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Recap: Burn Notice S 1 E 7 Broken Rules

Client of the Week

Michael needs to put some cash together to help in his fight with Bly. A criminal syndicate is squeezing out merchants in a neighborhood in Little Havana and Michael is hired by a shop owner to take them out. Criminals have always been a problem, and extortion a constant, but now the extortion has reached untenable levels and the neighborhood is crumbling.

It turns out that the criminal organization is being run by a particularly ruthless criminal, a woman named Concha. Michael adopts the persona of an unstable and boisterous criminal taking over the neighborhood to convince them to give up control of the neighborhood. He destroys his client's store and violently attacks some of Concha's mooks.

After a small delay that upsets the client (they always want immediate results), Michael continues his intimidation and is brought to meet boss-lady Concha, who wants him to continue her plan using his methods. She's uninterested in old-fashioned control and wants to make a lot of money with real estate, developing the neighborhood on a large scale.

Michael rolls with the changes and pretends to work for Concha. He starts dressing more "Spanish" and expands his attacks to include civilians (Fiona).

Concha asks Michael to kill his client, eliminating that man will knock down the rest of the neighborhood. Michael convinces him to be elsewhere during the attack. Then he convinces Concha's second in command that she has him marked for death, and he agrees to kill her.

With Concha dead and Michael apparently in control of the neighborhood, the villains are out of the picture for the foreseeable future, and the neighborhood is safe. With his blackmail of Bly in place, Michael refuses reward and walks away.

Burn Notice Arc

Michael has learned his new federal agent's name: Jason Bly. Michael outs him as an intelligence agent in a restaurant to make him angry. Bly responds that learning to live with having been fired is a process, and Michael should think about what could happen not just to himself, but to his friends and family as well. Fiona pulls up in a stolen car with illegal weapons in the trunk, just as sirens start to blare in the distance. Michael and Fiona have to flee.

Bly and Michael have another chat, in which Michael presses for information about his burn notice, and Bly counters that Michael should get a new life. Bly offers him a complete package to that end. A job as a security guard. Safe, boring, reliable, and with no opportunities to cause Westen-style trouble.

Instead, Michael asks money-launderer Barry to set up a surprise business relationship between Michael and Bly. Barry agrees in return for a small amount of money and the promise of a future favor.

Bly shows up at Michael's apartment, continuing the pressure on Michael to accept the lowly job of security job. Michael notes that Bly has a new, nicer rental car and Bly continues to threaten Michael's family, specifically his brother and Fiona. Michael appears to knuckle under to Bly's threats.

Meanwhile, Michael uses the money fronted by the client of the week in partnership with the skills of money-launderer Barry to make it appear that Michael and Bly are in a close business relationship with more than $100,000 in cash. This and the events of the episode make it look like he and Michael are in a closer relationship than is actually the case. This allows Michael to blackmail Bly and get him to back off and give Michael information.

Using this blackmail, Michael successfully gets his hand on the dossier behind his burn notice and Bly leaves town. Meanwhile, Michael takes Bly's car.

Michael and Fiona

Michael and Fi have been dancing around their relationship for some time now. She's not willing to take no for an answer any more. Either Michael puts up or shuts up.

At the end of the episode, they spend some time in hand to hand combat before it upgrades to something more intimate.

Tropes include:

