This is an important episode. A very important episode. The events in Episode 6 resonate through the rest of this season and probably for the rest of the show's life. I just didn't realise it happened so early in the season.
Now let's put everyone in place here. Fiona is still in prison. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.
Michael is in Atlantic City with Jesse, Agent Pearce and Nate (yes, I did say Nate, it's not a typo), they're hunting Ansons hehehe!
Sam has been left at home in Miami, babysitting Maddie, and as it turns out Barry.
I'll cover the stories one by one and leave Michael's for last.
Fiona will be released. it's just a matter of timing. In the meantime some sleazy MI6 agent wants to put her in UK custody for the bombing of their embassy in Miami and her involvement with the IRA. Normally this probably wouldn't bother Fiona, but if certain people in Northern Ireland know that she's in British custody they'll go after her friends and family there to stop her from saying anything. MI6's reaction to that is along the lines of 'sucks to be you' and 'not my problem'. Fiona asks Ayn for another favour. Hide her just long enough for the CIA to spring her. However Ayn never does something for nothing. Fiona comes up with a plan to guarantee Ayn parole and stick it to the governor at the same time, by having her first hide Fiona and then be the one to find her. This works like a treat. I'm not really sure what Ayn did to get locked up, but judging by the way the governor was very confident she wouldn't be getting out until her sentence was done, it must have been something major.
Sam's not real happy about being left out of the hunt for Anson, but it's a CIA sanctioned job, with their manpower and equipment. Their only caveat was no Sam. As I've said 'sucks to be Sam Axe' this season. He and Maddie are all set to remain barricaded in her house and watch a Real Housewives marathon when they get a caller. It's Barry. I was so happy to see Barry. He really is my favourite recurring character, and he's been with the show from the start. Everyone's favourite money launderer has been shot by some of Fiona's old friends in the gun running business who are pissed off about events in the previous episode and are prepared to take it out on her associates. The FBI offered him immunity in exchange for his books, but Barry can't give them his paperwork until he clears a few clients including Michael, Sam and Fiona out of them. His books are hidden in a mansion belonging to a client (who I think pops up repeatedly in Season 7). Sam goes with him for protection. It looks like a simple in and out, until a crew of gunmen show up to silence Barry permanently. For an episode Barry becomes the client and Sam turns into Michael, holding a bunch of gunmen at bay with an arsenal composed of things people are likely to find around most households. It was fun to see the focus go on Sam like this for a while, and Renny Harlin (directed this episode) seemed to get a lot of enjoyment by having him shoot people and blow stuff up. When they get out of it all Barry said that he always regarded Sam as Michael's sidekick, but he's now his no 1 go to guy. Not sure if Sam's entirely happy about that arrangement.
While both of the ladies (Fiona and Pearce) are happy about how Michael dealt with Rebecca (Fiona's jealous and wasn't happy that Rebecca tried to kill Michael when she was working for Anson, and Pearce is annoyed that he dealt with someone wanted by the government, didn't tell her and then let her get away), they do have to admit it was in a good cause. Taking Anson down.
Michael has full control of this mission and his team consists of Pearce, Jesse and Nate. I don't think anyone is happy about Nate's involvement with it. Nate's there to drive and because he knows Atlantic City, but he sees what Michael does as a big adventure, playing at being spies, he doesn't respect the realities and the dangers of what Michael and his friends do, because big brother makes it all look so easy.
He tries hard, but doesn't cover himself in glory. He showed great initiative by getting rid of the partiers at the hotel by threatening to call the police. Michael ragged on him for threatening police activity which could have spooked Anson. He tried to help them out by ordering pizza to the room. Michael tore him a new one for ordering 4 pizzas to a room meant to be occupied by two people. Even Jesse and Pearce thought he was a bit harsh there.
As usual Anson was one step ahead, he had phones rigged to the room in the cut price motel, but wasn't actually there himself. They work out that he's near the airport, planning to flee again. Nate's on the road, upset at Michael's reaction to the pizza. Michael tells him to buy them time to get to Anson, but not to take any chances.
To make up for earlier failures, Nate sucker punches Anson and takes his gun. Anson confidently says that even if he does get taken into custody he knows too much for them to hold him. That's when a shot rings out and blood spatters Nate's face. He falls to the ground. Someone shot and killed Anson, but the bullet went through him and also hit Nate. That's about when Michael arrives and he's holding Nate in his arms when he dies.
This was the real end to Season 5 for mine. Anson's dead. And the mission for Season 6 is to find out who killed Anson and in the process murdered Nate Westen. It's a significant death. People die in Burn Notice, but they're really important to Michael on the level of a younger brother.
Michael has to break the news to his mother. While Michael is probably her favourite, Nate was her baby and now her grandchild doesn't have a father. Her anger at Michael over getting Nate into this (while he denies it, he did do that, and he didn't really do a lot to discourage it, either) will take a long time to die and further fracture their already dysfunctional mother son relationship.
The episode ends with Michael meeting Fiona as she's released from prison and now Season 6 really starts.