Burn Notice "Official Business" Review: Model Behavior

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Burn Notice S06E9: "Official Business"

This past Thursday, Michael Westen and company decided to take some time off from lying to criminals, shooting things and blowing stuff up in disguise, and instead snagged a cheap hopper flight out to Panama City. Steve Aoki was performing a set and it just so happened that Maddie uncovered tickets to the show purchased by Nate before his untimely passing: The late Westen had intended to treat his older brother, Fiona, and Sam to a fun night out dancing to electro house music. Nobody really knew this DJ's catalog very well, but they agreed to go through with Nate's dying wish in order to honor his legacy.

Jesse took Nate's place while Maddie remained home to chain smoke and Google for cat calendars (a.k.a. heaven). Jesse was a little hurt at being excluded from Nate's original ticket purchase, but hid his feelings within an armory of dapper ZARA brand clothing and top-shelf Polo cologne so as not to ruin the evening. In the queasy, magnetic dark of the Plaza Figali venue, heads nodded in sync to the pounding rhythms, catching the wild lights here and there, sporadically disappearing into the black like stones on the shore beneath a neon moon. Sam treated everyone to Heislers; Fiona swayed carelessly in the loving embrace of Michael, whose stubble reminded her of the potatoes back home; and Jesse's bullet-proof grin once again caught the glittered eye of more than a few adoring young ladies. He called his smile "Houdini," for its ability to make panties vanish. Though it was too loud to speak, plenty was said, and for one true, golden moment, every single cell, in every sweaty body cried "LIFE!"—oh wait hold up, that's what happened Wednesday. Dang, whoops. Yeah no, sorry folks. Feeling like a true ass for that one. Let's take five, then regroup...

(5 MINUTES LATER)

So yeah THURSDAY was actually way different for the Burn Notice peeps. In fact the events which took place were downright awesome (mainly because of how few "electro bangers" they contained). Michael backed up Fiona as she infiltrated this rich Ukrainian dude's mansion while Jesse and Sam went undercover to find out who shot Nate. There were even some special guests, including the American debut of talented and beautiful telenovela star Angelica Celaya, as well as some familiar characters from Sam's past (CIA agents Gabriel Manaro and Matt Bailey). What mainly made this adventure shine was a rare interweaving of plotlines and some refreshing partnership swaps which kept the episode feeling alive and organic.

People tuning in to watch the Stateside debut of the telenovela star may have thought this introductory scene was one between some 40-year-old baristas, what with Westen's shabby chic furniture, muted paint scheme, and comfy atmosphere, but NO, "those people," it was actually Michael, Sam, and Jesse putting their juicy melons together in order to figure out how to get access to Pryon Group CEO Jake Vale's employee records. It was no use jacking into the dataframe (computer lingo) to suss out a connection to the murder rifle, because as Jesse pointed out, "Vale's systems make the Pentagon look like Disneyland." Bet he uses the non-trial version of Norton Anti-Virus. Michael suggested they impersonate billionaires by borrowing from Sam's rich-ass girlfriend Elsa (remember, white suit-skirt/troubled son?) to which Axe replied, "I hate this so much already." What followed was a VERY emotional montage of Westen and Axe trying on top hats and monocles set to Scott Joplin's ragtime classic "The Entertainer."

No actually what happened was Westen spouted off about how to look like a billionaire—where is Michael when these tips are being said? In the bathtub? Talking to a Del Taco drive-thru box? How does he know them? Guestimation? Was he a billionaire in a past life? Astral projection? Whatever method he uses works, because at the restaurant (Hometown Buffet Elite?) when Vale's wormy assistant Andrew initiated some car-talk with, "That's a beautiful machine you have there," Westen accurately retorted, "You should see it at 180 miles per hour" and they all shared a $marmy laugh. In the back Donald Trump washed dishes because he couldn't afford to pay for his order of goose fetuses from Michael Jackson's ex-menagerie served in their mother's stomach with very rare Dolphin cholesterol dippin' sauce. For lunch the billionaires all ate high-class escort brains deep-fried in edible gold batter and discussed snipers (basic money man stuff). Vale was tight-lipped about allowing Westen to review personnel options (and thus identify a possible killer), but they did score a field trip to Pryon Group's training facilities in South Carolina. (By the by, I loved when Sam was all, "Unless this guy's wearing a name tag that says, 'Hi my name is the Guy Who Killed Nate,' this tour's going to be a waste of time." Way to be sensitive, Sam).

