***SPOILER*** Burn Notice 3×13 “Partners in Crime” Review

THE PREAMBLE

For those of you who don’t know, BURN NOTICE is a very popular show, starring Jeffery Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, and Sharon Gless. Ever since the premiere in 2007, the show has really taken off, being watched by at least 3 people (that I know of) and tens of thousands more (that I don’t know). While it’ll probably never reach the popularity of LOST (though I hope so), it still serves as a darn good show that you can relax with, albeit one that has a lot of explosions, guns, and Miami sunshine.

The premise of BURN NOTICE involves burnt (or fired, in layman’s terms) spy Michael Westen (Donovan) attempting to find out what led to his abrupt dismissal and dumping in Miami, and trying to clear his name to get back in. Along the way, he becomes something of a soldier-for-hire for money, helping people with problems that they are unable to take to the police. Throughout the series Westen battles and outwits an array of mobsters, con artists, contract killers, professional thieves, drug traffickers, arms dealers, kidnappers and war criminals – and that’s just a few of them. With his “trigger-happy ex-girlfriend” Fiona Glenanne (Anwar), his “friend who used to inform on him to the FBI” Sam Axe (Campbell), and his chain-smoking retiree mother (Gless), Westen is determined to get back into the spy game – Whatever it takes.

PLOT:

In “Partners in Crime”, Westen meets again with “freelance psychopath” Gilroy, who has hired Westen for a “secret job”. Knowing that Gilroy is dangerous and that the job he hired Westen on could hurt many people, Westen pretended to join him in order to uncover and eventually foil the operation (See 3×11 “Friendly Fire” and 3×12 “Noble Causes”). At the meeting and within a Jacuzzi, Gilroy gives Michael his next assignment – obtain the flight routes for all private planes coming in and out of Miami for the next 6 weeks.

(Image 1 – Michael’s meeting with Gilroy at a jacuzzi = pretty fun way to have a meeting!)

Michael reluctantly agrees, and later, with Sam, comes up with a plan – since Sam was an ex-Navy SEAL, Michael wants him to pull some strings with his Navy buddies get a temp job at the Coast Guard and get the details there. (Don’t ask me why the NAVY Coast Guard has flight details). Now, it’s Sam’s turn to reluctantly agree, disliking the possibility of making one of his buddies an accessory. The disagreement stops when Michael notices the lock on his door is blown off.

Inside, both Michael and Sam are greeted with a dead body and an ex-friend of Michael’s, “the undead assassin for hire” Larry Sizemore (see 2×08 “Double Booked”). Larry had stolen money from a Cuban drug cartel using Michael Westen’s name, killed the assassin that came to kill Michael, and is now forcing Michael to clean up the mess. Not a very difficult decision for Michael – either he helps Larry, or the cartel kills him.

(Image 2 – Dead Larry returns)

After hiding the body in Fiona’s apartment (which includes a great lecture on preserving the body, courtesy of a Michael Western voiceover), Michael returns to his house to find, lo and behold, his younger brother Nate, back from Las Vegas, with his new wife of 1 month! Obviously his mom isn’t too pleased with her, but Michael doesn’t have time to care – he charges Nate with the responsibility of taking care of Mrs. Madeline Westen.

(Image 3 – From Left: Nate, Michael, Ruth (the new Mrs. Nate Westen), and Madeline)

Meanwhile, Sam and Fiona have tracked down, and bugged the video feed of, the cartel headquarters, and have started the surveillance. Sam goes off to get the flight records that Gilroy wanted – he’s not happy about it, but he does it anyway. Michael and Fiona continue the surveillance, and observe the cartel boss texting the dead assassin – whose phone is in Michael’s possession. One of the messages says that the gang is going after another target – and Michael has to stop him.

It turns out that Larry hired a man called Jack Fleetwood to drop Michael’s name to the cartel, and now the gang’s after him. Michael and Larry (the latter reluctantly) head to the hotel to save Jack, and have to escape via jumping out of the window into the pool on the ground, via a mattress, though Jack breaks his leg during landing.

Jack is taken to Fiona’s place (and she’s not happy that Larry is there too), and the whole situation is explained to him. Michael’s new plan is to convince the cartel boss that the dead assassin stole his money – Fiona is tasked with creating a fake sighting, at a bar, with a doppelganger. Meanwhile, the cartel boss, Carlos, exits his building and is met by Michael Westen. After a short scuffle, Michael tells Carlos that the assassin was the person that stole the cash, and that he was spotted at a bar a few hours ago. Michael then walks away, but not before telling Carlos to “find Houstino (the assassin), and find him fast.”

(Image 4 – Michael’s “little discussion” with Carlos)

Michael returns to his mum’s home to find Nate and his wife trying to convince their mum to move to Las Vegas with him – not a good idea, according to Michael’s expression. After Madeline leaves the house, Nate tries to get Michael on his side……Michael says to give it a day to let her cool down.

At Fiona’s house, Michael meets with Sam again, and Sam is worried. The amount of flight data he got was massive – and he’s worried that if Gilroy got his hands on all the flights, it could be used to plan terrorist attacks or other dangerous possibilities. Before he can continue, Larry enters and distracts both Michael and Sam, then tries to kill Fleetwood, wanting to leave no evidence before he runs with the money he stole. Michael shoots Larry in the hand and, at gunpoint, informs Larry that Fleetwood is going to lead Carlos to the money – and give it back to him.

