Season 2’s guest stars just keep improving. You can’t top the hilarity of Larry Miller or the sheer freak factor of Robin Givens, but Michael Shanks (not to mention Method Man) certainly upped the ante last week. So I wasn’t too shocked when yesterday’s ep featured The Unit’s Max Martini as drug thief Gerard and Prison Break’s Silas Weir Mitchell as arms dealer Seymour. Martini was hit or miss — a bit too soulful to play a common criminal, methinks. Weir Mitchell, on the other hand, was perfectly quirky and menacing without being annoying or campy. He was exactly the kind of guy you’d think would be Fiona’s pal. (She seems to have a lot of those lately, by the way — the veterinarian’s assistant, the paramedic — they’re coming out of the woodwork, considering she spends most of her time helping out Michael and the rest of her hours, I’m assuming, working out.)

Fi hooked up Mike and Seymour, hoping that the latter could use his connections to score info on the über gun Mike helped Victor steal for Carla and company. The stats: It’s a Russian sniper rifle called a Dragunov. Seymour’s intel: It’s just been tricked out with specially calibrated muzzle breaks, night sight, and a fiber-optic camera. Oh, and the poor gun specialist who souped up the piece was murdered and his shop burned to the ground (i.e., whomever Carla works for doesn’t want to leave a trail, and she’ll probably try to knock off Mike, Sam, Fiona, and Madeline soon too). They also want to use the gun to shoot someone pretty important and to make sure he or she definitely bites the dust. There is only one reason for putting a fiber-optic camera on a sniper rifle: In Michael’s words, “proof of death.”

addCredit(“Jeffrey Donovan on ‘Burn Notice’; Glenn Watson”)

With the shopkeeper out of the picture, and Seymour spooked out ofhis wits, Mike only got one real clue about his burn notice: that thename of the guy who picked up the gun attachments was Bill Johnson.Helpful, but there are probably quite a few Bill Johnsons in Miami —and I’m betting that’s not even his real name. Luckily, this week’sjob — stealing back a million dollars worth of pediatric antiviralsfrom a modern day pirate — was more successful. It also marked thereturn of Sam’s Navy SEAL bud Virgil (Chris Ellis), who last seasonromanced Madeline and nearly got Michael et al. killed in a showdownbetween the Jamaican mafia and some rogue police. Virgil had beenhiding out in the Bahamas, but his old partner’s daughter runs themedical relief agency from which the drugs were stolen, and she neededhim, Mike, Sam, and Fiona to return the meds. Which they do.

After tracking down the thief — the aforementioned ginger psychoGerard — Sam posed as a mysterious dealer and lured him into stealinga fake shipment of “new generation” steroids made from human tissue. Hethen got Michael on his crew as the inside man (hoping this would trickGerard into showing them where he stashed his wares). I had threeproblems with this plotline. First, it seemed a lot like the episodefrom a few weeks ago in which Michael infiltrated Timo’s heist as areplacement safecracker. Second, Sam convinced Gerard to take on Mikeas a specialist who knew how to store the drugs and keep them at theright temperature and humidity. Yet, if Gerard was comfortable withstealing antivirals, wouldn’t he already be familiar with storing suchsensitive cargo? Third, while Michael’s cover I.D. as a dorky lab ratwas semi-convincing (the hunched shoulders, the asthma inhaler andall), no one so adverse to physical activity and exertion has a bodylike that — which is something I think Gerard, however much like a“three year old” he was, would have noticed.

But Virgil’s return did have some benefits. We learned a ton ofMacGyver stuff last night. My favorite: how to counterfeitpharmaceuticals using the fluorescent green Mountain Dew spinoff AMP,cryogenic containers, and compressed gas. But more importantly, wefinally got a storyline about Mike’s personal life that was subtle,touching, and well-executed. Let’s face it, Virgil and Maddie have someheat and it scared Michael to see Mom falling in love (as Sam says,“You know Mike, if you had to have a stepdad, you could do worse).But not as much as it frightened him to lose Fiona (was it me, or didhe check out her nipples in the first scene last night?), who’s nowdating other blokes. Do I believe this mysterious paramedic actuallyexisted? Maybe not, but he certainly had Mike’s back up.

So guys, what did you think? And take heed — Burn Notice doesn’t return until three weeks from now when they air the final two episodes. See you then!

Burn Notice
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