Burn Notice

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M. Giant: B | 1 USERS: A+
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Pay It Forward

After some previouslies -- which almost seem incongruous, given that the breaks between seasons of this show are shorter than the breaks in the middle of them -- we pick up where we left off, with Michael in a well-appointed library after being rendered to some black site somewhere. Michael's voice-over can tell from his lavish surroundings that he's not in some facility that's on a government budget, and the $1200 shoes on the man who walks in all friendly-like are a dead giveaway as well. This gentleman, who reminds me of a younger, taller Andre Braugher, is grateful to Michael for both rescuing Management and helping recapture Simon, and he toasts Michael, "Friends at last." The subtitles dutifully identify him as "Vaughn -- Michael's new friend." Michael says he's not his friend. In response, Vaughn tosses a thick folder into Michael's lap; a little light reading to pass the time. Whatever's in there, I'm sure it's a faster read than anything by James Michener. Never again with that dude, I'm telling you.

Back in his dark cell, Michael starts going through the papers, while VOing about how there's a trick to reading intelligence files. At first they seem like a bunch of random documents, but after a while they come together into a coherent whole. Much like the editing in this scene. Once he's got some kind of picture, he calls for the guard.

Out in the yard, Vaughn explains to Michael that all of the violent activity described in the file -- all of it connected to a few large bank accounts -- is stuff "they" are trying to stop. Of course that gives Michael an opening to ask who "they" is, and Vaughn explains about how while the government may be good at things like running a military, there's some stuff that ex-government types do better than the government. Like burned spies, for instance. But where's Vaughn going to find one of those? Vaughn says that whoever let Simon loose was deliberately attacking "them," and now Michael's on the same side as them, whether he likes it or not. Michael is obviously resistant to the idea, but Vaughn keeps working on him and buttering him up until Michael tells him how he'd start: find the weapons supplier listed in the file, a guy named Gregory Hart, using the satellite phone he uses for all his banking. Vaughn says they can go do that together. On the job training, I guess.

Suddenly Michael and Vaughn are in a paramilitary helicopter that's setting down in some South American forest crawling with guerillas. Vaughn remarks on how this is the first time Michael's been out of Miami in a while, and I guess we'll have to take his word for it even though this could be the Everglades for all we know. Vaughn hands Michael a machine gun, and when Michael takes a raincheck on Vaughn's invitation to shoot him, Vaughn leads him through the trees to a very large tent. Someone's glamping.

Inside is none other than Michael Ironside, who looks resigned about being found despite this sweet gig he's got sitting at a desk that monkeys frolic on. The subtitles identify him as "Gregory Hart -- Gun Enthusiast." Very dry. Michael and Vaughn start quizzing him about who he works for, and all he'll say about his employer is that it's "A sixteen-digit Swiss bank account and an anonymous e-mail address." And he doesn't get any more forthcoming when Vaughn shoots him in the leg. Michael is more in observation mode, first noticing that there's an official-looking file on Hart's desk, and then that there's some kind of aircraft approaching. He tells Vaughn they have to go, and his VO tells us that unmanned drones are a very anonymous weapon; all it tells you about the person using it is that they have a lot of money. Which, honestly, they already knew or they wouldn't be here. Michael VOs about how the secret to surviving a drone attack is to escape the primary target area. Which they do, barely, as Hart's tent is first strafed and then obliterated by an antitank missile, with Hart still inside. They cast Michael Ironside for that? After the drone passes overhead and the two visitors pick themselves up, Michael sees that Vaughn's been wounded in the shoulder. "Are you in or out?" Vaughn asks. Well, after a taste of this kind of fun, who wouldn't want more?

Back in Miami, in the hotel suite that Vaughn's apparently staying in. Michael remarks on the government file he noticed on Hart's desk. He figures it means Hart was the target of a government investigation of some sort. This is enough to impress Vaughn -- or at least enough to prompt Vaughn to pretend to be impressed -- and he sends Michael to the car waiting outside. "Say hi to your mother for me." I'm sure Madeline will be touched.

At Madeline's house, they have an emotional reunion. Apparently Madeline got a call saying he was on his way back, but the caller was so vague she wondered if Michael would be delivered in pieces. Like she needs more boxes cluttering up the place. Michael asks if she's heard from Fi. She hasn't, and suggests Michael go see her. Michael offers his mom a broad apology and heads over to Fi's.

He walks right into her apartment, which is a good way to get shot, even as he VOs about how it can be unpredictable when you walk back into someone's life after being missing for weeks. She quickly and gratefully hugs him before quickly briefing him on the job of the week. Apparently they're up against a biker gang. It seems a lawyer ran afoul of the "Breakers" in the course of helping some woman or another. The details don't really matter, and anyway this new weecap format allows me to write about it in such a way as to reflect Michael's obvious confusion. Rather clever on my part, no? After helping her load a small arsenal, he's quickly led out to the car, which Sam drives the two of them off in, promising to get a beer with Michael as soon as "this little disaster of Fi's is over." Cue the bickering between the two sidekicks, until Michael shouts, "I have a machine pistol in my hand and I have no idea what I'm doing!" Plus he doesn't drink beer anyway. Sam quickly explains that a member of the Breakers named Hunter and a couple of his goons are at the home of their client, a lawyer named Winston, and Winston called them freaking out. "This situation could use a little Michael Westen," Sam says. Good thing he showed up then.

Over at Winston's house, the poor dude's place is under siege. He's desperately throwing cash out at them, and "Hunter -- Outlaw Biker" (per the subtitles) is just burning it while screaming threats in through the window. Michael VOs about how being marked for death by a criminal organization isn't about the individual, but about the honor of the group, which makes it very difficult to change their mind. Yes, Michael, your job is very hard.

As the car pulls up, Michael tells the others to hang back, because his plan is to bluff them rather than trying to shoot this out. He gets out of the car with two of the machine pistols, saying if things go bad, "It was nice seeing you guys again." Hunter is just counting down from ten when Michael stomps up behind the three bikers, firing off bursts from the machine pistols into the air. The three bikers draw on him, but Michael points out that his two MAC-10s outgun their three semiautomatics -- which means he can take down at least two of them before they drop him. After issuing some obligatory threats, Hunter backs down and leads the men away, promising to be back. "Okay, so who was that guy again?" Michael asks Sam and Fi as they run up to join him.

When Michael and Fi return to the courtyard, he's clearly in a bit of a mood. Apparently his feelings are hurt, since he disappeared and then came back to find the two of them acting like nothing happened. Fi socks him in the face -- and we all knew it was only a matter of time before that happened -- and says they kicked in every door they could find. "We took a client out of respect for you," she claims. Then she kisses him properly and welcomes him home. I'm sure Michael missed his bipolar girlfriend desperately. "I do

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Burn Notice

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