(Image 5 – Larry gets his ass “handed” to him….geddit?)

Michael goes on a “stakeout” with Carlos to watch Fleetwood at a café, with Sam sitting at another table. Using a parabolic microphone and a set of prearranged signals, Fleetwood makes a fake phone call to set up a fake meet with the assassin. Meanwhile, Fiona is dressing the corpse for the fake meet when Larry appears and offers to help – but talks to her about Michael instead………

At the Westen house, the family is sitting at the table when Nate tries to bring up the subject again. Michael tries to help him, saying that Vegas would be a safer option, but is rebuffed by Madeline. Fiona enters then, asking to speak to Michael, and confronts him with the fact that despite Larry’s total lack of conscience, Michael still worked with him for years. She leaves and asks him not to ask her for help again.

Back at Michael’s loft, Sam has finally figured out what flight Gilroy wants among the thousands of flights in the data, and he is only giving Gilroy that flight information. When Michael tries to convince him otherwise, saying that Gilroy asked for 6 weeks’ worth of data, Sam storms off and deserts Michael, asking him not to call him for help anymore.

Alone with Carlos at the meeting, Michael deliberately draws attention to the assassin sitting in the car, and Carlos believes that he’s alive. Armed with a long-range rifle, Carlos then proceeds to shoot up the car and the assassin. Afterwards, checking the cash on the boot, Carlos discovers that they are all counterfeit – and gives Michael one day to find the real money, or he’s dead. With Fiona and Sam not answering, who should call but Larry, revealing that he swapped the money. Michael demands that he meet back at his loft.

Larry wants Michael to kill Carlos – willing to set Michael up with a new identity and get Michael to work with him again. With nowhere else to turn, and no one to help him, Michael reluctantly agrees to kill Carlos.

That evening, Michael is cleaning his gun and staring at his phone when Nate enters. He says that he called several times, trying to offer his help. Michael discovers that Larry switched his SIM card, making him believe that no one else would help him so that he could manipulate Michael into working with him again. There, but for the timing of Nate……

Michael meets up with Larry again and tells him that he has a new plan – blow up the whole cash room with Carlos inside. After a discussion, Larry agrees, and the plan is set for 3 o’clock. Meanwhile, Sam, Fiona and Michael discover that Larry hid the money in his punching bag. While they were all together, Michael apologises to both of them, and tells them that he wants Larry gone. Michael asked Fiona to make a bomb for him, a very special bomb…….

At the meeting with Larry, Michael places the bomb in a car. Larry congratulates him on his handiwork and prepares to leave when Michael floors him (figuratively) with a revelation: He gave Carlos back his money and Carlos has left to the airport. Michael also left counterfeiting equipment and the fake bills in a nearby garbage bin to frame Carlos as making off with the cash.

In a rage, Larry threatens to shoot him, but Michael still has a card left to play – the police are on their way to talk to Larry. Michael called them, pretending that Larry saw men with guns and counterfeit bills, and now Larry is going to be a witness in the investigation. If Larry shoots Michael, the police will be all over Larry’s accounts, freezing it if Larry runs. With nothing else left to do, Larry gives Michael the gun and acts like a scared witness when the police arrive; meanwhile Michael leaves immediately, but not before Larry promises to return someday.

(Image 6 – Larry promises to return someday…)

Jack Fleetwood leaves town, and so does Nate and his wife……NOT to Madeline’s regret. She tells Michael that her life is here in Miami – and that she couldn’t stand Nate’s wife. At the meeting with Gilroy, Michael gives Gilroy the information for just the flight he was after, nothing else. Even though Gilroy is displeased at the notable lack of 6 weeks of flight data, when Michael asked him what his plan was, he told Michael that it was to steal a bio-weapon and vaccine on that plane to sell. An obvious lie, Westen says to Sam later, while pretending to believe it to Gilroy’s face. In the end, Michael is back to square one, and determined to find out, and stop, Gilroy once and for all.

MY TAKE

“Partners in Crime” has continued in the Burn Notice tradition of delivering action-packed episodes filled with danger and mystery. Michael Western continues to enthral the viewers with his continual quest to get back in, and the dramatic unfinished endings always leave the viewers wanting more. In “Partners in Crime”, we see more developments in the life of Michael Western’s friends – Sam Axe has a camaraderie with his ex- SEAL buddies that leads to his reluctance to make them unwitting accomplices, and Fiona has an exasperation with Michael slowly becoming more and more like Larry. This episode shows how much Michael needs his friends; that they are more than just allies, and it is interesting to see what happens when Michael’s “favours” push Sam and Fiona to breaking point.

Family, too, played a small part in “Partners in Crime”; despite Nate urging Madeline Westen to live in Vegas, she refuses since her home was with Michael. Altogether, the producers continued to shed some more light into Michael’s background with Larry, and we see the final steps Michael made to finally shake Larry’s influence off himself.

All in all, a thrilling episode true to the Burn Notice series. A massive 4.5 / 5!!!!

To watch / download Burn Notice 3×13 “Partners in Crime”, visit http://www.casttv.com/shows/burn-notice/enemies-closer/ruwmsa

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