Sunday, March 02, 2014

Burn Notice 7.10 - Things Unseen

Plot: Mike's leaving Miami on a secret mission for James under cover of darkness. First, though, Fi would like to express her concerns with Mike letting James shoot Ben last week. Mike is fairly unconcerned, both because he's sure James hasn't turned him completely around yet, and because he didn't appreciate Ben leaving Fi to die. Off he goes for his mission with Sonya, Fi's doubts about his judgment completely unassuaged.

The mission is to kill Roger Steele. Who's Roger Steele? he's described as an intelligence broker, someone who fosters cooperation between agencies, and also sells information to pretty much anyone. But Michael saved his life once, and so Steele was trying to find him and make certain he was all right. This is, unfortunately for Roger, bringing him closer to James than is considered acceptable. Michael tries to play on Roger's concern by asking for a job, so he could get close enough to easily kill him, but no. Roger is more than willing to give him money, but no job. After an attempted armed assault on Roger's armored SUVs fails, Mike plays at being similarly under attack to draw Roger out to help his old friend Michael. At which point Michael kills Roger Steele.

Back in Miami, Carlos has learned there's a hit out on him. Ten years ago, he snitched on a drug distributor named Nando. Nando killed a courier and stole his drugs, and was supposed to go away forever, but he had enough money to pay enough lawyers to find him an eventual loophole, and bribed a D.A. to see the sealed file, which is how he knows Carlos snitched. Carlos' old contact Detective Holloway tells him he needs to produce that witness to he kept anonymous 10 years ago, so they can nail Nando for murder. Having already narrowly dodged one attempt on his life in the old neighborhood, Carlos and Fi can't go back in to talk to the witness, a Lloyd. So it falls to Jesse and Sam, who sort of accidentally have to abduct the guy. With a little pep talk from Maddy, Lloyd is convinced to talk to the cops. Too bad Holloway was working for Nando. On the plus side, Carlos kept Lloyd hidden until a deal for immunity was set up, so Lloyd is safe. Nando did catch Carlos, and Holloway's dead. Carlos will join her unless Fi produces Lloyd, which she can no longer do, since he bailed with Nando showed up. She can however, produce Michael, who has used James to broker a deal with Nando's boss. A deal that involved Nando being killed.

Well, whatever, Nando was a piece of shit murderer and drug lord. No biggie, right? Carlos does not agree. Turns out the estate belonging to Nando's boss was hit by an armed helicopter right as Nando was being told to let Carlos go. Seven people died. Carlos recognizes this isn't a coincidence, and doesn't feel he can be a part of this thing Fi and Michael have going. So, just as Fi has walked away from Mike numerous times because of his choices, Carlos walks away from Fi over hers. That's gratitude for you.

The Players: Roger Steele (Intelligence Broker/Old Friend), Detective Holloway (Cop With Some Answers), Lloyd (Witness In Hiding), Nando (Angry Recent Parolee)

Quote of the Episode: Carlos - 'You just gonna give him a pass because you're afraid?'

Does Fiona blow anything up? Her relationship with Carlos, metaphorically.

Sam Axe Drink Count: 1 (6 overall).

Sam Getting Hit Count: 0 (2 overall).

Michael's Fake Laugh Count: 3 (3 overall). It's a Christmas miracle! In March, no less.

Other: Hey, at least Carlos made it out alive. But we always knew he and Fi weren't going to last. Like he said, her fate is tied with Michael's, and Carlos wasn't ever gonna break that link. That said, I'm still a little put out by his bailing, because he objects to the tactics Fiona resorted to for, you know, saving his butt. Twice, no less, since she rescued him from his old friends at the beginning of the episode. I know, it's meant to mirror Fi's argument with Michael over how he did nothing to stop James. Fi was laid up in bed, Carlos was in the middle of being worked over with a blowtorch, neither one could do anything at the time to stop the other person. But Carlos walks away from Fi, where she won't break off all contact with Michael. Granted, not entirely her choice, given Strong (we'll get to him in a second) exerting pressure. He's unwilling to be a part of this, even though he has no idea what this is (a failure on Fi's fault by not telling him, to hell with classified).

The difference is, Fi was already out of danger by the time James shot Ben. The mission was over. Carlos was still in Nando's hands, surrounded by armed guys, with only Mike and Fi, both unarmed, in the room on his side. His life, and theirs, were all very much in doubt at the time Nando's boss was being strafed by attack helis. I find it a little hypocritical Carlos wanted to force  Lloyd to risk his life testifying, with only the assurance he'd get witness protection (with no guarantee it'll work if Nando's buying off District Attorneys) to save Carlos' bacon. But he draws the line at people who work for drug kingpins being shot in service of the same goal. If Lloyd had been killed, who would Carlos blame? Nanod? Holloway? Himself, for pushing Lloyd to it?

I'm not dismissing the loss of 7 lives to save Carlos', but given the reach and power Nando had allegedly displayed up to that point, he was definitely risking Lloyd's life with his plan, not to mention Fi, Jesse, and Sam's. Is the difference supposed to be that Lloyd was directly involved as witness, or that Lloyd ultimately agreed to help (under pressure)? Does that make his life less important than the Ricardo's Lopez' help staff? Maybe next time, Carlos could be more specific about how far people are allowed to go to save his life.

While I'm throwing hate around, here's a little for Strong, who showed up to tell Mike that if Roger Steele had to die to make this mission work, then so be it. Roger wasn't a "good guy", according to Strong, anyway. I have this horrible vision of Mike pulling the whole thing off, catching James, destroying the network, only to have Strong renege on the deal and throw Mike in jail for stuff like killing Steele.

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