  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The cutscene where Michael and Fi put together a bomb is surprisingly playful.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Military firebombs use chemicals that are ridiculously toxic, unstable, and explosive. Homemade firebombs are more reliable, if less effective.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Fiona's "terror". After screaming in "fear", she punches Michael a lot, gives him her purse, and drives away.
  • The Baroness: Concha is a dark and dominant woman, darker than the show has seen so far, and the first to die by Team Westen's manipulation.
  • Bilingual Bonus: After Michael mugs Fi, Diego says "No tiene nada aquí" while tapping his head. That's Spanish for "You don't have anything up here."
  • Blackmail: How Michael gets Bly to back off.
  • Blatant Lies: "Me, I get to be the psycho. Trust me, that's the hard part. RAAAAAGH!" The client is unimpressed.
  • Call Back: This week's client is Hispanic, like Michael's first client, Javier, who referred him to Michael.
  • Catch Phrase: Michael's typical "I'll see what I can do" is attacked by a client who wants him to be more certain.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many of the events of the episode, like Bly being in Michael's apartment without a warrant and the red convertible he's mysteriously upgraded to. These are all part of Michael's eventual blackmail.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Michael's crazy thief persona is perhaps quicker and brutal than he normally is, taking thugs down with a few quick punches and a baseball bat.
  • Culturally Distinct Neighborhood: This week's episode takes place in Little Havana, which is 85% Latino and Hispanic and it shows. Gringos Michael, Fiona, and Sam are out of place.
  • Cute Bruiser: "All right, but if I'm not satisfied with your answers, I'm gonna kick your ass."
  • Distressed Damsel: Fiona objects to the notion that she might not have gotten away from the cops without Michael's help.
  • The Dragon: Assistant crime boss Diego Cruz.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Diego, The Dragon, is old school. He doesn't like Concha's technical plans or heavy-handed tactics. He like his crime to be in your face, personal... caring.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Michael's identity is rapidly becoming this in certain circles. Javier, his first client, failed to keep quiet about Michael's role in his salvation.
  • Family Business: The client's father built his store; most of the neighborhood businesses are the same.
  • Femme Fatale: Concha is willing to use her feminine wile when recruiting Michael.
  • Foreshadowing: Pointing out that it's bad business practice to demand more than your victims can pay. Concha's interested in real estate potential, not barrio businesses.
  • Genre Savvy: "If it makes you feel any better, she's planning to kill me, too."
  • Hyper Awareness: Michael's aware that Bly is sitting on the stairs leading up to his apartment even before he opens the gate leading to his courtyard.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: "As cover I Ds go I prefer 'rich businessman' or 'international playboy' to 'crazy thief', but if the situation calls for it you do what you have to do."
  • I Know Your True Name
    Michael [Narrating]: For anyone working in covert ops, names have a special power.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Their fight at the end of the episode clearly and completely mixes both for Mike and Fi. It's mostly fight until it's mostly sex, but it's never not both.
  • Karmic Death: Concha was going to have Michael killed by her henchman, who was also going to kill Michael's client and blow up his store. Instead, the henchman, upset by her ruthless tactics, blows her up.
  • Keep the Reward: Michael gives back most of the shopkeep's money. Turns out he just needed some cash to run through a bank account a few dozen times so he could blackmail Bly by making it look like he'd given him a lot of money.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Michael really intimidates some of Concha's Mooks. He disables their car, drills some holes in the roof, douses them with turpentine, and threatens them with a horrible death.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: See Slap-Slap-Kiss
  • MacGyvering: A military expert can put together a homemade firebomb in a few hours. An IRA trained guerilla can do it in twenty minutes, give or take.
  • Made of Iron: Ernie, the client, expects Michael to be this; Michael disabuses him and convinces him a more subtle approach is appropriate.
    • Even so, Michael's able to roll with the punches and negotiate on the fly while being beaten by Concha's mooks.
  • Manly Tears: This week's client is near tears when Michael refuses payment.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Michael's sheets simultaneously cover more and less of him. It covers all the naughty bits, but he immediately puts on pants, and it only covers Fi's front, so her right side is exposed from tip to toe... and it's delicious.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Diego explains he works for Concha solely because of this trope.
  • My Way or the Highway: Michael pressures the man who hired him into accepting Michael's plan, though it's not what he expected.
  • Nice Hat: Michael grabs one on his way out of the client's shop so he can avoid recognition later on the street.
  • Not So Different: Fiona is upset that Michael criticizes her for having illegal weapons in a stolen car while being chased by the cops, claiming that she has always supported his work. He objects that he's helping people, she's running guns. Big difference.
  • Older Sidekick: Diego, Concha's The Dragon. He's in his sixties while she's in her thirties.
  • Pillow Pistol: Michael and Fiona both sleep with a gun in their hands.
  • Pink Means Feminine: When Michael meets Concha, she's wearing a pink pant suit.
  • Police Are Useless: Usually the cops are useless in a particular case because it's a frame job or the criminals are extra vile. In this case, Michael suggests the cops and... they're just kind of shrugged off.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: To show that Diego, Michael's eventual ally, isn't all good. He calls Concha "That crazy puta..." or "That crazy whore...". He states that he doesn't care about his boss's gender; at his age working on the street isn't an option. Michael's persona, on the other hand... who knows?
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": Michael's minisidle really seems to enjoy his antics.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Diego, The Dragon, surprisingly. He doesn't accept Michael's wild-child act, and demands he act like a sensible, regular criminal. He's also upset with Concha's heavy-handed, manipulative tactics.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Since Sam's connections got a mysterious government agent to back off, his relationship with Veronica gets an upgrade. He gets to keep a toothbrush at her villa, and she gives him a Cadillac. Sam's got buddies.
    • The episode also ends with a big talk between Michael and Fiona...
  • Secret Test of Character: Concha told Diego to kill Michael. He assumes this is the trope when he thinks she told Michael the same thing about him.
  • Series Continuity Error: Michael got a bundle of cash worth thousands of dollars in the previous episode. Perhaps tens of thousands, or even a full hundred grand. Yet in this episode he's once again scrounging for cash.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend
  • Shrouded in Myth: Michael, thanks to his career as a spy, doesn't have job references or anything like that.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Michael and Fiona spend some time fighting before they start kissing. Then they start fighting again, then they start kissing again. Is she his girlfriend? Who knows?!
  • The Starscream: Michael convinces Diego to turn on Concha.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sam and Fi are definitely making moves in his direction from Headbutting Heroes, with Sam asking Fi for relationship advice and the two working well together on the mission, despite very different styles.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Michael at the end of the episode, freshly showered, bedewed, and extra lickable. Fiona agrees.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Diego attacks Michael for mugging a random civilian. That sort of crime will attract the cops. Fortunately, it's entirely in character for Michael both as a crazy crook and as a savvy operator, as random street crime will drive down real estate prices even faster and is something a typical mook wouldn't do.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Fiona. Again.
  • Wicked Cultured: Concha has a lot of nice artwork, and nice liquor, and shark jaws, and some plants.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: During their fight at the end of the episode, Michael socks Fi and immediately apologizes.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Fiona asks how Sam could possibly deserve such wonderful gifts from his lady friends. He replies "Wouldn't you like to know?" but the implication is clearly the opposite.


Burn Notice S 1 E 6 Unpaid DebtsRecap/Burn NoticeBurn Notice S 1 E 8 Wanted Man

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