Made you look!
Our good friend mamabird commented a couple of weeks ago that this show was getting very Burn Noticey, and it totally is. I love Burn Notice because it’s got that awesome breezy smirky 80s vibe going; Michael Weston is Magnum PI with McGyvery skills and a touch of Mr. Wizard (“Hey kids! Did you know you could use an upside down can of that keyboard cleaner air poofy stuff to freeze a metal lock so it’s brittle enough to smash? Science!”). Michael Scofield, on the other hand, is McGyver with a hint of the morose Jack Bauer world-weariness that comes from a few seasons of personal tragedy incurred during repeated attempts to bring down international conspiracies. The point is, PB season 4 = Burn Notice + 24 – Magnum PI + Mission: Impossible + Shakespearean body count. Who can say no to that?4.05 Safe and Sound. Sara’s walking home from the bar. She seems to be much further from the Warehouse of Justice than I initially thought, so whew. She notices Bruce’s credit card missing, and she also notices she’s being followed, so she breaks out into a run, with Wyatt not far behind. She sprints across a busy highway – and in a Prison Break first, does not get hit by a car – and loses him. I love that she’s so good at getting away, incidentally. I’ve always bought her as a kindred spirit for Michael for that reason: She’s not bitchy or feisty or, god forbid, spunky. She’s just smart when it counts. (Nice job, Sarah with an H.)
Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Self is kind of flabbergasted to realize he recognizes one of the other Scyllites from Michael’s grainy cellphone stills. It’s Griffin Orin from the Department of the Treasury [topical "economic clusterfuck" joke redacted due to insufficient funds], and he works in Self’s building. Michael’s all, well hey, there’s a bit of good luck, here’s a Data Sucker Upper for you, find an excuse to stand next to him for a couple of minutes and welcome to the team!
So this scene, with Mahone and his wife, holy crap. Every time I think William Fichtner has completely tapped out the “oh dear lord I am actually physically crippled with despair” thing, he proves me wrong, and Callie Thorne gets an A+ for holding her own here when she could easily have been overshadowed to the point of invisibility. They have a clandestine and heartbreaking meeting at a diner. She picks Wyatt out of a photo lineup with a very convincing wide-eyed gasp of visceral terror. He says he’ll call her when it’s done, then falls apart, and she makes it very clear that she does not blame him for this. Which is pretty nice, cause I probably would. She’s pissed beyond all reason, but it’s not at Mahone. She used to hate the way he obsessed over finding his man, but she’s totally on board in this particular case. She slips him a poorly concealed handgun. The whole thing is brief and intense and, worst of all, believable. Anyone with dry eyes after this scene should see an old-school Exorcist-type priest, because clearly some malevolent entity has removed your soul.
So whose job is it at FOX to kill puppies in front of William Fichtner before he has to shoot a scene like this? I bet it’s Sean Hannity.
T-Bag the batshit nuts murderer Cole Pfeiffer the greatest salesman ever is having a nice cup of tea with his bird book when his babysitter Andy stops by to check on him. The smarminess that was only hinted at last time is front and center this week, as Andy wonders aloud when Mr. Extra Best Salesman is going to do some actual sales-related work instead of sitting around practicing. Good question! After Andy leaves, T-Bag is all “Ouch!” and a drop of tea blops itself on to the open bird book, revealing some cool heat/water activated invisible ink. I sure wish Michaels Scofield and/or Weston were around to explain it to us! He wipes the whole page down to reveal a simple drawing of two horizontal lines joined by a ladder.
And speaking of T-Bag, some of the Superfriends are arguing about whether or not he’s worth bothering with. Linc doesn’t want anyone to risk being recognized, but Sucre thinks they’ll need him and/or the book for the eventual break-in. Michael agrees and sends Bellick with Sucre to canvas the office park area where they encountered him earlier. Roland salivates at the very idea of his Data Sucker Upper being so close to the Treasury department computers, but Michael just wants the card, thanks.
