Burn Wiki
Long Way Back
Season 3, Episode 9
Air date August 6, 2009
Written by Craig O'Neill
Directed by Jeff Freilich
Episode Guide
Friends Like These
A Dark Road

Long Way Back is the ninth episode of the third season and the thirty-seventh episode overall. The premier for this episode was the most watched burn notice episode of all time.



Michael gets the news that his file at the agency is being reviewed, so his burn notice might be canceled. Meanwhile, Fiona's brother Sean visits her to tell her that someone is coming to kill her.

Fiona is targeted by a dangerous man from her past, forcing Michael to team up with her brother to save her.

Spy Facts[]

When you work as a covert operative, there's no line between who you are and what you do. You are who you need to be for the operation. It makes you effective. It keeps things simple. But when you spend so much time living as someone else, sometimes the people you care about most begin to wonder who you really are.

There's a reason spies try to stay detached. When you get emotional about something, even if it's just your ex-girlfriend's .45 caliber handgun, you get distracted. And getting distracted can be very, very dangerous.

Spies need to remember every cover I.D. they've ever worn, because you never know when you might need to put one back on.

Bomb makers, like master chefs, tend to have a signature dish. If you can duplicate it, you can leave their fingerprint wherever you want. Some bombs are designed to remove an obstacle, some bombs are designed to be loud and scary, while other bombs are just designed to kill and maim.

When you realize that an operation is compromised, that your enemies are on the move, you're on a clock. You have to move as fast as you can to try to contain the damage and harden your defenses before it's too late. Sometimes you make it in time and sometimes you don't.

When you work in intelligence, the worst feeling in the world is knowing nothing; being caught up in something you don't begin to understand. Because it's not the enemy you see that gets you. It's the one you don't.

Full Recap[]

"When you work as a covert operative, there's no line between who you are and what you do," Michael says, as he looks over photos of him with Fi.

Fi walks in. She sold her car. She's going back to Ireland.

"We had one fight and you're going home?" he asks.

She tells him if he didn't see this coming, he wasn't paying attention.

She asks if he's seen her H&K USP Compact with the chrome slide. He holds onto it out of sight and tells her he has seen it around somewhere and will bring it to her.

She leaves.

Diego joins Michael at a restaurant. Diego got a call from the Deputy Director of operations. Various regional experts will be doing his review, over Diego's objections. He'll be calling to set up the first meetings. He warns him to stay out of trouble.

Michael tells us there's a reason spies stay detached, so they can stay focused. He goes by Fiona's place to bring her her gun. She greets him at the door, gun drawn. Her brother Sean is there.

Michael slips back into his Irish cover ID "Michael McBride" and into an Irish accent.

Sean says they need his help, someone's coming to kill Fi.

Thomas O'Neill is coming, the kind of guy who would blow up a church on Sunday.

Sean's worried they're not properly armed. Thomas (Paul Blackthorne) and his goons show up.

Noting they're dealing with a trained extraction team, Michael suggests they go. They duck out the back but are spotted. Sean goes to boost transportation, giving Michael time to ask Fi why she never told her brother the truth. He wouldn't forgive her for working with an American.

Time to call Sam to the rescue.

He finds them a place to lie low, a mansion in foreclosure. Sean's wary of Sam, but Michael vouches.

"So why's this guy so hot for you, Fi?" Sam asks, "I thought you bit the heads off all your old boyfriends."

Fi explains that she met him while she was looking for the man who killed her sister.

Sam didn't know she had a sister. Of seven kids, Claire was the other girl, and the youngest.

Fiona was angry and loud when Claire was taken and O'Neill thought she was as radical as he was. He told her about a bombing he was planning at a prep school and she stopped it.

He heard she was in touch with people in Dublin and came for her.

Michael tells Sean that he and Sam will find O'Neill while the Glenannes stay put. Sean doesn't love the plan, but goes along.

Fi sticks a finger in Michael's face, "I am not one of your damn clients."

The subtitle disagrees, calling her "the client."

Michael visits Strickler. He tells Michael that truth might not be the best approach in his review. Michael doesn't like the sound of it.

