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USA (ended 2013)

Burn Notice S07E05: "Exit Plan"

Reputations are like shadows: Everyone has one. Also, they are literally created by the absence of light. Yep, perfect analogy right there. BOOM. Once in a while each season some cohort, villain, or villain-cohort will step forward and be like, "Ah the great Michael Westen, I learned about you in villain school" or some such. It makes sense that Michael would achieve "living legend" status after all his many years operating in and out of the field—though I think technically his entire life is now "the field." The only difference with the elusive Sonya saying it this episode is that she, along with the late Burke and whoever else may pop up this close to the end, storytelling-wise, should represent the potentially most important of the impressed. Save the best for last, right? Now's the chance to sum Westen up for good, and the perspective of a "fan" would offer a vital angle on such a spy celebrity. Either that or the writers are just repeating themselves. Look, whatever the hell is going on here, "Exit Plan" focused almost entirely on the escape of mystery character Sonya (Alona Tal) and her equally stunning huntress Oksana (Marina Benedict from Torchwood), which didn’t offer the most complicated story, but had plenty of gorgeous cheekbones and explosions to distract from Fiona’s weak—though momentous—B-story back home.  


Hmm, maybe "weak" isn’t the right word here. It did what it needed to do: address how Fi’s Michael-related secrets affect the relationship she shares with Carlos. Emotion has always been a low priority for Burn Notice; characters feel feelings solely to drive action, which is fine in a show that’s 90 percent spy tips, josh-offs, Hawaiian shirts, and intrigue, but the result is a bit of a schizophrenic world where matters of the heart don’t so much propel the cool stuff as does the need to escape this paced-down schmaltz. Thankfully, Fiona’s storyline erred on the side of efficiency, finally exposing her to the terms of Michael’s CIA sacrifice, while putting her relationship with Carlos on ice as she dealt with her past. His reaction was mostly honest, if a little too helpful in the reunion of Michael and Fi. He didn't like the separation idea, but he was okay with it happening. This guy has no clue what charms Westen has on Fi. See you again in seven episodes! Seriously, Carlos has been gone long enough as of late that I thought they switched out actors, but some soft IMDB gumshoeing revealed that her lover tonight was indeed Stephen Martines. I guess I hadn’t remembered Fi’s beaux sporting so much turquoise and silver wristwear.

We got a little more this episode about Michael’s destiny being revealed, with Sonya joining in the "Well, well, well Mr. Westen himself. As children we heard tales of your cunning and prowess..." Have we had enough of the semi-existential chatter? "Journey" this, "all will be revealed" that—Westen's not going to be following a damn Chickasaw Shaman through a dreamscape and into the Sun anytime soon, although if that's exactly how this series ends, I won't complain. Also, I don’t know if I’ve been brainwashed to view every male/female pairing as a possible romance, but this widely sought-after Russian operative certainly seemed like Michael’s type: beautiful, tough, and smart. She even called his anti-kill policy "weak." Who knows, maybe Westen's influence on the young woman will have a positive effect. Maybe he will use his reputation for good. I'm open to anything outside the normal options of death, incarceration, CIA employment, or escape. Sonya's got an authentic spark to her, and she deserves more than some of the stock endings this show normally doles out to its rogues.  


A sense of familiarity is no small feat, considering we once again only have the hearsay of familiar characters by which to judge her reputation, and that's never as effective as witnessing the actual dangerous legacy. We know even less about Oksana, the Russian colonel who vamped and twinkled her eyes like each tense standoff was a Dior fashion shot. One cold-blooded move against Sonya’s smuggler friend (who judges smugglebility in terms of pineapples) was enough for Michael and company to see she meant breathy, pursed-lips business, and presented the main obstacle between them and freedom. Hats off to Benedict for playing her part well, but I fear her sort of character is the kind fans complain about: there to be ruthless and not much more. But seriously she sounded like the Kremlin's answer to Marilyn Monroe, right?      

