Burn Notice season 1 episode 4 review

DIY surgery, knife fights and a daylight kidnapping? Just another week in Miami for burned spy Michael Weston, in Fight Or Flight.

4. Fight Or Flight

DIY surgery, knife fights and a daylight kidnapping? Just another week in Miami for burned spy Michael Weston, in Fight Or Flight.

Still holed up in Miami, burned spy Michael Westen has a little more on his plate than usual this episode. In addition to helping the hopeless in Flight Or Flight, Mike also has to deal with a gambling addicted brother and a large Czech man hell bent on killing him. And he was worried Miami wouldn’t be exciting.

Kicking back and having a few beers with Big Sam in a rare moment of downtime, Michael works on his civilian persona by boning up on sports trivia. The downtime doesn’t last long, though. Eagle eyed as always, Mike spots an old acquaintance in the bar. Well, less of an acquaintance and more of an assassin – he’s in trouble. Dealing with the threat by starting a fight with a random drunk, our ex-spy starts the show as he means to go on – by running away.

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No sooner is he home than he gets a call from the ever-needy Maddy, which, as always, is a cover for something else. Accosted by his brother Nate, after the obligatory manly tussle, Mike finds himself on the case of a missing 18-year-old. The daughter of an old school friend, Jenna wants to be a model, and just happens to have bumped into a modeling scout at a club, who handed her off to the Wilhelm Brothers.

The brothers, who, to the untrained eye are charity auction attendees and occasional photographers, are actually pimps who send naïve girls to the Middle East where blonds with a little fight are at a premium. Jenna, of course, is under the impression she’s going to Dubai for a modeling job, and leaves in two days. After wangling an invite to one of pimp brother’s exclusive parties with a little help from Nate’s gambling experience, Mike discerns that the best way to snatch Jenna is on the way to the airport.

Job planned, Mike can get back to the more pressing matter of his impending assassination. After a quick master class on how best to defend from a knife attack, quickly followed by some more running away, the ex-spook gets another call from Mrs. Michael – a legitimate one this time. Having spent far too long whining about getting his half of the money, Nate had a nasty run-in with the reason why he needs it, and they took the interest out on his face. In front of his mum. That is cold.

Despite the face/fist interaction, Mike refuses to hand over the cash, so Nate decides to break into Michael’s place just and take it. Which would be fine, except Mike being the necessarily paranoid guy he is, has booby-trapped the front door with an enormous shotgun. Racing over to his apartment to avert a pointblank shot to Nate’s freshly bruised face, Mike momentarily forgets about the large hit man stationed outside his apartment. In the very small, very quiet gun battle that follows, the usually untouchable Westen actually takes a bullet. Ok, so it was a ricochet, but it still counts.

Luckily, the commotion distracts Nate long enough to enable him to keep his face, and once safely inside, we get a quick tutorial on how to remove a bullet without any medical training. Or equipment.

Mike might have saved Nate’s life, but the impromptu battle meant that he missed his appointment with an extraction. Sam and Fi improvised, and Jenna’s Dubai trip has been postponed for 24 hours. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Jenna’s dad took it upon himself to visit the pimp compound and now the brothers know that someone wants her back. Inspired by the events of the past couple of days, Mike comes up with a new plan, and the trio snatches the younger pimp brother instead.

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With the pimp safely stashed in the trunk of a car, Mike knows he can ask the older brother for pretty much anything he wants in exchange for his safe return. He talks the pimp into not only releasing Jenna, but somehow gets him to hand over all the money he’s made from pimping women. The man is nothing if not persuasive.

Job done, it’s time to deal with Mike’s would be dispatcher, for good this time. Thanks to the Czech’s penchant for hotdogs, and a severe peanut allergy, Westen gets the chance to interrogate the hit man – although as the guy is choking to death, he’s doesn’t get much. Sam has the FBI pick him up, but he’s dead by morning. Apparently, it was a suicide and had absolutely nothing to do with the two shady agents the FBI released him to. Nothing at all. Clearly, someone wants Michael alive and well, and is willing to kill anyone who threatens him. Who knew he was so special?

Still laying some of the character groundwork, Fight Or Flight filled in some more of the Westen family dynamic. As the problem solver and all round go to guy for his Mum and brother, it’s no wonder Mike prefers a war zone to his family. Although, it’s doubtful Maddy is anywhere as helpless as she makes out to her first born.

Mike’s most comfortable when he’s solving problems, or getting shot at, and she has no qualms about being an enormous problem if that’s what it takes. It’s kind of sweet in a twisted way, like most of Mike’s relationships.

With Fiona keeping her ‘where is this going?’ obsession under control, it was Big Sam’s turn to feel the wrath of Mike’s arctic shoulder. Putting the puppy dog eyes to good use this week, his penchant for FBI funded lunches is not winning him many friends. Hopefully, creator Matt Nix has some better, less distasteful things in store for Sam; the character has the potential to be fabulous, and it would be a shame to waste the considerable talents of the big man.

Another well-constructed, glossy episode from what is becoming an incredibly enjoyable series, Fight Or Flight gave us more sun, sarcasm, explosions and survival tips than should really be legal. Just the thing for a miserable September – book your ticket to Miami immediately!

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Check out our review of episode 3 here.