Friday, May 30, 2008

Loose Ends

Episode 12: Loose Ends
Production Number: BN111
Director: Stephen Surjik
Writer: Matt Nix & Alfredo Barrios Jr.

Click the Picture to go to the Loose Ends Gallery

Full Summary
Personal Commentary
Writer's Blog

Quick Summary:

In an action packed two hour finale, Michael finally meets the man who burned him, only to watch him get assassinated right in front of him. Now Michael is on the run, trying to keep his family and friends safe.

Full Summary:

Nate drives Mike towards the warehouse district where Fiona is hiding. Michael tries to tell Nate to leave but Nate insists on helping. In the warehouse district, Michael sees a piece of red fabric outside a window, and knows Fiona is in the building. Michael uses Nate's truck to slam his way into the warehouse. Fiona runs towards Nate's truck, Michael tosses her a gun and she provides cover fire as Nate and Mike get out of the truck. Nate takes Fiona's place, keeping the henchmen at bay while Fiona and Michael prepare an explosive surprise. While Michael, Fiona, and Nate escape through a window, Nate's truck slowly backs up towards the henchmen with no driver. When the men approach the truck, they see the explosives in the bed and have to duck for cover.

Michael, Fiona, and Nate go to Nate's place which is actually a foreclosure. Nate leaves to pick up Madeline and keep her safe. Meanwhile, Sam is getting beat up and questioned in the hold of a ship. The heroin importer, Harrich, and his muscle-bound assistant try to figure out why Sam was taking pictures of Kent and Melissa. Sam first claims to be DEA, then CIA, FBI, and even a boy scout. The entire time, Sam tries to turn Harrich and his guard against each other. Harrich, who is an ex-Green Beret, tells Sam he won't be killed until they can find the girl (Fiona). The best lead they have is Sam's cell phone, and the numbers he called last.

Fiona comes back to Nate's "house" with an arsenal she had hidden under an overpass. Harrich (the heroin importer) calls Michael and asks about Sam. Michael claims to be a fellow heroin dealer who simply was checking out his competition. Michael tells Harrich that he wants Sam back, but won't pay for "damaged goods". Harrich sends Michael an email with a picture of Sam for proof of life. When Sam has his picture taken, he does a specific pose. Michael and Fiona break into Sam's storage place to look through photos till Michael finds a match. It's the same pose that Sam used when he was with a hostage rescue team that fell into a trap. Sam lost most of his team that day, it's his way of telling Michael that he won't be getting out of this alive.

Nate bring Madeline to the house, but not after spending hours losing the multiple government agents trying to trail him. Nate goes out again, this time to pick up some disposable cell phones. Michael wants to know more about those who are following him, so he makes a call to Dan, his handler, from a public phone. Within minutes a pair of government agents are staring at the public phone while Michael and Fiona watch from a distance. However, those agents are just a distraction, Michael and Fiona flee into an alley way only to be confronted by an armored car. Michael has to use another car as a barrier just to get away. Meanwhile, Sam is trying to convince Harrich to just kill him, so Michael and Fiona won't get killed in the rescue attempt.

Michael receives another call from Harrich, he wants Michael and Fiona in one place in order to talk terms for Sam's safe return. Michael claims that he needs time to find Fiona. Michael then goes to Barry, the money launderer, to help him track down the second biggest heroin dealer.

"This is not a favor, I'm not asking. You're either my friend or my enemy" ~ Michael

Barry gives up the name, Carmello who hangs out in the VIP room of club Vidos. Barry gets a call on his cell phone, but it's for Michael. A female voice is on the line saying that she needs to talk to Michael. Michael hangs up, and Barry doesn't even want the phone back so he throws it away.

Michael, Fiona, and Nate are making explosives in Nate's kitchen. Madeline comes by with her cigarette and asks if she can help. Michael tells her that he's afraid for her life, and asks her to leave town with Nate. After an argument, Madeline agrees to go.
Fiona and Michael are at club Vidos, planting the explosives they made. Fiona leaves and Mike stumbles into the VIP room where Carmello is. Michael pulls a gun on Carmello, but his guards have Michael surrounded with guns of their own.

