Michael and Company break out a little spygame street-theater this week on Burn Notice to protect a couple of kids who pissed off a local gangster. No one does elegant, effortless and deadpan bad-assery like they do. Plus, big booms, feelings confessed (sort of), and a reason to love the rain.
This spoiler loves tech upgrades, too!
Michael is bent on finding the person who tried to blow him up, but Fi worries it's for the wrong reasons. He's not interested in revenge — something Fi both understands and endorses — but is instead doing it at the behest of the people who tried to ruin his life. That's just not natural! Still, she helps him by tracking down leads and doing quite a bit of legwork, as only Fi can. But more on that later.
First, Sam has an itty-bitty favor for a friend that he wants Michael to help out with. But it's for a good cause — and 50-yardline Dolphins tickets!
The favor turns out to be neither itty nor bitty — Sean, Sam's friend, runs a football program in a tough neighborhood. Corey, one of his star players, got on the wrong side of Felix, a local gangster, when he beat Felix up with a baseball bat for trying to rape his sister, Tanya. Fi is determined to take the job, even though it gets bigger all the time — Felix has a whole crew of thugs working for him, and they boost cars for a local crime boss named Tony. This is going to be big.
Fortunately, Michael and Co. do big. After hiding Corey and Tanya at Madeleine’s, Michael, Sam and Fi become a bad-ass gang of car thieves. This includes a uniform (black suits, white shirts, dark shades), a demeanor (expressionless and deadpan), a battle philosophy (blitzkrieg bop, baby) and a method (completely crazy). First, they pull up next to Felix's car in broad daylight, throw in a pepper grenade, shoot out the tires, and melt the engine block with thermite. Next, they bust into Felix's hideout, demand that Felix leave town in 48 hours and cede the car-stealing business to them, and set a puddle of alcohol on fire. Finally, they kidnap three of Felix's best car thieves, truss them up, and deposit them on the sidewalk in front of Felix's place. Felix is PISSED, but I'm loving it.
This gets crime-boss Tony's attention — he meets with Michael to test out his skills .He’s impressed, and promises to shut Felix out. Felix, meanwhile, finds Sean and beats him, threatening to start picking off members of his team if Sean doesn't tell him where Corey is. Michael has Sean set up the meeting with Felix, then they take an unknowing Tony with them. It's an ambush, of course, but Michael and Sam bulletproofed the car, so everyone lives. After almost killing his boss, Felix and his crew are more than happy to leave town. Corey is safe.
The Big Bad Plot
While all this is going on, Michael is still looking for the bomber who tried to kill him. Security footage from a nearby building gives him a picture to work with, and Fi figures out the guy works for a demolitions company that has a contract with the city. She gets pictures and names for all the employees by claiming she's putting together a Men of Demolitions beefcake calendar. Now she knows where to start looking.
Meanwhile, Michael has been visiting Carla quite a bit, which usually entails being driven around town with a bag over his head. Carla is looking increasingly nervous as time goes on. That can't be good.
Fi finds the bomber's address, but the house looks deserted. She decides to snoop around. That's a problem: The bomber booby-trapped his house, and Fi sets it off. Michael gets to the address and sees a raging fire that's so hot the firefighters won't go near it. He keeps calling Fi, and gets nothing but voicemail. He's devastated — and since he spent some time contemplating Fi's probable demise in the pouring rain while wearing a thin t-shirt, he’s ridiculously gorgeous. Yowza!
When he gets home, Fi is there — she escaped when one of the windows blew out, but her cellphone was melted. Michael stares at her in silent amazement, touching her face, heedless of the water dripping from him, and kisses her. I repeat: Yowza!
The next morning, Michael comes in bearing breakfast — and finds Carla waiting for him. You have to get with the real job, the job I gave you, or both of us are in trouble. "It's time you focus on helping yourself, or you’re not going to be around to help anyone else," she tells him.
Spy tips from Michael
- Need to distract someone in an office? Program a computer to dial every number in the building at once. Stealthy AND annoying as hell!
- Armies wear uniforms in part to suggest power, organization and numbers, which can provoke fear. Michael, Fi and Sam wear their men-in-black uniforms for all those reasons — and because it makes them look damn good.
- To melt through the engine block of a car, you just need an empty coffee can, fuses and thermite. It makes one hell of a show (just ask the Mythbusters!)
- DIY bulletproofing: Use phonebooks for armor — a non-armor-piercing round will only penetrate about an inch, and less when it's behind steel. Put foam sealant in the tires to make them runflats. Use dual layer high density Plexiglas for the windows: "It's expensive, but bulletproof glass is not the sort of thing you skimp on."
- When you booby-trap someone else's house, the trigger is on or near the door. When you booby-trap you own house, the trigger is farther away, so you can get inside. A contact plate trigger under the carpet is undetectable.
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- Thanks to Tamara for recapping last week. Stupid ninja clowns, with their balloon shurikens and big floppy stealth shoes…
- Michael dismisses revenge as a waste of time. "So is watching TV and eating candy," Fi replies. "You do it because it feels good!"
- Madeline use Corey as a human garbage disposal, feeding him all the old food in the house, including a can of smoked oysters she'd had since Michael was a baby. Ick.
- Tanya is wistful looking at Madeline's family pictures. "We never had a family like that." "Neither did we, sweetheart," Madeline says, pointing out the bruises on Michael's face.
- Sam is disappointed by the picture of the bomber. "Kind of ordinary for a spy-killer." "What were you expecting?" Michael asks. "I dunno, after all this, boots and a mask, at least — a cape, maybe?" Sam replies. "His gear is from City of Miami public works," Michael reminds him. "Capes aren't standard issue." But wouldn't it be awesome if they were?
- When the crew scopes out Felix, Corey says he's a stone-cold gangster. The subtitle helpfully identifies him as such: "Felix: Gangster." Fi scoffs — he's no gangster. Anyone who attacks a 15-year-old is a pervert. The subtitle duly changes: "Felix: Pervert." Hee!
- Fi remarks that she likes Michael's balls-out car thief persona: "He's got flair." He reminds her of the cover identity Michael was using when they first met. Maybe that man is who she fell in love with? Michael isn't surprised: "We caused a lot of mayhem, you and I," he says, with an Irish brogue. "He was your kind of guy. But you know how it is with cover IDs…" The accent drops away. "You become who you need to be." "And everyone gets to guess who you really are," Fi says sadly. Buck up, Fi — Michael really does care about you, even though it takes him thinking you were dead to show it.