Burn Notice Square One

Full Summary of Episode 67

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505 - Square One (67)  

Photo of Burn Notice TV season five episode 505
Pay attention because describing this episode gets a bit convoluted. Jesse appeared at the loft with news that he had completed setting them all up with a credit card trail which showed they had been in Key West yesterday and found Sam and Fiona helping Michael melt down the gun from Max's murder in a makeshift kiln holding 4,000 degree thermite. The CIA had taken over the investigation with a case officer who wanted Michael to come in for a "chat." Jesse acted argumentative so Sam asked if he was "on board" with the project and got a "hell yeah" reply – although Fiona was shown with a concerned look. Michael told agent Pearce that there was "no place he would rather be" as she coyly had him walk through Max's murder, pretending he was the killer. When he had had enough of the innuendoes, M asked directly if he was a suspect and said "Max was one of the good guys… I want to catch his killer just as much as you do." She accepted him on her "team" then pontificated that she had learned all her skills from her pit bull which she kept at home; and that she had requested this job, because she had worked on missions with Max. Oh, and that she was also his new "handler." After Fiona had finished her usual ragging on M at the cafe, the "client" they were waiting for showed up. Ms former C.O. tracked him down and asked him to help a "kid" who had been with the special forces in Afghanistan and M couldn't say that he was "just too busy." Lt. Ethan Reed revealed that he had been hounded by CIA recruiters and that he had beaten Ms sharpshooting record at Camp Rhino – "94% at 600 meters." He needed help in finding and taking down a scumbag named Brandon DePaolo who had beaten his sister, Heather, into a coma. M only gave his help if Ethan agreed Brandon went to jail and not the morgue; but Ethan demanded that he be there every minute. Sam and Fiona went to flush out Brandon by conning his mother, Cathy, into giving him a $2 thousand dollar check, ostensibly from a class-action law suit settlement. Brandon again demanded that he be on every shift of the surveillance.
At Ms second meeting with Pearce he offered, under his breath so no one else would hear, to investigate the thick log of cell phone activity around Max's office off the books instead of waiting for the FBI to finish doing it. He had told Fiona that if he helped with the investigation he might be able to keep the cell phone call that he had made from Max's office to Fiona for help from being found out by Pearce. Pearce said "it was nice NOT seeing you today" as she tossed him the binder of printouts. M took a surveillance shift in the car with Ethan. It was obvious that the kid was impulsive, rash and needed instruction in even the basic methods of spy craft. Brandon showed up and Ethan burst onto him trying to kill him with a seatbelt. M noticed that he had already been beaten up and stopped Ethan from the attack. Brandon said that it had been his "boss, Brad Ramsey" who ran a medical insurance scam in Homestead Florida. Brandon had skimmed some of the payoffs he was supposed to make in order to "do something nice for Heather." Ramsey found out and when Heather fought back he beat her senseless; but then Brandon had "left her bleeding in the driveway of the hospital." Ethan again flew off the handle and tore into him, requiring M to patiently teach him technique and send him outside to cool off. In stakeout they saw Joel Davenport give a list of Medicare numbers to Ramsey for use in scamming, and again Ethan threw a tantrum that he wanted to be the one to do the scam on Ramsey. So Sam and Ethan went to a party at Ramsey's pretending to be fellow scammers, only from a much larger organization. They made it "six grand a week's" worth of enticing and told him to "call if you're interested." He did. Jesse came to the loft and ragged on M about the "bread baskets," potpourri and other froof that Fiona was inflicting on it. His analysis of all the phone calls left only one from a burner cell phone outside Max's office to a pay phone. The burner phone traced back to a particular bodega which he and Fiona contacted, pretending to be dirty cops, in order to obtain their security tapes. Sam used Elsa's mansion on Star Island, as well as her fancy car, to stage a party which Ramsey called to say he would like to attend. Ethan acted as his good buddy. Fiona, Jesse (fast Eddy) and Sam manipulated him with grand schemes  of a "merger" until the "big boss" got there.
Photo in Burn Notice : Square One episode 505
M arrived in Elsa's expensive red convertible saying he'd missed Pebble Beach for this new partner, but Ramsey said it looked too good to be true and asked if they were cops. M lit a bottle of alcohol on fire and tossed it into Ramsey's car saying "cops wouldn't do this." When Ramsey protested he told him that Jesse's Porsche was his new "thinking car" – to Jesse's extreme angst. At the loft Ethan was still annoyingly impatient and Sam noticed that Fiona had removed their work bench. They made up a bugged faux Rolex which they gave to Ramsey when he came back to say "yes." Ramsey wanted to only give them a "Medicare fee schedule" from his last scam but they told him he had to give them everything. He said he would get it but was "keeping the Porsche." M took the security tapes from the cell phone shop, and a carton of smokes, to Madeline so she could watch them and help look for "the killer of a friend of mine." Jesse and Ethan overheard Davenport give Ramsey grief about showing poor judgment in his new adventure. Ramsey said that if Heather survived he would kill her – which, of course, sent Ethan charging over to sniper him from a roof top. Fiona and Jesse drove to head him off and had to shoot at Ramsey's windshield first in order to get him to run – which he did while tearing parts off of Jesse's car. Michael tore into Ethan who was arrogantly unapologetic. He said that Ramsey had been