Michael pretends to be Russian to try to get info on Gilroy's black flight from a Polish apparatchik, but pretending to be a Russian totally backfires. Fi offers to fix things by going back to the Pole as a CIA operative offering to swap the file on the "Russian" for info on the flight. A file Fi builds by raiding some of Madeline's photo albums, which leads to a little heart-to-heart near the end.
Michael bankrolls the job by taking on an "easy money" gig with Sam, looking into a fashion designer's employee who's suspected of stealing. But then the client turns up dead, with Tim, the embezzling suspect, having been set up. So Michael has a new client now, who he helps hide from the police. Realizing the real mastermind behind the murder is the designer's partner, the team messes with his head, which involves Michael posing as a scary criminal who was working behind the scenes with the dead client all along. They lure the bad guys into taking another run at Tim so the cops will pick them up, but the con goes south and the cops end up catching Tim instead. Fortunately, on the second try, Michael gets the bad guys to turn on each other and get themselves busted, so Tim's in the clear.
And finally, the Polish contact comes through: the flight Gilroy is interested in is going to be carrying a very scary maximum security prisoner, and Michael figures he's going to be used to help with a jailbreak. Odds on whether the prisoner is going to be someone we already know?
There's a long previouslies sequence at the beginning of this episode, which on this show is usually a sign that things are going to get heavy. But this week, I think it's just a sign that the episode ran a little short. That, or they're not comfortable with how clearly they communicated last week that the covert flight Gilroy is interested in is flying from Chile to Poland, with a fuel stop in Miami. This previouslies sequence does that so well, it even includes dialogue to that effect that wasn't in the previous episode.
"When you need to locate a foreign spy office, it's all about the food," Michael VOs. "Spies like home cooking just like everyone else. Find out who serves their regional delicacies, tip the bartenders and delivery boys well, and they'll usually tell you who placed the big orders on the last national holiday. If some of those orders head to an office with tight security and scowling workers with short haircuts, you're in business." Sure, as long as the spies you're looking for in Miami aren't Cuban. But I guess there can't be that many really good Polish sausage places there.
While this VO has been going on, we've been watching a delivery guy carrying a bag into a nondescript two-story office building. Also watching, from a parking lot across the street? Michael and Fi, who are using the roof of the Charger as a coffee table while Fi does what she normally does when she isn't blowing things up: complaining. She lists off a few more traditional date locales: "Beach, concerts, farmers markets. Ugly Polish intelligence offices? Not so much." Michael says this isn't his first choice either, so Fi offers an alternative: "Instead of working with Gilroy the psychopath? Instead of sneaking around trying to figure out what he wants to steal from this plane? Shoot him and be done with it." For once, Fi and I are on the same page. Michael admits he's considered it, but he wants to discover and stop whoever hired Gilroy. Hasn't Michael figured out yet that the trail never ends? He's just going to keep figuring what the bad guys want and who hired them and what they want and who hired them, and on and on and on until he finally comes face-to-face with the supreme leader of the ultimate covert international conspiracy that controls every aspect of public and private life throughout the entire world, and it's going to be his fricking mom. But for now, as he finishes explaining his shorter-term goal to Fi, out of the ugly Polish intelligence office comes an ugly Polish intelligence officer. Michael explains to Fi why this scowling blond hump is the guy to go after: "Low on the totem pole at work, short on cash, bad divorce. He's perfect. We're meeting later today." The subtitles identify Michael's contact -- who doesn't seem aware of Michael and Fi's presence -- as "Conrad -- Easy Target." Michael admits that his Polish is rusty, but since Conrad's mother happens to be a Muscovite, Michael figures he can get away with posing as a Russian, a language he knows much better. "Hopefully we end this quick," he jinxes as they get in the car. Approaching a Pole as a Russian? Michael would have had better luck approaching Fi and her family back in Ireland as a Brit.
