Gabrielle Anwar, Burn Notice
Credit: Dan Littlejohn

I could sense you Nate-haters cringing upon his return yesterday. And though I don’t hold it against you (all he does is whine, whine, whine), I can’t feel the same. Maybe it’s because I have a troubled relationship with my own sister like Mike’s relationship with Nate. Or because Seth Peterson reminds me of the Friday nights I spent home from college watching Providence with my dad. Either way, I have a soft spot for the guy — and I like what he adds to the Mike-Fi-Sam and Mike-Madeline dynamics. Plus, he gets Madeline off the relationship tip and onto the sibling rivalry stuff, which I find a lot less annoying. I’m with you guys who pointed out that, if Michael wasn’t talking to Madeline when he and Fiona were dating, how would she know Fi was the best thing that ever happened to him? Maybe he had a dog in Afghanistan that made him much happier or a fling with Peace Corps volunteer years ago that turned him into a major softy.

But, I digress. First, picture me joyful when Nate came back. Then imagine me flying over the freaking moon when Larry Miller showed up as Harvey Gunderson, the state agriculture bureaucrat whom Sam wined and dined (quite unhappily) for deets on Carla. Remember 10 Things I Hate About You? Here’s 10 Things I Love About Larry besides his role as the overprotective dad in that movie: Best in Show, Monk, A Mighty Wind, his creepy Law & Order wife-murderer (he showed up twice, two years apart, with two different dead spouses), and the list goes on and on. Anyway, I thought Miller’s scenes were the best of the night in the greatest ep so far this year. By the way, I know I keep making this pronouncement with each passing show, but how can I not when Sam keeps getting showcased more and more, Michael’s back on his game, and Fiona’s her old ass-kicking self? (Plus, she really rocks a leather fanny pack. I got to get me one of those.) We’re also learning more and more about Carla, who is my favorite mystery on TV right now.

More Burn Notice after the jump…

addCredit(“Gabrielle Anwar: Dan Littlejohn”)

Mike used last week’s top secret Pakistani intel to uncover thatCarla’s special ops cover in Kurdistan was irrigation consulting (heseemed to get this mostly from a picture of her perched in a jeep andlooking rugged). Thus, he guessed she used the same guise in Miami —because apparently nothing changes in ten or so years, even fakepersonas. So Sam, ever the devoted friend (no major mentions ofVeronica last night that I caught on to), set find out her fakeidentity from Harvey, the Secretary-Treasurer of the AgriculturalAssociation of South Florida, President of the Miami Water ResourcesBoard, Vice President of the Board of Soil Scientists and lover ofyellow suits and crab cakes, among other things. Harvey was no fool anda major financial drain (cocktails, lobster, what couldn’t this guy putdown?). But he allowed Sammy some brilliant dialogue. Like when Sam, achampion drinker and borderline alcoholic, claimed to have had gunshotwounds that hurt less than the hangover he got from one lunch withHarv. Or when he told Fiona during their stakeout: “I’ve gotten nuclearsecrets out of KGB agents for less time and money. Good thing my liveris flexible because a lesser man would be dead.” Oh, and is it me, orhas Sam been looking a bit more handsome lately?

Anyway, $3,250 dollars worth of gourmet food and a few headacheslater, Sam threatened to be a DEA agent and shook the wanker down. Allhe got on Carla (who we now know uses the surname Baxter and “works” asan agriculture specialist) was her P.O. box at a Mail ‘n More. The boxnumber is 0044, which I’m thinking could be an homage to The 4400,another great (if canceled) USA show. Yet, I’m not sure what that wouldmean: Is she a missing person? A blast from the past? A mutant withspecial powers destined to save the future? I guess we’ll find out nextweek. Let’s just hope our time away from Carla has made our hearts growa bit fonder.

Nate, who’s now driving limos in Fort Lauderdale, brought home withhim Mike, Fi, and Sam’s sad sack of the week: Ukrainian receptionistKatya, whose sister was being held captive by the Russian Mafia.Apparently sis found a gangster, Ivan, to transport her to the U.S.,but he demanded $25,000 out of Katya to deliver on said promise. ThenIvan decided he wanted another $50,000 or little sis was toast. Oh, andhe punched Katya pretty hard in the eye after she attached him with acrow bar. In his defense, she was also about to bite his finger off,but he was a pretty nasty piece of work: Fi had to send a few thousandvolts of electricity from a stun gun streaming through them both inorder to tranquilize him (in Sam’s words, “Fi, you are one crazychick”). Then again, if she’d watched Lost at all, she’d know that this actor can survive a lot more zapping than that.

Anyway, so getting Katya’s sister back required a pretty elaborateruse that included Michael living in the back of a storage containerwith Ivan, who thought they were both government prisoners beingtortured for information. Psych! As we learned last night, “torture isfor sadist and thugs. It’s like getting groceries with a flamethrower.It doesn’t work, and it makes a mess. Getting useful information isabout creating a new reality for the interrogation subject with nohope.” (We also learn that Sambo is the mixed martial art of Russia,and that Sam apparently looks old enough to be undercover as Fi’ssenile dad, but that’s another story). So Michael became buds with Ivanin the clink, staged an escape for the two of them, and Ivan literallyended up handing him the girls. Were any of you guys sad that Ivan endsup dead in a dumpster (killed by the Russians) at the end? A littlebrutal, but well deserved, I guess.

So what did you guys think? Worried that Michael is maybe takingtoo much of a backseat to the other characters? Any guesses on wherethe Carla plotline is going? Happy or disappointed about Nate’s return?

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