Burn Notice

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Occupational Hazard

This rare set of previouslies makes me miss Victor all over again. So let's just get to the bit where Carla was killed by Fi with a sniper rifle, Michael met Management, and then jumped out of his helicopter over the ocean, miles from shore. And let's hope that we don't pick things up with Michael being asked for help by a desperate manatee.

Michael's made considerable progress toward land since we last saw him, I'm glad to say. Looks like he's only a few hundred yards out by now, although after three months in the ocean, he's got to be pretty pruney. As he slogs through the breakers towards a public beach, he VOs, "As an operative, you get used to being in uncomfortable situations. Whether it's resisting interrogation in a foreign prison, fighting guerilla forces in a tropical jungle, or swimming five miles to Miami Beach in your suit pants, it's just part of the job." No wonder he wants that job back so bad. During this speech, Michael struggles up onto the sand in his pants and wifebeater. He attracts some looks as he collapses next to a kid who looks over his sand castle at Michael with concern, VOing, "What's harder to get used to is going into a situation you don't know anything about. Just because you're exhausted and disoriented doesn't mean you can stop looking out for trouble." "Hi," he gasps to the young beach architect, and struggles to his bare feet. As he talks about non-obvious sources of potential danger, he's looking around at the people looking back at him, innocuous-seeming beachgoers. But by the time he reaches the sea wall, the list of harmless potential dangers is just wrapping up with this relevant item: "A cop that suddenly seems a little too interested in you." This just as Michael happens to notice a bicycle officer chatting with a squad car unit a short way up the path. They call out to him, and Michael starts running. What next, is he going to steal the cop's bike and make it a triathlon?

Michael runs through the park, threading through vendor booths and snagging a pink tourist t-shirt and a pair of cheap wraparound shades along the way. Well, he did leave his real sunglasses inside Management's helicopter. Ducking down an alley, he's soon inside a nearby hotel's back entrance, and while the bicycle cop calls for backup on his radio, Michael nonchalantly dons his new gear and blends in with the tourists in the hotel hallway. He soon finds a door marked "Utility Room" and grabs a fire extinguisher from the wall to bash the doorknob off, explaining, "The backbone of most hotel phone systems is secured by nothing more than a door and a cheap lock." Of course, Michael is soon past both. "Which makes them convenient for people who need to make quick, untraceable phone calls," he adds. Some maintenance guy left his phone repair kit hanging right there, and after snagging the handset from it and fiddling around with the wires inside the tiny switchboard for a minute, Michael's got a dial tone. You know, I used to work with a telephone wiring bank way bigger than that one and I have no idea what he just did.

The call rings through to Fiona's cell phone. She's hanging out at his loft, for some reason, listening to the police scanner. She dives for her phone, and while he scampers around the hotel's utility room collecting big jugs of chemicals for some nefarious purpose that probably isn't barbecue sauce, she asks how his helicopter ride went. "It looks like the people who burned me are going to leave me alone for now, anyway," he says, and thanks her for saving his life. She gracefully accepts, and tells him what she's been hearing on the police scanner. "You wouldn't happen to be at the MacAlpine Hotel, would you?" she asks. "The police think you're armed and dangerous." Armed with what? A spear gun? An electric eel? Dude just washed up out of the ocean three minutes ago. But the cops seem convinced, which would explain all the police cars Michael can now see and hear rolling up outside. He tells Fi he'll have to "find another way out," and something amazing happens: Fi advises caution. "Now is not the time to blast your way out of a building," she says. Who is this woman and what has she done with Fi? Or maybe she just doesn't want to miss any explosions. She tells him, "Talk to the cops now or get ready for a citywide manhunt." Michael agrees and asks her to call Sam to see what he can find out. Before hanging up to do so, she tells Michael, "I'm glad you're alive. Try to keep it that way." Which part, his being alive or her being glad about it?

Michael sighs, and by the time he gets to the art deco front exit of the hotel, the cops have cordoned off a rather small area outside, and have their weapons trained on him. I'm a little thrown by how competent the Miami cops just became on this show, but then I notice that they've strung the police tape in about a thirty-foot radius around the door, so if Michael were to come out shooting like they're clearly expecting, it'll quickly thin out the crowd of sightseers gathered around. Stepping outside, Michael VOs, "Just because you can escape from a situation doesn't mean you should. It's a risk/reward thing. Sometimes you have to take your chances." As Michael kneels on the pavement with his hands behind his head, he continues, "Sometimes you have to remember, it's easier to dodge questions than bullets." But what if the questions are Teflon-coated hollow points? What then, smart guy?

When we come back from the credits (and some Miami skyscraper porn), Michael's at the Miami-Dade lockup, being ushered into the visiting room in his orange jumpsuit. Sam's on the other side of the glass, and he starts with the bad news, which is that Michael is still burned. How is it bad news that Michael doesn't have to change the title of his show? Sam moves on to the "good" news: "Whatever magic they were working to keep you out of the police computers, they stopped. Oh, and you're back on the radar of foreign agencies, too." That's kind of a broad definition of good news, even though Sam argues that change is good. Michael moves on to the question of getting him out of jail, but Sam's hands are tied until Michael is charged with something. Which apparently he hasn't been yet. Seriously, the cops can't come up with anything? Just in the few minutes he was on dry land before getting bagged, he shoplifted (or vendor-cart-lifted), fled from the police, then committed B&E, vandalism, and possibly telephone fraud. I don't think the police are trying very hard. Those sound more like the Burn Notice loser cops we know. Sam points out that Michael isn't helping by not talking. Michael unconvincingly pleads memory loss. "Yeah, the cops, they love that one," Sam agrees, almost as much as they love the fact that Michael doesn't have any IDs or bank accounts, so Sam's working on that with Madeline. Michael remembers to ask if his mom's okay. Sam cagily says she is. "She's just a little upset about the, you know, the house blowing up. It's not the whole house," Sam quickly adds. "I think you're better off in here until your mom cools off." Sam's got one more piece of news: "Your shades got delivered to the loft, along with this." Sam holds up to the glass a greeting card with a cartoon of a sad kitten on it and the words "Missing You." Heh. The handwritten message inside simply reads, "Let us know when you've had enough. --Management." Enough of what? Clearly not enough to send the very best, because that looks like it was produced by the "USA Network Prop Department" line of greetings.

Over a brief workout montage in Michael's cell, he VOs, "As a spy, you expect to get locked up from time to time. If you're on the job, you just keep busy until someone negotiates your release. If you're working alone, you may have to get used to steel bars and baked beans." Actually that sounds like an improvement over the dollops of monochromatic slop on Michael's tray. But it doesn't last long, because soon a pissy officer comes to tel

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Burn Notice

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