Ever the good boyfriend, Michael dialed up Fiona to invite her along ("It's not Paris, but there will be lots of guns"), and she was down but faced her own obligations as part of her deal with the CIA, represented by bumbling agents Matt Bailey and Gabriel Manaro. All parties gracefully overlooked the fact that Michael had called at a rather coincidental time because somehow Fi was surprised when the agents revealed it was she they wanted and not Westen. Using all the deductive lessons Westen has imparted thus far, one can assume these suits arrived at the coffee shop that was Westen's HQ as soon as Michael made the call, or Fiona being a good host invited them in but refused to ask what they wanted and they all just sat in silence until the phone rang.

So the stand-on-your-feet-and-shout meeting took place right next to a rusty old fan that Westen should have dropped off at the Goodwill already, but keeps because Nate probably used to dick around with it to make his voice sound like a robot. The menfolk argued while paraphrasing the Wikipedia entries on Burn Notice movie "The Fall of Sam Axe," and Season 5 Episode 6 "Enemy of My Enemy," until Fiona copped to being in their service. Yeesh, pipe up why don't you Fi? What, are you mentally picking out wedding colors? Lot of things hashed out here, but the most important details were that an aerospace engineer named Vincent Durov was reportedly about to sell secrets to some terrorists and they needed Fiona to get in there and find out the scoop. Michael stifled a romantic verse proclaiming his undying love for Fiona, and instead demanded to be a part of her support team. All of this was so stressful that Fi just had to unwind with some serious girl-time, sharing Tinkletinis and intel strategies with the Ukrainian dude's girlfriend Angela Flores (ahi esta, Angelica Celaya!).

Unfortunately an unidentified telenovela heartthrob interrupted their convo to steamily inform Celaya that he was in fact an evil twin who WOULD be selling the pharmaceutical company to the rodeo baron but the ladies just ignored him by stirring around half-eaten couscous salads and looking down at the ground as if to say, "Yo beat it bub, I'm on American TV now." Speaking of steamy encounters, once on-site at the mansion under the guise of being Angela Flores's model friend ("Phoebe"—total model name!), Fiona got that sensual pat-down she'd no doubt been after, complete with Ukrainian butt-slap.

Yipes! This was send-the-kids-to-bed-wait-no-wake-them-up-they-could-learn-some-things steamy. Are all aerospace engineers this good with their hands? This handsome and socially adept? This capable of making eye contact with beautiful women? So aerospace engineers are NOT total eggheads whose chances of "ruining" their trousers increase the closer they stand to models and who can graph this mathematical fact as an equation? Oh okay, cool. This detour to the erogenous zone was almost as sexy as the vanity shots of the new HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE or whatever that scootin' red devil was. It has been reported that over 50,000 viewers and counting zombie-eyed it straight to their local Hyundai dealership as soon as Westen's tip on spy cars included the words "speed, power, and handling you need" synced up perfectly with magic, sumptuous angles of this fine, fine machine. Any takers?

Down in South Carolina (ol' South Caroliny Town? No?) Sam and Jesse failed to bribe Vale's regional manager while in the background grown men rolled around on the ground and played on various jungle gyms. In his omnipotent God's voice that echoes all over the greater Miami area and beyond, Westen schooled us on how expensive private armies are, and half of those costs must go to cleaning grass stains out of cargo pants. The little wormy guy left in a huff, like being offered a bribe wasn't the most flattering thing to happen to him since an old lady confused him for Tony Shaloub at Whirlin' Waters Water Park.

