Burn Notice

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Into the Woods
ck, Vlad is just coming to, while Michael and Beck watch from a distance. "Military units are a lot like marching bands," Michael VOs as the other bad guys converge around Vlad. "Take out the guy conducting the operation and you'll throw everyone out of sync." "The bastards wrecked my knee! And they took my shoes!" Vlad complains to his men. Michael's VO sums up, "Pretty soon all you have left is sound and fury." Oh, he's not kidding. That time I took out a drum major, I expected the sound, but I was not expecting the band to pursue me as long as it did. Those kids were pissed. While putting on Vlad's boots, Beck argues to Michael that they can even things out with the small arsenal they took from Vlad while he was unconscious. But Michael's got another next step in mind: he wants the men to call Chechik himself out there, so they can resolve this once and for all. When Beck is doubtful, Michael asks him how he took out the top guy when he started out. "I paid one of his guys to let me into his place and then I stuck a gun in his mouth until he decided to move," Beck boasts. Michael says that's what they're doing now: dealing with the problem at the top. Right on cue, they hear Vlad calling his boss for help. Michael favors Beck with an eloquent "I told you so" face. "Don't get cocky," Beck says, and the two of them move on.

Meanwhile, back in the suburbs, Sam has the pilot tied to a lawn chair in Madeline's garage. There's also an empty kitchen chair next to him for some reason. Sam's trying to get the pilot to roll over on Chechik, who he says is a bad guy. "War crimes, murder for hire..." "Why do you think I'm keeping my mouth shut?" the pilot duhs. Sam realizes that's an excellent point, and slaps a strip of duct tape over the pilot's mouth before leaving him alone to stew.

Returning to the kitchen, where Madeline is serving up big glasses of iced tea, Sam says that the pilot is more afraid of Chechik than them. Apparently, just because he was drunk and ill-groomed, they thought that meant he was also stupid. Fi suggests choking the information out of him, and Sam, bless him, sticks to his position that torture will just cause him to "start making crap up." In moments, they're so busy arguing with each other that they don't notice that Madeline has quietly left the room. Is she going to the dark side? Let's hope Sam didn't have time to come through with those curtain rods.

Just as quietly, she enters the garage, acting all friendly to the pilot and sitting down in that empty chair next to him. She offers him a cigarette, and when his only response is to stare at her blankly over his duct-tape gag, she lights up herself and complains about how she needed some peace and quiet. "They get loud when they're angry. Luckily, this place is well-insulated. Can't hear a peep from outside. Probably why they like it so much." The pilot is looking around, suddenly worried. Madeline apologizes for giving him the wrong impression. "I have never once seen them ever, ever make anyone suffer. If they don't think you'll break, they end it quick." She repeats her offer of a cigarette. "It's not like you have to worry about getting cancer any more." She pulls just one end of the strip of duct tape loose, just enough to stick the smoke into the corner of his mouth and light it. Then she sits back, like they're just a couple of strangers enjoying a smoke together, like at a bus stop or on a park bench. Except, of course, for the fact that the pilot's smoke is coming out of his ears.

Sam and Fi are still arguing when Madeline returns and slaps down a sheet of kitchen stationery, scrawled with the GPS coordinates where the pilot dropped off Chechik in the swamp a couple of hours ago. "How?" Fi wonders. Madeline says she's met guys like this. "They're only brave when people are yelling at them." They're still staring at her incredulously when she yells, "Are you gonna go get my son or do I have to do that too?" They head out. And yes, that was a very impressive display by Madeline there. Almost makes up for her nearly sabotaging the operation in the first place.

Michael and Beck are now positioned in the weeds where they can watch across the river as Vlad's men drag him to the far bank. At the same time, Michael VOs, "When fighting in the wilderness, the biggest threats are often the ones you don't see. Dehydration, exhaustion, and nerves." Beck does an excellent job of displaying all three, in sequence, over the course of about five seconds. And then a couple of airboats roar into view, and Michael's VO continues, "But boatloads of hostiles don't help either." Chechik is sitting high on the prow of the lead boat, pistol in hand. Beck's intimidated by the very look of the man. "Is there a Russian word for hardass?" Beck asks. His answer is provided by the subtitles, which tell us this is "Chechik -- УCTУПКИ (Hardass)." Even in his lavender fatigue pants? What's the Russian word for "metrosexual?" As Chechik meets up with Vlad and his men on the riverbank, Beck isn't happy to see that they're now dealing with more men and more guns, and says that even if they do kill Chechik, they'll be just as screwed. Michael again asks Beck to draw on his own experience, asking what Beck's men would do if he were taken out. Beck blusters that they'd be all over it, but Michael reminds him of Beck's own claim that he doesn't have friends. "How long would they stomp around in this swamp once the guy who cuts their checks is out of commission?" Beck has no answer for that. But he's probably thinking about how to amend his will once he gets back to civilization.

Elsewhere in the swamp, Sam and Fi roll up to a decrepit airboat rental shack on the riverbank, staffed by an even more decrepit man. Sam slides the rental fee across the counter to him, along with the insurance paperwork that he hasn't otherwise touched and a veiled bribe offer. "Fifty extra bucks, you guys weren't even here," the owner grins. Sam produces a Grant, which, along with Sam and Fi and Sam's big bag of guns, quickly disappears. Just in a different direction.

Upstream or downstream or whatever, Chechik is ordering his men to split up and search. One of them starts speaking into his walkie-talkie, until Chechik slaps it down because he knows Michael is listening in over the one he stole from Vlad. Vlad asks Chechik a stupid question: "How am I supposed to run after him with a broken leg?" I mean, it's a valid question, but it was stupid of him to ask it, because Chechik answers by fatally shooting him in the chest. Michael says something judgmental about this to Beck as Chechik's men scatter into the woods, while Chechik himself maintains position on the riverbank, presumably out of range of any of the weapons that Michael and Beck are carrying. Beck's pissed that Chechik isn't going into the woods so they can go after him there like they apparently planned. Michael is still trying to figure out how to deal with this setback, which Beck's bitching is not helping with. "In battle, not even the best-laid plans survive contact with the enemy," he VOs. "If you want to survive, you have to be willing to improvise." He starts thinking out loud along those lines, but since his plan involves Beck "distracting" Chechik's men, Beck decides he's out. "Of course, there' such a thing as too much improvisation," Michael adds. Beck gets up and walks over to a clearing on the shore to holler across the river to Chechik, offering up Michael. Of course, all that gets Beck is shot at. One of the bullets goes through his leg and he goes down. Laying down covering fire for himself, Michael rushes over to drag Beck into cover. Dude, at what point is Michael's obligation to Beck discharged, and can we get that answer expressed in "number of stubborn fuck-ups"? Chechik's men pile onto the airboats and head across the river, swarming into the woods where they last saw Beck and Michael. As Michael all but drags Beck along ahead of them, we get a glimpse of the back of Beck's pant leg, clearly showing blood from an exit wound, so at least the bullet isn't still in there.

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Burn Notice

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