Sunday, March 09, 2014

Burn Notice 7.11 - Tipping Point

Plot: Michael and Sonya while away an afternoon making fake passports in preparation for another mission for James. All Michael can pry from Sonya is the job is in Latin America, but this does make her wistful for the things she's missed out on from being a spy. Which leads to her and Michael being frisky, which is an excuse to get her to sleep at Michael's so he can steal information off her phone and send it to Strong. Now they know the exact route and time James will be moving through Veracruz, and Strong has assembled a mercenary team with no ties to the CIA to capture James.

They completely blow it. Michael tries to salvage things by stealing a lady's cell phone when he steals her car, so Strong can track it, but a helicopter is a rather obvious vehicle to be tracking people with, and James makes them split up. When Michael and random goons are attacked in the marina by another strike team, Mike helps them win, only to learn they're being led by Simon. You remember Simon from Seasons 3 and 4? The guy who did most of the stuff Michael was blamed for in his burn notice? Turns out Strong's been using him for missions for 2 years. This is too much for Michael, especially after Simon executes the rest of James' guys, and he kills Simon. About 4 seasons too late Mike, but oh well.

Sonya and James have meanwhile managed to fend off Strong, Jesse, and Sam - in a helicopter - with 2 handguns. Which smells like bullshit to me, but there it is. Michael had already called them and said he was under attack before deciding to kill Simon, so they rush back to save him, with Strong, Jesse, and Sam on their heels. Except Mike warns James that Simon called in another team, and they should escape another way. So it's all for nothing.

At James' latest luxurious hideout, he's ready for some killin', because only he and Sonya knew their route, so she must have betrayed them. Which is when Mike confesses he's been working for the CIA all along. James notes that Mike still saved them from being captured at the marina, and wants to know why. Mike says he's tired of working for people like Strong, who would use people like Simon. Which still isn't enough for James, so Michael hasn't eaten a bullet. Yet.

There's also a whole subplot about Fi keeping an eye on Maddy. It gets kind of ridiculous because Fi keeps getting ready to kill the two guys James has watching Maddy, then being told not to because it might blow Mike's cover, then being told to, then being told not to, and now James knows, and the two idiot goons aren't dead. So maybe Simon had the right idea. When in doubt kill the goons.

The Players: James (Guy Mike's Supposed to Catch), Strong (CIA Guy On The Clock), Simon (Crazy Guy Mike Caught Previously)

Quote of the Episode: James - 'What's happening today has been years in the making. Let's just say our little organization is about to make a giant leap forward.'

Does Fiona blow anything up? Well, she was gonna set off a small charge to take out Kitchen Goon, before Jesse called her off. Thanks, Jesse.

Sam Axe Drink Count: 0 (6 overall).

Sam Getting Hit Count: 0 (2 overall).

Michael's Fake Laugh Count: 0 (3 overall).

Other: Ugh, Sonya went with the stereotypical outraged girl slap when she realized Mike had played her. Look, that shit might work with Maddy, but Sonya's supposed to be this incredibly badass Russian spy. Shouldn't she punch him in the throat, or pistol whip him? So disappointing.

Sonya suffers from that thing a lot of new characters - not just on Burn Notice, but in general in fiction - do: She starts out seeming super awesome or tough as nails, and the longer she's around, the more her edges are blunted. In some cases it's a necessary correction - remember how Jeph Loeb had the Red Hulk being better than every other character ever? No of course you don't. You suppressed all memory of that monumental stupidity for your own sake. But that's kind of how they played it here. Sonya was so dangerous she had to be kept drugged all the time just to keep her from escaping, but Mike played her like a harp.

I spent most of the episode expecting the swerve to be that James and Sonya knew all along Mike was a double agent. That the giant leap forward was going to be Mike leading Strong right into James' hands. Simon's appearance provoked a similar reaction. I figured at that point, all bets were off on surprise character reveals. When James was taking pictures of the dead strike teams' faces to have someone identify them, I figured it might be Dan Siebbels, Mike's handler who we saw only in the Pilot. I started to think/hope that the person they traveled to Mexico to meet was Management. Oh, I would have been so pumped to see Management again. Two episodes left, there's still time.

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