Season three is certainly heating up as Michael Westen continues to try and get back with his agency to avoid the upcoming 'hell-storm' that he was told is coming his way. We're six episodes in and the rules of engagement have clearly been set. Well, just one rule really, which is that Michael is fair game for whichever enemy from his past wants him dead. This week it appears it's the Ukrainians turn to take a pop at the champ.
The opening scene was quite poignant for me as Fi and Michael are sparring in his loft and she is definitely not pulling any punches. To me it seems every blow is a deafening yet silent question she is asking; "What do you want?!?". We all know what Fi wants and that is for Michael to stop trying to get back with his agency and be with her in Miami (I want that too). I mean, he's free from the people that burned him and Detective Paxon has eased off, so really now is the time for him to decide what he wants truly in his heart.
But there's no time for that to be answered as a mysterious basket of frozen yogurt has arrived on Michael's steps with card inviting him for an introduction to this would-be-free-yogurt-Santa Clause. He doesn't meet Santa Clause. Not even Lost would have that kind of a twist. No, he meets with a man called Tom Strickler. A man as Michael describes to be the 'Agent to the Spies' and offers Westen a little opportunity for profit. It is almost like a poison Olive branch really as although he is giving Michael the heads up on a Ukrainian enemy of his that is in Miami looking for Michael, Strickler wants Michael to kill him and get paid like a mercenary and of course Strickler would get ten percent of the cut as every good booking agent does.
This isn't Michael's style. We know our hero wouldn't kill for money, but there is still the pressing matter that there is an old enemy in town who wants him dead. Fi gives Michael a tip to meet a guy called Beck who might be able to find the Ukrainian, and also more information of who he is (Michael must have a lot of enemies in the Ukraine).
Beck is an uneasy and aggressive character who doesn't want to co-operate with Michael. The meeting has a little bit of Schade-Freuden to it. The good news is that Michael finds the Ukrainians very quickly. The bad news is that they have raided the restaurant and are throwing flash-bang grenades in order to take Michael captive. The only thing he can quickly do is take a picture of his captor with his phone and stash it in a plant-pot dialing Fiona for her to hear the ensuing havoc of a Ukrainian raiding party. She quickly gets on the scene to find the trail of breadcrumbs that is Michael's phone with the picture and gets Sam to get on the case with her.
Not being on to stick around in a tricky situation, Michael discovers that the man who wants him dead is an ex- KGB spy called Chechik and since Michael doesn't necessarily want another run-in with this gentleman when he is at a disadvantage of being handcuffed at gun-point, he hatches his plan of escape. He fakes an argument with Beck to lull the guards into a false sense of conflict between prisoners and attacks them during the tussle in order to escape. How can people still fall for that? That trick has been around since Governor Schwarzenegger made action movies in the 80's. Maybe these guards had not seen those movies before.
The escape plan went well in its own way. Instead of leading to blissful freedom, it has sort of led them into a surrounding Miami swamp with five soldiers chasing them. Michael and Beck are in a bit of an uneasy alliance here. Beck is very hostile and wanted nothing to do with Michael in the first place so now he is even more pissed at the fact he is been hunted by trained killers because of him. Putting their differences aside after a little scrap, Michael and Beck are able to set a small trap for their would-be-captors and injure one of them quite badly in order to lure Chechik out into the swamp. This works perfectly in theory as Chechik does turn up.....but unfortunately he also turns up with a lot more men and a lot more guns. Damn.
Throughout this season I have noticed that Madeline is getting more involved with Michael's activities as is shown even more with hilarity in this episode. While Michael was busy breaking out of a moving van and being chased in to the swamp, Fi and Sam were able to kidnap the pilot who brought Chechik and his gang to Miami. Madeline demands that Sam bring him to her house and whilst Sam and Fi are squabbling over how to get him to talk, Madeline simple scares the crap out of him with fearful yet subtle words of what would happen to him if he doesn't talk. Great scene!
As predictable, Beck's hostility towards Michael leads Chechik to discover their position and in the process gets himself shot in the leg. He's no other option to trust Michael now and helps him with a little ambush. I know I mentioned Schwarzenegger earlier on, but I'll do it again! The ambush set for Chechik is just like the end scenes of Predator as Michael uses explosives and stealthily moves through the swamp water to capture Chechik just in time for Fi and Sam arrive to take care of the other soldiers. Just like the A-Team, I don't think anyone actually dies though! Well, it's better than that, we knew Michael wouldn't kill Chechik but Beck takes great pleasure in informing him that he is very good friends with a high ranking ex General in the KGB, who is going to be very displeased with Chechik. Probably turn him into caviar or something!
The final scenes are a delicious echo of the beginning. Michael and Strickler face-off again and Michael lays down the law clearly telling Strickler that he is not a mercenary. Strickler can't understand why someone with Michael's talents doesn't want to work with him, so he just asks the question Fiona couldn't "What do you want Michael?".