Hey everybody, I'm back from an extended leave of absence during which I took time off to study for my GED and recover from several unrelated spider bites. I did not pass (again), yet I am happy to report that the bites have healed into a scar that kind of resembles Bugs Bunny as a gang member. But less about me and more about last night's episode of Burn Notice, "Shock Wave," in which Michael Westen's love for Fiona finally blew up in his face with overall satisfying, albeit sad, results. Suffice it to say I came away from this adventure feeling more emotionally wrought than I can remember being on past Burn Notice excursions, and surprisingly it had nothing to do with Michael's requited love for Fi.
Earlier, we had spoke of GEDs, which reminds me—remember that one guy in high school who sucked to hang out with because he was so humorlessly sprung on a chick? Like, you and your dudes would horse off in the quad and he'd be some touchy ball of rage, ruining all the fun times until she said "yes" to him about the spring formal and stuff. That's Michael Westen this season, and I had maybe one more episode's worth of tolerance left in me for phrases like, "Hey get a grip Mike," or "Relax Westen, you're going off the deep end," before it was time to unplug my white television set on the kitchen island and then go outside and have an existential Cloud Atlas awakening. Which is to say, I was tired of there being no repercussions to Mike's obsession other than behavioral rudeness as expressed via peripheral characters. That something tragic came out of Fi's release was truly a surprise to me, because up until last night it seemed the only negative byproduct of his vengeance was that Westen was being an irritable jerk to his friends and family.
So just when it looked like Mike's romance tantrum was close to an end, some hater from MI-6 tried to throw salt in the "get Fiona out of jail by delivering Anson to the feds" game via threatening to transfer her into British custody (and maybe behead her in the Queen's court?). If that wasn't enough Pearce insisted the CIA back up Michael on taking down Fuller, which meant Sam got sidelined watching after Maddie. Westen reasoned, "Sam is as good as I am. And he accepts domestic beer as payment," but Pearce was not having it. Were there a fishing pole in my hands, I would have reacted the same exact way Sam did by throwing it to the ground. It's funny when someone tries to make an angry gesture out of lightweight objects. "What do you mean I'm fired? Behold my fury as I hurl these feathers and paper clips!" Honestly it looked like Axe was going to get the short end of the plot stick this week, but I'll be damned if I didn't end up enjoying his thread the most. I could not say the same about Fiona's time in Lady Jail, where she bargained with Ayn for the greatest smuggle of all: herself.
The true star of this episode's prison tale was obviously Ayn's thick-ass corn rows. Braids are not cheap in prison, so I'm sure she had to swap something extremely valuable for that tight 'do, like a packet of erasable pens or Crunchy Flamin' Hot Limon Cheetos. Fiona requested Ayn hide her so the MI-6 hater would be delayed long enough for Michael and his CIA pals to come through. In exchange Fiona promised to let Ayn get all kinds of glory and favors for "finding" the wee Irish perp. Hey not a bad deal if you ask me/better than a poke in the eye.
Speaking of things in faces, Michael had designs of putting a bullet in Anson's, after Rebecca clued Michael in to Fuller's next drop-off point: a sleazy motel where some party dudes and babes danced in the parking lot by a car. You know, how most people get rocks off. "Yo guys, I know a hotel with a great parking lot, wanna chill?" The crew worried these kids would draw the fuzz and spook Anson, so Nate stepped in and tricked them all into thinking there were bedbugs.
"We got to roll kids, Mannie say's this place got bedbugs!" One quote of many this episode I will try my darndest to slip into normal conversation. Across town at Maddie's things immediately got action-y as "Bad Checks Barry" showed up with a gunshot wound after catching some heat from Fiona's gun merchants. I love how quickly Sam was like, "Alright yeah let's go find those cooked books," (probably because Maddie's place smelled like cig-farts). The dynamic of this pair was my favorite. Something about how short-tempered and coolly glib Axe got to be around the hapless Burkowski at some point turned into a rad string of one-liners. Unfortunately it was out of the frying pan and into the fire for Sam and Barry as the gun merchants pinned the duo down in Barry's client's mansion.
