Burn Notice Recap 3.8 – Friends Like These

burnNoticeSeason3We hop right into the action this week. Michael prepares for a mission. ‘An operation is more likely to be saved by a fresh set of batteries than a gun.’Fiona packs the batteries in a camera while Michael loads his gun. Apparently they’re hedging their bets on the batteries. Fiona answers the door to find Strickler, ‘Michael’s Ticket Back In.’Fiona tries to convince Michael not to go with him, to no avail.

Strickler and Michael park our awesome car of the week: a slick Aston-Martin. Strickler promises Michael with ‘his word’if Michael completes this job, his burn notice will be lifted. Then we’d have to change the name of this show to ‘Sam Axe Is Awesome.’I’m cool with that. They are currently parked across from a safe house for an American intelligence agency. There appears to be a robbery in progress, which they will not be stopping. Instead, they’ll trace the stolen goods to a drop off and take some key pictures as it happens, all the client has requested. It sounds a little too good to be true to me.

Michael stumbles in on Sam and his conveniently product-placed MGD64 folding laundry. Sam’s folding laundry drinking the beer, the beer isn’t helping fold. I just wanted to be clear. Sam’s been chasing down a license plate for Michael, belonging to one of the thieves. Sam thinks he’s found the motel where the car’s driver is staying. The best place to monitor the motel is a bingo parlor and Sam has a great idea for placing one of our lovely characters there, someone who would fit right into a bingo parlor’s clientele. That someone, it seems, is not too happy with Sam lately. Madeline’s roof is leaking. ‘For some crazy reason she thinks it has to do with the time I blew up the house.’

Madeline’s in for the bingo-surveillance, as long as there’s no shooting. I’m so excited for the day we can see Sharon Gless with a gun again. Can there be a little shooting? Fiona tries to lay a guilt trip on Michael but it’s all too obvious she’s just trying to dissuade him from his continuing quest. As a welcome interruption, Mike receives a frantic call from Barry and runs off to meet him.

Someone has stolen Barry’s ledger, which lists all of his nefarious contacts and the money he keeps track of for them. Barry’s been contacted by the thief, who wants $5Million by Thursday or he’ll sell the ledger. If that happens, Barry’s as good as dead. Fi and Mike agree to help Barry, and the subtitles confirm it with ‘The Client’. The ledger was kept in a private storage space with some cash and some paperwork that belongs to his girlfriend, Amy. Michael and Fi think Amy’s a plant and her documents were used as a Trojan horse to snuff out his secret location.

Madeline definitely looks the part of a bingo-junky as she dangles a cigarette and a mean set of giant blue earrings. Michael’s voiceover points out that the spy business is a bit ageist. ‘…even wary operatives don’t usually pay attention to kids and people on social security.’Sam talks through the basics with Madeline and encourages her to keep a low profile. All she needs to do is keep an eye out for their guy, and call when she sees him. Madeline can’t be having too bad of a time, she brightens when she gets a BINGO!

Barry waits in the car while Michael and Fiona break into Amy’s house. Loud music is blaring from the house. Amy, ‘Barry’s Special Lady’, wanders out front. She’s none other than the evil chick from Beethoven’s 2nd, my 2nd favorite St. Bernard movie. Amy tries to take out Fiona with a golf club, but we all know how that ends. Fiona finds an explosive placed on Amy’s car, but Amy is unconvinced. To prove the eminent threat on Amy’s life, Fiona tosses a brick into the car, which sets off the explosive. While her Range Rover burns, Amy spills her guts about the guy who contacted her. ‘He was some kind of foreign.’Nice.

Sam and Michael use a drill and a coat hanger to orchestrate a nice little break in to the ‘foreign guy’s’home. They search the place top to bottom, with no success. Fiona spots a car arriving, but Sam and Mike don’t have time to clean up their mess. It’s critical the blackmailer not know they were snooping, or he’ll likely run with the ledger. Their only option seems to be an unpleasant one. ‘We owe him, Sam.’Sam’s eye roll says it all, as he takes his gun from its holster. A man and a woman wander into the home, and Michael puts on his best tough guy voice. The lady freaks out when she sees strange men in her home, but I think she should freak out over the abusive husband she seems to have picked out for herself. Foreign guy tries to come at Michael, but is quickly taken down. The wife freaks out the corner, and Sam tries to calm her down, but his gun waving isn’t exactly getting the job done. Michael sends us to commercial break with this gem: ‘Get some pillowcases, we’re gonna need head-bags.’