At mom's house, Sam brings Michael O'Neill's Interpol sheet. It's thin. He hasn't been caught much. He has an associate who just bought a condo in South Beach.

There's a knock at the door. Tiffany, a Realtor. Maddy explains she's thinking about selling the house.

Sam and Michael run surveillance on O'Neill as he drives up to a fancy condo.

"Why does it look like the Sons of the Lucky Charms Revolution are getting ready for battle?" Sam wonders, watching them mount up.

Michael scans down the road and sees a familiar car. It's because O'Neill knows Fi is tailing him.

Sam calls the Glenanne kids as they ready their weapons, not knowing there's a posse waiting around the corner for them.

Fi ignores the call. From their vantage point on top of a parking garage across the street, Michael tries to figure out how to intervene. He looks at the cherry car and the distance to the ground. He asks Sam for the keys. He complains that it's Mrs. Reynolds' car, but Michael's already off and backing up.

The car tears forward as the Glenanne kids come around the corner and find O'Neill and his goons waiting. Then the car leaps off the garage and into a fire hydrant, creating the diversion the Glenannes need to get away.

From above, Sam weeps for the smooshed classic Buick.

Michael and Sam go back to Michael's place and find Fi and Sean waiting for them. He begins his lecture but Sean cuts him off, saying they're there to apologize and say thanks.

Michael plans to approach O'Neill as an American with a deal. Sean's worried about his American accent, saying it's a bit "dodgy."

Michael approaches O'Neill and two goons on a patio. He plays a tape of Fi and Sean scheming against O'Neill. He says he's an arms dealer and Fi works for him. Michael says if Fi disappears he'll need someone to do what Fi does for him. O'Neill turns him down, but Michael leaves his card.

Back at Maddy's house, she's expecting a Realtor but finds Strickler on her doorstep instead. He has materials for Michael, a story saying he worked for a Somali warlord that just happens to set up a side job Strickler has in Miami.

Michael's not interested in saying he worked with a murderer. Strickler leaves.

O'Neill calls for Michael.

At the empty house, the Glenannes wait for Michael. Sean asks Fi why she's coming home and guesses that she's still in love with Michael.

Michael arrives, saying his plan is to get O'Neill caught delivering something that'll put him in prison. Sean thanks Michael for protecting Fiona, calling him an honest man and saying he's "honored" to be fighting beside him.

Michael meets with O'Neill and five guys on a dock at night. He tells him he'll give him Fi if he delivers some assault rifles. O'Neill thinks he should shoot him for the info instead. Michael warns him to think again and three red dots appear on O'Neill's chest -- from Sam, Fi and Sean nearby.

O'Neill reluctantly agrees to the deal.

Michael gives the signal and Sam and Fiona turn off their gun sights. But Sean's tempted to take him out. O'Neill sees one red dot remaining and his guys all draw on Michael again. Sam and Fiona talk Sean down and Michael walks away.

Back at the loft, Fiona examines a diagram of O'Neill's signature bomb, the one he's used 12 times without being caught. She thinks he shouldn't get away the 13th time. Sean comes over with news of a man named Jack Tracy, from a bicycle shop back home, with a rumor that O'Neill is planning to bring Fiona home and selling her to the highest bidder. Fiona thinks that could be a lot of people.

Michael and Sean argue over whether Sean should have taken him out when they had the chance. Fiona shuts them up and they get to bomb-building. O'Neill uses rat poison as an anticoagulant, so his victims bleed out and suffer.

Maddy calls for Michael. He goes over.

He doesn't understand why she wants to sell the house, since she always insisted every memory there was happy. She says she's ready to move on.

But she brought a box of Michael's old stuff for him. She gives him a speech about most people hold on to things in their life, and she doesn't want him to regret letting the stuff (code for Fiona) go.

Outside in a parking lot, Sam meets up with Michael with blue prints for the state department building. They have to get O'Neill behind the wheel of the van with the bomb in the back.

Michael talks to Fi. She wonders what it's going to be like to go home, where no one knows the person she is now. Michael tries to tell her something but doesn't get anywhere. "We're no good at this," she says.

