'Burn Notice": Michael Weston vs. the aliens
Michael has been covering his tracks, but there's a pattern out there for anyone brilliant -- or crazy -- enough to follow it. And Spencer, a math genius who seems a little cracked, has followed it right to the gun range where Michael and Sam shoot. He insists he needs Michael's help, because, see, there's a traitor at the defense contractor where he works, and she's stealing secrets and getting people killed, and she's an alien, and she's killing the good aliens, and.... Michael and Sam send him to the psych ward, but he breaks out and finds them again. He takes them back to his house, which looks appropriately nutso. But some of the conclusions he's drawn seem to be borne out. He's nuts, but he's not wrong about people dying.
Fi goes on Spencer-wrangling duty -- she knows how to get through to him, which she does by treating his delusion like it's real. When Sam and Mike talk about spies and agents, she translates that into aliens and beings. It works. Apparently Fi has had far too much experience dealing with monomaniacal individuals.
Shannon Park is a murderer and traitor but probably not an alien (so say the captions, and I'm willing to believe them.) She's using the crypto software her division created to crack embassy emails and sell the names of American spies to the highest bidder. She's fine with people dying -- when Spencer used a friend's computer to snoop around, said friend died in a convenient gas-line explosion two days later. Michael and Sam infiltrate the office -- Michael by posing as a cocksure IT consultant, Sam by playing a (hilarious) "teamwork consultant" -- and sneak onto her computer. They pull encrypted emails that she's not supposed to have off her machine, but the cracking software isn't there. That must be in the SCIF room, which is basically a fortress. Time for plan B.
Michael confronts Shannon again, this time playing an operative sent by the corporate overlords who knows that someone is siphoning and selling information. The idea is to get her to panic and catch her in the act of stealing the code from the SCIF room. But that plan dies when Sam overhears her ordering a hit on Spencer on the bugged phone Michael gave her -- Mike and Fi leave the surveillance to save Spencer, so again, they've got nothing.
It's time for one last play -- and it depends on crazy boy. Michael bluffs that Spencer is ex-NSA, that he knows the code got broken, and that he's blackmailing them. They set up a meet, where Spenser manages to mostly avoid mentioning aliens. Shannon thinks he's bluffing, but Spencer surprises her -- I know you're setting up another deal with the Venezuelans. How did he know? Well, he's a crypto genius who sees things in the pattern. Also, he noticed a file labeled "Caracas" on her desktop.
Michael tells Shannon that to cover this up, he'll need copies of emails to plant on Spencer's body when he kills him. He takes Shannon to the SCIF room, and she retrieves the code. Then he handcuffs her and leaves her there. No more treason for you, young lady!
Michael figures out which flights are likely o be doing supply runs for covert ops, then confronts the manager of the front company running them. He's almost disappointed when Diego doesn't try to hide what he is -- "I'm the spy you've been looking for, Mr. Weston." Diego got the memo about Michael, and he's not willing to talk. He's got a sweet job here in Miami -- very few atrocities to witness, and he's almost never shot at -- and he doesn't want to jeopardize that.
Michael has no such qualms. He breaks into the facility, steals some of the antiquities that the front company is importing, leaves a note for Diego, then auctions off the Columbian handicrafts on eBay (under the name "MichaelHeartsDiego." Hee!) That doesn't go over well -- yes, Diego is assigned to be his contact in Miami, but his sole job is to tell Michael that no agency is interested. Yes, they know he caught a spy killer, but they're more interested in sweeping that under the rug than congratulating him. Michael is still on the outs.
Fi is also feeling on the outs. Why are you so fixated with getting back in? You're just as obsessed and crazy as Spencer! Michael tells her that the job for Spencer -- using his skills to save American lives -- is what he was born to do. It's his life. He wants it back, and if Fi loves him, she'll want that too. Fi pauses, then says she supports him. But she's crying as she leaves.
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- I loved the stakeout montage with Mike and Sam as they did some planespotting to figure out what was likely to be a covert-ops supply plane. I loved it even more when, at the end of the stakeout, Sam moaned "Mike, please tell me this means I can go back to sleep alone in my own bed." "Is that how you celebrate these days, Sam?" Michael replies. "Say it ain't so!"
- Barry wants $1,000 to find out who the plane is registered to. "He said to get the articles of incorporation, he's got to go all the way to the capital," Sam says. "What, is he taking a cab to Tallahassee?" Michael asks. "No," Sam replies. "His mom is up there so he's got to see her. The grand is like an annoyance tax." Michael considers this. "Fair enough," he says.
- I kind of love Diego. When Michael tells him that he's giving him a chance to be friends, Diego replies "Mr. Weston, I don't like threats. [Pause] But I love the sunglasses!" It's nice when someone notices.
- In the guise of a corporate trainer, Sam cajoles Shannon and her employees into the conference room with the promise of ice cream cake. Later, in the midst of his long PowerPoint presentation, he asks is anyone knows about "the seventh Sigma," the new commandment in the business bible. "Thou shalt not lie about ice cream cake?" one disgruntled employee replies.
- Fi is in charge of calming Spencer, and Sam obviously hates him. But in the end, Sam gets Spencer a job working crypto. "You got him a job?" Fi asks, surprised. "I actually am kind of a sweetheart," Sam replies.
- If none of your spygame contacts are taking your calls, track down an active operative and make his life uncomfortable. Try watching airports -- supply planes have to land somewhere.
- When you need to make a quick exit, "a little training and the right hitch knot" can help you fashion electrical cords and power strips into an escape rope. Do NOT try that at home!
- "A money launderer's natural habitat is near rich people. What they save by avoiding taxes they usually spend on overpriced drinks."
- Spies used to disguise themselves as lepers or plague victims so they could poke around without anyone bothering them. Now they tend to pose as IT guys. Or management consultants.
- If you know the basic type of key that opens a lock, get yourself a blank, file down the center ledge, insert into the lock, apply torque, whack it with anything handy, and voila! Open sesame!