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When You’re a Spy: Mixed Messages

By Zach

Things get back to usual on Burn Notice this week with a “case of the week” involving a drug cartel moving into Miami but Jesse is the point man this time instead of Michael and Fiona is locked up in a maximum security prison.

After refusing to testify against Michael, or change her position on her confession, Fi is sent to a maximum security woman’s prison and is immediately targeted by “the queen of the cell block”, D.B. and her gang.  Fi gets help from special guest inmate, Taryn Manning of Hawaii Five-0 and Sons of Anarchy, who gives her the rundown of how the prison ecosystem is setup.  Fi manages to avoid a confrontation for a little bit by harassing the guards to be escorted back inside during yard time and getting a cushy job in the kitchen but eventually has to confront D.B. when she learns they have a shanking planned for her in the near future.  Fi Macgyvers up some magazine clubs by soaking rolled up magazines in salt water to harden them and a prison lighter out of a battery and a piece of wire and has her new friend set a fire to distract the guards and then Fi lays the smackdown on D.B. and her cronies.  It seems Fi has everything taken care of but her new friend attempts to murder her in the kitchen while the two are on dish washing duty and Fi learns that there was a cell phone under her friend/assailant’s pillow and she got a call from someone (Is there any doubt it was Anson?) telling her to kill Fi or her sister would be killed.

In the A plot, Michael is desperate to see Fi, if only to give her some hope that the guys are trying to get her out, and he flies to DC to visit his old training officer, Tom Card, played by the awesome as always John C. McGinley, whose Burn Notice character is like a combination of Dr. Cox and his ball busting FBI agent from Point Break.  Michael asks if there’s anyway to see Fi and eventually agrees to help out with a op that Card has going on in Miami.  It seems there’s a new drug cartel trying to get a foothold there and all attempts to get someone undercover has failed.  There’s two tons of coke coming in and the plan is to get it diverted so the joint DEA/CIA task force can nab it and possibly get the men behind it, Don Ramiro and his second in command, Montero.

The plan is for Jesse and Michael to go undercover as DEA agents, claiming they were skimming money but their boss found out, so they shot him and now they want in with the cartel in exchange for a look at the DEA’s safehouse and some intel.  Unfortunately, right as they attempt to make contact, Michael recognizes sleazebag lawyer, Bruce Gellman, whose drug cartel clients Michael previously thwarted way back in Season One and Michael is forced to leave Jesse alone to not blow the op.  Jesse manages to weasel his way in with Montero and takes him to the safehouse and shows them the body of his “boss”, a gunshot victim helpfully supplied by Sam and courtesy of the Miami coroner.  Montero is convinced and Jesse tries to get Montero to move their coke shipment to another location, one where the DEA is ready to raid, but Montero has one more stop to make before getting the opinion of the Don.  It’s to the home of their previous corrupt DEA agent, Eric Kemp, who battles Jesse in a game of “who’s telling the truth?” where the loser gets to eat a bullet from Montero.  Thanks to the gang being able to hear everything on Jesse’s bugged pen, they manage to convince Montero that Jesse is the one telling the truth by staging a fake extraction of Agent Kemp.  They are unable to stop Montero from killing Kemp and throwing him out of a second story window but he had a bunch of CIA informants killed, so no one is too choked up.

Jesse is brought to see the Don, Ramiro Salazar, who is not totally convinced about Jesse’s information, so he has Jesse and Montero go to the site where the drug shipment was originally coming in to see evidence of the DEA raid there.  This forces Michael, Card and Sam to fake evidence of the DEA presence, including dummy snipers and an overloaded van carrying an assault team.  Montero is convinced as Jesse points out all the evidence to him and tells the Don they can move the shipment to the new location Jesse gave them but the group has to scramble when Montero pulls out a bunch of assault rifles to “distract the DEA” while the Don gets the shipment moved in.  Jesse has to  take some potshots at the van to allow Michael to scramble out and tells Montero that the assault team’s explosives should be his real target, which Montero eagerly accepts and blows up the van.  He tells his goons to stay behind and keep any remaining DEA busy while he and Jesse head to the new drop site but he gets a call from the Don saying that the actual DEA raid just happened and they lost the two tons of coke.  Montero is ready to kill Jesse but Jesse manages to convince him to turn himself in because the Don will never let him live after this screw up and the fact that Montero knows his entire operation.  Card is impressed with the results of the op and tells Michael that him getting a visit with Fi shouldn’t be a problem.

Oh, and Michael’s brother Nate came back to Miami because his wife left him in Las Vegas, but no one really cares, do they?

Overall, a pretty great, fun episode.  The prison storyline was pretty cliche but it had a few good Burn Notice twists, like the homemade clubs and Michael describing how to survive in prison and, while the show has done it many times in the past, the drug cartel plot also had enough twists to make it fun and it was a good change of pace to have Jesse be the one manipulating people instead of Michael and one of his crazy accents, the only thing was that the bad guys were super cliche Mexican drug dealers, with Montero calling everyone “cabron” and “punto”, for example.  I hope John C. McGinley hangs around this season because he’s always fantastic and he also apparently instilled Michael’s love of yogurt.  The only thing that’s missing is some good Sam Axe action but hopefully Chuck Finley will make an appearance soon.

Who am I again?: Michael is almost Ben Douglas, DEA agent but has to bail when he thinks he’s going to be recognized.

Spy Tip of the Week:Soaking rolled up magazines in salt water is an effective way to make homemade clubs in prison, you can also tape a piece of wire to both ends of a AA battery and you have a prison lighter.

Sam Axeism: “Welcome to my least favorite job, ever” -on having to procure the dead body to play their murdered DEA supervisor

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