"Do you have a death wish?" ~ Carmello

Michael reveals the C4 explosives through out the club and also pulls out a dead man switch. If he's shot, the entire club will be leveled. Michael wants the name of the biggest heroin dealer, he'll give Carmello some time to think about it. Carmello asks who Michael is...

"I'm Michael Westen, and I used to be a spy" ~ Michael

Carmello calls Michael, and tells him the name and location of the biggest heroin dealer, and thus, where Sam is located. Carmello threatens Michael to never show his face again. Michael and Fiona stake out the location, and see that the multiple guards will be a problem. Michael calls Harrich to set up a meeting time to discuss terms for Sam's surrender, Michael will use this as a distraction to get as many guards off the boat as possible, thus making the rescue operation easier. To make sure Sam isn't killed early, Michael insists on hearing Sam's voice before the meeting.

Michael, Nate, and Madeline pack into the repaired charger. Michael tells his mother that he'll drive them around to the edge of Miami and lose any tails. Then he'll "borrow" another car so Nate can drive them to safety. Madeline reminisces of the first time Michael stole a car. Nate needed to go to the hospital and Michael's father was nowhere to be found. Madeline was angry, but proud of him. Before they leave, Madeline uses the safe phone Michael gave her to check her messages. By calling her tapped phone, the government agents were able to track her, thus Michael is instantly followed. Michael, out of options, stops the car and gets out with a gun and the tapped cell phone. Nate drives Madeline away. Michael talks into the phone and tells whoever is listening that if he doesn't get a call soon, he will kill himself. Michael puts the gun to his head. The government agents tailing Michael have stopped their car and pulled out their guns. Michael finally gets a call, it's the female voice. Michael asks for twelve hours to finish rescuing Sam, then he'll voluntarily come in. The female voice agrees, and the government agents almost instantly back off.

Fiona asks Michael why he will turn himself in voluntarily, why not just lie to the female? Michael tells her he's tired of running, and wants answers at any price. Michael and Fiona share one last kiss before heading off to rescue Sam. Michael and Fiona arrive at the boat where Sam is held. Fiona sets up on a roof top with a rifle, while Michael puts on scuba gear. Once the guards leave to have their "meeting" with Michael, Michael dives into the water and attaches a home made sticky bomb to the plank that connects the boat to the dock. Michael then uses a hook and rope to climb onto the boat when the guards aren't looking. He changes out of the scuba gear and heads down below to find Sam.

Harrich approaches Sam, ready to make the call to Michael so Sam can talk and therefore prove he's still alive. When Harrich makes the call, the hear the ringing of a phone inside the boat. Harrich opens the door of the hold to find Michael's cell phone on the ground, this is enough of a distraction so Michael can attack Harrich. After a lengthy exchange of blows, with Michael taking the worst of it, Michael is able to grab the spare gun out of Harrich's ankle, and shoot him in the gut. Michael tells him, depending on the type of bullet, he either has 30 minutes to get to a hospital, or he doesn't have a chance. Michael unties Sam and they climb to the top.

The guards on the boat heard the gun shot within the boat. When the begin to race towards the hold, Fiona uses the rifle to distract them and force them to duck. Michael and Sam come running out from within the boat. They run down the plank and across the dock. The guards try to give chase, but Fiona detonates the sticky bomb on the plank, thus giving Michael and Sam enough time to hop into Sam's Cadillac and drive off.

Sam thanks Michael for saving his life, but the beep of the On Star interrupts them. The voice specifically says Michael's name, and downloads directions. Michael tells Sam that this concerns his burn notice, and asks to borrow the Cadillac. Sam agrees, and gives Michael one last handshake. Sam is left on the side of the street as Michael drives off.

Michael arrives at the location specified by the On Star, it's the middle of a bridge with a semi-truck and ramp inviting Michael to drive up. Michael gets a call from the mysterious female.

"Michael, we're so looking forward to meeting you." ~ Female Voice

Michael drives into the semi-truck, looking for the truth.

