Hehehehe. Stacey Conolly, IRS Agent, arrives. He looks more like PC from the Mac commercials than he does a potential target of the ‘Sam Aresenal.’Sam and his gold necklace are less than pleased. The calypso music and two cosmos Sam’s ordered offend Mr. Conolly. ‘I do not drink; I audit.’He sounds like a blast! Conolly informs Sam his pension checks are being withheld until they scrutinize the last 3 years of information. Since Sam came ill prepared for a meeting where an actual audit would be conducted, Conolly leaves with a promise to reschedule.

Fi and Michael walk through a sea of half naked women and sand, discussing the Paxon plan. They’ve found Mattheson, the new target, who trips a hapless busboy just for sport. Oh, I like him already. They’re eyeballing the potential ways to gain access to Mattheson. The voiceover tells us they’re looking for a ‘frustrated middle manager.’I know plenty! I’ll send them your way! And, here’s Tommy, our frustrated middle manager and ‘Aspiring Public Enemy.’It seems, as the sirens blare, that Paxon has finally caught up with them so they slip out. Paxon is displeased, and we head to commercial with yet another idle threat. Seriously, what has she done to Michael so far other than annoy him?

Sam uses a Sharpie to create a fake prison tattoo on Michael’s arm. We totally did this stuff in junior high with bic pens. Fi walks in on the…frankly gay looking scene, and calls them on it. Sam reads the details on the middle manager, Tommy Dantonio. He’s a small time criminal, a dog track junkie, and their best bet at getting at Mattheson. Michael glances outside at his police tail and utters my second nomination for quote of the night: ‘Ugh. I gotta take the over the roof and down the rain gutter exit.’

Michael arrives at the dog track, and watches Dantonio cheer on his favorite purebred. Having attended roughly 10 different schools, I can identify with Michael’s voiceover. ‘Every kid who ever went to a new school knows the secret to fitting in: copy everyone else. Spies do the same thing. Tailor their movement, their behavior, to imitate their targets. All the little things that say: I’m your kinda guy.’Michael saunters up to Tommy and does a great Dantonio impression. ‘Milo’casually flashes his prison tattoo and claims to have heard of Dantonio. They bond quickly and ‘Milo’proposes Dantonio mentor him and give his crew some advice.

Poor Sam is in the middle of his audit in Madeline’s sun room. I wonder if he can take a deduction for all the time he spent rebuilding it. Sam is using a handgun as proof that he went on a business trip to the Middle East, and it works! He’s still quite short on documentation of his ‘business’expenses, however, since most of the ‘business’is still classified. Madeline comes in, offering her fresh baked cookies. Conolly is allergic to…everything…so he passes. He was better off for doing so, since Sam gags on his. Poor Madeline…I once messed up a batch of cookies by putting in about 4 times the required amount of baking soda. Of course…I think I was 10. But, still, I understand. Conolly tasks Sam with estimating all the gifts and expenses covered by his ‘lady friends’over the last 3 years. That could take a while.

Michael, as Milo, is at dinner with Sam, Fi, and Tommy. Quick question, if anyone is reading. Has Bruce Campbell ever used an accent in a role? I only ask, since Mike and Fi are putting on their best over-the-top gangster accents, and Sam is…well…Sam. Michael asks Tommy for some advice on a good score in Miami. Tommy’s going to take them under his wing and bring them in on a job, hitting a local dry cleaner. Tommy gives Michael an empty gun ‘to scare the guy’, and they start their operation. Fi cuts the cable to the security camera, Sam lures out the attendant with a well thrown rock, and Michael and Tommy break into the store and lock the door behind them. They empty the register and head towards the back. Michael uses the dry cleaning rack to yank the padlock off the door and they rush into the car, where Fi’s waiting to speed them to safety. Throughout the whole job, Michael is quite successfully leading Tommy to make decisions, all the while making Tommy feel like he thought of the ideas himself. It’s a LOT like dealing with a frustrated middle manager. That scene was almost Dilbert-like in its accuracy.

At Michael’s loft, Paxon knocks on the door while Sam cleans Michael’s fridge (?!?). Paxon seems to have a hunch that Michael was involved in the dry cleaner job. With the heat turned up, they decide to speed up their plan. ‘It’s time for Mattheson and his crew to run into some cashflow problems.’

Michael skulks in the parking garage of the dog track, and his voiceover warns us that we’re going to see Michael wound himself yet again. ‘The sight of a fresh injury has a primal effect on people. If you really need to make a point, sometimes there’s no substitute for a good shiner.’Michael bashes himself in the face with a metal door and heads towards Tommy. Michael tells Tommy that ‘Milo’has been hunted down by some people to whom he owes a good chunk of money. Tommy wants to help, and Michael butters him up a bit. Tommy offers to bring him over to meet Rick Mattheson to work on a bigger job.

