Michael gets approached by a self-styled "agent to the spies" named Tom Strickler. He wants Michael to start paying him a commission on future jobs, the first of which will be taking out a pissed-off Ukrainian with a grudge against Michael. Michael is, to say the least, not interested, but when he approaches a grouchy arms dealer Fi knows about to get on top of the problem, the Ukrainian's goons bust in and nab both Michael and the dealer. While being transported, the two captives escape into the woods in a very uneasy alliance. Meanwhile, Sam and Fi are multitasking, trying to simultaneously track down Michael and keep Madeline from having a meltdown, only to learn that when it comes to getting information from a source, she isn't Michael's mom for nothing. Ultimately, Michael not only wins his reluctant ally's trust, but nabs the Ukrainian and his entire operation, with an assist from Fi and Sam when they show up at an opportune moment. In the end, Michael turns down a big wad of cash from Strickler, but they both seem to think it's only a matter of time before Michael gives in to his inner mercenary. One of them more than the other, but still.
At the loft, things are starting out violently: Fi is beating the crap out of someone. Actually, it's something: a big boxing pad Michael's holding for her. As she gives it the business, Michael VOs, "There are advantages to training with someone you're close to. Knowing each other's moves makes training more effective." How did Michael not see that roundhouse kick coming, then? The one that goes clear over the pad and connects with his face instead? "But being involved in each other's personal lives can make training a lot more painful," the VO understates. "Oops," Fi says unrepentantly to the cartoon birdies now circling above Michael's head. Michael thinks this is her way of expressing her frustration with his attempts to get Back In, and she unconvincingly claims to be fine with it, while more convincingly continuing to beat the stuffing out of the pad. Hearing the gate creak outside, Michael calls her off, drops the now stuffing-less pad on the floor, and goes out to investigate.
There's no one there, but someone has left a thoughtful present at the bottom of the stairs: a big gift basket of yogurt. "Wow, that's, like, two days' worth of yogurt," Michael observes. Fi thinks it's either a bomb or from someone who knows the way to his heart. It can't be both? And wouldn't that point directly to Fi? As Michael goes down for a closer look, he speculates that it might be a thank-you gift from a client. "That's the most you've ever been paid for a job," says Fi, who not only steals my line, but has spent the last season and a half driving around in what he got paid for the job he did at the beginning of Season Two. "Pretty soon you'll be able to stop bumming money from me." Michael reads the card: "Frozen Yogurt Cocowalk 10AM," signed, "A Friend." He doesn't let Fi read it, which is not particularly wise, because she's a few steps above him on the staircase and thus could kick him in the face far more easily than she could before. "Good for you. Looks like you're getting Back In," she snots, turning and going back up the stairs. Probably to restuff that pad and then re-beat it stuffingless.
"Meeting a new operative is a lot like going on a blind date," Michael VOs as he walks up to an outdoor balcony café. "You're bound to be nervous the first couple of times you do it. But live through a few and you get to be an expert." Yes, we remember your first meeting with Victor, too. As he takes a seat to scope out the scene below, the VO continues, "You should arrive early, prepare an exit strategy, and know you could be in for an ugly surprise." Right on cue, the guy sitting at the next table with his back to him turns around and compliments him on his choice of surveillance point. Shifting to Michael's table, he drops a minimalist business card in front of him and introduces himself. "Name's Tom Strickler," he says, extending a hand that goes unshook. Michael asks what he does, and Strickler basically says he's an agent. The subtitles freeze on him right then, giving us a good look at his oily smile as they tell us this is "Strickler -- Agent To The Spies." Strickler has clearly been watching the show all along, because he has a pretty good bead on Michael's situation. All he's asking Michael to do is what he does anyway: deal with his enemies. Because apparently, those people have enemies too, and they're willing to pay anyone who gets rid of them. "The enemy of your enemy is your financial opportunity," Strickler says. All he wants is ten percent. In fact, he's working on a deal for Michael right now. He says an "old associate" of Michael's is coming to town, and he figures the smart money is on Michael. "And you're the smart money," Michael guesses. Of course, Strickler doesn't know much more about the returning nemesis, or if he does, he's not sharing. "Some Ukrainian who's very upset about an op you ran in the 90s. I'll let you know more as I get the details." Michael says he's not a killer for hire. His smile not losing one degree of viscosity, Strickler says it might not be that kind of deal, but Michael's still not open to it, even when Strickler says, "This guy's coming one way or another and, uh--" Michael just says, "Tom," and Strickler gets the hint -- but only enough to drop it for now. "We'll talk soon. Unless the Ukrainian cuts your tongue out first, right?" Well, if nothing else, that would leave me a lot fewer voice-overs to transcribe.