Friday, May 30, 2008

Hard Bargain

Episode 9: Hard Bargain
Production Number: BN108
Director: John Kretchmer
Writer: Alfredo Barrios, Jr.

Click the Picture to go to the Hard Bargain Gallery

Full Summary
Personal Commentary
Writer's Blog

Quick Summary:

Fiona's birthday is coming up, and she tries to get Michael to tell her what her birthday present will be. Michael was supposed to meet a bureaucrat from the CSS named Perry Clark, however, Michael wants to be careful. So he calls the police on Perry, just to watch to see how he reacts. Perry reacts just like a bureaucrat would, maybe he can be trusted...

Full Summary:

Sam needs a favor, now! Nick Lam is a "dude with a problem". He's a house sitter for uxorious mansions, and he's been known to lie about whether or not he owns those mansions. His fiancee, Dawn, who also believes he's rich was kidnapped. They're asking for 5 million dollars, 5 million he doesn't have. They are calling Nick in one hour.

Michael helps Nick through the call, gets Nick to demand to see a video of Don alive & well, in two hours. Nick needs to make the pick up in a public mall. Fiona suggests gifts that Michael should buy her as they walk around waiting for Nick to get the call. When Nick finally gets the call and picks up the video, he makes a great mistake and looks towards Michael. Lucio Velasquez, the man sent to keep an eye on Nick, sees Michael and gives chase. Michael runs away, and Fiona gives a distraction by showing Lucio her gun. Lucio, realizing he's outnumbered, tries to run himself. Lucio tries to call the kidnapping boss and tell him to kill Dawn, but Michael tackles him in time. After a struggle, Lucio pulls a gun on Michael, but Fiona makes the save with a tazer.

Nick is nervous after viewing the video, and Lucio is tied up with Fiona using her tazer to soften him up. Michael takes a photograph of Lucio with Sam hugging and smiling, thus making it look like Lucio betrayed his boss. Michael also plans to print up a false confession and use Sam's FBI buddies to make it look like Lucio is about to testify against his boss. They will use all of this to force Lucio to help them find Dawn. Reyes, the head kidnapper, has kept everyone in the dark though. Lucio just finds the targets, he doesn't know where the kidnapped are kept. Lucio tells them that he's already late on reporting in. So Fiona gives him a broken foot as an excuse.
In order to use Lucio to find Dawn, Michael will need to make an appealing target for Reyes. So he sets up Lucio with a new target. Fiona will play a rich, spoiled wife and Sam will play the disgruntled bodyguard. In order to stall Reyes longer till Sam can find where the hostages are kept, Michael, as Andrew Chambers, will act as a hostage negotiator for Nick.

When Andrew Chambers (Michael) first calls Reyes, he gets a sniper rifle pointed towards him just incase Michael is a cop. However, Michael points out that cops don't wear the fine clothing he does, so Reyes let's him into his car. Michael is stripped just incase he's wearing a wire, however, he also gets a massage while negotiating. A nice perk. Michael negotiates the price down to 3 million, and gets a 48 hour delay.

Meanwhile, Sam gets a small GPS device secret put in his shoe, and then goes to Reyes as the disgruntled bodyguard and demands to see where the hostages are kept. After some pushing, Sam gets his wish. Michael now knows where Dawn is. However, Reyes has gotten impatient, and demands the money from Nick and Michael in 2 hours or Dawn dies.

Michael prepares Thermite and make shift flash grenades so Sam and Fiona can rescue Dawn. Fiona blows the door off the warehouse where Dawn is kept, and Sam throws in a flash grenade. Fiona & Sam are able to save Dawn and take out the two guards without firing a shot.
Michael as Andrew the hostage negotiator stalls with Reyes by saying the family can't withdraw that much money at once. Once Michael gets the call that Dawn is okay, Michael tells Reyes that the family won't pay. Reyes yells at Michael and tells him to get out. Michael escapes before Reyes can figure out that he lost his hostage. When Reyes arrives at the warehouse, he finds his guards tied up, and police arrive just in time to arrest him.

Dawn finally gets to see Nick, however, now that she knows he was lying about being wealthy, Dawn simply slaps him and walks away.

Perry, the bureaucrat, finally gets to meet with Michael in Michael's apartment. Michael turns his back to make some coffee, and Perry pulls out a wire to try to choke Michael from behind. Michael is able to get his fist between the wire and his neck. After a struggle, Michael and Perry are on the floor. With his last ounce of strength, Michael punches through a cabinet to grab a hidden gun, and shoots Perry square in the stomach. Perry runs away and Michael is left gasping for air on the floor.

After Sam does some research, he finds that Perry was found dead in an alleyway by police, with no identification on him. Michael & Sam theorize that someone was impersonating the real bureaucrat Perry Clark to try to get close enough to Michael to kill him. Fiona is helping Michael repair the cabinet when Michael pulls out Fiona's birthday gift. A special gun that she had seen at Nick's house. Fiona is pleased.

Personal Commentary:

I loved this episode, heavier on the comedy than any episode before, thanks to Nick and his surfer ways. It definitely made any scene with Nick more enjoyable. Michael's Burn Notice took a bit of a back seat in this episode, it was mainly only covered at the begining and the end of the episode. We also, once again, got zero interaction from Madeline Westen. She's probably so worried about her son who never calls. We've got a new reccuring joke too, what does Sam Axe do to those women, and do we really want to know.
This episode marks the first time we've seen Michael be directly responsible for someone's death. For some, it couldn't come soon enough. After all, he's supposed to be a major security risk. For me, it shows that Michael has actually lost a step. He got sloppy, careless, I thought he'd at least have Fiona or Sam hiding somewhere as back up.
This episode also might mark a big change in the overall burn notice plot. Has the man who burned Michael gotten fed up with his plan, is he ready to kill Michael? Or is there someone else at work, someone who's opposed to the plans for Michael?

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