Burn Notice

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Into the Woods

While Chechik and his men are approaching Michael's position, also up to their chests in water, Chechik gets on his radio to taunt Michael. "I thought after serving ten years for war crimes, you would have found a new hobby," Michael answers into Vlad's radio. They continue their conversation, as Michael sees Chechik's squad come into view. Chechik kind of starts filibustering, but by now, we see that Michael has lashed the radio to a tree branch, and lit a fuse next to it leading to a nest packed with the bullets and some detcord that Vlad must have been carrying. Finally Chechik gets tired of talking and says, "You should have turned your radio off." He hits a button on his own radio that triggers a burst of feedback from the one Michael left in place, and he orders his men to shoot at where the sound is coming from. As they do, the flames reach the nest of bullets, which go off to simulate the look and sound of Michael returning fire from the undergrowth. Chechik leads his men in that direction, and a few steps later, they set off Michael's homemade depth charge. All it does is knock them over, though, which is a total rip-off. I wanted to see bloody giblets raining into the swamp. Chechik orders them on ahead, which is when Michael bursts out of the water right behind him and puts a knife to his throat. He sure got around behind them quickly. And that's all it takes to force Chechik's men to drop their weapons.

Back where Beck is chilling with the men Chechik left behind, one of them asks into his walkie-talkie what's gong on. "Nothing you have to worry about any more," Sam answers, as he and Fi take out the men and Sam helps Beck to his feet. Was Sam and Fi's conveniently timed arrival part of Michael's plan? Because otherwise it seems like it would have been really easy for Michael to have gotten Beck killed just now. Not that it wouldn't have kind of served Beck right.

It's raining as the whole party, prisoners and all, returns to the bank where Sam and Fi rented the airboat. Chechik and all his men have their hands zip-tied together. Yes, it looks like this entire paramilitary unit of Ukrainian war criminals just allowed themselves to be taken alive by a bunch of freelancers, the leader of whom was unarmed when this little project began. They suddenly just got a lot less scary, if you ask me. "I expect some serious memory loss, you understand?" Sam says to the airboat rental guy, handing over another wad of cash. Before getting into the back of a giant truck that came from somewhere (I assume it belongs to Beck's crew, as it appears to have come with a couple of very heavily armed guys), Chechik threatens Michael with retribution from his boss, Markov. Beck sees Chechik's Markov and raises an ex-KGB general who won't be happy with Chechik for fucking with his import-export guy. Cowed, Chechik offers, "I give you fifty thousand. I swear you never see me again." Michael and Beck both turn him down as he gets packed into the back of the truck. Laters, Chechik. We'll see if your namesake gets to direct any more episodes after this.

Sam and Fi come over, the former with a jacket he thoughtfully brought along for Michael to throw on over his wifebeater. "Next time you get kidnapped, can you stay out the Everglades?" Sam asks, to divert attention from that total girlfriend move he just pulled. Beck calls Fi out for owing him a shipment of P-90s (because he apparently knows everyone who's stolen from him by sight), and Michael promises to get them to him. As a farewell, Beck tells Michael, "You said you were a good friend to have. I could do worse." He shakes Michael's hand as if he didn't just leave him leg-shot and helpless on a riverbank to deal with a small army of mercenaries, and goes around to the front of the truck to join his men. Michael casually asks Sam and Fi what they're doing out there. Fi makes a lame joke about needing to bring him his shades on a sunny day and hands Michael his sunglasses. He nods and puts them on, smiling happily up into the rain as though he's whole again. Never mind that he's down another suit in as many months.

In the tag, Michael sits at Madeline's kitchen counter as she pours him a glass of iced tea for the denouement. Michael assures her that it was nothing he couldn't handle, which annoys her even more. "You don't get to act that casual when I'm interrogating a strange man in my garage to save your life." Michael apologizes for that, but Madeline's not about to let him off the hook. "Getting answers out of him was a hell of a lot easier than getting answers out of you," she grumps. She just asks him to be careful. And then she turns his attention to the new curtains in her sunroom, hung up by people Strickler sent over. "Wonderful," Michael mutters. "Try not to wrinkle them when you're sweeping them for bugs," Madeline asks. I'm not sure how I feel about these signs that she's going to get to become part of the team, but I doubt there's anything I could do about it anyway.

Next day, Michael returns to that same table at that same café, where Strickler is already sitting and waiting. Strickler pushes a newspaper across the table to Michael, calling it his "share of the Ukrainian deal." By which he means not the newspaper, but the thick envelope of cash hidden under it. It's probably enough to buy the actual newspaper, as in the institution. If nothing else, the eventual death of print media would make it a lot more difficult to conduct illicit cash transactions in public. Strickler explains that he negotiated some payment for eliminating Chechik from some Baltic separatists, and this, apparently, is Michael's 90-percent share of that pie. Michael pushes it back, saying he didn't do it for the money. Strickler already knows that, because Michael never does anything for money, but he's trying to get Michael to see it as gravy. Michael cuts him off: "I'm never going to work with you. Not for the money, not for the yogurt, the curtains...I'm not a mercenary." Finally, Strickler has stopped smiling. He concedes the point, but suggests that Michael think about what he wants and deserves. More yogurt? "A man with your skills, your background. Burned, out in the cold with nothing. Don't answer right now. Just think about it." Picking up the newspaper and the cash envelope, Strickler shrugs, "I'll be around," and leaves. Michael watches him go, not entirely convinced. On either side, apparently.

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Burn Notice

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