Later, Michael treks out to a remote section of shoreline where there's a picturesque white lighthouse. Checking the site, he VOs, "Playing on people's loyalties is an art. Especially when those loyalties can be murky and malleable. Poke around too much and you'll look suspicious. Sometimes your best move is to just commit." Michael meets Conrad at the entrance of the lighthouse, like Conrad lives in there or something, and I guess he wouldn't be the first divorcee who found himself in some strange digs. Or indeed that very lighthouse. While either affecting a Russian accent or still recovering from a large shot of Novocain he got on the way over, Michael explains that he wants some information on covert flights going through Miami to Poland. "Why?" Conrad asks. Michael claims to be a charter airline owner doing research. Switching to subtitled Russian, he adds, "We are countrymen. I'm sure we can make a deal." Conrad chuckles, "Russians," and says he's going back inside for his briefcase. "I'm sure we can work something out," he agrees. The VO, which had been silent for so long I'd forgotten what it had been saying, continues, "Of course, commit too hard to the wrong side and there's not much wiggle room. Instead of an instant ally, you've just made an instant enemy." That might explain why Conrad comes out pointing a gun at Michael. He does mention the extra security at the office this week, so at least Michael has learned something. Maintaining his Russian accent (although honestly, you hear much better Russian accents on 24 and Rocky & Bullwinkle), Michael tells Conrad to relax, but Conrad has some axes to grind against Russians. He makes Michael precede him along the shoreline, saying he plans to interrogate him and then "cut out your lying FSB tongue." The FSB of course being the successor to the KGB, but with lazier publicists. Suddenly Fi jumps out of the bushes behind Conrad and clubs him on the head with a rifle. Standing over the unconscious Pole with Michael, Fi says, "So much for an easy target." When did Fi start reading the subtitles?
So since they struck out with that approach, Michael's next plan is to try to break into Conrad's office. At the loft, over schematics of the place, Fi offers another, less risky suggestion for approaching Conrad. Specifically, she says that Conrad's hatred of Russians is their in. Michael jumps on the first person plural as a sign that she's willing to help, and Fi says she's curious enough about Gilroy's motives to approach Conrad as an American intelligence operative. "I'll need cash for this," she says. Michael jumps at her offer without even discussing a figure, and says Sam's been trying to get him in on a job, conveniently enough. Sam's potential client is a fashion designer who's prepared to pay well. Seeing Michael get paid at all would be a big change. While he dials his phone, Fi mentions that Sam also asked her, but Fi passed because Sam seemed more interested in the models than the job. And that's different from daily life how? Michael reaches Sam, who's on a windy balcony somewhere for some reason and childishly excited that Michael's in. Wait, is "childish" the right word? I guess it is, at least to the extent that children get boners.
"When you're conducting surveillance from a dusty cave in Afghanistan," Michael VOs over aerial shots of what someone more familiar with Miami than I might recognize as exclusive Star Island, "you daydream about air conditioning, swimming pools, and iced tea. But spend a little time waiting for a socialite to hand off her tiny dog to a canine beautician and that Afghan cave looks a little better." At a secluded mansion on this island, Michael and Sam are doing just that while the new client -- an attractive, blonde ex-model type --gives detailed instructions that include rubbing the dog's belly. "Colonel Peabody just loves when you do that," she gushes at Sam. "Who doesn't?" Sam agrees. The two of them keep flirting until Michael, rolling his eyes, gets them back on subject. "One of your employees is stealing?" he butts in. The blonde, Isabella (from the Italian for "is pretty," of course) says she's been fighting a lot with one of her VPs named Tim Hastings, and now the company's books are starting to look hinky. She wants them to look into it, discreetly, and asks how much they charge. She asks smoothly, "Is thirty thousand enough?" "That's too much," Michael says. Yes, about thirty thousand too much, plus expenses. But she insists and gives the check to Sam, who promises, "You won't be disappointed." The subtitles say she is "Isabella -- Sam's New Client." Because given what happens later, she sure as hell can't be Michael's.
"Recruiting an asset is about making your target feel important," Michael VOs. "Everythin