Plot: Michael has convinced Vaughn to give him face time with Simon. You could say the meeting goes well. Simon breaks out of his handcuffs and stabs Michael with them, but he also tells Michael about a grave he needs to dig up. It contains a tape Simon thinks Michael really ought to hear. Michael neglects to mention that to Vaughn, telling him instead that he needs time to devise a different approach.
All that will have to wait, because Sam has a friend in need. Juan saved Sam's butt on a SEAL mission in South America. Now he's set to be paroled in one week. Problem is, Juan helped a man named Cruz steal money from La Nacion (the gang Cruz is a member of), and Cruz can't take the chance Juan talks after he's out. So it's to be death, for alleged disrespect. Cruz is serious enough some of his guys nearly pull a drive-by on Sam simply because he visited Juan. Since Sam can't keep Juan safe, it's Michael who has to go to prison for a week. Considering he spent weeks in that illegal holding facility before agreeing to help Vaughn, it ought to be a piece of cake. Especially since his FBI "pals" left him a phone to get in touch with them.
Too bad a guard in the prison beats two feds outside it. It quickly becomes apparent Mike can't keep Juan alive in the prison, so he'll have to sneak him out. Which would raise certain legality issues, if the riot Cruz instigated as a smokescreen didn't force a change in plans.
Throughout all this, Fi has been working hard to get around the safety measures Simon placed within that coffin. Namely, metal that will combust when exposed to oxygen. There's also a diligent groundskeeper to contend with, but Maddy's more than a match for him.
So after all that struggle to get into the coffin, what was so important? It's a conversation between Simon and Vaughn, when Vaughn cuts Simon loose, because they'd found a new, promising candidate. One Michael Westen. But Michael, I thought Vaughn said he had nothing to do with your getting burned.
The Players: Vaughn (Michael's Buddy), Simon (Rogue Operative, Walking Nightmare), Juan (Unsuspecting Client), FBI Agents Lane and Harris (Guys Who'd Love to See Michael Locked Up), Cruz (Prison Gangster)
Quote of the Episode: Michael - 'That is an example of leaving my side. Don't do that.'
Does Fiona blow anything up? No.
Sam Axe Drink Count: 3 (17 overall)
Sam Getting Hit Count: 0 (8 overall)
Michael Fake Laugh Count: 0 (2 overall).
Other: Another week with no alias for Michael.
Cruz is the first villain since Cutler in "Neighborhood Watch" to get taken care of by other bad guys.
I thought it was kind of odd that the first time Mike interviews Simon, they have Simon wrists shackled so closely together you can't see any chain between them. The second time, they appear to have give him at least a foot of chain. Seems he could do a lot of damage with that. Also, I think calling him a walking nightmare was sufficient. Rogue Operative doesn't carry much weight compared to that.
I can appreciate Simon's reasons for enlightening Michael, if I totally believe them. Which I'm not certain I do. I'm sure Simon wants to destroy Vaughn and everyone else in that little organization. But I doubt he's content with Michael doing it for him, or that he even believes Michael's capable of it. The fact Simon tells him who is after the Bible/book cipher, a big businessman named John Barrett is one thing, Then he suggests Michael give the book to Barrett, so he can destroy Vaughn and the rest, then kill Barrett after if he feels like it. That's the sort of thing that runs counter to Michael's style. Not the using one side to destroy the other; he does that all the time. But killing whoever is left standing? No, Michael doesn't play it that way, and I'm doubtful that Simon doesn't know it. He was keeping tabs on Michael's actions from whatever secret prison Vaughn had him crammed into. He ran around with him for an afternoon of revenge. Michael wouldn't stand by and let Simon kill Management, but he wouldn't kill Simon to stop him, either.
It ends up feeling like a situation where Simon is setting things in motion for his own plans. Meeting with Michael has gotten him out of wherever he was held, twice. He's planted some discord between Michael and Vaughn. The latter is someone he'd like to kill, the former someone who would probably stop it (Simon probably wouldn't mind killing Mike, too).
As for the prison story, it wasn't bad, but it felt rushed. I would have expected more time spent combating a general sense of danger. I guess that was why Juan waited to alert Sam until he only had a week to go. It puts a looming deadline on everything, and once Michael gets involved, things accelerate even more.