Burn Notice Recap: “Comrades”

Sergei Yablonovic. I am a friend of your Michael Westen and won’t tell you anything. They have beaten me, but I have told them nothing. But you, you all have the faces of traitors! What did you tell them?!

The Recap

I apologize. Michael’s brother Nate tells me I should speak to you after all.

Reading through the file Michael received from his Pakistani friend, he discovers Carla’s cover in Kurdistan was as an irrigation consultant. He assumes she might be using the same cover in Miami and sends Sam to investigate. Sam spends $1300 wining and dining Harvey Gunderson until he finally waves a badge and says he’s with the DEA. One quick threat to call the USDA and have Harvey kicked out of his cushy positions and a list of names of irrigation experts in Florida is handed over. That gives Michael a P.O. Box.

Meanwhile, Michael becomes involved in more pressing matters. His brother Nate returns from Fort Lauderdale and brings his brother in on a job, rescuing a kidnapped Ukrainian girl from human smugglers. The girl’s sister Katya needs the help before she gets herself killed attacking the gangster, Ivan, again.

However, in order to find the girls Michael and Sam must coerce information from Ivan. That’s where I come in. With only three days to discover where the traffickers keep the girls before they are killed, Sam realizes he will not break Ivan quickly enough. So I am asked to go inside as another prisoner to gain Ivan’s trust. I do that the only way I know how: by fighting.

The first snippet of information I manage to get from Ivan tells us where to find Takarov, who runs all operations in Florida. Fiona and Sam discover that the top floor of Romanov’s, which serves an excellent borscht, is heat shielded, so they arrange for Fiona to sneak in. Unfortunately, it is only a software pirating operation. So we step up the pressure on Ivan.

I convince him we need to escape and try to warn Takarov. I crack a few of Nate’s ribs, pretend to kill him and Sam, and drive off with Ivan. We go to the safe house and I send Ivan along to tell Takarov the girls have been safely moved. Then Fiona, Sam, and I free the girls. Ivan did not live long enough to enjoy his new freedom.

Character Counts

Tonight saw the return of Nate Westen, played by Seth Peterson. Seth had originally read for the role of Michael and impressed Matt Nix, but didn’t quite fit what he was looking for in his burned spy. He did strike Nix as the perfect annoying little brother, though, and this role was created for him.

That said, I’ve got to be honest; until last year’s season finale, I could not stand Nate. Then it finally hit me that he was playing his role perfectly. I was supposed to be annoyed by him. On re-watching the first season, I really appreciated his performance a lot more.

Tonight we get some nice small moments between, and about, the relationship between the brothers. Nate’s got incredible respect for his brother, even if he doesn’t always like him and Michael finally sees how his own actions and behavior impact his brother, even if it does take a little prompting from Madeline. Seems Nate didn’t really get into big trouble until big brother left home.

The growth between these two, slow and in spurts, feels natural and it’s a pleasure to watch.

Chin Bits

As much fun as Sam had this episode, he didn’t have a whole lot of killer lines. He was central to both stories, abusing his liver with Harvey Gunderson and running the interrogation of Ivan, so I suspect Nix and episode co-writer Jason Ning felt they didn’t need to give The Chin any zingers. I’d tend to agree. The glint in Bruce Campbell‘s eyes at the entire notion of interrogating someone was more than enough for me. He looked like a kid in a candy store.

That said, we did get one awesome exchange where The Chin was the butt of the zinger. After causing a scene in Romanov’s so Fiona could slip upstairs, she got him out of the Russian goon’s grip with elan:

Fiona: Take your hands off my father! He has dementia! Do you understand? Can’t you see his mind is gone? He doesn’t even know what he’s saying…
Sam: Daddy?
Fiona: Bet you never thought you’d hear me call you that.

Important Lessons in Spycraft

  • Jobs in agriculture make convenient covers. The downside is you might have to become a chick pea expert
  • You can tell a lot about a tail by the moves they use
  • Torture’s like getting groceries with a flame thrower. Getting information is about creating a new reality
  • No makeup can simulate blood and bruises up close
  • The way a person fights can tell you a lot about where they’re from
  • One of the hardest things to do in a fight is make it look like you’re trying to kill someone without doing permanent damage

Parting Thoughts

Ah, Harvey Gunderson. Let’s review his titles, shall we?

  • Secretary/Treasurer Agricultural Association of South Florida
  • President Miami Water Resources Board
  • Vice President Board of Soil Scientists

The always brilliant Larry Miller guests as the perfect foil for Sam. But I’m actually a little saddened by this, now that I have time to think about it. There’s just no reason to bring Harvey Gunderson back on the show. That means, no more Larry Miller. Damn.

A good, solid episode that pushed forward on all fronts: Michael got more information on Carla, even if it is just a location to stake out; Michael and Nate had their bonding moment; and Sam gave Fi a nice compliment when he suggested she extract Ivan by herself. Plus, Fi tasered herself to take out Ivan. That’s hardcore.

What did everyone else think?

R.A. Porter is an aspiring television writer who currently toils away in the software mines. He can be found at his personal blog and stalked on Twitter.