With the new-found openness in this season's writing it is uncertain why Michael Westen seemed to be stonewalling Madeline about Fiona's condition inside the prison, but he was. He seem annoyed that she was asking about Fiona while he and Sam were "saddling up" to go interrogate Matt Sturges, a dirty guard who was hired by Anson to facilitate Fiona's death. He finally turned and told her "she's tired… she's scared… and she's not eating enough. And somebody's trying to kill her." He told Madeline they were going to the Everglades to find the guy. Unfortunately, when he, Sam and Jesse got there, they found Sturges on the floor in a pool of blood and Sam was taken hostage by Rebecca, Anson's new "apprentice." Michael got to use his duct tape to repair the shot up Charger in order to chase after her. In voice-over, Michael told us that a good "hostage" approached being abducted "like a blind date: be an active listener, stay positive and make a connection… which would make it harder for them to pull the trigger." Sam did that to a "T" and, in fact, despite being in mortal danger himself, continually manipulated her into NOT killing everyone she saw who got in their way.
Rebecca called to arrange a helicopter tour for her and her husband, Chuck Buckner (her choice), then told Sam to stop the car so she could "go shopping" for a different car. Sam talked her into letting him do it without a gun and stopped a truck. While he took the guys keys, he whispered that he was a hostage and to give the message "helicopter tour" to Michael when he came along. Rebecca came along and knocked the guy out and locked him in the trunk. Then when Sam began probing for the reason she was holding to Anson's "loosing team," she told him to "speed it up" which only got them stopped by a policeman. Again, Sam had to prevent her from killing the guy. He pretended that he had taken the truck to transport his "bosses" wife to her sisters for safety because she was being knocked around. Fortunately, for the cop, they were able to talk him out of a ticket and continue on their way. When Michael released the guy from the trunk, he did give him Sam's message and also advised a much quicker route to the location. Michael conned the pilot into leaving and awaited Rebecca in the cockpit, under the helmet. Unfortunately, Rebecca figured out the ambush and began shooting everything up. Michael chased her into the everglades until his taped up car overheated and stopped. They again fixed it with duct tape and got a call from Sam who told them he was at a drug gang's hideout where Rebecca had strapped a back-pack full of C4 to him then sent him in to scare the gang into leaving. She was at that moment stealing the gang's air-boat. He gave Michael directions to their location then also used the phone to call his girlfriend Elsa
and say he wouldn't be able to make it to their scheduled diner and that he loved her. Unfortunately, Rebecca came back in time to see him use the phone, pointed her gun at his head and we heard some sort of gunshot noise as we went to commercial.
Back from commercial we saw the legs of someone lying on the ground and it turned out to be Sam who was zip-tied to a post, with blood on his head and not wearing the explosive back pack. He wondered if the wound was bad enough that Elsa would freak out and quipped that he was glad it wasn't his chin. They saw an air boat go zooming down the swamp and Jesse charged after it only to find that it was a decoy. Rebecca had planted the bomb under the Charger and Sam was now leaning against it. Mike put down his gun and called out that she had won, so she appeared from around the shack holding the remote detonator. Sam continued his reasoning over her agitation, and reminded her that she hated Anson at least as much as they did. He said that the only way she could ever get out of this was to join with them in taking Anson down. Amazingly, she was so caught up that Mike even had to remind her that she could trust them much more than she could Anson (duh!). Midst of a bit of theatrics, she finally agreed and put down her gun. Back at the loft, she showed them a bunch of photographs of her brother, Trent
, who had "lived in Miami until three years ago when he he had to go off the grid."
Only Anson knew where he was and had sent her the photographs to blackmail her. Sam quipped "all righty then, a little game of global manhunt"
and Michael told her: "we'll find your brother."
Last episode's attempt on Fiona's life was just the beginning. On the way to lunch, two "sisters" pulled switchblades and came at her from different directions slicing her arm. They were only thwarted by the accidental appearance of a guard. Ayn
told her that the two were "lifers who did contract hits to pass the time the way some girls knit."
The guards, she said, looked the other way because they were "either too afraid or too dirty"
and the only way to stop them was to have a full shakedown where all the other guards that came would keep these two honest. The sisters had enough contraband in their cells to get them in lockdown for months. Ayn said she could arrange for the guards to have one, but she wouldn't because she wanted her "death in prison to be of natural causes."
When Fiona pressed, she did agree to arrange one if Fiona could arrange to get a package away from her ex-husband, Eddie, in Miami and have it delivered to the prison by 9 am, or she would be "spending another day dodging the sisters."
There would be no shakedown until AFTER the package arrived because she didn't give credit.
Fiona called Madeline to give a message to Michael but he wasn't available so Madeline went on her own. Eddie invited her in then choked her against the wall threatening that he was going to let her keep her teeth but that she should tell Ayn to come and get the package herself – BIG, big mistake. Michael had finished his business in the swamp and was going up Eddie's step with Madeline at 8:55 am; repeating for the second time, through gritted teeth, for her to: "knock, let him see you and step aside."
Eddie saw Madeline and made treats just before Mike nailed him and began banging his head against the refrigerator. With his arm twisted behind his back he gave up the location of the package and the key but heard his arm snap as Mike told him "that was for my mom."
They obviously hadn't made the deadline and Fiona was gearing up against the two "sisters" and their switchblades when guards busted in from everywhere. One of the girls was so angry that she attacked Fiona with her knife in front of the guards, but was immediately subdued to the floor. Later, Ayn disclosed that the package was a locket that her mother had left her when she had died. "It was all she had to leave me,"
Ayn said. "She died while I was in prison. She was the only person that has ever loved me and I couldn't even go to her funeral."
Fiona said she knew that the package hadn't arrived before 9 and wanted to know why she had arranged the shakedown without the payment. Ayn said: "Maybe I thought I'd see if I remembered what trust feels like."
Incredibly, the USA network's claim to be "heating up the summer" just keeps getting more and more intense. I've checked, the writers they list were there last year and the directors are the same; but, there must be a whole cadre of un-credited writing interns because just about the only resemblance of this years characters to last years is in name only! Michael is more goal oriented yet open minded, more intense but less "agitated," more single-minded but more open to help and suggestions. Sam is incredibly more assertive in his capabilities and is providing the "moral compass" for the whole cast – even the bad guys. Fiona has stopped being a "soap-box-opera" cliché and become a star in her own right; and even Madeline takes on a mission alone when Michael is unavailable. What has happened? The story lines are more robust. The normal two plots have become three and sometimes four being cut together. The pacing seems to have sped up to near dizzying heights with more chases, more explosions, more incidental characters, more convolutions and more locations. We likes it!
It's not giving anything away to say that in this episode the gang (sans Fiona who has her own problems) goes after a dirty guard who tried to have Fiona killed for some reason. And it doesn't take a genius to surmise, from Rebecca in the trailers, that Anson was behind it all and was probably in "clean up mode" using his new "padawan" to do it. Michael's spy-craft voice-over as she took Sam hostage, was sheer mastery when he compared "being taken hostage" with a "blind date," advising the captive to: "actively listen, stay positive and make a connection." We would have been surprised if the attempts against Fiona's life in prison HAD stopped. And, what's not to like about Madeline taking on an assignment in Michaels absence and Fiona getting a new friend to trust her?