"Burn Notice" Tipping Point (TV Episode 2013) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • A conflicted Michael goes to Mexico on a mission with Sonya, not knowing what ruthless mercenaries Strong has hired to capture James.

  • Sharing his bed with Sonya, who announced that James expects them the next day in Vera Cruz, Mexico for another top-secret mission, Michael is able to copy her cellphone data. Andrew Strong's CIA analysis backup having deduced a wealth of information, including his whereabouts the next day, he insists to attempt killing James. Michael's cover is intact, so he must continue to appear defending James, while Fiona guards Charlie and Madeline against his goons. Michael's conscience forbids him to allow Strong's evil mercenaries leader Simon Escher to wade trough often innocent victims' blood, so he ends up killing the mad murderer. Arriving at his Mexican estate, James concludes that Sonya must have betrayed him, but Michael can't stand her being executed for his 'treason'.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Previously on 'Burn Notice': Michael started tracking down the leader of a terrorist network and it led him to a man named James. It's a deep cover job and James is intent on breaking Michael to make sure his loyalties no longer lie with the CIA. Michael has gone to great lengths to ingratiate himself, including letting James kill some people. Fi has also asked for help from Michael's new "friend" James in an effort to save Carlos from some Colombian drug dealers. James' network orchestrated an air strike of the drug supplier's compound, killing seven people. Carlos left Fi, saying she's "traveling a path with Michael" and always has. She said she didn't have a choice. Sonya, who works for James and introduced Michael into the network, told Michael everything is happening for a good reason and James wants to see them.

    'Tipping Point': Michael, still looking to build trust, has Sonya over and they're going to make themselves fake IDs and passports for a trip in which they're portraying a long-married couple. They're joining James for a very important meeting. Michael uses some of his interrogation techniques, portraying them as casual conversation, to find out they're going to Latin America, but that's all she can tell him. She suddenly started to lament not having traveled much for pleasure because the "job got in the way." Michael soothes her and tells her they might soon travel places together. He sleeps with her again and while she's sleeping he downloads some info from her cell phone. He's starting to worry about betraying her trust. The next morning, Sonya leaves and Michael calls to report to Strong that he has the information. When Strong asks Michael if he's ready to end this, Michael says, "Believe me, I'm ready."

    Strong says the data from the phone was a "gold mine." The meeting is in Veracruz, Mexico. They still don't know why the meeting is happening but they're happy enough to be ahead of James. Strong says the convoy will be grabbed on the way to the meeting. Michael is worried the plan is rushed. Strong says he has to trust him.

    Meanwhile, Fi is packing up Carlos' things when Michael knocks on the door. He tells her he's leaving town for a job and needs her help. He asks her to keep an eye on Maddy because of what James would do to her and Charlie when he betrays James. She nods and tells Michael to "finish this."

    James arrives in Veracruz and meets Michael and Sonya at the airport. They head out in their convoy while Strong and his extraction team prepare to grab the whole group. Michael makes conversation about the trip and James says what's happening has been "years in the making" and that the "organization is about to take a giant leap forward." Strong, meanwhile, tells his men that Michael is to be treated as an enemy combatant until they're headed back to the U.S. As the convoy rolls down a quiet road, James gets a bit nervous after realizing that there haven't been any people on the street for a block. The extraction team strikes, blowing up the lead Jeep in the convoy and opening fire on the rest. James prepares to go out firing, which Michael tries to talk him out of on the basis that it seems to be a "grab" mission and not one in which they're shooting to kill. That's the same reason James feels comfortable going out and firing back. Lots of people are hit in the shootout and Michael is conflicted about what to do, but sticks with James.

    Michael continues running with James, Sonya and the rest of the team, but is conscious of leaving a trail for Strong's team to find. He carjacks a woman and keeps her cell phone, putting it under the seat of the car as they drive away so that Strong's team can track it.

    Strong says there were "seven down" and Jesse gets word of the carjacking with news of the cell phone. Strong wants the phone tracked.

    Meanwhile, Fi calls Sam and tells him James' men outside Maddy's have started "buzzing" and they're headed into the house. If Michael's cover has been blown, the guys might kill Maddy and Charlie. If not, Fi might tip them off by shooting at them. The men go knock on the door and Maddy goes to answer. Sam tells Fi to hold off. Maddy doesn't want to let them in, but when they tell her "something's happened" she lets them in. She waves off Fi.