Michael and Sam talk through the plan with Barry. They’ve kidnapped foreign guy and lady, which seems to have been their only chance to get information on the location of the ledger. Sam is excited to get this done so he and Ms. Reynolds can sneak off on their filthy love adventure at a villa. Michael, though, has other plans for that big open private space and hopes to use it for some interrogation. Sam may have had similar plans for Ms. Reynolds, but gives in to Michael’s puppy dog eyes.

Madeline spots the thief and gives Michael a call. Michael applauds her like a St. Bernard: ‘Good JOB, Mom!’Fiona’s in charge of setting up a tail on the thief, while Michael runs to the villa to finish the interrogation. ‘I’m sorry we’re using your love nest as a holding cell, Sam.’Sam and Michael look through their captive’s belongings. Sam finds a picture of an adorable toddler boy, and volunteers to work on the female captive. ‘As you know, I’ve got a way with the ladies.’

Sam, in one of the upstairs rooms with the lady, laughs like an idiot while he reads the paper. ‘Oh, that Marmaduke. He will never learn.’She gives up a little information, if only to make him stop laughing like that. Her name is Natalie and she’s a property manager. It appears she’s not the wife at all, but most likely a victim some how of the blackmailer, who is currently awaiting Micheel in the basement.

Michael’s voiceover recognizes that foreign-guy is likely a ‘shut-down at conflict’kind of guy, so his best bet is to avoid conflict. He offers a cigarette and speaks with a very measured tone. Michael claims he’s working for a ‘very powerful man’and tries to convince foreign-guy (who claims his name is George Washington, who was also foreign) that Natalie will turn over on him. G.W. doesn’t seem concerned, since she’s only known him for three days and doesn’t even know his name. G.W. has even more reason to keep quiet, since he’s set up an insurance policy. If he doesn’t show up for the sale in three days, his friend will leak the ledger onto the Internet.

While Sam and Michael compare notes on their unsuccessful interrogations, Fiona wanders in. Sam is having very little luck with the ‘delicate flower’who bursts into tears every time Sam tries to talk to her. Fiona’s had more success, though, and has found the arms deal location. As a reward, she’s now in charge of cry-baby Natalie. Michael suggests a ‘softer approach.’Fiona and I are both incredulous. ‘You’re looking to me for softer? You two really are desperate.’

Fiona comes in with two cups of tea and the picture of Natalie’s son, Jared. She quickly gets Natalie’s intel. Natalie’s been scamming some money on the side by renting empty houses to playboys. A few days ago, G.W. kidnapped her and used her as his personal real-estate agent as well as his personal play thing. There was a condo near the airport that Natalie showed him, and Fiona thinks it’s their best bet for the ledger hiding spot.

Sure enough, Fiona and Michael find a safe in the fireplace of the condo. The safe doesn’t contain the ledger, but it does contain Natalie’s passport, as well as G.W.’s, who’s real name is Milovan. They also find another passport for a third gentleman, Bennet Tash, who I’m sure we’ll be tracking down soon.

Sam taunts Milo with their new info. Milovan is taunting Sam right back though, and gets Sam to come at him. This may be the angriest we’ve seen Sam, and all over an accusation that Sam was in the Coast Guard rather than the Navy. Those military guys and their prejudices… As Sam dives at him, Milo takes Sam’s gun and tries to shoot him, but it wasn’t loaded. Instead, Sam pulls an actual live gun on Milovan and takes a couple too-close-for-comfort shots at him, putting Milo in his place for now.

Michael used Milo’s passport to get some additional information on him. It’s no wonder Milovan was able to rile Sam, he’s an interrogation specialist. Michael tasks Barry with tracking down Bennet Tash via paper trail. Sam will stay with Milo and try to keep his temper in check. Michael and Fi will work the B plot for Strickler and set up their location for photographing the sale.

