Burn Notice
is normally compelling enough to make me ignore any elements that might cause disbelief. Big guns? Huge explosions? A constant array of family friends who need help? Michael’s infinite skillset? I can buy that. But Michael’s Mayor Quimby-gets-brain-damage Baaaahstahn accent? Oh, hell no.

This spoiler can never have enough shoes.

There’s a new bad-ass in town — Victor, one of Carla’s cohorts, is brought in to bring Michael to heel. Victor’s into firearms and killing and the potential destruction of everyone Michael holds dear. He gives Michael a cunning bedazzled cell phone (pretty!) and tells Michael he is now officially at Victor’s beck and call.

That won’t stop Michael from helping out an old friend. Ricky has a sweet job as an accountant for Valentine, a rap mogul. Unfortunately, one of the mogul’s accounts seems to be missing $2 million, and that’s the sort of thing that can get people killed. Ricky is convinced that Eddie, Valentine’s sleazy financial advisor, stole the cash. But unless he has proof, Valentine will never believe it.

There’s no evidence of theft in Eddie’s files, but it does seem that Eddie wants to invest in something, anything, quick. Michael deduces Eddie is looking to launder the cash, so Michael poses as a sketchy real estate guy who can clean up that moolah and give Eddie a return on the investment. All goes well until Victor pokes his nose in — he doesn’t want Michael to be distracted, so he  tells Edie that Michael’s under investigation by the Feds. Exit Eddie, tail between his legs.

All is not lost — Michael goes on the offense, first accusing Eddie of being the one who turned him in to the Feds, then setting Sam and his mom up to look like G-Men tailing Eddie. Eddie freaks and comes scampering back to Michael. Michael plays hard to get, but lets Eddie convince/blackmail him into helping. Michael and Fi thwart a hit that Eddie put on Ricky, then convince Eddie that he’s got to kill Ricky himself. Sam and Fi engineer it so Valentine witnesses Eddie’s attempt (hint: always make sure the gun is loaded with real rounds, not blanks) and hears Ricky coax the truth out of Eddie. Valentine takes Eddie on a one-way cruise, and Ricky is safe.

Meanwhile, Victor summons Michael to play driver for a heist, but he won’t tell Michael what they’re stealing and why. Fortunately, Michael has improvisational x-ray skills, and, along with making things go boom, he manages to get a picture of the mysterious item. No, it’s not a Stargate (dammit!) — it’s a sniper rifle. Huh. Why steal such a thing? And why didn’t the Evil Spy Overlords want Michael to know about it?

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Michael’s Boston-esque accent was painful. How is it the man can speak fluent, accentless Russian, but he can’t do a decent Beantown burr? What, he couldn’t get Good Will Hunting on his Netflix queue in time?
  • What did you think of Victor? I think he’s appealingly unhinged, but I don’t know if I buy him as a bigger bad-ass than Michael himself. I did like the note around the GPS in the phone, though.
  • Victor’s crazy came out the most, I think, when he accepted that Michael would be cowed enough to not want to see what’s in the box. Or maybe they figured Michael would figure out how to see into the box, an the sniper rifle hides something else. Or maybe Michael knows that they know, and he… my head hurts.
  • Is that really how you pronounce "femoral?" Really? Or was that the Canadian pronunciation?
  • It amuses me that the emissaries of the Evil Spy Overlord organization have both been Canadian. Are the writers trying to warn us about Canadian perfidy? Or do Vancouver-based actors just fight like hell to get on a Miami shoot?
  • Was that Rob Benedict from Felicity (and Threshold, and a bunch of other things) as Eddie? He does squirrely so well.
  • Eddie — if you honestly think you can make money by flipping South Florida real estate in this market, you deserve to be tossed off a yacht into shark-infested waters.
  • I loved the look on Michael’s face when Sam insisted he taste his cooking.
  • Sam playing depressed was fabulous. Sam getting back to Michael by putting him on the phone with his mom was even better.
  • How dumb does Michael think his mom is? Sure, she considers a top-loading VCR part of a home theater system, but she does recognize babysitting when it happens.
  • Fi is really growing on me now that she’s not harping on the relationship. She’s not above twisting the knife a bit — "now that I’m on the open market, I need more shoes" — but she’s a lot more fun.
  • Poor, poor Barry. He knows what happens when he lends his help: "The next day, you do the Michael Weston thing, stuff starts exploding, and everyone says ‘Hey, Barry, wasn’t that guy a friend of yours?’" Michael proposes that he work through an intermediary, and Barry says it will cost him $5,000. "Promise nothing will happen to him, maybe I can go three." "Five it is!" Michael chirps.   
  • What was with the annoying split screens? Did we really need two simultaneous angles on Ricky?

Michael’s spy bits

  • The plans to meet an unknown operative can tell you a lot about them and how they see you. Map and photo = trust. Place and time = they want to check you out. Cryptic clue about pelicans = "they’ve just got an irritating sense of humor."
  • Open with an aggressive move when you meet a new spy. You find out about their reflexes, their weaknesses, how they handle uncertainty, and if they’re crazy mofos who can’t properly pronounce "femoral."
  • Everyone knows about using cell phone towers to triangulate locations. Great, until the person you’re tracking goes out of range. A better option: insert an enhanced GPS into the phone. As it’s really difficult to remove the GPS without disabling the phone, you have a better chance of actually tracking your guy — unless, of course, he knows about call forwarding.
  • Fire alarms are passe. No one pays attention unless they, themselves, have burst into flames. A bomb threat on the building next door gets people out of the building you’re targeting and has them concentrating on another place. Plus, modern bomb squads use RF jammers that block potential bomb triggers, cell phones and wireless security camera.
  • Don’t try crawling through the air ducts in a modern office building unless you’re rake thin or a toddler — they’re only 18 inches wide. You can, however, shimmy through the sub-ceiling.
  • Hey, kids! Build your own primitive x-ray! Wire an old TV tube to a taser, and you’ll get a decent outline — also, possibly, radiation burns, but what the hell.
  • The hardest part of being a covert operative is NOT beating the crap out of someone like Eddie when you know you could, but your cover dictates that he wins the fight.
  • Pyros, take note: 12 gauge incendiary rounds create a fire that burns at 3000 degrees, and if you shoot said round at someone’s car tire, they will most likely stop driving. Funny, that.
  • Water sealant is good for more than just sealing surfaces — it also makes a big boom!
  • A little harmless gunfire attracts less attention than a double homicide.
  • If you’ve got to disobey orders, do it with style — and explosions!