Sunday, February 09, 2014

Burn Notice 7.7 - Psychological Warfare

Plot: Michael gets his meeting with the mysterious leader of this terrorist network. The leader will eventually introduce himself as "James", but not until he believes he can trust Michael. sure, Michael has filled multiple legal pads with a recounting of his career, but that isn't enough. James drugs him, and subjects him to various wild sensory overloads to make it harder for Michael to concentrate enough to lie or withhold. Seems to me any discrepancies would be as likely to be him being too confused to remember the truth as him trying to lie, but James doesn't really seem interested in the facts. He claims Michael was a completely ordinary operative right up to the point where he began working with Larry. James wants to know what changed, what made him into the superstar he is, the guy so good shadowy international conspiracies can't help but try and use him, the guy whose ability to succeed without killing people was the subject of so much discussion in the GRU during Sonya's training?

As it turns out, the last time Michael worked with Larry, he - meaning Michael - did a bad thing. He flat out blew up a factory full of innocent workers because there was a Russian officer who betrayed them hiding there. But this still isn't enough, James keeps pushing, and so instead of a hallucination of Dead Larry yelling at him, it's Mike's dad, demanding Mike tell the truth. Mike keeps his tongue, and makes himself seem sufficiently loyal to be welcomed into the fold. Uh, hooray?

The Players: Sonya (Link to the Network)

Quote of the Episode: Young Michael - 'I didn't tell him anything. I never tell him anything.'

Does Fiona blow anything up? No. I hope she's blowing stuff up in between scenes, because otherwise she's got to be getting antsy.

Sam Axe Drink Count: 0 (2 overall).

Sam Getting Hit Count: 0 (1 overall).

Michael's Fake Laugh Count: 0 (0 overall).

Other: Interesting that when Mike hallucinated Fi, she was wearing the orange dress she wore on their mission to South American in 5.11 "Better Halves". Which was right before Anson showed his hand. So it's probably the last time there things were good between them. Mike was helping Anson to protect her. Fi wasn't in jail. Nate wasn't dead. Mike hadn't killed a senior CIA official and made them all enemies of the state, and Mike hadn't seemingly thrown away everything on one last try to make things right.

Mike has a bit of Angel (Buffverse Angel) in him. Always trying for the grand play that will magically fix all the things that have gone wrong. And it never works. There's always another thing broken or wrong.

I was a little disappointed in Fiona's response to Mike when they met at the start of the episode. Mike trying to awkwardly to explain he slept with Sonya - as part of the mission, which again, I find really off-putting. Fi is kind of hostile, telling Mike he's sleeping with the enemy. Which is true, but I would have preferred indifference as her reaction. The way Mike plays it, it's very clearly him feeling like the job forced him to cheat on Fi, and he wants her to forgive him. Except they aren't together, and Fiona could do us all a favor by getting that straight in Michael's head. That it's his life, and as long as it doesn't impair Mike's ability to get them all out from under the CIA's thumb, he can do as he pleases.

I spent the whole episode thinking "James" looking familiar, and sure enough, it's Brisco County Jr. alum John Pyper-Ferguson. Pete Hutter, what's happened? Did you touch the Orb and get religion like Big Smith? Beyond that, I'm gonna have to see more of James before I have an opinion. I'd like to have a better bead on what inspires this loyalty characters like Burke and Sonya have to him. It can just be drugs and cheap psychoanalysis can it? I'm hoping he has some goal or method that's drastically different, and that's what attracts people to him. As it stands, telling someone "don't resist" as you pump them full of drugs doesn't seem like the way to gain the loyalty he's apparently so fond of.

I appreciated the opportunity to see Dead Larry again, even if he was just a drug-induced hallucination. That winter camo was pretty bad though. It looked like the crap Sam got saddled with in The Fall of Sam Axe. I do like that of course Mike's version of Larry would try to take all the credit for making Mike who he was, when a lot of it is, unfortunately, the result of his father's works.

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