Plot: It's a new season and Michael Westen is . . . bare knuckle fighting in dive bars in the Dominican Republic? Drinking to an extent that would put Sam to shame? Quite the contrast from the fellow in the nice suit we saw at the end of Season 6.
As we learn in a flashback, Michael's plan to save his friends didn't work out quite as well for him as Fiona imagined. In the classic government/corporate mindset of "kill the messenger", everyone in the intelligence community is pissed at Michael for exposing Tom Card's corrupt activities, and the fact that Olivia Riley went off the deep end. Because that's what you want out of your government: for the guy who actually shows a little conscience to be the pariah. Swell. However, there is a jerk, last name Strong, who has a proposition for Michael. He's trying to bring down some terrorist group, run by an old partner of Michael's. Don't get your hopes up, Dead Larry did not somehow survive Fi's attempt to blow him to smithereens. It's some guy named Burke. Strong wants Mike to play a down on his luck outcast, so that Burke might view him as a safe, but valuable piece to approach and add to his organization.
And it works, except Burke's right-hand man Pablo, doesn't trust Michael at all. To the extent he sent a friend of his to Miami, and said friend went to all of Michael's friends, posing as different people, trying to dredge up information on Mike. Sam and Jesse didn't know anything, and Fi was too busy running down bounties with her new boyfriend, Carlos, but Madeline unfortunately does talk, because he poses as someone who can put the kibosh on her attempt to adopt her grandson (Ruth's in rehab).
While that's going on, Mike and Pablo sneak into some building and blow up a server for Burke, and Mike saves Pablo's bacon when he gets hit. Which doesn't stop Pablo from trying to kill Mike as soon as he hears back from his friend. But he tried it as they drove through a checkpoint, which wasn't the best idea, and he winds up dead having failed to kill Mike, and also having failed to tell Burke what he learned. So Mike's cover isn't blown yet, but he's gonna have to head back to Miami, find this guy, and take him out before the guy contacts Burke on his own. I'm nut sure why Strong assumes the guy will contact Burke, or that he even knows how. How will the guy know Pablo failed to kill Mike, or that Pablo is dead?
The Players: They didn't give us any nifty titles, so I'mma make my own. Ahem: Strong (Desperate CIA Jackass), Burke (Old Friend/Terrorist), Pablo (Burke's Right Hand), Carlos (Bounty Hunter/Fiona's Boyfriend)
Quote of the Episode: Burke - 'I'm not just offering you a new job. I'm offering you a new life.'
Does Fiona blow anything up? No.
Sam Axe Drink Count: 1 (1 overall).
Sam Getting Hit Count: 0 (0 overall). I debated it, but I decided the near miss with the claymore didn't count.
Michael's Fake Laugh Count: 0 (0 overall).
Other: I questioned the wisdom of sending a guy who doesn't speak Spanish to the Dominican, but lo and behold, Michael has actually learned Spanish.
Sam and Elsa were reunited, how lovely. And Jesse managed to retain his job! That's pretty impressive. I mean, he must have missed a ton of days.
I'm not excited at the idea of Maddy adopting Nate's kid. The potential is there for some stupid plotlines involving the kid as a hostage, or potential lever against Michael, so the kid's basically a prop. Or being too precocious to the point he's annoying. There's so many ways it can go wrong, and so few it could land right.
I don't like Strong. Even beyond his perspective of Michael as having stabbed the agency in the back, which is a pretty idiotic perspective. What exactly, has the Agency done for Michael? They threw him out on the street without a second glance when he was burned, treated him like something they'd scrape off their shoe. It was one of their guys - Card - who got Nate killed, and Riley, of her own accord made deals with drug lords to try and bring Mike down. Michael made mistakes - I've mentioned before the list of lives that were ruined by coming into contact with him is mighty long - but Strong does not get to call Mike on that. He hasn't earned the right. Especially because, when you add it all up, he still needs Michael to save his ass. Even Card, scumbag that he was, expressed the occasional bit of gratitude for Michael's work on his behalf. OK, fine, he was manipulating Michael because he believed Michael has a deep-seeded need for the approval of male authority figures, but he still complimented him.