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Burn Notice's Summer Finale: Here We Go Again

Burn Notice S06E09: "Desperate Times"

Death sucks. It is the thing that sucks most in the world. The passing of a loved one stirs up all kinds of messed up emotions ranging from soul-rotting guilt to soul-melting anger. Time crawls, thoughts sour. While the departed obviously bear the worst of these icky circumstances, those remaining are left to question the order of the world, evaluate personal value, assess fulfillment, or more often than not just be plain sad. Basically the opposite of a birthday party. In tonight's hearty mid-season finale "Desperate Times," Nate's ghost shrouded a search for vengeance, that once again found Michael considering the effect his dangerous lifestyle has on his friends and family. Questions were answered, promises were made, and in true Burn Notice form, those hard-won milestones were left rendered into mere trailheads pointing towards a larger enemy.

Maddie finally came out of hiding to do the opposite of celebrating, and hashed out some resentful feelings towards Michael, telling him that "every mistake Nate ever made was because he was trying to be like [Michael]." It speaks to the impressive level of emotional intelligence in pop-culture that this difficult scene between a beaten down Maddie (no makeup, no cigarette) appeared on a show as light-hearted and action-oriented as Burn Notice. "Who do I call, when your call doesn't come. Tell me that"? she asked Michael in a mother's earnest quaver. Making Maddie privy to his secret activities immediately backfired, as his mother responded like a vulnerable guardian and the stakes were never clearer: she simultaneously worried for the safety of her one remaining son, and blamed Michael for the danger that routinely surrounded him. Y'ouch. Talk about a guilt trip.

Yo The Shields's Kenny Johnson, 'sup? Despite her pleas, Westen and company, plus an agent working the Anson case named Brady Pressman (Chad Coleman, "Cutty" to The Wire nuts, that guy in I Hate My Teenage Daughter to nobody) proceeded on a covert operation sponsored by the CIA (much to Fiona's chagrin) down to Panama, to capture the man believed to be Tyler Gray. Under the guise of a stolen weapons investigation, Card had to keep the crew slim setting up an all-too-rare full team-based adventure that gave each member a chance to shine. Fiona maintained a generally peeved attitude towards the government agent, even as he ran through all the technologically advanced artillery to which Westen and friends would have access. Speed frame designated wall breacher, M-110 rifle, Level 5 Body Armor, and APR-556, Corner Shot Gun, were among the goodies that would help fell the man who murdered Nate. Brady seemed to be fitting right in, even calling bedtime with "alright kids, tomorrow's a long day so let's get to bed."

The next morning Michael and Fiona shared a romantic moment, with the latter beaming out the window reminiscing, "There's only one other place I've ever seen the sky that color," to which Michael replied "Over the Irish Sea." (Got it, tropical nation Panama shares similar dusk weather with the traditionally severe, and blustery Ireland). Michael upped the romantic ante (romante?) by trying to move things back to the bed, cooing, "You have no idea how beautiful you look right now." Pretty mushy stuff. Unfortunately there was no time for Eskimo kisses because Gray and some local mercenaries ambushed the crew in its own hideout.

After a literally explosive escape onto the rough, Michael suffered a sever rib-cracking merc kick, forcing them to Peter Pan it off the roof and into a nearby junkyard. Fly Sam, fly!

Jesse had it especially rough because in all the hubbub he had left behind his own shoes and was left doing a Die Hard impression from the ankle down. Making off with only a portion of the cool CIA gadgets thankfully allowed Westen to do what he did best, and he hot-wired some weapons out of some already advantageous items.

Feeling chuffed, or perhaps finally recognizing he had put himself and loved ones through enough bullet-related strife, Michael pledged to Fiona that this would be his final mission. In Burn Notice language, that basically meant crap would definitely hit the fan in ways unimaginable. Knock on wood guys! Still grasping for closure, Maddie blackmailed Tom Card of the CIA (Michael's Trainer/John C. McGinley) into providing her access to a classified file describing the tragic official details of Nate's passing. It was a heart-wrenching decision on her part to explore the terrible facts behind her son's death, but perhaps cathartic.

Back in Panama, Brady was alarmed that the get-along gang wanted to continue. Never to back out of its familiar underdog element, Team Westen easily repurposed the supplies into some ceramic glass-shattering buckshots, and mickey-moused flash grenades to conduct a counter-attack. Jesse even cobbled together some boots, to which Fi called "a Panamamian peep-toe. Tres chic."