Self uses his Homeland Security badge to scare Orin’s secretary into letting him in without an appointment. He flashes his badge around urgently but Orin, without even looking up from his desk, tells him to take it up with Angela down the hall. He doesn’t even let Self get through his bullshit “terrorists are using fake bear bonds to destroy freedom!” cover story – he’s leaving for Asia in a few hours but he has a meeting with Self’s boss before he goes. Surely if it’s this important he’ll hear about it then. During this patronizing, bitchy lecture, he stops to put something in his wall safe, and Roland’s Data Sucker Upper suddenly and briefly goes nuts. He threatens Self in a way that seems suspiciously disproportionate for the offense of showing up without an appointment, so I’d smell a rat even if we didn’t already know he was evil. Self is rendered speechless and backs out all “o…kay.” Once he gets in touch with Michael they quickly figure out the card is in the safe. This complicates things, especially since Orin made it pretty clear that Self shouldn’t show his face in that office again, even if he’s pushing a wheelbarrow full of forged bear bonds with “Osama Bin Laden wuz here!” written on every one. (I bet he dots that “i” with a heart.) Anyway, Michael enthusiastically pooh-poohs Self’s emphatic doubts about getting in the front door, let alone the safe. He tells Self to just get him the blueprints of the building; they’ll do the rest. Hopefully he doesn’t have to tattoo these anywhere, cause he’s probably still pretty sore from having his torso melted off a couple of days ago.
Sara comes huffing into the Batcave, telling a worried Michael that she was being followed, but she’s fine, she lost him a mile back. Before she can finish describing Wyatt, Mahone pops up out of nowhere with the same photo he showed Pam. “This the guy?” Yep, that’s the one. “That’s the guy who killed my son,” he mutters sadly. Outside, he quizzes Sara on when she saw him and how he might have found her. She’s ashamed to admit where she’d been, but Mahone is all, please, my personal demons make your personal demons look like Keebler Elves, I don’t give a shit if you were in a bar. Yes, of course she paid cash, but d’oh, now that he mentions it, Bruce’s credit card is missing.
“No, Michael, we do not have time to tattoo these on your scalp.”
Self lays the blueprints out for Michael and Linc to study. They need to get to the 10th floor, but first there is the small matter of actually entering the building itself. Michael realizes that the parking garage is the best way, and Self reluctantly agrees to smuggle them in with his van, because at this point, why not?
So Gretchen is apparently being held in LA, which is convenient. Was General Baldy’s entire operation always based out of LA? Is that where he had his secret limo meetings with Agent Kim and I just assumed it was DC or Chicago because that’s where all the other stuff happened? I’m confused. Anyway, Wyatt smooshes some goo under his nose – you know, the kind cops and medical examiners use when they have to deal with something particularly foul-smelling, above and beyond your average decaying corpse – so that can’t be good. He tells her that Sara’s in LA, which means Michael’s probably there too. Does she know anything about that? “She’s a slippery little bitch, isn’t she!” is all she has to say about Sara, and ha. She sure is. Gretchen is not responding to physical torture, so they’ve decided to move on to truly disturbing psychological methods, i.e., grossing her out as thoroughly and methodically as possible via buckets of stink. It’s scarier than it sounds, and Wyatt has a nice monologue about how visceral and fundamental smell is and blah blah, but I’ve seen this lady get waterboarded, and she probably knows her way around a Paul Kellermanâ„¢ Brand Dismemberment Kit* (*corpse not included), so I’m thinking it’s going to take more than “Iwww! Stinky!” to break her down. She doesn’t know anything; that’s her story and she’s sticking to it. She’s also sticking to her plan of digging a nail out of her chair, and she’s making good progress.
“Cower before my fearsome milk mustache!”
Michael, using Self’s crude drawings, has identified the model of wall safe in Orin’s office. They can’t fake his fingerprint even if they could get into his office, which they can’t. Also, the safe has a seven thousand digit combination and is made of layer upon layer of an impregnable Kryptonite alloy, or something. So their only option is drilling through, with something really big and really loud, surrounded by Federal employees, in the middle of the day. But hey, Self happens to know the guy in the office next door well enough to ask him to lunch, so he can at least get them some alone time in that room. In theory. If they make it that far. Self reminds them that there are people whose job it is to cover every base and make this kind of thing impossible. Michael, with uncharacteristic but charming and well-deserved bravado, scoffs that they had those guys at Fox River too.
In the Situation Room of the Warehouse of Justice, Sara and Roland are helping Mahone track Wyatt. They know what time the credit card was used, and that Sara noticed him on her walk home about a half an hour later. These guys are efficient! Mahone uses this information to draw a 9-mile radius around the bar where Wyatt had to have come from. It’s going to be a motel, close to the freeway, the kind that doesn’t ask too many questions.
