Plot: Michael survives the bomb set at his place. It leaves him a bit bruised, probably concussed, with a new for a new door, not to mention the Charger's going to need some body work after Michael fell on it. No time to worry about that, as Carla's people are after him. Sam pulls off some nifty driving to get them away (damaging his car in the process), and then Michael saves a man from walking in front of a bus. Which Kenny was doing intentionally, because he needs money to send his son to a clinic in Arizona to receive treatment for a heart condition. But Kenny already blew all his money getting scammed on some meds that were supposed to help. So Michael's on the case. When he's not being dragged in by Carla to be interrogated, or to be told it's his job to track down the bomber.
Michael, Sam, and Fiona gradually work their way up the chain, capturing a couple of flunkies and scaring them into talking about their boss, Rachel. The attempt to befriend Rachel and get her started on a scam they can blackmail her with falls apart when Fi decides she really can't pretend to be Rachel's friend. Sadly, Fi also failed in her attempt to strangle Rachel with her handbag. Michael almost makes a very stupid, very desperate decision, but a conversation between his fists and Sam's face calms him down. At which point, Campbell's help is enlisted to locate Rachel, and they terrorize her into giving them all her money and turning herself into the cops.
The Players: Kenny (The Client), Jake (The Son), Todd (Enforcer), Philip (Fake Doctor), Rachel (Thief), Campbell (Fiona's Boyfriend), Campbell (Fiona's Ex-Boyfriend). Ooh, that's awkward.
Quote of the Episode: Michael - 'I'm running on fumes Sam. This is all I got. I can help this guy.'
Does Fiona blow anything up? No. She gets to fight Rachel, and shoot her car up with a shotgun.
Sam Axe Drink Count: 4 (26 overall).
Sam Getting Hit Count: 5 (11 overall). Man, when Michael uses someone as a punching bag, he doesn't mess around. This might be a little off, though. I'm counting the shove Mike gave him. Then again, I'm not including Sam cutting his own thumb open with a knife, so it probably evens out.
Michael's Fake Laugh Count: 0 (7 overall).
Other: Michael uses the name "Donnie" as an alias this week, and Fiona is "Kate".
I always really like this episode. It's not in a particularly subtle way, I just enjoy watching Michael and Co. terrorize people who prey on a parent's desire to help their kids. Maybe I shouldn't enjoy Sam cutting himself, then dripping his blood on Todd, or kicking Todd out a window to scare Philip, or Michael ringing the wall around Rachel's head with bullet holes as a reminder to get herself a long prison sentence, but I do. I suppose it also helps that none of them were physically hurt. Like Mike said, 'Violence perceived is violence achieved.'
Still, it nice to see the attempt to buddy up to the scumbag fall through so quickly, forcing Michael to play it meaner and dirtier. I don't want to see Mike and Fi pal around with Rachel, yukking it up about how they dupe people out of their cash. On that level, the episode's highly effective.
It's also effective for how we see Michael. Up to this point, when things have gotten rough, he tends to shut down emotionally, try to distance himself from his loved ones. This time, though, it's just too much, too fast. He's been running like crazy trying to find out what Carla was up to, then find the sniper, then find his target, then stop him, without Carla figuring this out, while contending with his other cases, Victor, and all the usual drama that surrounds Michael and Fiona. Now he nearly dies, and not only does he not know who came after him, neither do they people who burned him. They seem more scared than he is, which is scary in of itself.
He's at his limit, and we see the anger keep pouring through. Smashing the car window with the stone, calling the driver a jackass for not unlocking the door quickly enough when Mikey wants in, actually planning to ask Carla for money, attacking Sam when he tries to stop him, the angry push-ups. He raises his voice a lot more readily this week, too. When Sam tells him they can't trace Rachel's phone, he yells. He yells at Carla about wanting Nate out of jail, and wanting his life back, but even before that outburst, Carla tells him he was supposed to stay out of their business. He responds, 'Obviously you didn't think I'd do that, because you went to a lot of trouble to KEEP ME BUSY!', and he's getting very loud by the end there. The use of "Who Talks First?" on Todd and Philip was almost certainly part of it, and so were those shots he fired around Rachel.
It's terrifying, because you can tell he's good enough at this he can scare these folks into doing what he wants without having to physically harm them. Which makes you wonder how much damage he can do if he actually decided it was time to hurt someone. Or what might happen if his control slips a little. It could have been interesting to see this persist for a few episodes, but he's seems to have gotten it out of his system by helping Jack, and now he's turned to finding his assassin so he can. . . make friends? Maybe he's not over it after all.