Burn Notice: “Sins of Omission”


Well it wasn’t the right time when we met. It wasn’t the right time when we started dating. It wasn’t the right time when I moved to Miami. No, it was the right time to tell me when she showed up on your front step. Is that about right?

We’re winding down the season and ratcheting up the tension for Michael and friends. First and foremost, Michael needs to deal with the threat Victor poses, so he tells Carla a story, leaving out only the one small detail that her pet has bitten through his leash. He needs Carla to get the suits and sunglasses detail to back off so his hunter can approach, so it’s time to start opening up.

Maybe he should have started that a little bit sooner, at least to Fiona.

The Recap

After Michael’s first meeting with Carla, he has Sam bring Madeline back to the loft so they can hunker down and keep her safe from Victor. She objects to the fact that Michael couldn’t see fit to pick her up, but all is quickly forgotten when…Sam(antha) shows up. Michael’s ex-fiancee, Sam(antha) has come to Michael for the same reason everyone does: for his help.

Sam(antha) was forced to steal the control chip for an advanced UAV ((Honestly, in another five years we’ll ALL have UAVs of our own. And they’ll cost under a grand.)) when Brennan: Black Market Trader/Evil Son of a Bitch kidnapped her son Charlie. Her nine-year-old son. At least she says he’s nine in order to make Michael think he might be the father despite her protestations. Turns out Charlie’s actually younger, but Sam(antha) felt she needed that extra nudge.

Brennan, played by Jay Karnes from The Shield, is smart. Smart enough that he sees through each of Michael’s ruses. Michael and Fi break in to his condo boldly? He knows they’re trying to make a splash. Offer to help him test the chip? He knows it’s an attempt to steal it. Offer to help secure his hangar? He moves the meeting onto the tarmac.

Brennan’s smart, but not quite smart enough and not quite lucky enough.

Victor’s fortuitous presence at the fenceline during the chip test saves Michael and Fi, and quick thinking by the two Sams derails the sale of the chip. At that point, Brennan knows he’s screwed and needs to keep the authorities from being on his tail while he’s hiding out from the buyers who were screwed.

I really liked Karnes’ portrayal of a man who could match wits with Michael and am happy he wasn’t killed, captured, or assuaged by episode’s end. He’s got a grudge and we can be almost certain he’ll be back again. The more bad guys who can keep up with Michael and company, the more interesting the show is, so I’m glad he didn’t pull a Lucy Lawless.

On the Victor front…well, Shanksy is insane. In the good way, really. There are a handful of actors who play this particular type of mania very well and Shanks is one of them. His crazy eyes and coiled body mask, but don’t hide, the intelligence of his psychopathic character. Each move is calculated, each move is planned, and he’s an equal to Michael. Or, as Sam said, “Victor’s a lot like you, only with rabies.”

We also learned something new about Victor tonight: he’s been working for Carla for five years and was also burned by Phillip Cowen.


Well. This one was all about character interactions and emotions, wasn’t it? I imagine the season finale is going to be a bang-bang shoot-em-up, so Matt Nix and writers Craig O’Neill & Jason Tracey needed to hit these emotional beats strong this week. They succeeded.

Sam, and to a lesser extent Sam(antha), are the only ones enjoying this reunion of old lovers. For Michael, Fi, and Madeline there’s just a lot of tension and betrayal. Fi…well that quote leading off the review sums up her feelings pretty well. She feels she doesn’t even merit the consideration from Michael to have told her about his ex-fiancee. She wears a very gauzy mask when interacting with Sam, but it’s obvious to everyone she’s jealous and hurt. Sam makes sure to needle her on several opportunities. Her little “game” of stealing Michael’s wallet, and making sure Fi knows she and Michael used the plan to take the hangar before Fi and Michael did stand out.

Of course this is Fiona, so her aggressive-passive-aggressive nature gives us a laugh or two:

Michael: Samantha and I used to work together.
Fiona: Samantha and Michael slept together.
Michael: We worked most of the time.”

But Fi’s not the only one to feel betrayed. Madeline is hurt her son never told her about his almost-wife. But she’s a smart mom. She knows what’s best: “Michael, you picked the right girl. I just hope you’re not waiting for her to propose, too.”

Because Michael surely did pick. He didn’t walk away from Sam for no reason.

Sam and I worked because she was like me…and then I met you. It was different. It was never easy. You knew a part of me she never did. And I left her because you don’t marry someone when you love somebody else.

Chin Bits

Maybe I was too caught up in the emotions on display and the interesting performances from Shanks and Karnes, but I didn’t notice the usual number of bon mots from The Chin tonight. Just a couple grabbed me:

  • “So, another Sam. This is going to be confusing, huh?
  • “Anybody else need a drink? No? Okay.” Not the funniest of lines per se, but delivered as it was, to escape the glare of Fi and Madeline, it was pitch perfect.
  • “He’s got a last name like a female middle distance runner, but this is a bad man.”

Important Lessons in Spycraft

  • The site of a deal can tell you a lot about who you’re doing business with, be it public, private, or a mixture of the two. In the latter case, it implies someone who knows what he is doing.
  • Black market transactions generally occur in the same way: the good are inspected then payment is brought to the table. This is to limit the exposure by both parties.
  • Cover IDs are normally designed to blend in, but they can also be used to make a splash. If the target has a background in intel, however, they won’t be fooled.
  • Basic security techniques haven’t changed in thousands of years: get a better view of approaching danger, fortify walls, and arm yourself. Hardening to outside attacks is straightforward, so it’s easiest to attack from the inside.
  • In high security areas there are few cameras because security personnel don’t have clearance to see what goes on there. Instead, they are fortified.
  • A piece of det cord with a reinforced polyester hose will make a simple shaped charge.
  • High security areas are designed to deal with small disturbances. So setting off large disturbances can cause them to fail.

What did everyone else think?