Burn Notice "Official Business" Review: Model Behavior

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?

Comments (19)
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I liked this ep mainly because it managed to surprise me with the whole girlfriend being the traitor thing, but I do believe that earlier season were better. I want to see Mike make a weapon out of kitchen appliances again haha.



Loved the review though, you had me cracking up I loved this line "Bet he uses the non-trial version of Norton Anti-Virus" hahaha.



Anyway sooo is the whole Michael getting revenge for being burned officially over with Anson's death, and is their new mission finding the man who murdered nate, cos I'm not as interested in that since I didn't have a huge soft spot for Nate. Still looking forward to the next episode though!
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That was... some write up on this episode.



I enjoyed the bulk of this episode, the pimping of the Hyundai is no surprise, I remember the first time Fi pimped her mark 1 Coupe (the blue one that didn't have the hideous front end, what the HELL were you thinking Hyundai?!?) and it stuck out, now it's old hat. Kind of sleazy but if it keeps the show on the air, I'll let it pass.



Angelica Celaya is stunning, and pretty talented in English (I haven't watched her act in Spanish), but she won't make it in Hollywood being that tall - Tom Cruise and such aren't going to act next to someone who makes them look like they midgets they are. :-P



Anyway, this had an ok spy balance compared to most episodes which are all action lately, but could have had more Westen in the middle. Not my favorite ep of the season but good. Product placement is good for tv if it pays the bills and isn't too offensive, this walked up to that line. I didn't see the twist. The CIA is a bureaucracy like any other government agency so the people who can navigate that are going to stand out - considering they were running an op on American soil, I'd say these clowns were pretty incompetent.
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I actually found this to be a very boring and lazy episode. Despite my love for the first three seasons, it's episodes like this that really make me want to stop watching Burn Notice.

I'm glad of two things you stated in this article that I was and am going to mention now. First was the way Fiona's plotline was introduced. Really? The CIA dropped by their loft JUST AS Michael decided to call Fi? And they were let in without having stated that they were looking for her and not Michael? That is some pretty lazy writing for such a pointless payoff, which I assume was Fiona's "WHA?" look as the episode cut to the title card. Secondly is the scene with Fiona and Angela trying to explain why they were in Vincent's office while he was out. How exactly does Fiona wanting to play and have a threesome explain that AT ALL? Are we to assume that the point was Vincent loses his short term memory when he gets really horny? Neither of these scenes are crucial or significant enough overall, but they are some clear examples of the laziness of this episode. It's also like the scene with Fiona trying to untie herself from the safe... Michael's voice-over: "Of course, it's easier said than done..." then Fiona unties herself in a second. Wow, a whole second? That IS tough. Oh, and of course Vale says Tyler Gray's full name just before he's killed.

Again, those are just small examples and individually, I can live with them. But when an episode has a group of moments of lazy or boring writing, it bothers me. Also, I don't particularly like episodes when both the CIA and the main bad guys are all stupid. Sometimes Burn Notice relies on the stupidity of big-time-criminals and professional spies too much.
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It explains it perfectly. He goes to his office when he gets home and they were waiting for him.
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That doesn't actually explain much. Not only was he supposed to be out for much longer but came back early, he also had told Angela to never go to that part of the house. So, again, how does waiting for him at that part of the house wanting a threesome explain anything plausibly? From his view, was them wanting a threesome mean they were planning on waiting by the office the whole time? If they were waiting, they could've waited in the living room, or by the front door, or etc. Again, it makes very little sense from his view but he still bought it = lazy writing. It relies completely on his stupidity.
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They heard him coming and went to his office where they knew he would be going. You're trying really hard to not believe something very simple.
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About the "ADR kid" who screamed, "Dad, somebody shot that guy!": Make A Wish granted my son his wish, to be an actor on his favorite show, "Burn Notice". he broke his finger the first time thay filmed his scene, so ADR was the only option. The producers, director, writer and ALL the cast and crew on Burn Notice, and Make A Wish, gave my son an unforgettable wish and we really appreciate it! This was a FANTASTIC way to celebrate the end of 3 years of cancer treatment and the beginning of a new, normal life.
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What a great story, here's to your boy's happiness and continued improvement. Also, thanks for the behind-the-scenes insight. The time spent on set sounds like a wonderful experience and the Burn Notice gang are very cool cats for helping this happen.
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Which also dispels the big myth about Make-a-Wish kids...it turns out, some of them actually recover. Glad to hear your son was amongst them.
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Thanks. He has 2 more years to go, but he's back in school for first time in 3 years and he was strong enough to be on location all day.



