Burn Notice Recap: ‘Eyes Open’
Burn Notice chronicles Michael Westen, a “burned” former CIA spy and his two comrades, charismatic Sam Axe and beautiful, fiery Fiona Glennanne. Michael Westen was “burned” by a mysterious, sinister entity three seasons ago; he quests to discover the people who burned him, but it isn’t easy.
One major plot point: Michael’s team is trying to recover a marked-up Bible. This Bible is “the key to destroying the people who burned [him]” (it contains cover IDs to find those people). This Bible formerly was possessed by Mr. Barrett, who took Westen hostage at the end of episode 12 of season four. Here is a snapshot of that final scene: Michael Westen, freshly shot, clutched his bleeding chest in the passenger seat of a four-wheeler. He grabbed the wheel and overturned the vehicle in order to escape from the man driving him. The accident killed Mr. Barrett and Michael, unscathed, pulled himself free of the burning vehicle.
At the restart of the season four, Sam and Fiona stand at Michael’s hospital bed. He has been there three days and through two surgeries. As we pan over the three friends, Michael voices over, “Spies live in the shadows but they dream in the light.” Spies dream of the day when their heroisms will become known. This eloquent line is just part of the beauty of the show. Behind all the action is the big heart of our favorite spy!
Jesse visits the hospital. Jesse has been both a friend and an enemy to Michael. Jesse tells Michael: he has read up on some of the things Michael has been framed as doing by his burners. Jesse agrees to help Michael take down the people who ruined his name; he wants to help because it’s “the right thing to do,” not because he has any illusions of vindicating his own name, which motivated him in the past.
Michael and mother Maddie walk down the hallway, both wearing muted blue – he wears a terry bathrobe and she wears a shawl. An explosion nearby has injured many. Michael and Sam Axe, wearing a light blue aloha shirt, meet a woman in the lobby whose brother Walt is hurt. “I don’t think this is an accident,” she says, saying that Walt worked for a bad man. This bad man is Dale Lawson, who kidnapped the daughter of Dennis, a lawyer, last season. Both Michael and Sam realize that Dennis must be behind the Dale’s death.
Now Michael sports a Banana Republic look and, Fiona in tow, confront Dennis. Dennis claims innocence. Michael, unconvinced, vows to put him in prison for having hurt innocent bystanders during his revenge quest.
Vaughn, impeccably dressed, appears at Michael’s mother’s house. Vaughn is Michael’s former handler, who Michael no longer trusts, and probably should never have trusted. Vaughn tells Michael to keep his head low; he himself is skipping town.
Fiona, pouring iced tea at Maddie’s house, tells Michael that she and Sam theorize the following: one Mark Sweeney picked up the silver briefcase containing the Bible. Mark Sweeney is the only of Barrett’s crew who wasn’t killed.
Michael and Sam check out a psychopathic serial killer they believe to be behind the bombing, Dennis. Using a dime, Michael starts to break through a window pane to enter Dennis’s house, when Dennis arrives home. Unable to escape, Michael is discovered by Dennis. “No sale!” Dennis shouts at Michael’s protestations of innocence. They enter Dennis’s house, which looks like a photography studio. To stop Dennis from killing him, Michael claims to be a fellow psychotic, interested only in being his biggest fan. “You took out those degenerates; you are an inspiration!” His appeal to vanity works and Dennis releases him.
In real life, are serial killers as dapper as Dennis? I would bet a lot of money they are not. Dennis looks just as Banana-Republic-model-esque as Michael.
At Maddie’s house, Michael and Fiona meet to plan their next moves. Fiona will track Sweeney’s tracks with Jesse. Michael plans to return to the Dennis’s house even though Dennis swore to kill Michael if he saw him again.
Fiona and Jesse go to a parking garage and bribe a parking garage attendant so they can search Sweeney’s car. There, they find a clue they will use later.
Michael asks Dennis for bomb-making advice. This serves as a distraction for Sam Axe to search Dennis’s apartment, while Dennis and Michael check outside. Sam discovers proof that five bombs that have already been delivered. These bombs were built with “iffy” radio detonators, so deathly explosions could occur at any moment. Dennis, despite being a serial killer, wears a beautiful purple pinstriped dress shirt.
Michael confronts Scott, and persuades him to call off the next hit. Scott tells Michael who the next target is.
Dennis calls Michael, disappointed that Scott called off the hit. Dennis has killed Scott and plans to take down more people – the dominos must fall, he claims.
Posing as flower delivery men, Sam and Michael enter the late Dale Lawson’s house. Walt and sister Alicia are watching the house – remember that Walt worked for Dale. This association makes Walt an assassination target. Inside the house, a newly delivered flatscreen in the house is revealed to be a bomb.
Fiona and Jesse, still searching for Sweeney, find a guy at an IT workplace who has spoken with Sweeney. The guy says he referred Sweeney to another man who is a crypto specialist.
At Dale Lawson’s house, the spies have ducttaped the bomb and dropped it in a pool. They decide to find the rest of the bombs by detonating the bomb (safely) in the pool, and then triangulating the signal. The bomb detonates and, using a laptop computer, they are able to discover that the location of the detonator (i.e. Dennis’s location). It turns out that the psycho is approaching Fiona’s front door.
Fiona escapes the house as Dennis enters. The foursome meet up outside her house, Dennis still inside. They need to confront Dennis and make him talk, so they can locate and diffuse the rest of the bombs.
Michael enters the house to talk to Dennis whilst cops, tipped off by neighbors, surround the house. Michael says he killed a jogging passerby/witness, which upsets Dennis, who decides to kill himself with the police as witness. His death, he believes, will spread his mission and create more followers for himself. Michael promises to walk out of the house and detonate the bombs for him, if Dennis will give him the locations.
Jesse does not want to let the police capture Dennis and, desiring swift justice, detonates a bomb that kills Dennis. Michael, Sam, and Fiona act shocked at Jesse’s daring-do.
At Maddie’s house, Michael speaks with his mother (often, one of final scenes portrays these two). Why do you do what you do? she asks. He answers that he doesn’t know. This takes us back to the beautiful line he uttered earlier. Maddie responds that maybe this is just his role in the world, but what matters is that he is one of the good guys. She has bought him a present, a new pair of his favorite sunglasses.
In the final scene, Jesse meets Michael at the house of the crypto specialist, who is dead in his house. Is it Sweeney who killed the crypto specialist after receiving help from him? This plot line should play out next week.