Like a true ruthless survivalist, Gray sacrificed his own and fled to a nearby building that he promptly claimed as Sniper's Haunt, then delivered sweet bullet love to Brady's leg like his rifle's name was Romeo Don Juan de Cupid…the Gun. The optimistic wound victim related to Michael with a touching story of his father's military death, and offered to do whatever he could to help Westen. In Burn Notice language (once again) that basically translated to "I hereby declare myself a target!" Meanwhile, Fi got to play gypsy...

While the crew swiftly regrouped in pursuit, Card offered Maddie a consolation speech/bottle parable encouraging her to see Michael's dangerous actions as essentially motivated by a juvenile need to protect his younger brother Nate, and his mother. Could this be Westen's fatal flaw? By extension, Card reasoned every person Michael has ever helped was indebted to Maddie and Nate. "Hmm," Maddie probably thought, followed by "...but I'd rather my son was alive."

"Enjoy your trash nap, pal!" With a risky diversion by Fi and Jesse (who humorously grumbled "you're not the one trying to out run a sniper in hobo shoes"–plus I thought Michael hated putting Fi in harms way?), Westen was able to monkey his way up Sniper's Haunt, and swing his entire body nearly through Gray's torso.

Then like a rodeo star, he prize-tied his brother's executioner and helped himself to a little face-bleeding physical justice. It's always a bad sign when the bad guy's caught and he laughs through some blood. It means he's off, or knows something that's about to turn the booted stomach victory into some kind of loss. To the surprise of probably no one, all was not as it seemed down in Ol' Panama Town, and Westen spared Tyler Gray as a hostage, after discovering the sharpshooter to be a mere pawn in the weaponized game of spy chess that is Michael's waking life. Luckily EVERYONE survived…

Well, almost everyone. What did come as a true surprise was that Card had allegedly sent Westen and company on an intended "suicide mission," as evidenced by Card's odd behavior and some shameless telephone lies. Oh, also another good indicator was the F/A-18 fighter jets that air bombed the crew's former location, plus a heroic, imminently bleeding out Brady inside a hijacked getaway Astro Star Van.

Poor Maddie took an earful from Card about how Michael was like a son to him, then dropped all pretense and received confirmation of Michael's purported death. In the end she hadn't really found a satisfying answer to her ultimate question, which was more along the lines of "why do bad things happen to decent people?" Nate was innocuous, but certainly didn't deserve such a grisly end. There's really no rhyme or reason as to why loved ones have to cease being, but Maddie can take solace in knowing she received about as much resolution as us viewers did with this epic, yet frustrating cliff-hanger. How many times has Michael been jerked around by the CIA? Pick a side, suits! Anyway, see y'all in a few weeks! When we come back, the awesome Patton Oswalt guest-stars. SCORE!

Questions!

-Was the break-in footage of Tyler Gray falsified by the CIA?

-How far up the government chain does this go?

-How will Westen and friends ever survive in Panama?

-How will Maddie react when Michael goes missing?

-Why is Card doing this?

-Was this a satisfying twist?

-Did this twist make sense?

-Will Michael break off ties with the CIA once and for all?

-Does this mean there's a possibility that Pearce is in hot-water for knowing about Anson and company?

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Question: why couldn't Michel get in touch with the people in DC who workedd with him to get the inital 48 gangsters?
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"Michael upped the romantic ante (romante?) by trying to move things back to the bed, cooing, "You have no idea how beautiful you look right now." Pretty mushy stuff. " Not to me. I love those moments and I counted four. This was the best cliff hanger yet and I truly can't imagine how Nix keeps upping the ante. I'm waiting to find out if this guy IS Tyler Gray which I don't think he is. Card hates Michael which could be seen in their 1st re-encounter but my guess is that Michael made it hard for Card to move up the chain with all his antics. These guys are the dirty dozen minus a few, so I'm sure getting out of Panama will be done and with everyone still alive. Too bad about Brady. My guess he's the guy wearing the red shirt in the Star Trek episodes. Can't wait until the TWO BACK TO BACK episodes that will only have me jones-ing for more.This show should need a precription to watch. My heart is getting weak. Sam and Jesse didn't disappoint with their one-liners. Jesse in no shoes was hysterical! It was funny seeing the two 'old' guys get out done but Jesse had their back. This show deserves to be number one!
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I like this one. I think we are going to find out later that the shooter was supposed to shoot and kill Michael and Anson, not Nate.