calling him for help but screamed that he wasn't going to act like Ramsey's friend any more as he stalked out into the driveway to pout. Watching out the window, Madeline quietly and patiently reminded M of when he came home on his first leave from the military and had found that his girlfriend had been stolen by Patrick Garney. M had also pouted in the driveway for hours until he stole Patrick's motorcycle and drove it into the Miami River. She told him that "the man you are today is not the boy who left home… how many years of training did it take for you to learn to curb your anger?" He replied that "I've never plotted to kill anyone in cold blood." "No, your mother raised you better than that… someone needs to teach him." After that, M went out to patiently teach Ethan that he had lost the right to do whatever he wanted to do the minute his sister got beaten. "Your life doesn't belong to you," he said, "your actions affect other people." He couldn't help Heather from prison. "You know who acts out of selfish anger?" M asked. "The Ramsey's of this world. That's their weakness and that's what you use to destroy them."
They went to Ramsey and M pretended to call it off when he heard Ramsey had been shot at. Ethan intervened and suggested that M could do what he had done when he had recruited Ethan – get the rest of the crew arrested. Eventually Ramsey agreed, so he packaged up all his records to give to the cops. Fiona told him he would be on a beach in the Cayman's when his crew was arrested and asked seductively if he wanted company. Ethan brought gasoline cans in order to burn his house, so there wouldn't be any evidence or fingerprints to tie back. He gave Ramsey the matches to start the fire. Then in the airplane hanger, Ethan told him that he better come clean if there were any other loose ends or the boss would toss him out of the airplane. They decided that Ramsey would go back and poison Heather's IV to finish the job. Instead, all the cops were waiting for him as he attempted it. He blabbered about being "set up" and Ethan was there to walk past him in a white lab coat while he was being arrested. Ethan came to the loft to hear from M that Ramsey was having fun in jail with all the guys he ratted out. Ethan revealed that he was having lunch with the CIA recruiters next week. He wanted a couple of answers: "Does it get easier?""No"; "If you could do it over again, would you?" "it's who I am, I don't know how to be anybody else."
Photo in Burn Notice : Square One episode 505
Back at her command post, Pearce admitted to M that she had absolutely no other forensic evidence from either Max or the office and Langley was all over her about it.  We heard her tell someone on the phone that they shouldn't bother sending a report that merely told what they hadn't found. She was happy to hear that M had found a call made from a burner cell in the records she had given him and that he was already sifting through the surveillance tapes.  She demanded a report by the morning and said she was "counting  on ya here… and so is Max's family."  In uncharacteristic calmness, Madeline requested M to tell her more of the specific details, that "you spared me from," about what he had gotten into with the tapes.  He told her that "the person who killed my friend went to a lot of trouble to make it look like I did it. I'm hoping the real killer is on that tape."  She told him, "You better see this" and showed him the tape which actually looked like it was HE had gone into the store and bought the phone himself – even down to copying his posture and gate as well as clothes and glasses.  She told him "Good luck in convincing anybody else it isn't you."
A much more intricate and convoluted plot than we are used to seeing in Burn Notice. It is obvious as well that some of the characters have taken on a new life during the writers break. Although still a demanding, self-centered manipulator, Fiona seems less harsh and whiney. Madeline is actually acting like a mature woman instead of an arrogant, tantrum-throwing bully. Sam seems to have given up being the data-gathering liaison with "officialdom" entirely and instead the supplier of really expensive and grand "stuff" and facilities via the largesse of his new girlfriend. Sam's old role has been passed onto Jesse who now seems to have "official contacts" and nifty spy-gadgets coming out of his ears.  However, there are some things which haven't changed. It seems like an arrogant, manipulative shrew is the only type of woman character Matt Mix knows how to invent. Michael wasn't the only one who had to put up with Carla – she was inflicted on us as well, episode after episode until we finally thought we had gotten rid of her. Lets hope now that the too-often-used-character-type agent Pearce doesn't last as long as they let Max live and that we get to see M actually honor Max's last request of him (who knows, maybe that's where answers will come from).  Another thing that hasn't changed: the show has never spent much money or effort in special effects and this episode continues their habits with fire in a car that never burns the car, and obvious flame overlays on a "burning" house. It does seem, however, that they are making a bit more effort to enhance some of the character backgrounds. At least to me, meaningful glimpses into the lead characters back-story make an episode much more meaningful. I wish they did that every episode. And, Ethan – Little Michael – what a perfect foil for revealing what makes Michael tick… and very well cast. Frankly, now that we see him, he would have been a better character to make recurring than Jesse. Let's hope Nix recognizes that and we get to see more of him – at least Michael might have an actual "friend" on the "inside" in the future. [Note for future: We're going to see Pearce actually receive the phone report of Michaels phone call and it come back to bite him – count on it!]

Next, look at all the voiceovers and character quotes for this episode (505) here: Voiceovers and here: Quotes

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