Fi and Sam meet with Strickler and scope out the arms deal location. Fiona finds Strickler’s abundance of information suspicious. He knew right when the heist would take place and that the thieves would be selling it quickly to a big buyer. He’s also letting the heist be carried out rather than stopping it. She calls him out, but Strickler is unswayed. Michael tells Strickler than he’ll handle the Fiona situation. Good luck to you, Michael!

Barry calls Fiona with some intel on Bennet Tash. Fiona tires to convince Natalie to be brave and share as much information as she can to track down Bennet. Fiona loans her cell phone to Natalie to call her son, and Natalie points them in the direction of a store front where they can find Bennet.

Sam and Michael quickly find the store, where Bennet is working alone. They claim ‘the boss’sent them. Bennet pulls a Mac-10 from the back room and tries to take them out. He had instructions to kill any visitor on sight, but isn’t very successful as Michael easily takes him down. Bennet panics and asks them to just kill him. He doesn’t know where the ledger is. ‘The only one who knows where that ledger is is her.’The Serbian? It would appear he’s a fall guy. ‘She threatened his kid.’Well, that over-the-top sobbing act seems to make more sense now. Sam and Michael speed back to save Fiona.

Natalie turns off Fiona’s phone while she gets a yogurt, and tries to convince Fiona to take the handcuffs off so she can go to the bathroom. Fiona, thankfully, can’t find the keys. She walks off to find something to pick them with, while Michael and Sam panic that they can’t reach her on her cell. This episode has taken an exciting turn! I don’t even care that it’s late and my butt is numb from sitting on my bed with my laptop!

When we return from commercial, Fiona has indeed picked Natalie’s handcuffs, but they’re sitting there talking calmly. Michael, in an effort to hide his fear, acts furious and smacks Fiona. They quickly stash Natalie back in the room and cuff her to the bed. As soon as the door is closed, Michael sincerely apologizes and explains to Fiona, but she’s shaken and furious. It’s a really powerful moment, and I feel for both of them. Michael is just as upset about it as Fiona is, and I don’t see this ending well for anyone.

Sam and Michael put Milo in a bathtub, with Natalie in the room next door, and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t give up the information. They shoot everywhere but at him, and the sound of the screaming and shooting is enough to convince Natalie that he’s dead. Fiona runs into Natalie’s room and offers to help her escape. She breaks the window with a chair and Natalie runs out. ‘Spies don’t keep a lot of prisoners. When you hold someone you only learn what they tell you. Let them go and you can learn what they do and where they go.’Sam, Fi, and Michael steal cars to use as tails and use Barry as a fourth man for intel. Using the different vehicles they easily take turns tailing her. How did people do cool things like this before cell phones? Hand signals I guess. After an awesome ‘chase’scene that I’m sad you missed, Natalie turns into South Point Park and waits on a park bench.

A bicyclist rides past Natalie and makes a smooth exchange of keys. The cyclist opens a beach locker and picks up the ledger. Michael takes down the cyclist and grabs the ledger while Fiona slugs Natalie in the mouth. Natalie uses a group of children for cover and escapes. She did, however, leave behind a car full of money. The buyers for Barry’s ledger ended up getting shafted for the money, which works out great for everyone.

Barry and Madeline really are adorable together. She cooked up a cover story for him, and he’s hooked her up with a roof repairman. Madeline and Michael share a beer and another tender moment. I’m really glad to see Madeline not be annoying and shrill this season. I’m starting to actually like her.

Fiona comes to visit Michael in his loft. She’s dropping out of the Strickler operation. She puts together the most coherent argument against working with Strickler we’ve heard. ‘Working with someone like Strickler, it changes you little by little.’Fiona is near tears again (every episode this season?) and tells Michael she can’t stay in Miami and watch Michael sell his soul.

Michael sits at his stakeout location and watches the thieves make the transfer of the stolen goods from boat to truck. He takes the pictures Strickler wanted, and worries about Fiona via voiceover. Michael turns the photos over to Strickler and tries to get more information on where the stolen goods are going and who the pictures are for. Strickler doesn’t give him any answers, but does hand over a phone call for Michael. Diego informs Michael there’s ‘been some movement’on his burn notice and offers to meet and discuss. Michael definitely looks like he feels dirty as he contemplates what he’s traded.

Next week: Fiona gets kidnapped and Michael gets angry.

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