Personal Commentary

Good lord, what a season finale. It's clear they wanted to go out with a bang.
I suppose I should try to cover just this episode first, but man there is a lot to go over.
First of all, we open with a much more paranoid Michael than we've ever seen, you can tell the assassination attempts have gotten to him. We also get yet another jab at yogurt, Michael must love that stuff. When Sam started that job on his own and used the phrase, "I'll see what I can do", it practically made me giddy.
The theme of the first hour of this episode instantly comes to light, it's trust. Michael and Cowan don't trust each other, Michael has to constantly ask for trust from his family but can never trust them in return. And Fiona has to ask Gillian to trust that the team would take care of her problems.
In fact, trust has been an issue for Michael for this entire season. He is a spy after all, it's practically his job to be paranoid and trust no one. It's been a struggle for him to let go with his friends, even a bigger one with his family. He trusted Nate in this episode, more than any other, and Nate came through. The "fur on his face" is gone, and maybe Nate can become a more reliable part of Michael's team.

I'm very happy Fiona confronted Michael over the risks he takes trying to find out more about his Burn Notice. Michael is truly proud of what he's done as a spy, so why can't he be happy with what he does in Miami?

That fireball, when Kent's car was blown up. It was beautiful. I will find or make a gif of that just so I can watch over and over again.

Finally, the meeting between Cowan and Michael. We learn that Cowan himself is just a small part in a very large plan. It's clear that whatever Michael is involved in, is a very long and intricate plan, and Michael's resistance is causing serious problems. I think one of the scariest thing in this episode was Cowan dying and Michael's bloody clothes and face. Think about it, considering how paranoid Cowan was, he still got killed.
The frantic call by Fiona was a great drama builder. For a woman that usually has such control, she was scared.

Another theme makes it mark, silent communication. Cowan's multiple messages to Michael were more direct, but Michael's little John 3:16 code was cute, Fiona's red fabric in the warehouse, and Sam's pose. All members of the team knew how to do it just right.

I'm glad Barry got into the finale, he's become an important tool in Michael's belt. However, Michael pushed him harder that he's ever had to. Along with this, the way Michael managed to get Carmello's help, and how he told Carmello his full name is proof of how desperate Michael had become. Especially with Sam's life on the line. Michael was leaving everything behind.

As this episode winded down, we had each character get a chance to say good-bye to Michael. Madeline got to reminisce about Michael's first stolen car, Fiona got a good bye kiss, and Sam got to give Michael one last handshake.

That final fight Michael had with Harrich was intense. That had to be the longest fight in Burn Notice history, and it looked like Michael took the worst of it.

And finally, the final explosion. Be sure to look at the multiple screenshots I took of it. Michael looks like a professional running, and Sam looks like a goofball. It's hilarious.

So, we leave Michael stuck in a semi-truck, unsure of his destiny....


Now, how about a look at this series as a whole. I want to congratulate the writers. Not only did each episode give us a fun capsule to enjoy, but they kept the Burn Notice over-arcing plot going. Most shows like to push it to the side, only occasionally throwing fans a bone. However, Burn Notice is different, they kept the plot moving. Each episode showed a different part of progress, it would be very difficult to shuffle these episodes in a different order without having discontinuity. On top of that they kept Michael's personality moving. As I mentioned, Michael was constantly learning to increase his trust of his friends, and even his family. I can honestly say that the Michael Westen we see at the end of the season is much different from when we first see him.

I also find it interesting what plot lines were dropped from the pilot to the rest of the season. For instance, Sam informing on Michael to the FBI was dropped within five episodes of Burn Notice. Fiona dropped her Irish accent, and Madeline's constant worrying about diseases was also dropped. In fact, Madeline was dropped from about 4 or 5 episodes all together. I think the writer's quickly found it easier to focus on the action and the main plot. However, Madeline was always needed, especially in this finale, to give Michael and anchor. He occasionally needed to have a reminder that there were people who cared about him, Madeline the most.

Anyway, I'm rambling. It was a kick ass season, and I can't wait till season two. (Seriously, I can't wait, how the hell am I supposed to sit around till next SUMMER!?)


Brandon said...

While watching the marathon on USA, I constantly found myself referring back to this blog to make sure I knew everything that was going on. Great Work here. Burn Notice is such a good show. Can't wait until the next season coming soon.

Ytoabn said...

Thanks for the comment.

One week away from the premiere of season 2!