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‘Burn Notice’ Recap: Dead or Alive

December 9, 2010

The last episode left off with Mike making a cliffhanger decision: hand over the list detailing the cover IDs of the people who burned him to the government, or deal with the names himself.  Mike decides to hand it over, specially hand it over to Marv.  Marv is a counterintelligence guy and Jesse’s former handler.  Marv doesn’t know Michael and doesn’t trust him.  Michael wants to set up a private meeting with Marv to build trust.  When Mike does meet Marv, Marv proposes that Mike take a polygraph test.  Via voiceover, Mike explains the difficulty of his position.  “The truth, the verifiable unvarnished truth, becomes the ultimate bargaining chip.  The irony is that [you can only] play that chip when everything is on the line.”

Michael starts his polygraph test, “I used to be a spy,” almost sending a chill up my spine.  Wait, is this going to be a long recap of everything that has happened in the series so far?  I could sure use it!  Although we do not see it, Michael tells Marv about everything that happened with his “burned pals,” about all his contact with them.

Jesse locates hidden files in the wood paneling.  He lets slip to Maddie, played by Sharon Gleiss, that he and Michael might get their jobs back.  I’m happy for you, says Maddie.  Later, however, she confesses to Fiona her fear that Michael could get his old job back, then disappear and be either dead or alive for all she would know.

Sam’s friend Kevin has reportedly fled the country.  Sam meets with Claire, his distraught wife, and Pete, Kevin’s partner.  Kevin may have been framed for stealing cocaine.  “Top brass” has closed the investigation into his disappearance and Kevin’s reputation is is shambles.  “Find my husband; bring him home,” begs Claire.

The gang decides to help Sam find Ted, a “drug dealing scumbag” who was calling Kevin and seems linked to his disappearance.  Fiona cooly stun guns Ted when he runs, a thrilling thing to witness.  (Is it acting or a real stunning?)  Via voiceover, Mike explains that spies conduct interrogations in dark rooms, in unknown locations, and do not disclose their locations.  He and Sam, having kidnapped Ted,  threaten to leave him alone in the back of a shipping container when the temperature reaches 140 degrees.  Pete the partner actually stole the cocaine and promised Ted a cut for killing Kevin, who was onto Pete.  Ted says he killed Kevin.

A sad Sam uncharacteristically refuses a mojito because he feels out of sorts over Kevin’s death.  The team decides to set up Pete, the dirty cop, to hand the drugs over to Michael.  They get the drug dealing scumbag to call Pete.  “Trust me Ted, the smart money is on us,” Sam reassures Ted when he objects to setting up a cop.

The meetings with Marv continue.  In a beautiful sitting room in a high rise, Marv asks whether Mike’s questionable friends are the only other people who know about the list.  Mike swears they are the only other people who know.  This is all going too smoothly–something will certainly mess up Mike’s plan.  In a cute scene prior to Mike entering this meeting, Fiona basically says, Michael, I hope your life never depends on you having to understand relationships, because you would be dead.  His facial expression in response is priceless!  I have never seen him look like such a confused kid!

For the stated purpose of “scaring the hell out of” dirty cop Pete, the team creates five gallons of napalm at the pier where Mike is meeting him.  When Pete tries to walk away from Mike, Mike ignites the napalm, creating what he calls a “ring of trust.”  This action ends up scaring Pete too much, so a new tactic is needed.  Sam and Mike motivate him through fear by pretending Kevin is alive.  Sam convinces Claire to play along.

Fiona and Jesse pose as internal affairs agents and question Pete outside Claire’s house.  “Don’t leave town,” warns Fiona.  (Jesse makes me laugh here.)  This pressures Pete to set up a meeting with Mike to sell him the cocaine.  However, Pete sets up the meeting at a yacht, which Pete then blows up, almost killing Mike.  It looks like Pete is completely paranoid.  The yacht explosion is an awesome one, but just standard fare for this show.

Is it time for a road chase?  No.  Jesse stalls his car, turning a freeway “into a parking lot,” and this freeway happens to stall Ted, who seems like the most inept loner cop ever.  Mike threatens to to kill the guy.  Mike says he doesn’t want the drugs because they’re too hot.  Pete comes up with the idea to plant the drugs at Kevin the drug dealer’s house.  (This is exactly what Mike wanted him to do.)  Meanwhile, Sam intimidates one Lieutenant Briggs, saying that the cops need to go to Kevin’s house.  Sam takes his gun from Briggs in order to show how serious he is.

Mike convinces Pete to deliver the drugs himself, to Kevin’s house.  “Do I look like your errand boy?” Mike says, refusing to do it himself.   “If I get caught, I’m no use to you,” replies Pete.  Mike essentially says, Go in there and plant the drugs . . . or I’ll kill you!  This convinces Pete, who is caught by the police while planting the drugs.  Kevin gets the proper sendoff at a funeral, which concludes the subplot of the episode.

Maddie pours lemonade for her and son Michael in her kitchen.  Maddie has been sad the whole episode at the thought that Michael might become a CIA superspy again–and leave Miami.  They start talking about the last time he left.  “I’m sorry you didn’t hear it from me,” says Michael.  “People like to say goodbye,” says Maddie.  “Whatever I decide, I will let you know,” Michael reassures her that he won’t hurt her again.

Mike and Jesse meet Marv, carrying the encrypted drive with the information.  The guys escorting Marv look dangerous, they stand next to a black SUV like every other Burn Notice bad guy team.  These guys shoot Marv but leave Jesse and Michael unscathed.  Mike sees his old friend Tyler Brennan, part-time spy and sociopath, in the SUV.  In the 2-hour-long season finale, all Mike’s old enemies will be in attendance.

What did you think of this week’s Burn Notice?


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2 Responses to “ ‘Burn Notice’ Recap: Dead or Alive ”

  1. Colleen on December 10, 2010 at 5:50 am

    For the most part, I really enjoyed it. Loved the Ring of Trust! Just plain love the show. However, whoever is writing the “hand over the important information” scenes has got to stop. Out in the open? Waving that flashdrive around like it was the flag? Did Michael learn nothing from Guilty as Charged? Come on! There must be a more private venue somewhere in Miami…and yes, the whole betrayal-I’ve-got-your-stuff-now scene still could have taken place. Truly, Michael can’t afford to get back into the spy business; he has forgotten a lot of stuff he used to know! He’s become too trusting, just like the rest of us who lead normal, ordinary-people lives are! He’s great at helping the little guy but the international espionage stuff – without his team, he’d be dead in 24 hours! No more flying solo! He needs to leave the International Westen Mystique intact and concentrate on Miami Team Westen from now on…which is where I think the show is going but I never cease to be surprised by what happens next!

  2. Maya on December 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    My boyfriend thought the Ring of Trust was really funny too! That whole last scene…wow. I haven’t seen Guilty as Charged. Now that you mention it, Colleen, yeah, Michael should have seen it coming. Poor Marv.