Burn Notice: Cruising Along

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Burn Notice S06E03: "Last Rites"

Even Shakespeare knew his dramas couldn't all be high-octane, stabby-town bloodbaths from start to finish. Possibly the action genre's original scribe, Ol' Bardy Pants strategically cooled out his audience every now and again by resetting the emotional playing board with slower scenes so the machinations of awesomeness could surprise in full force with a stronger impact. I'm not saying last night's episode of Burn Notice was slow, just enjoyable in a non-bullets-and-explosions sort of way. Hey, that's still Burn Notice. Intrigue and espionage come part and parcel with the life of a spy. All in all, on top of the deft con Michael and his crew pulled, I was enthralled at the motivating tragic reasons, and what was being set up for episodes to come.

Luckily before getting into the nitty-gritty of this week's mission, we kicked things off in my favorite place so far this season, following Fiona's Adventures in Lady Jail, specifically Cellblock 9, the wing for high-risk offenders.

I know there's been some talk of Fi being so much of a badass that there's no true threat to her being in prison, but considering she doesn't know exactly who ordered the hit on her, and whether it is a single person or a network of baddies, then really anyone could be a potential enemy, or everyone. Even the toughest customer can't fight off an entire prison (though how awesome would that be), and with the news that Michael finally scored a prison visit, Fiona was all about staying alive long enough to share a special moment with her one true love. Thankfully she found a huge resource in the block's resident smuggler Ayn (Anything You Need), who agreed to help Fiona out in exchange for a favor: friendship.

No just kidding, she definitely wanted something more prison-related, but wouldn't say what just yet. By the way, if anybody has actually been to Lady Jail please chime in here. What were all these random pictures on Ayn's wall?

My assumption is she would have her clients trade in photos of loved ones for toilet grigio and so on, but I am not a female convict (yet). On the outside, Jesse and Michael met up with Pearce, who received a distressing phone call from the Evil Anson Fullerton. Michael's nemesis promised Dani information concerning the death of her fiancée Jay and even provided her with a picture of the guy who killed him.

'Twas a sad tale indeed, involving Jay's cover getting blown in Syria (topical) and this man Ahmed Damour ganking the intel Jay had been protecting in the first place. Long story short, Damour had been living on the government's dime as a CIA asset all thanks to the ill-gotten data (satellite information and pirated Sugarland mp3s). Michael figured Anson was trying to get Pearce to disobey CIA orders in favor of revenge, thus screwing up any pull she might have in getting Fi out of prison. Got to admit, I almost wanted Pearce to storm Ahmed head on and take him down point blank, all "Break yourself!" just to get more Fiona in Lady Jail plotlines but then again I am biologically part-dumb and was fired from the CIA in my early 20s for such thoughts.

Plus Westen's a dyed-in-the wool romantic (this season), so he couldn't resist a chance to help a fellow member of the lonely hearts spy club. The plan? Intercept Ahmed on a Jazz Cruise he's about to take and trick him into thinking he's so deathly ill that he tells his son Sharif about the location of the data. On the one hand I am jealous of these special agent brains that effortlessly cook up a scheme to make someone think they are dying, but on the other, I'm like "wait Pearce you can't get the CIA's help again?" Does Pearce have any pull at all? Maybe she doesn't even work for the CIA and really is just a manager at Ross who gets discounts on slacks. Nah, I'm just doofin'

I had already started to miss Ayn, so I was very happy to return to Lady Jail just in time to hear her utter "…pick a book bitch, you know you can't read" to some random black-market customer. The laid-back, sassy smuggler took a tiny break from insulting clients and made a deal with Fiona: If Fi blocked the door the next day at a set time, Ayn would provide her the name of whoever ordered the hit.

I love seeing an entrepreneur be confident about her line of work, so the line, "If the price was right I could stage a Beatles reunion concert in the main yard." tickled me just fine. Ayn's a great example of the way Burn Notice can pack even its one-off characters with a whole lot of quick charm. Anyhow, Fiona countered with a list of materials needed for the job, and the two developed a mutual respect for each other, but by that time I was distracted by the selection of titles available in the mobile library:

Hmm, what will it be, Danielle Steel's Going Home, a book on Finland, or Seabiscuit? I guess the real question is which has the best smuggled goods inside? Probably Going Home.

Moving forward it was fun to get the Westen clan involved, because I can't get enough of Nate's caring eyebrows, and after all, you know, the CIA wasn't available. Which got me thinking that maybe we don't need a CIA in this country at all. Perhaps we just need to spend more time with our families on secret operations. Seriously this summer, instead of going to the Grand Canyon, let's all pile into the station wagon and hunt down international criminals. Yeah right, no way my mom and bro could pull the same weight as Maddie and Nate. They'd be interrupting covert affairs to stop for grub at Quizno's I bet. Go Westens!

So on the cruise Michael pretended to be a doctor while Pearce pretended even harder like she didn't want to straight-up let her lover's rage take over and commit murder on the high seas. It was funny all the smiling we got out of Michael who kept pointing out how people on vacation look like they are having a good time.