T-Bag, struggling, amusingly, with a tea bag, asks Booberella for a fresh cup, but “TrishAnn” (who are her parents, Cletus and Brandine The Slack-Jawed Yokels from The Simpsons?) can’t leave the desk at the moment. Also, it’s not 1962 and this isn’t Mad Men, get your own damn tea, sheesh. But what has captured TrishAnn’s attention so? Why, it’s Bellick and Sucre, holding up a photo of
Theodore Bagwell, Notorious Psychopath Cole Pfeiffer, Greatest Salesman Ever. They ask if she’s seen this guy, cause um. They’re from an insurance company, and um, this guy just inherited a bunch of money, and they’re offering $10k for anybody who can point them in the right direction. It’s a thoroughly lame cover story, and Booberella tells them she doesn’t know the guy. Bellick gives her his number just in case, and they leave, much to T-Bag’s bewildered relief.
So hey, showtime! Self gets into the parking garage with no problem, and he backs his enormous Church Van up against the wall so Michael and Linc – wearing suits – and Bellick and Sucre – wearing generic maintenance guy clothes – can spill out into the elevator. Sucre gets the elevator to stop between floors so they can crawl up through the empty shaft and into the air ducts.
“Heavens, no, that wasn’t a threat! That was a delightful story about leprechauns!”
T-Bag is hiding in his office when Booberella confronts him; a couple of guys just offered her $10k to give him up, but she figures Cole Pfeiffer has a better offer. Ooh, sneaky. T-Bag is kind of impressed,. “Why, TrishAnn, you just caught yourself a leprechaun!” Her wish is that he relinquish his commencement check, and here’s where Robert Knepper gets to do that awesome hellfire preacher thing he does so well. It’s true, he says, going from charmingly eccentric to lock-your-doors batshit nuts in 6.0 seconds, that leprechauns are bound to grant their captor’s wishes. But! “If they deem her to be greedy or covetous, whatever she desires will certainly be accompanied with Disastrous. Tidings.” That last bit is sort of hissed out very deliberately, in a way that makes you go, oh right, I remember this guy! He’s fuckin’ scary! Clearly, Booberella is not used to being outcrazied, but neither is she smart enough to know what she’s up against. She revises her offer: 3% of his commission. Done! T-Bag can afford to spare 3% of zero dollars. Check and mate, Chesty.
Self shows up for his lunch meeting with Orin’s neighbor Sam Middleton, but Sam was planning on eating in. Self quickly saves the day by claiming he’s a vegetarian. As they head out, he not-especially-surreptitiously squirts a hilarious amount of ink onto the carpet outside the office. Bellick and Sucre drop down from the ceiling into a supply closet and have a brief encounter with a fortunately dense employee, whose shirt Michael’s nose bleeds on from the grate above.
Topic: Is this in fact the sexiest nosebleed ever? Discuss.
Roland brings Mahone a list of motels that match his search criteria. While he’s there, he decides, for reasons that are unclear to me, to discuss nature vs nurture as pertains to Wyatt. Genes trump everything. “You think this guy wanted to grow up to be a murderer? Probably not.” I know Wyatt a lot better than Roland does, and I’m not so sure he didn’t.
Sucre and Bellick go to Sam’s office and are like “oh dear, someone seems to have squirted an entire mustard bottle of ink right in front of this door. Could someone open it so we can plug in our absurdly loud cleaning equipment?” His assistant reluctantly complies, and Sucre is all, “um, so this is a special stain, and for some totally technical reason we have to leave this really loud thing running for like an hour and a half.” Michael and Linc drop in to the office and use a stud finder to find the safe on the other side of the wall, and you can make your own stud finder joke here. They cut into the drywall and find the back of the super safe from outer space, but before they can start using their um, giant bore-steel-cutter-througher, Linc asks Michael about his nosebleed like he’s seen them before. Michael says it’s no big deal, but apparently it was a big deal when Michael was 13. He doesn’t want Sara to know, and Linc’s all, Sara’s a doctor, genius, she can help you. He says he’s just acclimating to the warmer climate. What, warmer than
Dallas Panama? The point is that obviously there’s a story here, but right now they have a hole to make. It’s a pretty cool hole, too.
Mahone walks into Sara’s bar, and whew, I thought for sure Wyatt would have killed the nice lady bartender, just because hey, he’s right there, why not? But she’s fine, and Mahone tells her that Sara is running from this hot black guy here, she’s in danger, and he needs to find him before she gets hurt. Bartender lady says she saw him leave on foot, then go back to his car to get something. Woohoo, we know what kind of car he’s driving. But I fear he is one step ahead of them, since we see him ask the seedy clerk at the seedy motel for a favor, then hand him a note with $300 attached.