As for why Card is doing this, I think Michael know(saw) something about Card past, which Card is afraid it come to the lightso he has to remove Michael. The same reason why he didn't do anything about Michael being burn, or he could have being the real reason for he being burn in the first place),but Michael didn't actually put pieces together YET. That is why he is trying this hard to "remove" michael from the CIA,but not to get his hand dirty.
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Here's a question. Why did Michael put his arms around Fi to hit the switch to blow up the bomb?
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To protect her? It's a quite usual thing what ppl does for the ppl they love(like mother sheild their kid with their body in earthquake,even if they know that the walling wall would mostlikely kill both of them). Even if they know it's pointless. It just thing that ppl do. A instinct.
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My problem with that finale is that it has become a formula.There was super duper crazy guy, the arms dealer, Anson and everytime they just come up with either a major assassin working for the CIA or some Big Juju man working in Jungle. It would make sense if something else than the CIA linked all these men out to get Mike & Co. The problem lies in the fact that they all remain symbolically attached to the CIA in one way or another and open themselves up to scrutiny.There is something that Mike did at some point that was so huge as to warrant this attention .furthermore, they did dump him in his home town out of all the places in the world, so whatever it is, most probably information, they want him alive long enough to have it.If it were operational, then they would have eliminated him, so it is something that leads to the chief of this Spy Junta that has been on their radar for some time.

All this to say that the solution is either through the competition or through the enemies of the CIA.It has to be the right agency and the right people in it.If the writers do not go there, then there will be always this cat catching its tail thing going on in the show and we will get bored sooner than later.
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I enjoyed this episode a lot, I thought it was the best one of this season so far. It had everything one could want from an episode of Burn Notice -- excitement, suspense, twists, humor, exotic locales, FA/18 fighter jets (!), good interplay between Michael and Fi, spy stuff, teamwork, things blew up, etc. It's Burn Notice man! And even though I'd personally rank this overall season (so far) at the bottom of the 6 seasons (one of them has to be there), the twist at the end with Tom Card and all the rest has given me new optimism for the remainder of this season. I love the show. I'm such a doof that I even bought a "Got Burn Notice?" decal on eBay and put it on my 4Runner! One of these days I'm hoping another fan sees it and gives me a thumbs up or whatever so we can share a bonding moment over it... Like I said, I'm a tool!! A Burn Notice loving tool at that.
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First thing they should do, especially since Card thinks they're dead, is go back to the abandoned hideout and ge Jesse's shoes.
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To me it makes sense that someone at the CIA would be involved. Remember Anson telling Nate the wouldn't have him long bc he had friends in high places or something to that effect? As soon as he was shot, I thought that his friends were rethinking their options, and it was easier to cut him loose. Maybe that's all it was, but then when Michael kept digging bc his brother died, they'd have to get rid of him as well... The way it was done makes me think it's not a "CIA is out to get Michael" but more of a "shady elements within the CIA are out to get Michael".

I hope we get to see Pearce again.
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After her baby, I hope.
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Jesse's boots made me sad, only because his cleverness though up a solution that Die Hard's John McClain really should have come up with back in that film. Turning boots into sandals was surprisingly kickass for Jesse Porter.



This was a fun episode, but not entirely satisfying in the larger run A) because it was SOOOOO obvious that the new guy was going to eat it; and B) all along it's felt like Card is going to end up being bad somehow, and lo and behold, he was!



My big problem with the twist of Card being in on the company/management/Anson shell game is that it's too connected to Michael, his TRAINER turns out to be in bed with a big baddy? What is this, Tim Burton's Batman where the Joker made Batman and Batman made the Joker???
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"Jesse's boots made me sad, only because his cleverness though up a solution that Die Hard's John McClain really should have come up with back in that film. Turning boots into sandals was surprisingly kickass for Jesse Porter."



I still don't have a problem with it in Die Hard because I don't feel he had much in the way of ways to cut the shoes...conversely I imagine it was pretty easy for Jesse to get something to cut his.
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All in all, this was quite an entertaining episode. I had fun with it, and the writing didn't seem as lazy as it sometimes does. Also, Lem!!! And to a lesser extent, Cutty!



The one downside for me, though, was that I saw both the Card twist and Brady's death coming. I love that you called it "Burn Notice language" because that is EXACTLY what it is. As soon as Michael told Fiona that this was his final mission, I immediately knew (as others should have) that a twist was coming that "forces" him to stay in the spy game -- as it has seemingly every season. So my mind started thinking of one or two potential twists -- one of which was Card's betrayal -- then seeing Maddie (for quite an insignificant reason) go see Card made me immediately assume Card was dirty. Brady's death was also predictable.



Also, Maddie is starting to bore me. Sharon Gless does a great job with what she's given -- her acting at the beginning with Mike was great -- but yes, her character is obvious and boring.



