[Spoiler Alert! The following story reveals major plot points from Thursday's summer finale of Burn Notice. Read if you dare.]
Michael Westin (Jeffrey Donovan) has been burned before, but this time, it's really got to sting. Years after being burned, literally, by the CIA, Michael learned he had been betrayed and lied to by one of the people closest to him — his old training officer Tom Card (John C. McGinley).
In the show's summer finale, Tom claimed to have found Tyler Gray, the man Michael believes killed his brother, down in Panama and sent Michael and the rest of the gang on a super top-secret mission to Panama to get him. However, the mission hit one snag after another when the team was paired with a mysterious CIA officer and their original hideout was ambushed. A very determined Michael still managed to capture the man Tom said was Tyler Gray, only to learn it was all a lie and that Michael had been set up by Tom to come home from Panama in a body bag.
Character Chatter: Join in the conversation with other Burn Notice fans
Michael watched in horror and utter confusion as his team's van was blown up by a huge — even by Burn Notice standards — F-18 explosion (RIP Brady!). The worst part? All this went down just as Tom was waxing poetic to Michael's distraught mama about how sorry he was that her life had been so affected by the CIA and how he thought of Michael as a son to him. Gross. (You can't say McGinley didn't warn us. "You can't really put your finger on what direction he's going in. You can't tell if he's a good guy," he told TVGuide.com back in June about his character.)
But, as Sam (Bruce Campbell) put it oh so eloquently, "What the hell do we do now?" Tom thinks Michael and his rat pack are dead. Michael knows that Tom thinks he's dead, but doesn't know why he wanted him in the ground in the first place. So what's with the attempted murder by his mentor?
Burn Notice boss Matt Nix on major death: "Michael's dancing really close to the edge"
One theory is that maybe certain higher-ups in the CIA are really over Michael and his crew. I mean, they burned him once and yet he still managed to slowly work his way back into Langley's fold. And yet even though Michael is now kinda sorta on the CIA's good side, he still really doesn't play by their rules, as seen in last Thursday's episode when he and Fi (Gabrielle Anwar) totally outwitted their CIA colleagues during a mission. So instead of just sending Michael off to a faraway place and burning him again, this time they really want to make sure he doesn't come back.
But then why would Tom have to keep the mission such a secret from the rest of the CIA? It looked like no one else was really in on the Panama excursion from the CIA other than Tom, so maybe Tom has been a double agent this whole time? He is the one who taught Michael everything he knows and since Michael has always insisted on doing things his own way (see above), doesn't that mean the man who trained him also doesn't particularly enjoy the strict constraints of the U.S. government?
But then the biggest question of all surfaces: who is Tom really working for? And does that person or organization have any ties to the person who killed Nate? Or — worse! — did Tom kill Nate?! Weigh in with your thoughts, comments and conspiracy theories from Thursday's summer finale below!