Deep down, he really does need a vacation and I pray this is not the closest he gets to it. On the gambling floor, Jesse pulled his weight making first contact with the mark.

He cracked me up with his dice talk, all "…you got to let them know you love them…and if you love something what to do you do? You set 'em free!" Jesse haters, this guy's alright. He brings a complimentary strain of showiness and refinement to Westen's world, offering both spy capabilities and comedic relief that's different from Sam and Maddie. Jesse chugged Ahmed's gambling drink so the murder-mark would have to order a new one. Unbeknownst to him though Pearce chilled at the bar and infected his cocktail with some chemical that mimicked the effects of meningitis. This caused Ahmed to do what we in the cruise line industry call the "horizontal floor boogie."

This story hit a little too close to home because I once thought I had meningitis and had to go to a South Los Angeles emergency room. By the end of it luckily I did not have meningitis, and the doctor was just like, "My diagnosis is that you have been in a crazy Los Angeles ER. I prescribe 10 ccs of leaving that corner where the bums have set up camp under the chairs and you should be fine." Anyway, to make Michael's doctor story seem even more plausible, Jesse swallowed some of his own magic sick pills so that later on Doc Westen could point to him and be like, "See? They drank out of the same Whiskey Sour."

On dry land, Sam, Maddie, and Nate hit up Sharif's mansion once word got back to the Damour household that the fake virus might be lurking around the marble floors and gold-leaf painting frames. I felt bad for Sharif, who seemed pretty scared that his dear sweet papa was going to die, but then again his daddy did kill an innocent man.

Behind bars, Fiona successfully pulled off her end of the bargain using a makeshift sparkle-bomb to cause a diversion for Ayn while cronies jacked a rival smuggler. All this for a measly message concerning five or so cigarette packs? I guess this one's on me because I was too stupid to know what "incendiary" meant. Gee whiz, I was really hoping for some awesome explosion but what I got was the equivalent of a some fireworks you kept too long in the hallway closet and then your dad is like, "Well, that's it. Inside, kids."

Convinced that he was truly going to give up the ghost, Ahmed directed Sharif to go ahead with the mysterious contingency plan that involved protecting his future. Sam and Nate left Maddie behind to sleep in the backseat and trailed the young Damour and his crew to a warehouse (yes, where all shady business deals go down. Honestly if you own a warehouse and are NOT using it to meet Russians with silver suitcases you are missing out). Sharif used the warehouse for exactly this purpose and came very close to selling the data drive to some enterprising Russians (ah Russians, the eternal enemy).

Sam and Nate informed Michael of this development while Pearce seemed to be at her absolute breaking point about to ring Ahmed's muscular neck. Michael was like, "You can't let revenge get the best of you." Then Pearce was all, "I have a play, get out of my way!" I don't know about you guys, but I never really thought Pearce was anywhere close to murdering Ahmed. Maybe it's because she's so easy on the eyes, but each time any character mentioned her falling out of line, it felt like any minute they were going to break into chuckles and be like, "Nah, we know you don't have it in you."

What she did have in her was a brilliant scheme to come clean to Ahmed about the components of his weaponized poison and how it could possibly be Russian in origin. Right then and there Ahmed called up his dear sweet son and commanded him to back off the deal with Paul Giamatti's Ruski brother and take vengeance on these guys who Damour figured where behind his poisoning.

When the bullets settled, Nate and Sam apprehended Sharif and the drive, while back on the boat Pearce finally got to brag to Ahmed about how he and his son would be totally screwed from here on out. You did it Pearce! Jay would be proud.

Fiona meanwhile was raring to get the name of the person who ordered the hit, but Ayn didn't think it was such a bright idea to divulge that information out loud on the floor. Fiona slammed her by the throat against the wall (a gesture that will hopefully continue to end each Lady Jail adventure) until Ayn explained further that she would get a note to Michael and to seriously chill the hell out.

In the final scene, Michael got to see Fiona and was like "business, business..." then devolved into a sobbing Irish brogue.

At first I was like, "What in the hell is happening?" but then I did some sleuthing and realized Michael first met Fiona undercover. I didn't mind this emotional scene because it was quick and heavy. Perhaps that's the way Burn Notice should sneak in its heartfelt moments—just nothing all episode, and then in the last 30 seconds, someone pulls some serious Pride and Prejudice haps. Luckily Michael did not leave Lady Jail empty handed, as Ayn made good on providing him the address of the person responsible for ordering a hit on Fiona. Though how much do you bet it's just some go-between guy who they'll have to shake down for some information? In any case, for the next two weeks, I like to think this is happening in both both Michael and Fiona's hearts:


DEBRIEFING:

– What will Michael do with the information on the note?

– Are you going to Google Maps that address?

– Did Jesse win you over this episode?

– What's next for Fiona's Adventures in Lady Jail?

– Do you wish there was more explosions in this episode?

Burn Notice Photo Gallery: Season 6, Episode 3, "Last Rites" Psst! Once you enter the viewer, you can navigate through the photos using your left and right arrow keys.

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