Burn Notice

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Occupational Hazard
i, and we get an ironic close-up of the "HOW AM I DRIVING?" sticker on the bumper of her stolen garbage truck as she pulls into traffic. As Harlan and Sam (the latter now setting up a sniper rifle on a tripod) prepare, Michael VOs about the principles of a snatch-and-grab: "Separate the target from security. Then keep the security occupied while the target is acquired. Simple enough, but like anything, it's all in the execution." Speaking of which, maybe you should be a little more subtle about putting on your seatbelt, Michael. And after a moment of some very busy editing, Fi's garbage truck comes out of a cross street and creams the lead car. In fact, she smashes into it right where Michael would be sitting, if Michael weren't in the other vehicle. In the follow car, Rufino's driver screeches to a stop before Fi's even done squishing the escort. Harlan pops out of the back of his nearby van with his BFG and uses it to fire a couple of big-ass rounds into Rufino's grille, destroying the engine. While that's going on in front of them and keeping Rufino and Falcone distracted, Michael is inching his knife out of his briefcase hinge. Sam is harrying the guys in the crashed car with his sniper rifle while Fi makes her escape on foot. Nice boots for it, Fi. Harlan fires his BFG at Rufino's windshield as Michael VOs, "There's a reason it's called bullet-resistant glass, not bulletproof. The right bullet will take out any glass." But that's the least of Rufino's problems; at this point, Michael has his knife out and at Rufino's throat. He makes Falcone drop his gun and informs him, "You have a slug in your engine block. Your team is pinned down and I'm leaving with your boss. If I were you, I'd think about another line of work other than security." Yes, because there's no point in pulling off a job like this if you can't taunt the bad guys a little at a critical moment. With that, he frog-marches Rufino into the back of Harlan's van. "Nice work, jefe," says Harlan, who suddenly remembered the word. The team scatters, with Michael joining Rufino in the back of the van.

On a dock somewhere, the van screeches to a halt, giving us a nice close-up of the Ford logo on the hood, which apparently show sponsor GM insisted on being covered up. Because they were still in a position to sponsor stuff when this was shot. Harlan leads a bound and gagged Rufino out of the van and tells Michael he forgot to mention a change in plan. And with that, he shoots Rufino dead. "They're not coming for Rufino," he says, now holding his gun on Michael. "They're coming for you." Michael clearly feels like an idiot, and he actually experiences a moment of shock before remembering to close his mouth. Clearly, this new multi-national fugitive thing is taking some getting used to.

At Carlito's, Sam and Fi are starting to worry that Michael and Harlan haven't shown up at the appointed time. Apparently it's been three hours. Fi asks how well they know Harlan, really. "You think?" Sam wonders. Fi thinks sometimes people change. Now that they've realized something is wrong, it's time to cut away before we get to watch them not do anything about it.

And then it's nighttime at the docks, and Harlan's got Michael sitting on a stool with his hands tied behind his back while he talks about what a nice night it is. "You sure this is the smart play here, Harlan?" Michael asks, finally remembering about the blade tucked in the back of his belt and secretively pulling it out. Michael is trying to talk Harlan out of this, but now that he's got the hero in his power, Harlan has to do the bit where he lets him in on his plans and motivation. Oh, and smack Michael in the face, while he's at it. Of course, Michael's happy to keep Harlan talking while he goes to work on his ropes with the knife, so it's just as well that Harlan's in the mood to share. It seems that Rufino's partners asked Harlan for help with Rufino, wanting him to take him out before the law could get him. Harlan is all proud of himself for landing the gig, and then coming up with the plan to hand over Michael Westen to the authorities along with Rufino's corpse, blaming Michael for Rufino's death. Michael seems to be cutting his wrists more than that rope, and there's blood dripping onto the floor. What was that he was saying about the right hands earlier? Michael asks about Marta, who of course Harlan was just using. "Rufino stole every farm within 50 miles. It's not hard to find some desperate chica who needed my help. She's very grateful. You should think about that while you're standing in front of the firing squad." Harlan at least remembers to give Michael Fi's message about life after being a spy. "Not very long, in your case." Michael tries one more time, asking Harlan how he can trust Rufino's partners. That pisses him off, but Michael insists, "You won. You beat me. You're smarter than me. I'm just asking you to think about it. You're better than this...You're sure this is who you want to be? A mercenary, betraying his friend for blood money?" Harlan smacks Michael again and says he's sure. "That's all I needed to know," Michael says calmly. And Harlan may be dumb, but even he knows when Michael is saying, "That was your last chance." Once again, Michael's timing sucks. He's still not all the way through the rope by the time Harlan spots the growing pool of blood on the floor. Harlan rushes Michael, who gets through the rope just in time and hits Harlan first, sending his gun flying. But soon Michael is disarmed as well, and now it's hand-to-hand. Harlan's much bigger and Michael's got a recently dislocated shoulder, so it's actually a pretty even match. But soon Harlan makes a run for his gun, and Michael makes a run for the window. Without any idea of what's on the other side, Michael crashes through the glass and falls two stories before landing in the water below. Harlan fires a couple of bullets down there, but when that doesn't seem to work, he tosses in a fuel drum and shoots that, setting the water alight. Swimming beneath the conflagration, Michael doesn't seem too worried about it: "When you're trying to hide in the water, fire is your friend," he VOs. "The light turns the surface of the water into a mirror. Then it's just a matter of finding a place to surface where the fire isn't consuming all the oxygen." Oh, is that all?

Michael finds such a place, removing a rotted board and climbing up through an outer dock. He grabs a handy chunk of broken concrete and dashes off, still trailing blood. Harlan hasn't just assumed that Michael's dead, and with his flashlight and gun leveled, he soon finds where Michael came out. Probably because Michael's bleeding wrist is leaving a trail as wide as a highway stripe. Harlan follows Michael's spoor into a tool shed, shining his light on the smears of blood and calling him out the whole time. As we see where Michael is hiding in an overhead rack, he VOs, "One of the things operatives have to give up is the idea of a fair fight. Spies aren't trained to fight fair. Spies are trained to win. Hey, you don't have to apologize to us. Especially after essentially telling Harlan that you were about to escape just now. With that, Michael swings down from his hiding place, knocking Harlan to the floor. That done, he grabs the sack that he found to stick his concrete into and stashed out of sight, and uses it to club Harlan into submission so he can take his gun and put it to his neck. "I'm sorry, Harlan," he says, patting him on the shoulder. Michael, what did I just tell you about not apologizing?

Early the next morning, when it's barely light out, a team of four black-clad commandos roll up in an inflatable motorboat and scramble up onto the dock, weapons at the ready. But all they find is a dead Rufino, a live (but bound and gagged) Harlan, and a ringing cell phone. When one of them answers it, it's Michael on the other end, telling them that Harlan works for Rufino's partners. "They wanted to make sure he was dead before the trial. You want to put someone on trial? Harlan's the best you're gonna do." Michael hangs up, and the co

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Burn Notice

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