When a show is as formulaic as Burn Notice, even minor tweaks to the format can be welcome. Last week, we saw the team split into pairs to tackle two separate missions, and that’s how things start out this week as well. Michael is still following the trail of breadcrumbs to find out who tried to frame him for Max’s murder, and this week, that trail leads to Tallahassee, home of a Romanian war criminal and clock repairman with a sideline in building bombs—including the one that blew up the boat Michael escaped from a couple weeks ago.
Michael and Sam take bomb-maker Lucien (Patrick Bauchau, in an enjoyably hammy turn) to Interrogation Shack #3 in an effort to find out who hired him, but the old man just keeps himself amused for days “remembering” various suspicious people who stopped by the shop. Back in Miami, Fiona tags along with Jesse on one of his security gigs, protecting the house of gazillionaire James Forte (James Frain, whom I last saw turning into a puddle of goo on True Blood), inventor of a miracle drug. When Jesse and Fiona catch the intruder in Forte’s palatial estate, he turns out to be their employer’s ex-partner Dan, the real inventor of the anti-viral, who wanted to give the drug away and make the world a healthy, happy place. Forte didn’t see it that way, so he hid drugs in Dan’s suitcase, got him thrown into a South American prison, and stole his girlfriend for good measure. If you’re still not 100 percent certain, let me make it unambiguous for you: Forte is the bad guy here.
So now the plan changes from “protect Forte’s house” to “break into Forte’s impregnable lab and find the evidence that he framed his partner.” It’s more or less at this point that the Romanian bomb-maker plotline, which had at first seemed to be the main story of the week, vanishes completely for a half-hour or so. Jesse and Fi bring Michael in to do one of his more entertaining characters of the season, the vengeance-seeking psycho who blames Forte’s drug for his mother’s death. It’s sort of Christopher Molitisanti crossed with a second-tier Batman villain, but it’s pretty amusing.
The rest of the episode is basically a cat-and-mouse game between our crew and Forte’s company security team, and it proves to be more of a challenge than some of the recent “Michael controls everyone’s mind with his brilliance” cases. Things actually go wrong along the way, and the team is forced to adapt and come up with new plans, and best of all, there’s not much time for relationshippy talk (and absolutely no time for Maddie crankiness, as Sharon Gless is completely absent from the episode). It’s always a relief when this show remembers what it does best.
Of course, everything works out for Dan once Jesse gets his hand on the folder containing records of Forte’s bribes and payoffs (because, of course, everyone keeps records of those), and it’s back to the Romanian bomb-maker, just in time for the guy who hired him to show up and riddle Interrogation Shack #3 with bullets, killing Lucien in the process. But not before he can use his final breath to whisper the next step on the breadcrumb trail to Michael. Ah, but that’s for next week.
- Sam: “Not it!” Funny, that never works around TV Club headquarters.
- So Michael blew up, what, three cars in the parking garage, and set at least one more on fire to create the diversion on the bridge. Where do they get all these cars? Do they just rent them and pay extra for the walk-away insurance?
- The Infinity Illusion! I don’t think I quite caught how that worked, but it made me think of Doug Henning. And that’s always a good thing, right?