Sam and Jesse were fun as bounty hunters Chuck Finley and Virgil Tibbs, the latter of which proved Oksana was no fan of Sydney Poitier (who made this character famous in cinema). I particularly enjoyed Sam getting to feign shock at his partner's death, then fake his own as well. Campbell is always game, and represents what's remained so attractive about this show for so long: The leads all seem like they're having fun. Though I do miss the days when Jesse, Sam, Michael, and Fi put a little care into their fake identities, what with thoughtful accents and body language. I swear, it makes the villains seem that much dumber—and that much less threatening, when Jesse's smirking while talking about how badly he wants to nab Westen. By the time Michael coordinated with his inside guys via fake attack, though, I was having some good old-fashioned Burn Notice fun and couldn't care about much except how Michael "I am everywhere" Westen is one of  TV's great badasses, despite whatever cheesy circumstances surround him and his ilk.  

Perhaps it was the introduction of two new characters, few complications in the development of the main thread aside from "we still can't get off the island," and a light B-story that gave the episode a hefty feeling. But there was still space for an extra something, whether that was a micro-mission for Fi and Carlos, or Charlie annoying Maddie so hard she takes up smoking again. What'd you think?

BURNING QUESTIONS:

– How funny would it be if Carlos was just some regular Yogurtland manager and still had to deal with Fi's spy baggage?

– "Mike we’re talking about someone who was just tortured in a black site. She’s still drugged up." Then why did you let her attack you, Jesse?

– Burke left clothes for Sonya. How thoughtful. (Not a question.) 

– Do you trust Sonya?

– How will Oksana prove herself different from all the other past baddies?

– "I call it 'Shoot Intruders on Sight' it explores my feelings about having the CIA break into my house repeatedly." (Also not a question.)

– Did you like "Exit Plan"?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/12/2013

Season 7 : Episode 13

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Oksana says her name is 'Oksana Yurkhov' (not sure of spelling), sounds a bit like Oksana Jerkoff. Which alone is worth barely a snicker, but in Blue Mountain State, Thad's pocket pussy is named Oksana and is referenced throughout the show. Seems a little far-fetched that Burn Notice would be subtly referencing a comedy like that, but I thought it was a nice coincidence.
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Fi's been a bitch this season.
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in what regard?
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Just her entire character is annoying me, anyone with a brain would understand Michael is back with the CIA because it was either that or everyone stays in a secret prison their entire life. Fi should be thankful, not angry.
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There are only a few episodes left and I don't like where this is going. Season 6 wasn't that bad but this whole separate-the-team-apart thing should not be happening at the end of the season to me there are only two options: 1 Mike and Fi end up together in a rushed and probably not so (plotwise) complicated finale 2 they both pair up with Carlos and Sonya respectively and disappoint the whole fanbase as an excuse to create a cliffhanger that might resolve into a post-series movie. I'm beginning to like option 2 since this season is way too short
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Was pineapple smuggling a reference to Psych?
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Could be. They're both on the same network, but they don't share any writers or anything like that.
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nah - is that a thing? Sonya's contact was all "I couldn't even smuggle a pineapple out of here" or something.
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Not sure if this was a shout out or not but I really do believe pineapple is a thing in the Psych universe because there's a pineapple related thing (or a conversation) in almost every episode.
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Considering Burn Notice's affinity for Yogurt, maybe this was a thing
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Sonya was fine but just seems like a Fiona placeholder. Really ready to stop these separate DR/Cuba/Miami storylines and get Fi back into the fold.
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A lot of very solid points in this review, I can't really add much. The episode was alright, somewhat samey but a few fun twists and surprises (some in the form of cheats).
Jesse still kinda sucks, that's why he let a doped-up tiny woman defeat him.
I trust Sonya not at all, but the episode sure wants us to buy her. She threw down her submachine gun at the drop of the hat while escaping the warehouse, that's not a good sign. Or maybe she's just dumb.
Oksana already proved herself different by being EVEN STUPIDER when falling for Jesse's cornball attack so fearfully and sloppily. So she's perfect at reading the smuggler but missed EVERYTHING with Sam & Jesse? Lame.
Carlos and Fi were so boring here, she fights too hard for Carlos, it's dumb, and he doesn't show anything deserving that level of loyalty.
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That's just the thing, we don't KNOW what he's done to earn her loyalty, but Carlos HAS been around for a good deal of the last year it would seem, working with Fiona and being (or so it would seem) a really good boyfriend.
They've had much the same relationship she and Michael had, what with fighting badguys, running around with guns, having each
other's back - without the complications, twisted and divided loyalties, and overarching national security concerns.
So yeah, I can see his appeal to Fiona.
So far (at least until he blew up this episode) he seems like he's been understanding of her emotional issues regarding Michael, showing her trust and support, and wants her to be happy.
Ok, so he hasn't been around as long as Michael - but I think he deserves respect for being a good boyfriend, and that he's actually "real" competition for Michael, rather than just a placeholder.