Back in the stakeout, Nate foolishly ordered an armful of pizzas, causing Michael to fly off the handle. Maybe this is just the little brother in me talking, but I thought Michael was way too hard on Nate here. Come on, he's not a trained professional, he's family. Plus he's doing you a favor. Cut him some slack jack! Also did anyone catch the Adult Film descriptions Nate perused?
I'm sure some writer's assistant worked long and hard on these titles, so they're worth featuring here. Dane's Stains, anyone? I found the description for The Dirty Dalmatian particularly hilarious:
"Squeaky clean Sandra was born with a slight problem: She's covered in spots. She has furiously fought her whole life to be taken seriously. Having just graduated college, Sandra is ready to do whatever necessary to take the fashion industry by storm, even if it means getting her hands dirty in the process. Sandra will prove that spots are always in style."
Meanwhile, Fiona was snug as a bug in her hidey hole.
So cozy, don't fall asleep Fiona. While she entertained herself with whispered Groucho Marx impressions (using the flashlight as a stogie), Sam got a chance to once again flex his skills at turning minimal resources into an illusionary multi-force. One (I) might describe his ability as The A-Team meets that scene from Home Alone where Kevin makes it look like dancing and crap is going on in the living room to ward off Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. I liked this storyline the most because it volleyed from cool stuff to funny lines like a hamster that swallowed a grenade being used as a shuttlecock in a game of badminton. Barry cracked out a good laffer, "I've never climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, I've never seen The Wire, I've never even had a four-way," which made me chortle so hard my eyes crossed and got stuck that way for 42 minutes. FYI, 911 does not have a protocol for resolving this type of emergency, so do not even waste your time. Just breathe. Also, did y'all catch when Barry called Sam's makeshift cannon a "boomstick"? Army of Darkness references are always welcome and a lot of these lines from Axe could have come from the lips of Ash himself. If only Sam hooked a chainsaw to his arm...
In Lady Jail not a whole lot happened, except a spat between the female warden and the MI-6 hater, which I could have watched for a good solid hour, only because I couldn't tell if the lady warden had any teeth. I guess it felt weird because they were essentially the only two "on stage." Interesting, I'll have to watch in the future and see if there are ever any scenes without the main characters in them. Anyway, yo producers, if there is B-roll of this tiff, please send it to me, I want to pitch a show called "Lady Warden and the Brit." Fiona's hiding plan worked like a charm and Ayn got early release. Dope! Ayn, there are great benefits on the outside for small-business owners. Get your haberdash on, girl! Across town, Sam and Barry exploded the house using a dead termite and pocket lint, while the team tracked down Anson to a very classy casino in Atlantic City. To redeem himself Nate cold-cocked Anson and was about to show big brother his handy work when an unknown sniper took down both lil' bro Westen and Anson. The last time my brother held my head in his hands this emphatically was when he tried to make me eat a vomit burrito.
Breaking Bad this ain't, but I was genuinely shocked and impressed at Nate's death being handled so cinematically. That pull-out at the end with Michael and Maddie pain-hugging had me in a frown-quiver normally reserved for re-watching the ending of Six Feet Under on YouTube. Usually the random emotional scenes at the end of each episode have me rolling my eyes, but this one worked because it highlighted just how trivial someone's final day can be (i.e. pizza arguments). As sad as it was to lose such a likable member of the Westen clan, someone important was going down to match the positive of Fi's release with a soul-wrenching negative that could haunt Michael for episodes and possibly seasons to come. Goodbye, Nate—I will always miss your over-articulated head nods, made more so by that rooster's plume of a hairstyle. On a more uplifting note, are there any Bro-lationshippers out there who can ship me up a Nate and Michael montage (set to Vitamin C's Graduation (Friends Forever))?
1. Are you sad to see Nate go, or was it his time?
2. Who shot Anson?
3. Was Nate's death Michael's fault?
4. Were you happy that approximately 20 words crossed Jesse's lips this episode?
5. Will Nate's passing ruin Fiona and Michael's relationship?
6. Will Ayn make it on the outside?