One of the most amazing things about Burn Notice is the way Florida seems to be a hotspot for the CIA, various disreputable entities, and other not-so-natural disasters waiting to happen. As the series has progressed, so have Michael’s adversaries and, by extension, the stakes of the game they’re all playing. So, it’s with little surprise that as Anson (Jere Burns) continues to pull Westen’s strings, the innumerable other strings he’s undoubtedly pulling begin to come out of the woodwork. It’s almost as if Anson’s web of control was inadvertently creating a system for likeminded individuals to meet, due to the sheer magnitude of the thing. Somehow, Anson has created a social network for burned or otherwise forcibly corrupted spies.
While Anson doesn’t figure directly in ‘Under the Gun,’ his presence – as is it has been all season – is always felt. And at four episodes into season 6, we’re still surprisingly dealing with Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) playing Shawshank, with a proverbial target on her back. So far, it’s been a nice change of pace for the series that helps to up the ante of each episode – even when they dawdle a little bit like ‘Under the Gun.’
Since Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) is currently without his resident butt-kicking female, it seems only fitting that a new one be (temporarily) brought in. Thankfully, that happens to be Rebecca (Kristanna Loken) in full Terminator mode. Michael, Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse (Coby Bell) take a little road trip to the Everglades to meet up with a corrupt prison guard, only to find Rebecca has already dispatched him. With the odds suddenly no longer in her favor, Rebecca promptly takes Sam hostage and begins her escape – temporarily disabling the Charger in the process.
With Sam zip tied to the steering wheel, and Rebecca acting as angry navigator, the episode slips into that familiar Burn Notice trope of a wayward soul being shown the error of their ways by the more advanced, well-planned tactics of Michael, Sam and Jesse.
Even though Michael is hot on their tail, seemingly ready to do whatever it takes to ensure his friend and partner remains safe, Sam immediately gets to work on rewiring his Terminator to the side of good. Soon he discovers that, like every other highly trained individual in the series, there is another component being used as leverage against Rebecca. In this instance, Rebecca’s brother Trent is an Anson target, and she’s willing to kill corrupt prison guards, Sam and whoever else to ensure his safety. But Sam’s not going to have it that way, and Burn Notice is finally set to put the former military man front and center this season.
Sam keeps Rebecca from killing the first poor schlub to cross their path, and even manages to get him some information for Michael before he’s knocked unconscious and locked in the trunk. Later, a traffic cop stops the pair after Sam takes the command to “step on it” literally, and the scene turns into an attempt to avoid a Fargo situation. The two play their roles well enough that the cop buys the battered wife routine and off they go. With each diffused encounter, Sam attempts to win Rebecca over to his anti-Anson cause, simply by showing her another way of doing things; one that doesn’t involve shooting the first person you see. Given the amount of gunplay and explosions that Sam, Michael and Fiona typically cook up on the average Burn Notice episode, its always entertaining to watch them try and slow down someone even more prone to violence.
As Michael and Jesse close in on Sam and Rebecca, things go from bad to potentially stabby for Fiona in prison. She’s attacked by The Sisters while heading to the mess hall, and likely would have been killed were it not for the intervention of a guard. Knowing her chances for survival against two women capable of getting switchblades into a prison are slim, Fiona sets out to get The Sisters tossed into solitary – but that requires getting a package for Ayn from her ex-husband. Of course the best person to do that is currently running around the Everglades, so, in her motherly way, Madeline (Sharon Gless) steps in and tries to get the package. Unfortunately, Ayn’s ex is every bit as loathsome as she described, stopping just short of seriously injuring Madeline before kicking her out, sans package.
Meanwhile, Sam has one last chance to show Rebecca there’s a better way. Too bad for him it’s while trying to talk down some meth cooks with five pounds of C4 strapped to his back. Before Sam can negotiate the use of an airboat from the meth cookers, Rebecca begins spraying lead, causing everyone but Sam to flee. In the commotion, Sam manages to get a call to Michael and later his lady friend, Elsa. Being spy-tastic, just like Michael, Rebecca pulls a switcheroo; separating Jesse from Michael and an injured Sam, so she may kill them. With a little compassion, Michael is able to talk Rebecca down and apparently get her to join them against Anson.
When she was first introduced, it seemed like Rebecca was going to be another Larry Sizemore (Tim Matheson), popping up every now and then to irritate Michael and his crew, only to disappear into the ether. As ‘Under the Gun’ progressed, however, it became clear that Rebecca would gradually be won over by the crew – unless, of course, someone isn’t being entirely honest about whom this Trent character really is.
Finally, in a Superman II moment, Madeline returns to the bully that roughed her up, but instead of having superpowers, she let’s Michael beat the snot out of Ayn’s ex – with a little arm breakage in return for the bruise on Madeline’s face. As a result, Fiona’s would-be assailants end up in solitary, but she notices there was no way the package could have arrived early enough for Ayn to arrange for the cell inspection. It turns out, Ayn gambled a bit on learning to trust again, and it looks like Fiona may finally have a decent ally in prison.
Burn Notice returns next week with ‘Split Decision’ @9pm on USA. Take a look at a preview below: