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October 4, 2015

'Burn Notice' - 'Hard Time' Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 13th 2010 1:15AM
This episode of 'Burn Notice' was promoted as a big confrontation between Simon and Michael, but the two face-to-face encounters felt more like a nibble than a meal. I expected more about the bible -- what was that code? -- and Simon's end game. Instead, we got a larger story that echoed the Fox show 'Prison Break.' For more on that and Fiona's fondness for chewing gum, read on.

The set up had Michael studying Simon's dossier for the meeting, using his brains and absorbing all the intel he could on what makes Simon tick. Unfortunately, the only tell-tale clue that Michael was able to discern involved handcuffs. By then, Simon struck and Michael had to get a clue from Simon by way of a stab in the shoulder.

Simon was up for playing, or at least pretending to play, with Michael. Before the knife wound, he gave Michael the info about the grave. Fiona was tasked with grave-digging duties, after Sam did the heavy work. This was one episode where the Westen crew seemed a little shorthanded. They could have used a couple of more operatives.

But you had to be impressed with Fiona's abilities, not to mention her grit. The way she figured out the chemistry and handled the tools to un-booby trap the coffin reminded me of Barney on 'Mission: Impossible,' only Fiona doesn't perspire as much.

Fiona's visit to Michael in prison was also sweet. The lip lock transfer of a wire to pick a lock was a hell of a French kiss.

Michael had to be the prisoner to protect Juan because Sam had already been identified. Juan was Sam's unsuspecting client, and by extension, Juan became Michael's problem.

With the help of the FBI guys from last week -- remember that they owed Michael a favor? -- Michael was given a "get into jail free" card!

Prison was nasty and Michael definitely had to use his skills to keep Juan alive. It was his smarts that reminded me of Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) in 'Prison Break.'

The body armor from the library and arranging for a single file attack in the cell was clever, but the break out seemed like a reach. What made it work was the unexpected twist. Cruz didn't follow the plan and when Juan broke his leg, Michael had to improvise.

Getting Cruz out in Juan's place, and then making some calls for him to be apprehended as a fugitive, solved Juan's problem. Now that was clever. Even Sam thought so.

Once Juan was out and reunited with his family, Michael, Sam and Fiona could go through Simon's stash. The key item was the cassette tape in which Vaughn was identified as one of the people who burned Michael ... assuming the tape was legit.

Michael's second meet with Simon was quite different than the first. Simon said he and Michael were brothers who had been betrayed by Vaughn. And the guy to get Vaughn was John Barrett, an industrialist who Simon characterized as a king, compared to the two of them, who were just pawns.

Simon told Michael to deliver the bible to Barrett and Vaughn would be destroyed, which was justice for Vaughn having burned them. Michael smiled, but was he buying the story?

Michael reported back to Vaughn, and Vaughn said they would go after Barrett ... surgically. Hmm, I wonder. Two episodes left and Barrett is going to be played by Robert Patrick of 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' and 'The X-Files' fame. Should be interesting. Will he be a good guy or a bad guy?

Other points of interest

-- Jesse seemed oddly out of this episode. Was Coby Bell busy with something else or was it just a writers thing to not include him?

-- Cruz was a one-dimensional bad guy. That was disappointing.

-- If Michael really believes that Vaughn was one of the guys who burned him, is it such a shock? After all, management had basically told him that when he captured Simon last season.

-- Sam's loyalty to his current partners and former partners is just one of the reasons he's a great character.

Dialogue We Liked

-- "I just told a psychopath what he wanted to hear." - Michael to Vaughn re Simon

"You would do that for my friend?" - Sam
"I would do that for you." - Michael

"You really want to know?" - Michael
"No, not really." - FBI agent

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Maybe I missed it, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned the really striking parallels between Escher and the Bagwell character from "Prison Break." In this episode, it's like Dillahunt is playing Bagwell--Bible quotes, phrases like "the same," and all--with a subtler accent. Bagwell was a great character, at least in the first season of "Break," but I don't see the need to make rip-offs this blatant. Kind-of disappointing.

August 29 2010 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Those were some menacing smiles between Michael and Simon on the beach. All they need is a fake smile from Dexter to create the Sociopath trifecta.

August 13 2010 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

another fun fact, i noticed that during the prison break the nametag on Sam's uniform was "Campbell"

August 13 2010 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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