Michael walks into a loft condo, where Strickler greets him from the balcony, holding a mojito and congratulating himself on his new place. I bet it even has a foundation instead of an anchor. "I almost didn't go for it," Strickler says, "but then I thought, I'm worth it." "Well, you are Strickler," Michael agrees. Since whatever explanation there was going to be for why Michael's here in the first place seems to have gotten cut for time, he wants to take off again. But before he goes, Strickler wants to talk a minute about their next move for getting Michael Back In. As Michael understands it, they'll be looking at his activities while he was at his old job. "But I get to set the record straight, right?" Strickler amends that to "straight-ish." "What does that mean?" Michael asks, as though there weren't a picture of him and Sam next to the word "straight-ish" in the dictionary. He doesn't get it when Strickler talks about the delicate handling this will take. "The truth doesn't need handling," Michael says loftily. Strickler scoffs at the idea of Michael being "in the truth business," and comes downstairs. He talks about trust, and reminds Michael of his rep. "People fear you. We can use that." "To make you money," Michael says flatly. Strickler gives him a little speech: "Money greases palms, opens doors, buys documents, and it puts Michael Westen right back where he wants to be." He says he'll send Michael some paperwork. "Your side of the story. Study up." Michael leaves, grumpily. I guess he doesn't like studying.
Over at Madeline's house, Sam hands Michael a manila folder so slim it might as well contain complete documentation of Paris Hilton's redeeming qualities. "This is Thomas O'Neill's Interpol file?" Michael asks incredulously, flipping through the two or three pages. Sam agrees that's it. "I thought he was supposed to be this ultra-radical one man splinter group?" Michael protests. "This looks like he's not tied to anything." Drinking his new low-cal beer but not bothering to show us the label, Sam admits that O'Neill is suspected of twelve bombings in Europe, based on a chemical signature common to all the devices, but nobody's been able to prove anything. Sam whips out some paperwork for a condo in South Beach recently bought by one of O'Neill's "known associates." I do like how they're not even bothering to explain any more how Sam gets to be a one-man CTU. Just as they're starting to talk about surveilling the place, there's a knock on the front door, and they both whip out their guns. Going to answer the door, Madeline tells them to chill out and lets in a friendly brunette. "Hi, Tiffany Ward, Tiffany Ward Realty," she greets them. Michael quietly asks if Madeline is selling the house. She pleasantly chirps that she's thinking about it. Is Tiffany Ward, Tiffany Ward Realty aware that the house was recently blown up? Michael looks like someone just shot his dog with his favorite gun and then kept the gun. Madeline either doesn't notice his reaction or is beyond fine with it, and I know which of those two options I consider more likely. She cheerfully tells Michael, "With you about to get your old job back and Fi heading home, I just thought that it was about time I made a change myself." Michael watches Madeline lead the realtor back toward the bedrooms, and Sam tells him, "Not now, Mikey. We gotta go." It's almost as if he already knew.
Where they gotta go, apparently, is to the top level of a three-story parking garage, so they can watch a condo building across the street through matching his & his opera glasses. Sam says he wouldn't blame Michael for being disoriented: "First it's your girl, now it's your childhood home." Michael says, "I never liked that house." "Yeah, but you like Fiona, right?" Sam asks. Sometimes it's worth it to ask. As they watch, O'Neill pulls up to the building in a silver Lexus and gets out, and is soon joined by his posse, all of whom are loaded for bear. Or whatever the Irish equivalent of bear is. Lough monster? I don't know. "Why does it look like the Sons of the Lucky Charms Revolution are getting ready for battle?" Sam wonders. Looking to one side, Michael sees a car pulling up around the corner from where O'Neill and his men are and quickly assesses, "Because he knows Fiona's on his tail. That's her in the sedan." From where they're standing, they can see both the Glenannes and the O'Neill crew, but the two parties can't see each other. Sam says Fi probably thinks O'Neill is going to be alone, when in fact they'll be walking into an ambush. Sam quickly dials his cell phone.
Down in the car, Fi is ignoring her ringing phone (with the big "Sam" lighting up the screen) and telling Sean, "O'Neill is mine." Sean agrees, but not without saying something sexist. Up on the ramp, Sam tells Michael she's not picking up his call. Michael looks behind him. It's a slow day at this parking ramp, because Ms. Reynolds's pristine red Buick is the only car up there with them. And Michael wants the keys from Sam, right now. Sam, of course, hands them over. Michael gets in and backs up. Down below, Fi drives around the corner, into view of O'Neill and his men. "They knew we were comin'," Sean realizes, looking down the barrels of a half-dozen guns. Fortunately, before the bloodshed can begin, Ms. Reynolds's Buick crashes through the barrier at the top of the ramp and plummets three stories, in slow motion, all the way to the street, catastrophically fucking up the front end, the back end, the middle end, and ends that don't even show up on camera, while also taking out a fire hydrant. I'm kind of surprised it doesn't explode. Fi takes advantage of the distraction to peel out, while O'Neill orders his men back into the building to avoid the converging crowd of looky-loos. From above, Michael and Sam look down, wincing at the damage. It's actually kind of a serendipitously timed tribute to John Hughes, the way they're looking down in horror at the wreckage of a classic red GM convertible that belongs to someone else. If only they'd had time to loop in Sam saying, "You killed the car." Michael starts to apologize, but Sam doesn't want to hear it. He punches and kicks the air instead of Michael.
Michael and Sam return to the loft (having walked, probably) to find Fi and Sean waiting at the bottom of the stairs in the courtyard. Michael yells at them like Bono chewing out a couple of incompetent roadies, but they're there to apologize, and to thank them. Sam doesn't want to hear Fi's apologies any more than Michael's. "I've been dodging Ms. Reynolds's calls for an hour. I'm sure the cops ran the plates on the Buick, told them -- oh, wait, that's her! Again." Sam hits "Ignore." Poor Sam and his luck with women and cars. The only way this is going to end well for him is if we finally meet Ms. Reynolds and she looks like Walter Matthau. Fi asks what the next move is, now that they know where O'Neill is. Michael says that O'Neill needs to find Fi, which gives Michael an in to get him and his crew all busted. Sean doesn't think Michael will be able to walk up to O'Neill with his Irish accent without tipping him off, but Michael assures him he'll approach him as an American. "Sure you can pull that off?" Sean asks doubtfully. The others exchange amused looks, and Michael uses his normal voice to tell Sean, "I've gone undercover as an American before. I'll be fine." Sean still isn't convinced. "Your accent's a bit dodgy." Fi smirks at Michael, and Sam gives him a "little bit" sign. Well, they all kind of have a point.
In a suit and sunglasses, Michael approaches O'Neill and two of his men at an outdoor bar. He does this by noisily dragging a metal-legged chair over to their table across the concrete, setting everyone's teeth on edge. You know, just to break the ice. O'Neill wants his men to get rid of him, but stops when Michael says, "This is the planning committee for the Glenanne wake, right?" O'Neill calls his boys off, and Michael pulls out