After cooling his already-cool heels in the back of that tractor trailer from the season-one finale for a while, Michael gets put right to work: he gets disgorged into what looks like the aftermath of a small battle, while Tricia Helfer instructs him over the phone to bring back the guy Michael finds bound and gagged on the scene. After barely escaping the arriving cops, Michael brings the guy, a computer geek named Jimmy, back to Miami and back to Michael's own regular life: back in his apartment, hanging out with Sam and Fi, and trying to deal with his mom's hair-trigger freak-outs. The anticlimax of Michael strolling back to town after nobody expected to see him again is hard on everyone, including me.
So The Job Of The Week is on behalf of both Jimmy and Tricia Helfer's organization; she's extorting Jimmy to steal some data from a private security firm (read: evil mercenaries), and she wants Michael to help Jimmy with the job. So after Michael cases the joint by donning a gratuitous Vinnie Jones accent [Gratuitously awesome! - Zach] to go undercover as a fake customer, he and Jimmy pull off the heist. But it goes poorly and now the mercenaries want Jimmy dead. That is, until Michael helps Jimmy fake his death and leave the country, setting up the heist victims in connection with that earlier shootout in the process.
On the relationships front, Sam tries to figure out how to explain to his girlfriend all the damage done to both himself and the CadillAxe (which Michael is pretty hard on), and Fi dumps Michael for choosing his burn notice over her in last season's finale. Both Michael and I seem pretty fine with that, although Fi makes it clear she's not leaving the show. But Michael is still impatient to meet Tricia Helfer in person, and isn't happy when he realizes too late that she was the one flirting with Sam in a bar they're at, moments after she takes off in a cab. That'll learn them both not to watch Battlestar Galactica. But she leaves him a clue: a half-finished newspaper crossword with the message, "Enjoy the puzzle. See you soon." A little sure of ourselves, aren't we, Burn Notice?
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So what is this Burn Notice, only the second USA network show to be recapped by TWoP? Is it Monk without the quirkiness? Psych without the dorkiness? The 4400 with a different Campbell? Or Law & Order: Criminal Intent without the kicked-off-a-real-network stank? It's actually none of those things, as you probably know if you're reading this. And if you don't know, maybe you should read this. A quick reminder: last season ended with Michael Westen following the trail of the mysterious people who "burned" him -- that is, sabotaged his spy career by faking evidence that he had been compromised, leaving him persona non grata and stranded in Miami -- right up into the back of a semi trailer.
And how is that cliffhanger from the end of last season being resolved? Brace yourselves: Michael's still sitting in his friend Sam Axe's Cadillac, inside the trailer. Looking bored. Well, this is riveting so far. "As a spy, you get to spend a lot of time alone," Michael VOs as he turns on the CadillAxe's headlights. But even being as used to solitude as he is, he's getting a bit restless, to the point where he's about to start working on a way to burrow out through the trailer's roof. That's when he starts hearing the sounds of battle coming from outside -- gunshots, explosions, that sort of thing. Michael pulls his gun, and then his cell phone rings. It's the voice of Tricia Helfer, who agrees with Michael's assessment that they're "having quite the party out there." "And you're the guest of honor," she adds, as the truck's tailgate opens of its own accord, causing Michael's trademark sunglasses to magically materialize on his face. That makes them so much cooler than those prescription lenses that turn dark in sunlight.
Weapon at the ready and phone to his ear, he steps out onto a remote airstrip, with a small plane burning merrily on the tarmac. Tricia Helfer assures him the shooting's over, and realizing she can see him (by super-hi-res spy satellite, apparently), Michael wants to see her. "I thought we were gonna meet," he says, disappointed. Seems he still wants to know why he was burned. Always with the questions, this guy. He at least wants to know her name, and she tells him to just call her "Carla." Which is good, because one grows weary of typing "Tricia Helfer" all the time if one does not count oneself among her stalkers. Carla instructs Michael to head over to a car parked nearby, because she has a "favor" to ask. Michael correctly guesses that the "favor" involves the guy who's lying on the ground next to the car, accessorized with duct tape and zip ties while trying to squirm away from the big scary black-clad guy with the gun (I'm referring to Michael, in case that's not clear). Michael checks out the two dead bodies lying on the ground nearby as Carla explains that the live guy, Jimmy, was supposed to do something for her but decided to try skipping town instead. And now we see how that worked out for Jimmy. As does Michael, which is certainly no accident. Carla tells Michael that he needs to help Jimmy, because she's got Jimmy's wife and daughter. "If you don't help, what happens to them?" she asks, as if she didn't know. And the remote field briefing ends with one last salient fact: Jimmy managed to dial 911 on his cell phone the minute he saw Carla's people coming, which would explain the three police SUVs currently visible approaching from the distance, their sirens screaming. Michael takes the time to confirm that he'll get to meet Carla after this. "I keep my promises," she says ambiguously. Good enough for Michael, especially in light of his time frame. Michael addresses his first words to Jimmy at gunpoint: "Don't move." And the freeze-frame subtitles whoosh in over Jimmy's terrified, duct-taped face: "JIMMY -- THE CLIENT." See, that's one of the things about Burn Notice I didn't mention before: all of the main characters in each episode get a little subtitle explaining who they are. They're here to help us keep everyone straight, but they aren't above having a little fun once in a while, as we'll see later.