Despite that, it was still a fun episode to watch. Twists were made, things were blown, guns were shot.
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I like it better when Maddie is given stuff to do that makes her part of the team.
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when does it return November what ?
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It seems to be returning November 8th... with a 2 hour broadcast (back to back episodes), I believe.
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It's definitely returning 11/8, but I don't remember hearing about a 2 hour episode.
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I wonder if the whole Card situation is as simple as that Gray guy was a CIA hired sniper to take out Anson and Nate got in the way, and then knowing Michael's organization-destroying reputation Card just decided to kill him too so he couldn't get up to his usual revenge shenanigans. But that doesn't seem convoluted enough for this show.



I was honestly feeling severe Burn Notice fatigue for most of the season, but I really liked where this episode left us! Hopefully they don't just wrap up the Panama thing in one or two episodes and then back to usual :(
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Didnt gray say after mike called card that card told him to go for the head shot. Gray saying that with a smile made it seem like it was meant to kill Nate too.
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Oh yeah, and you have an error in this article. It's episode 10 of Season 6, not 9.
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Why was no one surprised that Tyler Gray not only knew they were coming after him in Panama but also that he had a (pretty damn well armed) team ready and knew the location they were staying at?

Don't get me wrong, I love this show. But right now with all the intrigues and how they force the story to continue... it is starting to feel as if the writers are grasping for straws. ANOTHER twist? Card is just one more person who betrayed Michael? Cut it out already Burn Notice and stop introducing new characters just so you can put the "villain-of-the-season"-label on them, please.
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Best Finale. I hope that the SOB Card gets his in the end!! Love the show.
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Why is Card doing this? I thought it was clear: He was involved, with Anson, in Michael's burn notice... and maybe some other shit. He got Tyler to kill Anson after Mike caught him, afraid that he would talk, but something went wrong and Nate got accidentally killed.

Now, Card knews that Michael would not stop until he finds the killer so he gave him one (falsified or not, doesn't matter) and sent him to Panama in a "suicidal" mission to have him killed before he unearths the whole truth.



Now Michael knows that Card is involved but Card doesn't know that Michael is alive and that he knows about his involvement. And, Maddie knows about the Panama "illegal" operation so Card has to... silence her.



I don't know if the series is about to end but it is very well set up for that: Card has Maddie killed, Michael kills Card, leaves the CIA, disgusted by the lost of his brother and mother to that Agency, and lives happily ever after with Fiona...

Unless more corrupted CIA or political officials appear as guilty parties and the show becomes some kind of "Bourne" adventure. We'll see.



Can we bet Lem (oups!), Kozik (oups!), Tyler will die in an explosion?



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I saw the "Card == villain" twist coming from a mile away. You don't bring in a tv/film Vet to do so few lines in his appearances unless there's gonna be a big pay off. Which meant either he was a villain or another person "close" to Michael that was going to die. They went with the former.



I imagine Card was truly Anson's boss, or perhaps was taking over the organization. Hence the fear. On the other hand, perhaps Card is just a lackey and some DC big-wigs took over Anson's operation. Who knows.
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I thought the same thing about Card at first. But then I saw him on a State Farm commercial, so I thought maybe his star had fallen.
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Doesn't really matter how far down they've fallen: it's pretty much impossible to pull in a guy that starred/co-starred on a TV series to just walk on for 60-seconds an episode. Same goes with guest stars on mystery shows. If they used to star on something and they just have a couple of lines: chances are they will be important by the end (murderer / villain / secret agent / etc). The more lines they have, the less likely is they'll be the big twist.

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Boxes within boxes.
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Since Fiona and Michael were look at a sunrise, I believe the time was dawn rather than dusk.

I have to say, even knowing it's an old trope with this show, I got sucked in again at the end. Why are they trying to get rid of Michael. I was becoming tired and the show had gotten old. Now, I feel like we're back at the beginning. We haven't really finished peeling the onion. Anson wasn't the end we all thought he was.

Now I can't wait for the next season!
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That episode was awesome.



I'm also getting the "24" feeling I got watching Season 5...Jack Bauer taking down Logan was amazing and the teaser for the second half of BN Season 6 looks like it's bringing the show to a whole new level.



"I'm going after Card!"
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I can't begin to describe how awesome this finale was. I was with Michael every step of the way, and was so freaking pissed to find out Card was behind his brother's assassination (although I did suspect him, but needed the ultimate proof). Card's appearance seemed to be too out of sorts, so I thought he might be part of it, and I was right. I truly hope Westen offs that backstabbing SOB!!! The action, suspense, comedic and heartbreaking moments were all worth it tonight. See, this is why Burn Notice is on my top 10 list of best shows on tv. Each finale just gets better and better to me. My god they're stuck in Panama with nobody to help them!!! Next season's premiere is going to be crazy enough, let alone the rest of the season! I love it!!



