Finalewatch: ‘Burn Notice’ goes out with a bang
Car chases? Check. Spycraft? Check. Double-triple-quadruple crosses? Check. Great lines? Check. An opportunity for Michael to act out? Check. One hell of an ending? Mega super duper check. Burn Notice ticks off all the boxes with this summer-season finale. Why are all the good shows ending just as the new TV season is just getting started?
This spoiler loves a good fireball — AND a good mojito.
Michael is finally set to figure out what the heck is up with Carla and her evil overlords. But first, a minor distraction: Fi’s boyfriend Campbell treated a guy who was beaten to a pulp, and he wants Fi and Michael to help him out. Michael reluctantly agrees. Henry, the client, works for a private security firm. He was approached by someone demanding details about the bodyguards. When Henry tried to back out, one of his friends died. When Henry still refused, he got the crap kicked out of him.
Lasher, the crap-kicker, is planning a kidnapping. The most likely target is the daughter of a Venezuelan oil family. Michael makes up a fake bio for himself that involves a recent divorce and a drinking problem, making him the perfect guy for lasher to recruit. The idea is he’ll make the security look much better than it actually is — using Sam and his brother Nate to pose as supplemental security guards — and thereby scare Lasher off. It’s a good plan, but apparently this isn’t a run-of-the-mill kidnapping — there’s some sort of multinational oil concession in the balance. Curses.
Michael continues to try to dissuade lasher, but Lasher finally snaps. He announces that Michael will be the one doing the kidnapping. Michael tries to make it look like he’s falling apart, but Lasher still thinks he can make it work. So Michael calls lasher at 3 a.m., pretending to have a drunk-bed conversion. He’s accepted god into his life, and he no longer fears death. Crap! There goes that leverage. Lasher says fine, they’ll call it off. But Henry hears something different — Lasher tells him to distract the new guard. Lasher and his muscle will kill the guard and snatch the girl. So Michael has no choice but to t-bone Lasher’s car with an SUV, preaching fire and brimstone and leaving a list of sins on the windshield. That works.
The Big Bad Plot
Michael breaks into the building he got the key car for and finds… empty rooms. There’s nothing there! But wait — some telltale holes in a conference table show him that they’re planning on using the meeting room as a sniper’s nest. The most likely target is the regular ferry. But who, specifically, is marked for death?
To find that out, Michael and Sam have to tail Carla. Sam manages to slip a tracer on Carla’s motorcycle, which leads them to a (rather plush) hotel. They spend a lot of time watching Carla swim and lounge at the outdoor pool, but that doesn’t really help much. Maybe breaking into her room will. Michael finds the file on the operation, which again contains just about all the details except the target. Dammit!
Carla finds out that someone used a key card like the one Michael stole for her. He denies all knowledge, but Carla makes a few oblique threats. Those threats seem to come true when Nate gets arrested for using his new limo business as a money-laundering front (Nate swears it’s a bogus charge) and Maddy, who took a loan against her house to help Nate get the business started, is in danger of losing everything. That’s when Sam calls Michael to tell him Carla’s on the move. Michael, Sam and Fi observe her, and she seems wigged out about something. Or is she? Michael gets the feeling this is a set-up and makes a run for it. That triggers some spiffy trick driving and a fake-out with a motorcycle and the whole sliding-under-the-semi trick, but Michael gets away and makes it home safe.
Except… Sam is at the sniper’s house, and things just got ugly. Someone rigged his front door to explode, and the sniper died a very messy, very painful death. Of course, Michael is in the process of opening his own door when he hears that. Doh! He dives off the landing as a massive fireball erupts from his house. Nooooo! All that yogurt, killed in it’s prime! The humanity!
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- OK, what the HELL is going on with Evil Overlords Inc.? Why set up an elaborate assassination plan, and then kill the people who were theoretically going to carry that assassination out? Let the theorizing begin!
- But let’s back up. Before the big boom, there was plenty to occupy our time. Sam was in fine form — apparently he shares my hotel toiletry habit. Come on, they keep bringing new little soaps — they WANT me to take them, right?
- There was also Sam’s obvious enjoyment at the cushy digs he got to surveil from. Nice work if you can get it.
- Finally, I had to love some of Sam’s great lines. When Michael broke into the office building: "Hey Mike, what are you seeing up there — a mastermind petting a Persian cat?"
- Then there were all the names Sam gave Carla: Burn Notice lady, overseer, boss, manager. tall-blond-and-evil,
- I’m torn about the person-in-peril plot this week. On the one hand, I appreciate anything that gives Michael to opportunity to sound like a fire-and-brimstone preacher. On the other, come one, get to the good stuff with Carla and the big Bad Plot! It seemed like almost a distraction — but that was probably the point.
- Poor Fi… she wants us to believe she’s TOTALLY into Campbell, but she’s so very smitten with Michael still. When he was staring at her as he gave Lasher is 3 a.m. conversion speech, you could just see her melting. She’s hooked.
- That said, I do like Fi using Campbell as a sharp pointy stick to torture Michael. Hey, your favorite dinner — which Campbell made! Hee.
- Fi and Michael contemplate the surprisingly professional kidnapping ring. Fi: "I remember when kidnapping used to be a mom and pop business." Michael: "Everything is going corporate these days…"
- Fake drunk Michael = funny Michael.
- I like that Michael is really trying with Nate. heck, he gave Nate his first independent limo gig. Granted, it was as a decoy security guard, not as a driver to the airport, but a job’s a job.
Michael’s spy tips
- There are two ways to check out an enemy position: Watching from a distance (slow and safe) or waltzing in a having a look around (Quick, potentially fatal.) Guess which one Michael chooses.
- Ledges are for gargoyles, pigeons and the occasional masked superhero. Snipers prefer to work inside a room and shoot through a window. That hides the shooter, masks the sound and makes the muzzle flash impossible to see.
- Surveillance is the leading cause of weight gain among operatives. However, it’s always a bonus when you tail someone to a place that makes a good mojito.
- Spies are always needing to hide things, and they have to balance security and accessibility. DIY "slicks" tend to be relatively easy to get to but tough to find. Potential slicks — a notch behind a hinge plate or a tube behind a canister light fixture.
- If you’re trying to pass yourself off as a decent traitor, you have to play hard to get. If the deal seems to good to be true, the recruiting operative will walk.
- Ah, the perils of technology. Facial recognition systems have several advantages of human guards — they don’t sleep, can’t be bribed, and don’t cost much — but they can be fooled by a photocopy of a face. Doh!
- Want to look like you’re drinking a lot without getting plastered? Put lots of ice in the drink to dilute it, order the next round before you’ve finished the current one (your half-full drink will be taken away) and spill a lot.
- A semi has about four feet of clearance. You CAN slide a motorcycle under it, but beware — you slide to low and you’ll be hamburger. Too high, and you’ll lose body parts. Just right, and you’ll be able to fool a vacationing Cylon.
What do YOU think is going on? How will you scratch your spy itch until January? Talk!