Meanwhile a few states over Fiona and Angela snooped around the mansion and found the serial number on the safe. Why did Durov accept Fiona's explanation that she wanted to have a threesome? Why would that mean it was okay for her to go into his super secret hall? Oh aerospace engineers, so hard up for it, they'll believe anything that so much as even hints at menage a trois. "Sorry Dr. Feisler, you're being sold as a slave scientist to Iran, but hey how about some group sex?" Eh, he seemed to buy the story, especially when Fiona sexily opened her mouth next to his ear. Also, the term "party" got used in that pretty gross, all-encompassing way where it could mean anything from chips and soda to coke-addled occult practices. Anyway, with the make and model of the safe squared away, all that was left was to get some appropriate crackin' tools. Problem was, the CIA dudes couldn't just hand over a drill in broad daylight, so they used an immense amount of government resources to interface at a very expensive boutique known as H&M.;

This specialty shop sold only the finest in shiny belts, flowy dresses, and shiny belted, flowy dresses. Fi did a killer model impression, saying, "Vincent look what I found, you like? I like." Oh models. Things got too risky, so Fi did exactly what James Bond would have done and accused the CIA fellow of sexual harassment and then shoved an ugly-ass belt into the exhaust pipe, which broke the car just on principle of how hideous it was. After an extended transition that looked like a full-on MTV music video from 2003 mixed with an animated Affliction T-shirt, Sam and Jesse got the regional manager all liquored up and recruited him for their fictional firm with very clever lines like, "If you've never had a martini from a six-star hotel, you should because they're good."

Losers will believe ANYTHING. This guy was so lonely I bet he'd cut off some fingers if cool guys Sam and Jesse promised to take some Facebook photos with him. An awesome fight broke out at the random mechanic's place that Michael and the CIA were trying to commandeer. Wasn't it great when outside Durov and friends were wondering what the deal was, and then Micahel popped out as the fake mechanic? Loved it!

So Fi retrieved the tools stowed away in the car, and the two lovebirds got a chance to see one another briefly, beaming poetry through each other's eyes, like plants experiencing photosynthesis, before Westen shot across town to tamper with some gas lines. The plan was to cause a distraction via carbon monoxide alarm. Sam and Jesse got Thompson to sign but then he was unwilling to share Pryon's sniper files so they coaxed him a little more by threatening to ditch him for cooler times, and his lonely high school memories flooded back in a tidal wave of solitary lunches and prom rejections, so he let them take a peek unattended. They found the files but unfortunately all they were able to retrieve on the likely sniper was a form that had initials "T.G." instead of a full name. Sam and Jesse nearly gave that butthead a combo swirly-wedgie for wasting their time with such nonsense, but managed to leave without incident. They had done their best. At the mansion, the two models were moving ahead with the plan, until Angela double crossed Fiona and twist-tied her to the bomb. Didn't see that coming!

Never trust telenovela stars, they simply cannot resist twists. Luckily Fiona escaped but then got locked inside with the bomb, and after whispering some beautiful Celtic prayers she convinced Michael to drive a van bomb into the mansion.

No, not that heavy-duty plastic planter from Orchard Home Supply! Next an episode of MacGruber happened and Fiona called Angela's bluff via almost incorrectly disarming a bomb at gunpoint, thus freaking out Angela, causing the sneaky girlfriend to reveal herself as a thief.

Case closed! Fiona traded her freedom for a CIA coverup. Michael and Fi were like, "Scram, you tax-wasting knuckleheads." At a business lunch with billionaires Sam and Michael, Vale got killed right after uttering the name "Tyler Gray" and foolishly, no one shouted, "Check, please!" (Though it was pretty funny when that ADR kid screamed, "Dad, somebody shot that guy!" in case there was any doubt. Also, why was that lady in the background smiling?).

The true strength of this episode was all the intermingling of stories—everyone got to play a part, and the few switch-ups going into it all really helped the separate strands feel cohesive. Though "Official Business" borrowed slightly from "Split Decision," and "Mixed Messages"—in manipulating a rich couple and Michael's guiding the mission, this outing still felt like its own thing. The cool twist was entirely unpredictable and better yet made total sense. Plus Michael got to pretend to be two different characters, and to blow something up, so isn't that really all that matters? It's a shame there's only one episode left until Burn Notice goes on a little break because things are just starting to heat up.


QUESTIONS:

– Who is Tyler Gray?

– Are Fiona and Michael better off without the CIA associations?

– Was this a well balanced episode?

– Was this your favorite episode of the season?

– Is product placement good for television?

– Did you see the twist coming a mile away?

– Is the CIA really this incompetent?

– Is Angelica Celaya the next big name in Hollywood?

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