Friday, May 30, 2008

Fight or Flight

Episode 3: Fight or Flight
Production Number: BN103
Written by: Craig O'Neill and Jason Tracey
Directed by: Colin Bucksey

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Full Summary
Personal Commentary
Writer's Blog

Quick Summary:

Michael is hired by Oleg - The Landlord to help his waitress who is being threatened by a drug cartel. This job won't be easy, as the only solution that the drug cartel sees involves murder. Meanwhile, Michael is dealing with Fiona who wants a key to the apartment and getting the Charger from his mother.

Full Summary:

Michael continues to search for allies to help him figure out who burned him. He "stumbles" his way into a International Conference and picks up the trial of an old friend who might be able to tell him who issued the Burn Notice. Michael is able to make a daring escape before being caught by security.

Back at the apartment, Michael is angry at Fiona for breaking in, again, but Fiona counters that Michael never gave her a key, nor is he willing to get a car of his own. She accuses him of being afraid of commitment. Fiona leaves, and alter when Michael is leaving, Oleg, the landlord, asks for him to take on a job and help out one of his waitresses who is getting harassed by a drug cartel.

The Client is Cara, a waitress who accidentally witness the beating of some pizza boy by a drug cartel member. She's in way over her head. She also has a teenage daughter named Sophie. Both are quite scared as they have received threats from drug cartel thugs.

Flashing over to a International Conference, Michael has caught up with a spy buddy of his, Akhob Thabet. Fiona will help track the guy if Michael talks to his mother about getting his father's car.

*** My father's approach to car maintenance is the same approach he had to his family. If it doesn't work, bang it. If it doesn't fit, force it. And above all else, make sure it looks good on the outside.

Sam helps Michael get his hands on the name of the member of the drug cartel who's threatening his client, Alvaro Desantos. However, when Michael goes to meet Alvaro, he's told that the family will soon be taken care of. Michael warns Fiona in time for her to serve up some Molotov cocktails for the incoming thugs.

After Fiona repels the cartel thugs, Michael has to move his clients to a safe house. Specifically, his mother's garage. Michael sets up the house with a motion alarm in case anyone approaches, and an electrified door knob in case anyone unwanted comes knocking. Sophie is still upset that she won't be able to go to her Spring Formal as planned.

Michael, after getting the word from Sam, checks in with the drug cartel lawyer, Bruce Gillmen. Michael stops Gillmen on his morning commute to try to convince him to no longer pursue Cara and Sophie, but he's unmoved. In fact, the next time Michael comes over, Bruce tries to have him killed with a car bomb, but Michael anticipates this and avoids it.

Michael walks in on his egyptian spy friend, Akhob Thabet, while he's in the middle of a job. Using his leverage, Michael convinces Akhob to get a copy of his burn notice.

Sophie runs away from the safe house to go to her Spring Formal. Michael comes to the rescue of Sophie just in time, and ushers her into a science lab. Michael heats up the door knob to the lab to create a distraction, and disarms the two hitmen. He also finds some spark plugs for his Charger.

Michael feels that a new plan is needed. Michael videotapes Alvaro while Sam calls him, pretending to be Cara's lawyer. Michael then edits this sound and video to make it look like Alvaro was about to squeal to the police. Sam ensures that the FBI gets a hold of the tape, and Michael then meets up with the lawyer, Bruce, and leads him to the FBI tape. The end result, Bruce Gillmen and the rest of the Cartel confront Alvaro and force him into a car trunk.

For all her trouble, Fiona finally gets a key to the apartment. And after some work, Michael gets to look at the actual Burn Notice, but it's issued by name is a series of letters and numbers. But it's a start, and the mystery goes on....

Personal Commentary

I love Michael's opening escape sequence. It brings further proof that he is not some action hero. He ran into dead ends and locked doors, and when he finally reached the roof and had to jump, he managed to injure himself. I'm also beginning to see a theme of "odd payments" for Michael. He took the last assignment in exchange for information about two FBI agents. He'll end up doing this assignment for four months rent.
Within the first two minutes Sophie was on screen, I knew she'd run off to go to her spring formal and Michael would have to save her, it was painfully predictable. Another odd payment comes up when Fiona will only help track down Akhob Thabet if Michael talks to his mother about taking his father's Charger (though it needs spark plugs). Sam is quickly finding his place in Michael's little team as the man with many connections... and a moocher.

This episode has a fine example of how Michael likes to work. Even though he often plans and prepares, he's also willing to just walk right in to a dangerous situation if he feels it can finish the job quickly. I was also surprised that Michael was willing to fight his way out of the situation (with Sam Axe providing the getaway) just to save a client he had only recently met (or was it to save Fiona?).

Fiona shows off her differences from Michael. Michael prefers to use his mouth, his mind, and a good hardware store to solve his problems. Fiona prefers Molotov cocktails. Both methods are quite fun to watch.

Another odd payment, Michael's clients can stay in his mother's garage only if he visits his father's grave. Michael's way of telling his clients that the doorknob to the garage was now electrified was hilarious: "Don't.... don't touch that". Sophie fulfilled her "whiny teenager" contract complete with predictable prom that she HAS to attend, despite the fact that she's gonna die. Her future actions are quite predictable at this point.

Michael of course comes to the rescue of Sophie before the little whiner gets herself killed. I'm not sure if the director tried to have a "Disney moment" between Michael and Sophie and failed, or if he purposefully made it look like it failed to get the point across that Michael is not a family man, nor a romantic. Either way, the whole thing was painful.

Michael shows a bit of give by letting Fiona have a key, maybe he is ready to settle down.

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