Michael is getting better at this stuff, and so are the other guys I guess, because there are a few near-misses but so far everyone in the office has been absolutely oblivious. The nearest miss, though, is that General Baldy shows up looking for Orin, and waits in his office for him to be pulled frantically from a way less important meeting. Michael, because he is a genetically enhanced superbeing, hears him pacing through the hole in the wall.
Mahone is right behind Wyatt, pulling up at the correct motel and asking the clerk if he’s seen him. The clerk says he checked out, and Mahone asks to search the room. As he’s headed out, he hesitates, and turns back to find seedy clerk guy calling Wyatt: “You wanted to know if anyone came looking for you?” Mahone puts a gun to the clerk’s head, and when Wyatt asks “did they?” the clerk’s all “nope, just getting off work, wanted to keep you posted okbye!” Mahone and his gun recommend that the clerk hand over that note there with Wyatt’s phone number on it.
“You should probably do what I say. Did you see that diner scene earlier? I’m a basketcase!”
So Orin the Cardholder comes into his office to meet General Baldy, and of course they cryptically discuss nefarious dealings, saying things like “final objective,” and “one of our targets has been found in Los Angeles.” Michael’s ears are burning! Turns out Orin’s going Laos too, which is where Lisa went, and Baldy is monitoring their currency, so clearly Laos is in trouble. Also, he set up a meeting for Orin with the finance minister. Interesting. Oh, and one more thing: someone’s been sneaking around Scylla, so he wants everybody to keep their cards on them at all times. He says this just after Michael has reached into their perfectly round hole to grab the card and suck up the data. After much suspense, they get all the data just in time, and Michael is able to put the card back and hold the missing chunk up to the hole in the safe, apparently convincing enough to fool Orin. Everyone makes it out without incident! Practice makes perfect, kids.
Sara, who I don’t think is exactly the Fox News type, is watching a Fox News story on her Blackberry about the runaway inflation in Laos that’s causing food riots. Aha! Nefarious dealings! Wreaking havoc, somehow! It’s always something with these Company types. Sara figures out, and explains to Michael, that it looks like they’re essentially destroying the country’s economy so they can make money off of building it back up. Hmm. Wow, Prison Break, you just gave me a conspiracy theory! She also says she was at a bar earlier, and she didn’t drink but it would be lying if she didn’t tell him, and she wants him to know she’ll never lie to him. Michael needs to work on his boyfriend skills, because he doesn’t say much, even when she apologizes to him for no apparent reason, but I can forgive him because he’s a smoking hot genius superhero.
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, plannin’ criiiiiiiimes
At GATE, Cole Pfeiffer has a visitor. It’s not Mr. Xing, it’s the guy who stabbed Mr. Xing in the gut last week, so it’s probably not good news. He’s displeased with Cole’s progress and wants “the item,” like, yesterday. Here’s the deal: his stipend goes down with each day that passes, until we get to the third day when he just kills him. Booberella, meanwhile, seems to be reconsidering her deal. She contemplates the note with Bellick’s phone number. Heh, “Brad.”
So things are going well for Team Justice – they’ve identified the remaining 3 cardholders, hooray, and they have personal info for two of them. But this other guy, Self says, the bald General, they have no idea. Totally off the radar. Sara remembers that Gretchen called her boss “General.”
Some non-Wyatt lackey brings Gretchen a fresh chum bucket, but she takes him by surprise, grabs his head with her knees, and stabs him in the brain with a wood nail. She takes his keys, unlocks her handcuffs, and strolls unsteadily out. Wyatt is all “nyah nyah, I told you so” to the General, because he wanted to kill her like 3 episodes ago, but the General thinks she’ll come back home. Apparently she always has. And some Company guy pokes his head in to say that Homeland Security has been digging around, doing enhanced image searches for him. Some guy named Don Self. Dun!
I’m liking the weirdly topical arc here, with people running around destroying economies on purpose and whatnot. Cool. And the mission is laid out in nice explicit chunks right now like a video game quest – find all six cards, then pass the big break-in level!- which is pacing things nicely. This show is most interesting when Michael can just be smart, and so far this season has been conducive to those McGyvery plotlines. And the nosebleed stuff leads me to assume we’re going to learn more about Michael’s backstory, which I’ve been gunning for since season 2. Speaking of which, what the hell happened to all those people Aldo was working with? Could those guys still matter? Can the writers bring everything back together?