By the way, instead of "Check, please!", after one shot, Jeffrey Donovan said something like, "can I take this to go?".
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I just found it too laughable at the end when the kid shouted in the resturaunt "Daddy look somebody shot that man!" In real life if someone gets shot in a public area there will be chaos, screaming, running, police. I love this show, but sometimes it just isn't believable. A lot wasn't believable in this episode, especially the 2 CIA wannabees.
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1 He is the same as Tevian a dead end.

2 No since Michaels goal is it to get back in.

3 yes

4 scorched earth

5 It isn't for Television, it is just annoying.

6 yes

7 Probably just in TV.

8 no idea
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I didn't even notice the product placement. If I had, I don't think I would have minded. It think it's just as annoying when TV shows go out of their way to NOT reveal any brand names.
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1. Doesn't matter because he's just a hired gun.

2. Obviously better off without the CIA.

3. Well-balanced implies that balance is a good thing. I reject the premise of your question.

4. No, my favorite episode is when Nate died. I don't remember what the rest of that episode was like, but I hated Nate and I've been waiting for him to die since his fist scene, so it's my favorite episode of the series.

5. Product placement has its place. If it can save a good series from cancellation, it is good, or if it allows fewer commercial breaks. Otherwise, it pretty well ruins the artistic integrity of the show, and is just another thing that tells us the format is dead. In 20 years, no one will own a TV.

6. What twist?

7. I don't know anyone in the CIA because they can't operate on U.S. soil. It's like asking if Mr. Goodwrench is bad at making donuts. This is not a thing they do.

8. No, as Americans, we cannot pronounce that name. This is a very real factor in how popular she can become. Also, most actors who come to this country hoping to make a big splash find out that it is better to be a big fish in a small pond (even ones whose names we can pronounce). Take Michelle Ryan for example.

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I almost stopped reading the article because I thought you'd accidentally reviewed a press-preview of next week's episode or something.
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Questions:



Tyler Gray is Keyser Soze. Clearly. Nah. He is going to be a CIA or some other agency super assassin and this was all a ruse. And Hanson was used by further powers that be to undermine the intelligence system of the US. And only Michael Westen, Sam, Jesse, FI, Fi's eyebrows and maddie can stop it.



My guess is no. As annoying as those guys are. They are fun.



It was balanced in its unbalancedness.



Product Placement is good when Community does it and it points a finger at what they are doing. So we can both laugh and get the commercial at the same time. Claiming an operative is going to use a Hyundai in an operation when their are a plethora of vehicles that would be better is ridiculous and tedious. And treats the viewer like a moron.



Sniper? Talk about Sniper. Bang. Nope never saw it coming. Part of the enjoyment of Burn Notice is that it is pretty well choreographed and you can see things coming from a mile away. Generally it is fun. But it is getting predictable.



In real life? No. In Person of Interest? no. In Covert Affairs? Yes. In Burn Notice? Yes. Plus they are still in Miami but that gets rectified net season.



I hope so. She was great.
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Thumbs up for the amusing CIA-incompetence breakdown. Also for turning Fi's brows into their own entity. IMO, they improved in this episode to "noticeable and slightly distracting", a big improvement from "downright scary".
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Yea I noticed that too. They were plucked a bit. Still a little dark and scary though.
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Definitely a well-rounded episode. Whoever this Tyler Gray is has got mad skills, which makes Burn Notice more intruiging. Everybody handled themselves well. It was do satisfying to see Bailey and. Mannaro get their asses handed to them by Fiona and Michael at the end. This finale is gonna rock!!!
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