    James notices the helicopter following him and Michael and decides to split the cars up. Michael's car is still being tracked by the cell phone so the chopper keeps following James. Michael and a couple of James' men go to a marina but can't find a viable boat. In the boathouse, another extraction team shows up and a gunfight breaks out. When the shooting stops, Michael, who has knocked out one of James' men himself with a blow to the back of the neck, calls out "Alpha Team" and says he's "a friendly." He's shocked to see Simon Escher, who says he's "Alpha Team."

    Michael can't believe it. He captured Simon and put him away and says this "makes no sense." Simon says he has been working for the CIA "off the books" for a couple of years and it made perfect sense for him to be the one to do the extraction because he's someone Michael would never have been likely to work with. Meanwhile, James and Sonya draw Strong, Sam and Jesse's helicopter into a trap and start shooting at it. It's hit, loses fuel and has to land.

    Simon tells Michael to radio James and tell him his team has been attacked, drawing James to the boathouse. Michael does this and James says he's on his way. Simon gives Strong the update and Strong, Jesse and Sam start heading that way, but first Strong tells Sam and Jesse that Simon is the one running Alpha Team. They can't believe it.

    Fi calls Maddy and tells her to move Charlie into the sun room because she's coming in to take out James' two men. She tells Maddy to grab a weapon just in case. Maddy slips a knife into her shirt and calmly moves Charlie into the sun room.

    James calls and says he's two miles out. Simon fires his gun twice in the air to sell it. After Michael is done with the call, Simon walks over to James' last man who's bound and has his mouth taped and shoots him in the chest despite Michael calling out for him to leave the man alone. Michael has had enough of Simon's tactics. They get into a hand-to-hand fight that goes on for a while, each getting the upper hand at some point. Simon pulls a knife and slashes at Michael's arm before Michael gets leverage on the knife and has Simon pinned against a column with the knife pointed directly at Simon's chest. Simon tells Michael it's not too late and that they can finish the mission, sarcastically adding that Michael can "be the hero" as he's always wanted.

    "Don't you want to be the hero, Michael?" Simon asks, mockingly.

    "Not like this," Michael says, just before pushing the knife slowly into Simon's chest and killing him.

    James and Sonya get to the boathouse, where Michael is holding his wounded arm tightly. Michael tells James they were ambushed and that the team was "brave." James tells Michael he was right and that they shouldn't have split up.

    "You came back, James," Michael says, thankfully.

    "Of course," James replies.

    In Miami, Fi is putting together her ambush of James' two men inside Maddy's house. She's outside, placing a directional explosive at a window where one man is standing while preparing to shoot the other through another window at the same time that the blast goes off.

    Sam, Jesse and Strong get to the boathouse and Michael sees them approaching. As James and Sonya walk straight toward the trap, Michael surprises even himself by warning them. In a deep cover job, Voiceover Michael explains, you're driven by the fact that you're fighting for something you believe in. But when you see that your side has gone to lengths your enemies wouldn't even dream of -- thinking this as he sees Simon's dead body and that of the man Simon shot for no reason -- you can surprise yourself. James, Sonya and Michael decide to swim out a different way, in case Simon's support team is coming.

    Strong, Sam and Jesse walks into an empty boathouse. Jesse calls Fi and tells her not to ambush James' men. She runs to disable the explosive she'd set, doing so with one second left. She pulls it off the window but bumps a garbage can and gets the attention of James' men. They walk to follow the sound and Maddy prepares her knife. The man goes out and finds nothing and the situation is calm again.

    James, Sonya and Michael arrive at an elaborate villa. James asks them to come back near the pool. He isn't happy. He pulls his gun and tells Sonya she's the only other person in the world who knew where they were going to be. Michael tries to get James to put the gun down, but James tells him to stay out of it. Sonya insists she didn't tell anyone anything. James stands next to Sonya and puts his hand around her head, telling her it's going to be hard to kill her. He puts the gun to her stomach while almost hugging her and counting down from five until she fesses up. He gets to one and Michael tells him, "She didn't betray you. I did. I'm working for the CIA."

    Michael explains he downloaded the information from Sonya's phone while she slept. She slaps him, then James hits him with the back of his gun.

    James realizes that Michael had a chance to end the mission and let him and Sonya walk into the hands of the CIA, but he didn't. James hands Sonya a gun and she points it at Michael's head while Michael explains that the fact that the CIA sent Simon Escher to lead a team proved to him that they don't believe in anything, and James does. Michael says he realized that he wasted his life being committed to the CIA and it was all a lie. Michael says all this with tears in his eyes and pleads with James to "just end it."

    Sonya puts the gun closer to Michael's head and asks James if he's satisfied. James says, "No." She drops the gun.

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