Burn Notice

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Method to the Madness

Upon returning to the loft, Michael finds Sam in the courtyard waxing a Buick. No, that's not a euphemism. Apparently Veronica not only dumped Sam, she repossessed the CadillAxe, so now he's going to be driving a "pre-owned" vehicle. Hey, where's Saab when you need them? Michael tells Sam about his meeting with Victor, and his options for refusal: "Oh, the usual, they'll work through my friends and family with a nine-millimeter until I change my mind." Michael gets serious, and asks Sam to go over and be with his mom until he knows what's up. In fact, he's already dialing his cell phone (not the bedazzled red one), which he hands to Sam. Sam plays the part of the heartbroken lover who can't stand to bum Michael out any more and needs a new place to stay for a few days. Then he gets his petty revenge by handing the phone off to Michael. Here, talk to your mom. That'll learn ya.

Sam carries his luggage (and pillow, don't forget the pillow) up the front steps to Madeline's house. When he peeks inside the window, there's a guy inside, lying on the floor with a bundle of wiring. It's obvious to the most rank amateur that the guy's installing cable or something, but a seasoned operative like Sam knows enough to enter the house silently and put his gun to the guy's head, accusing him of setting up some kind of surveillance. Okay, Sam, if you say so. But judging from the sheer volume of cable in view, any transmissions would be sent back to a base that's strategically located in 1983. The visitor stands, claiming he's a friend of the family who came to talk to Michael. Sam's skeptical, but when he hears Madeline coming he quickly tucks his gun away and signals the visitor to play along like they're brand-new buddies. Madeline's holding a top-loading VCR that's about the size of a microwave, which she hands to her guest, Ricky. She explains to Sam that Ricky's older brother Andre was good friends with Michael when they were boys. But after stopping by to see Michael, he has offered to help with Madeline's "home theater." "Well, actually, I think it's time to upgrade," Ricky says mildly. Indeed. Madeline's setup looks like if she tried to tune into the USA network to watch this show she'd get Gilbert Gottfried on Up All Night instead.

Later, Michael meets up with Sam and Madeline and Ricky at a sidewalk café. I don't know how they found one. Michael asks what Ricky's brother Andre's up to. "25 to life up in Starke," Ricky says. Way to bring everyone down. Michael's sorry to hear it, and Madeline invites Michael to sit down while she and Sam go VCR-shopping. Once he's alone with Michael, Ricky says that he's a big-time accountant now with Sweet Valentine Enterprises, handing Michael his business card. Apparently Valentine himself is some kind of hip-hop mogul, which is news to Michael. "The radio in my car is broken," he explains politely. Somehow, after he's restored the Charger to mint condition twice (so far), I'm doubting this. Ricky assures Michael that it's the big time, but he's got a problem: Valentine asked him about two million dollars missing from an account, and Ricky said he'd look into it. But when he did, he found that the money is gone and someone's made it look like Ricky was the one who took it. That someone, Ricky is sure, is Eddie Ash, Valentine's top lieutenant and the only person Valentine trusts. Complicating things is the fact that Valentine is apparently an ex-gangster and will probably kill Ricky if he says anything. Why is it always the rap guys who are so dangerous, anyway? How come nobody on TV ever runs afoul of a country music mogul? You think those guys don't own just as many guns? Anyway, Michael suggests Ricky hire a forensic accountant, but Ricky says he just needs Eddie's records to bring to Valentine. And he needs Michael to steal them from Eddie's locked office for him. He offers Michael an envelope containing ten grand, but Michael demurs, "Let's see how the job goes first, all right?" The subtitles reading "Ricky -- The Client" slide in under Ricky's surprised face. It's nice of Michael to wait until he pulls this off before he turns down Ricky's money.

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Burn Notice

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