Questions:

It very well could've been. For all we know, that wasn't even Tyler Gray, or its just a made-up name, or he's just a hired patsy for Michael to chase. His brother's killer could still be out there.



Who knows how far this goes. In Westen's world, almost anything is possible. I feel sorry for him, but I love the suspense it creates.



This group is one of the most resilient core groups I've ever seen on television. They're so resourceful and intelligent its crazy!! I love it!! Where there's a will, there's a way, and they'll find it!!



I have no idea. At this point, I'm really pissed at how Maddie treated Michael before he left, especially after she said that she was supposed to protect Nate from Michael!!! Who the hell does she think she is saying that to Michael of all people? He didn't ask Nate to confront Anson, it was Nate's decision. I miss him too, but that was 100% not Michael's fault. I'm sorry, but I don't give a crap how that whiny heffer will react!



Your guess is as good as mine, but I don't have one. We'll find out later. Be patient.



This most certainly was a satisfying twist. Heck I've never seen an unsatisfying one in Burn Notice, in my opinion.



Right now, no, but it isn't supposed to.



For his sake, I hope he does, but the future isn't set in stone. I want him to live!



It's a possibility, but I sincerely hope she's not. Anybody who helps Michael Westen is good to me.
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Maddie's hypocritical bs came to a head this episode. I'm so over that old lady.
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Hrmm.. Seems if ya don't like the show much you wouldn't watch it. But's that's just me. :P
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Hehe, you make it sound really simple. But I've found that it's sometimes not as simple as "If you like it, watch it. If you don't like it, don't watch it." It's not a movie where if I watch it, dislike it, I'll never watch it again. It's a show with many seasons and many episodes.



For example, I LOVED the first three seasons of Burn Notice. The fourth was okay. The fifth was okay. The sixth is basically just more of the same. There's nothing they do now that hasn't actually been done in previous seasons. Because of that, it's starting to feel stale or boring.



So if I state that it's boring and that I currently don't like the show very much, I may get a reply saying "If you don't like it, don't watch it." But unless I've NEVER liked it (in which case, yes, I should conclude that the show isn't for me and stop watching), there's certainly the potential for it to entertain me again. I don't know how good future episodes or seasons will be. Should I quit watching just because I don't like it much now, and ignore my love for the first 3-4 seasons? Do you not watch any shows that you feel has regressed, or shows that you're on the fence about?
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I would never not watch a show just because i dont like it or even hate it. That just would be silly.

--



I'd love to see some more "weekly cases" again. Make it feel a little more "homey" to Miami.
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This was a mediocre mid season finale. Mostly because it doesn't break up the monotony of mike being betrayed. I mean for crying out loud there is only so many people that can betray him before they hit the president and run out of people.



Questions.



I doubt it was falsified. He probably did break into that place. But I think Card figured Gray was good enough to kill Mike.



Who knows how far this goes up. Or if his is even related to the first betrayal. It might be. It might be that Anson used Card as his first turncoat to find the perfect guy in Mike and that is how he found Mike. And Card didnt want Mike to find out. However with Anson dead and he thinking he was the last one and he didn't find Card I his search, my guess is that Card was pretty safe. So who knows.



Mike will figure it out. Because that is what Mike does. Always.



I really don't care about Maddie anymore. Like Nate she has served her purpose and has really at this point become a caricature. She has a grandchild now. She should move to Vegas and be with him. By the way whe was Nates wife and kid at the funeral.



This wasn't a satisfying twist. I didn't expect Card but I knew Gray was going to survive and there was going to be another betrayal layer.



Nope. We have seen nothing that would have led Card to be part of the betrayal. But anything to get him out of state farm commercials.



Who knows. If he does then they need to redo the speech at the beginning





I am sure she will be found dead. Or will be on the run mid season.
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Wow that was awesome. Double yay on Lem - and yeah normally Burn Notice is a good but not great show - this ep definitely falls into the "great" category for me. Awesome writing (on this one), great guest stars, huge explosions, nice twist, and oh yeah did I mention Lem! Can't wait for the new eps in Nov.
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First: Yay Lem!



Last: This show isn't very good.
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Wow, considering everything the guy that Michael went after might not even be the real Tyler Gray.
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Was just about to say the same thing then I saw you said it. I don't think the Tyler Gray he found is the same one that killed Nate.
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