Burn Notice

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Asking Nicely

Cut to Fi in Michael's loft, beating the crap out of a hung-up suit with a railroad tie. Wait -- that's not a railroad tie --Fi's holding it. Adjusting for scale...okay, it's a table leg. Once she's done, Michael's puts on the suit's equally-distressed pants and explains to a dubious Nate what they're trying to pull on Ivan: "If he knows what we want, he can lie, hold out until the girls are gone. We need him to think that I'm on his side, that I'm safe to talk to." Michael hands Nate a suit of his own, accessorized with a stylish shoulder holster, and tells him to follow Sam's orders. And now it's time for the final stage of Michael's preparation, as his VO explains that fake blood and makeup won't hold up under close scrutiny. "So if your cover requires looking like you've been beaten, you have to get beaten." And with that. Fi slams a taped-up fist into Michael's face. He's spitting blood after the second blow (must have bitten his tongue, just to help her out), and Nate steps up to take a swing of his own at Michael. "Just trying to be a team player," Nate tools giddily when Michael yells at him for it. I think Michael would probably punch him back, if Nate's cover didn't require him to be uninjured. He might do it later anyway.

Later, Nate's locking Michael into the cargo container with Ivan as Michael explains in VO that a quick way to get someone to trust you is to make them want to make you trust them. That's why Michael goes right on the offensive with Ivan. "You have the face of a traitor," he accuses. Still bloody, Michael points out that he's said nothing, and here Ivan is without a scratch. As he takes off his battered suit jacket and slowly advances on Ivan as though for a fight while spitting accusations in Russian, his VO warns that a fight is a quick way to give away your identity. "If you say you're Russian but fight like an American, consider your cover blown. Which means you better know Sambo, the mixed martial art of Russia." Which Michael clearly does. Wait -- I know "mixed martial arts" are hot right now, but how can one martial art be mixed? I'm clearly not watching enough Spike TV. Based on the demonstration Michael and Ivan now give us, Sambo seems to involve a lot of arm-twisting and opponent's-head-against-the-wall-slamming. "Of course you also have to win the fight," adds the MWVO. "A great cover ID doesn't help you if you're dead." Fortunately Michael does prevail, and as he's holding Ivan in a painful neck/arm lock, he keeps demanding to know what Ivan told them. Ivan swears he said nothing, and Michael finally lets him go. So now that they're friends, Michael introduces himself as Sergei Yablonovich from Tampa. "Born in Volgograd," Michael says in subtitled Russian. "Raised in America," he finishes in English. Which I guess is why he isn't bothering to fake a Russian accent. Odd choice on his part; Michael never met an unnecessary fake accent he didn't like, but now that one would actually come in handy, he's steering clear. Probably because it's not wise to pretend to have the same accent that your "asset" (to borrow a Michael-ese term) does. Anyway, after "guessing" that Ivan runs the girls for Takarov, Michael tells Ivan that the organization is getting shut down bit by bit, and the agents currently holding them know way too much about Takarov for someone not to be talking. "Maybe they are watching," Ivan says. "Maybe they have someone in the deli, or the cafe, I don't know." But he insists he has said nothing, not realizing that he just did.

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Burn Notice




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