Sam’s back with the auditor, who is not happy about Sam’s deduction for a couple’s spa retreat. As Conolly searches through some files, Sam recognizes him. Sam used to date Conolly’s mom, and even played catch with young Stacey, the ‘boy with a girl name.’Sam remembers him quite well, even the type of bike he rode and some cute stories from his childhood, but Conolly continues to play dumb. Finally, Conolly admits to knowing Sam. It seems poor Stacey is suffering from the same issues many kids of single parents much face: ‘You acted like you liked me. And then, one day, you disappeared, and you never came back.’Sam really DID like Stacey, but his mom was done with Sam and didn’t want him playing with her son once they broke up. Stacey runs off in a huff, and Madeline hands Sam a beer. Beer and cookies: a perfect evening treat.

Michael and Fi are working on making a bug and placing it in a pack of cigarettes, which I’m guessing they’ll slip onto Tommy, who smokes exactly 1 cigarette a day. Weird, right? Like…why wouldn’t you just quit? Ah well, it works out for the plot and I’m sure someone out there can validate the strange habit.

Back on the beach where we first saw Mattheson, Sam and Michael discuss the merits of their plan. Tommy walks up and compliments ‘Milo’s’outfit, while Fi switches out his pack of cigarettes for the bugged ones. The group heads over to meet Mattheson and Tommy introduces them. Mattheson accuses Sam of being a cop, since he has ‘cop hair.’Mattheson softens up a bit, though, when Tommy tells him about the dry cleaner job. The crew listens in from the car while Tommy and Mattheson discuss the job. They’re officially ‘in’.

Michael meets with Tommy to get the details. Tommy, though, seems to have cold feet about the whole thing. He’s worried about the crew, since Mattheson was going to get them all killed to make a few bucks on a dangerous job. Tommy’s surprises Michael by having a heart and a conscience. Mike makes a bold move and outs himself to Tommy. He asks for Tommy’s help taking Mattheson down. Tommy’s in, if a little nervous. The crew meets with him at a marina to discuss each of their roles. Tommy’s job is to continue as if nothing’s wrong, fetching the van Mattheson requested and getting the exact location of the heist.

Fi, Sam and Michael pull up at the heist location with the same car they used for the drycleaner heist. They only have to wait a second for Mattheson and Tommy to pull in behind them in the van. Our threesome will be in charge of the perimeter while Mattheson and a couple of thugs go in. Tommy’s in charge of the getaway van. Mattheson and his crew break into the meth lab and start their heist. Meanwhile, Fi glues the door shut with some superglue and canned air and Fi, Sam, and Michael take up position for the shootout. Sam makes a call to the police while the drug dealers start firing some serious weaponry. Fi blows a few minor explosives, since this wouldn’t be Burn Notice without them. Sam, Fi, and Mike hold off the dealers from behind a dumpster with some fancy shooting. Tommy pulls up in the van and rams the door to the lab shut, trapping Mattheson and his crew inside. Fi sets off a few more explosives while they flee the scene.

Paxon gleefully cuffs Mattheson and a random cop gives her some intel. They found the getaway car from the dry cleaning heist, the one Michael conveniently left for them on the street. In the trunk? A nicely labeled sample of C4.

Michael meets with Tommy and they discuss his plans for going straight, which might involve a dog kennel. With a nice friendly hug, they part ways.

Paxon joins Michael at a restaurant table. She seems to have put all the pieces together, including the C4 from the trunk, linked to 7 explosions in the Miami area. Paxon seems willing to take Michael’s deal for now, and get her takedown in exchange for backing off on Westen.

Back at Madeline’s, Sam and Stacey meet for dinner. Conolly seems to be happy to have reconnected with Sam, and more amiable to renewing their relationship. When Conolly saw Sam’s file, he thought he could take the opportunity to get back at Sam, but now he realizes how silly that was. Changing the subject, Sam introduces him to alcohol via a Fuzzy Navel. Sam and Conolly bond over their now mutual love of alcohol, and a new dysfunctional father-son relationship.

Michael and Fi look to be on a real honest-to-goodness date. Instead of romance, though, they’re discussing Paxon and Michael’s deep-seated desire to be a spy. Fi tries, yet again, to convince Michael that his new life isn’t a terrible one. Michael, though, is committed to getting his old job back, and getting out of Miami. With her heart clearly broken, Fi tearfully asks him to change the subject and just finish their dinner.

Unlike Michael and Fi, Burn Notice and I are SO in sync! I’m on vacation next week, and so is Burn Notice. See you in two weeks! Don’t forget to leave me a comment so I know I’m not working my tail off just so my mom can Google me.

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