Sean walks in and Michael tells him to stop parking his stolen car nearby. But Sean says he didn't. Michael starts to reach for his gun when a flash-bang is thrown through the window. He doesn't have time to react as something hits him in the back and knocks him down. Sean starts shooting, but is hit. Crumpled on the ground, Michael can only watch as someone carries Fiona away. O'Neill stands over him, and calls him Westen, stopping one of his men from killing him.

Later, Michael wakes up on the floor. Maddy's got her hands in Sean's chest, trying to stop the bleeding. Sam called her. Sean's alive and wouldn't let them take him to the hospital because they wouldn't be able to find Fiona. Michael keeps asking where Fiona is, but Sam doesn't know. Michael runs off.

Michael busts into Strickler's house. He's on the phone and signals Michael the "wait a minute." But Michael shouts at him, asking where Fiona is and knocking over several glass display cases to emphasize his point.

Michael figures that O'Neill kept him alive because he made a deal trading him for Fiona. Strickler doesn't deny it. He says he's Michael's white knight. When Michael comes toward him, Strickler pulls a gun on him, telling him a bomb-building girlfriend wasn't helping his case any, so he did what had to be done.

He says Michael will be staying put long enough for the cargo company he hired to get Fiona into international waters can leave. Then Michael will be able to move on. "You don't get to have the girl and the job," Strickler tells him. "Why don't you do yourself a favor and just forget the past?"

Michael's in full rage mode at this point, but goes quiet. "Fiona's not my past," he says as he pulls the gun tucked in the back waist of his pants and shoots Strickler twice in the chest before he can even react. The obnoxious agent-to-the-spies is dead.

He picks up Strickler's phone and leaves, telling Sam about his calls to a place on Key Biscayne.

Sam reports that Sean is stable and Michael picks him up.

They pull up to the dock where O'Neill's men are hanging out. They want to get the bomb on the boat and make sure the Feds catch them this time.

In the shack, O'Neill tells Fiona how turning her over is going to help his position back home. She calls him a monster and a child murder and he socks her in the jaw.

Outside, Michael swims back from putting the bomb on the boat. He starts to tell Sam if anything happens to him... but Sam says he'll get Fi no matter what. "Just don't tell her I said that."

Michael and Sam go into assault mode, storming the dock and O'Neill's men. Fi breaks free and jumps into the water. Sam wings O'Neill but his men grab him and drag him on the boat.

Michael looks for Fiona as Sam calls the Coast Guard and reports seeing some men loading something onto a boat.

Michael sees Fiona in the water and fishes her out. She's hit in the arm, but OK. He cradles her and looks completely relieved that she's not going back to the auction block in Ireland.

Cut to Maddy's house. Sean and Fiona both convalescing from their gun shot wounds.

Maddy comes home. She tells him she's taking the house off the market. She's not ready to say good-bye to it and, seeing as how he keeps hiding people there, she thinks he's not either.

Sean wakes up, wanting to talk to Michael Westen. He says back in Ireland when people questioned if Michael was really one of them, he always thought he was - and now he knows he's right. But he tells him O'Neill outed him as an American and he can never go to Ireland, and neither can Fiona. Sean says he'll keep anyone there from coming after him, which squares them.

Sean offers help with Strickler, but Michael says his body was found next to a certain kind of bomb. O'Neill will be charged with his murder and 12 bombings in Europe.

Fiona wakes up and tries to tell him something, but gets nowhere. "It's OK," he says "we're no good at this."

Diego calls Michael, asking what he was doing working with Strickler. He's completely freaking out about someone who's in town, cleaning up after Strickler. He says he doesn't know who to trust, even at the agency. He's chugging Jack Daniels and panicking. He says he's not safe, and neither is Michael.

Michael goes to his apartment.

Police have roped off the area and someone's reporting a 187. Michael runs to see the body -- it's Diego.

Michael tells us the worst thing in intelligence is having no idea what's going on, which is just about where he is right now.






  • This episode marks the conclusion of the first half of season 3. New episodes did not air until January 21, 2010.

Continuity Errors[]