Fi's previous boyfriend (most notably EMT-guy) have been just placeholders, because they couldn't handle the dangerous, violent part of her life.
Carlos has a lot of Michael's good qualities [as Fi's boyfriend] and a lot less of his bad ones.
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I liked it overall except Fiona's B-story as mentioned. I like Sonya, we don't really know her but it seems she may be one of those grey operatives, she's done some good stuff and some bad stuff and that's great because there's nothing more boring than characters without depth like that Colonel. Seriously? Is that the bad guy agent this season? I miss Anson, Larry and Simon, they were ahoot.
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I can't hate or distrust Sonya... I love Alona Tal too much. You can kick my ass any day, girl.

That was a pretty fun episode overall. I think a part of that had to do with Alona Tal, and another part had to do with less complaining overall, with Sam just having two or three lines of whining. The plot was entertaining enough. Fiona bores me.
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I'm shipping Sonya & Michael. Fi is getting annoying with the whole pissy attitude.

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I believe the best scene of the episode was the Fi/Strong/painting one. Whimsical! :D Well, I guess Carlos will have more importance in the upcoming episodes because he's the only guest actor this season who's doing PR stuff like photoshoots and interviews and he said he'd be in the finale too. *shakes her fist because Jack Coleman!*

Oksana was such a cliche as a Russian agent and I still don't care about Sonya either. Did Pasdar explode because of her? Blah. In summary I thought it was kind of a dull episode. but Jack Coleman is awesome.
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Enjoyed the episode, but it is a slow summer with very few TV hghlights for me, so I suspect my expectations are lowered... Actually liked Sonya (also with regard to Oksana - love it when they have actors actually speak several languages, not just a few phrases in that language and then go on to speak "English with x accent" even when dealing with THEIR OWN COUNTRYMEN)... But this "oooh the great Michael Westen, well well well" stuff is moving along rather slowly. There are just a few episodes left and I have no idea how "the larger story" on the show will play itself out. Yes, we know the guys will likely help Sonya in the next episode, but what about, you know closure? I think the writers have that intention no?

I also think if Michael and Fiona do not end up together I will be upset. Like, inappropriately, disproportionately and pathetically upset. Yeah they're just characters and they had so many problems and Fiona deserves to be happy, but!!!!!! I realize now that I've spent almost 7 years waiting for them to be together (oh my, where did the time go). I didn't think I was this invested in their relationship, but the intro changing to "a trigger happy ex-girlfriend" gave me the impression that this issue had been settled, and I will be upset if that was not the case!

The only thing that would upset me more would be if they killed Maddie. That would be riot-worthy on my count.

Yikes, apparently I'm in a dramatic mood today. But I stand by my statements!
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I felt a little of the old Burn Notice magic in this episode. Sam + Jesse are like comedy magic this season, and they are a welcome relief. Love the way Oksana threw Sam to the wolves; nary a flinch when he got shot lol. I agree with another poster--Fi is kind of getting on my nerves with this I-hate-Michael, I'm-over-Michael, I've-moved-on mantra. I get it, but the final season is marching on, and we're running out of time. Or does she not realize how much is riding on this "mission?" Do you want to be dropped in a dark CIA hole, lady? The smiles Michael kept throwing Sonya's way were a bit alarming...you know how he likes dangerous, kill-happy, bad-ass women. So Fi better get it together quick or we may have an ending I don't want!
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Jo from Supernatural?! Cool. Sonya might have been a nice addition if the show wasn't almost over. Hopefully she will replace Fi for a bit because Fi is kind of whiny this season.

It was a better episode. But it still was kind of annoying. Now we have Sonya to regale us with stories of the mythical Michael Westen, but we don't actually get to see it. We get mad Mike and emo Mike and that is about it. Sam and Jesse actually had a decent show. At least they didn't complain. Fi I am not sure if her plot had anything useful in it other than making her aware that Mike is doing this for her and her boyfriend getting another excuse to punch Mike and Mike apparently letting him.

But it felt like a filler episode mostly because we don't know what these two women are going to bring to the over all plot. But we spent a lot of needless time in Cuba and I am not sure they have the time left to mess around. Can't we just get to the point.
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Man I love this show. This was a great episode. It showed off the "legendary" Michael Westen that Russians heard all about, thanks to Sonya's admission, and had some good laughs with Sam's plea for "don't kill me" LOL!!! I also liked Fiona's name for the painting LOL!!! Love how this show mixes a little laughter and a lot of drama so well.

Good mention of how Fiona finally knows the truth. Now she's faced with a new dilemma: Carlos or Michael. While it sounds like her mind is CLEARLY made up, I'll still give this new "relationship" more time before she sees the light, which is Michael. Honestly, I admire Michael, Fiona, Sam and Jesse's ability to keep their cool despite all the hellfire that's being thrown around them and at them. Oksana may have been sporting Dior, but that woman was very game-worthy and made them work for their escape. So kudos to the Burn Notice team for FINALLY fooling her, cause she was quite witty to me.

As for some of the questions:

Jesse didn't let Sonya attack her, Sandoval. She got the jump on him; and given what you saw her do in this episode, he's lucky to be alive, cause this woman has skills!!! So please get you facts right!!!

I don't trust her yet simply because she hasn't earned it to me. Burke only told Michael to save her. At this point, despite the respect she shows for Westen, she's still quite the mystery woman. If anything Jesse said about her was true, then they really gotta watch their butts around her. A big part of my gut believes everything he said about her.

I think Oksana will be an intelligent baddie, with lots of resources, but will fall that much harder cause she's facing Michael freaking Westen!!!
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Jesse let her attack him because he got sloppy and took his eyes off of the only person he was supposed to be guarding. His behavior was akin to every idiot sucker guard that gets the drop on him by Team Westen.
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Wrong!!! She looked COMPLETELY knocked out. How the heck was he supposed to know she could do that? Oh yeah, he didn't!!! So he took his eyes off her for a few seconds? It doesn't translate into idiot sucker. It means she got the drop on him really good.
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Not wrong, right. She *looked* completely knocked out, did he check in any way before lowering his guard? If not, then he shouldn't have stopped guarding her. Jesse was an idiot and a sucker, he saw a sleeping woman and assumed he'd have no problem putting his back to her - if this had been Fi and a random guard, we'd never hear from that guard again (unless the smarter villain shot him later in the episode).
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The action was pretty exciting. I didn't know how they were going to make it out of the hangar, but Team Weston did it again.
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I did. Mike seems excessively strident these days but it's understandable. Sonja is a great potential replacement for Fi, who finally got the word on what he's doing (and is faced with if he fails). I'd be happy if he ends up with Sonja and Fi can have her cabana boy. She should have realized Micheal didn't just blow her off for a CIA gig but, c'est la vie. Sam and Jesse are a hoot and Oksana was pretty much out of her league against Michael and Sonja. Pretty good overall, even after a two week hiatus.
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Carlos? Bleh...
No, I don't trust Sonya, but I trust Strong even less. Something is not right about that dude.
Oksana has already proved herself to be better than most of the baddies. But it won't matter in the long run.
So glad they are out of Cuba and back in Miami. Things are about to get very interesting.
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