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Game Change
Season 6, Episode 18
BN 618.jpg
Air date December 20, 2012
Written by Matt Nix
Directed by Matt Nix
Episode Guide
You Can Run
New Deal

Game Change is the seventeenth episode of the sixth season and the ninety-eighth episode overall and is aired as the second part of the two hour season finale.


  • Clients: N/A
  • Dr. Jed (cokehead plastic surgeon/Sam's only chance)
  • Bad Guys: Olivia Riley, Alejandro Lopez (cartel kingpin)


An enemy sends assassins after Michael and his team.

Spy Facts[]

  • In an emergency, a blood transfusion can be as simple as running a tube between the major blood vessels of two compatible donors, and letting gravity do the rest. Emergency surgery is a little more difficult. Often, the most you can do is sterilize whatever tools you have on hand, keep the wound clean, and hope for the best.  
  • In many ways, it's easier to function during combat than after. In a fight, there's always something to do. Something to focus on. Later, when you're dealing with the consequences, the only thing you can do is wait and hope. 
  • There's a reason most people don't sleep well in new places. The brain goes on alert in unfamiliar environments, sensitive to possible dangers. Add some very real dangers, and the chances are low that you'll get any shut-eye at all. 
  • Modern night vision goggles provide visibility in near total darkness, adapt to changing light conditions, and provide better contrast and resolution than the human eye, which is why most assassins aren't just confident in the dark, they prefer it. As good as they are, though, night-vision goggles still have a significant weakness. They make it easier to see what's in front of you, but tough to see what's coming at you from the side. 
  • When fighting at night, attackers usually have the upper hand. They know where the defenders are and can fight from cover, concealing their position and number. The best defense is to even the playing field by taking away the darkness. In the army, that means M224 illumination mortars, but if you're short on heavy artillery, a flaming quart of scotch will work too. 
  • When you're being hunted, it's a good idea not to go to meetings at the scheduled time and place. Often the best approach is to show up before your contact has even left for the meeting. 
  • For a fugitive, getting medical attention is a big risk. Doctors have to notify the police of all gunshot wounds, fake names are flagged by insurance computers, and hospital security is often hooked into law enforcement. All of which is bad if you're trying to stay off the grid, but perfect if you want to attract some attention. 
  • Escaping a larger force is about limiting your pursuer's options. Using a narrow path takes their vehicles out of the equation. But if you have time to set your escape route beforehand, the best way to win a foot chase is on two wheels. 
  • In general, spies are more involved in gathering intelligence than gathering evidence. Espionage methods are generally not approved by police or admissible in court. So when it comes to getting someone arrested, your job is to get the ball up the field, before handing it off to someone who's in a position to put it in the end zone. 
  • Most people don't think of the Coast Guard as being particularly well-armed. Most people are wrong. A Coast Guard patrol boat is armed with two .50-caliber machine guns, and a 25-millimeter cannon, which means it can take out anything short of a battleship. 
  • When something goes wrong in the intelligence world - a scandal, a security breach, or just a failed operation, there's always a debriefing where the facts are sorted out. When those facts threaten careers and institutions, no one takes any chances. You're locked away until the process is over. All you can do is tell your side of the story and hope for the best and know that no matter what you do, your fate lies in someone else's hands.

Full Recap[]

They get to Jed's house. He's a "coke head plastic surgeon" and "Sam's only chance." Jed is in the middle of a party and first refuses. Fi fires her gun in the air and tells everyone to get out. Jed again refuses, but Michael points his gun at him and suddenly Jed's cooperating.

Sam is laid down on Jed's pool table and Jed takes a look. He says he can't do a full-on procedure in his house. First of all, Jed says Sam needs a blood transfusion. Michael injects his own arm and connects a tube to give Sam his own blood. Jed removes the bullet but Sam's pulse is gone. Jed says he needs CPR right away. With Fi breathing into Sam's mouth and Michael pumping his chest, they get him back.

Michael sits next to Sam, waiting for him to show some signs of life. Finally, Sam says, "Hey, Mike. You look worse than me." Sam says he has a vague memory of Fi giving him mouth to mouth. He wants pictures. Sam tells Michael that he and Fi should run, but Michael says it's not going to happen. They're going to stay there so Sam can rest.

Jesse and Maddy show up. Jed isn't pleased with his new house guests,

In the middle of the night, Michael comes to see Maddy, who also can't sleep. He tells her Sam's took sick to travel and Riley is going to find this place.

"We can't stay here and we can't leave," Michael says.

"Now you know what life with your father was like," Maddy tells him. Asked how she dealt with it, Maddy says, "I made a choice and I lived with the consequences. We all did."

Maddy goes on to explain to Michael that once his father saw something he wanted both ways, he did everything he could to have it both ways and everyone else paid the price for it.

Maddy says she'll try to sleep now that the neighbor's dog stopped barking. Michael's curiosity is piqued, and he now notices that the clock next to Maddy isn't on anymore. He hits a light switch and it doesn't work. Michael realizes someone has cut the power to the house and tells Maddy to hide behind a desk and not move.

Michael slowly and quietly checks out the house and sees two heavily armed men walking in with night-vision goggles. He sneaks up on one and uses him as a shield when the other fires at him. Jesse shoots the second man and calls out for Michael, who crawled behind a couch that was peppered with bullets.

Fi asks who they are and Michael says he doesn't know. But they didn't come alone. There are more men outside sneaking toward the house. Jesse, who's taken one of the first two men's assault rifles, can't see what he's aiming at. Fi grabs a quart of scotch and prepares to light it up to help illuminate what's outside. Jesse draws attention (and gunfire) by breaking a window, then Fi throws her impromptu illumination device outside. With the fire ablaze on the hood of Jed's car, Jesse shoots toward the intruders, who drive away.

Michael sees cartel tattoos on one of the men inside. He realizes that it's a cartel he went after for the CIA earlier in the year. He now knows Riley sent a drug cartel after Michael to do the job she couldn't do. Michael says all they can do now is "take the fight to her."

Now in a cheap motel, Michael says they're going to have to move first. Michael wants to get Riley caught working with the cartel. He suggests Bly might be willing to listen. Sam suggests they use him. Riley knows Sam is hurt so she's watching hospitals. Sam says they can drop Sam at a hospital, scram when Riley shows up and Fi and Jesse can plant a tracker on her car. Sam will try to "rattle her cage" enough to make her go back to the cartel. Michael says he "can't allow it," and Maddy bristles at this. She says she thought this was a team, not a dictatorship. Sam tells Michael to set up his meeting with Bly.

Michael meets with Bly and tells him that Riley is working with a drug cartel. Michael convinces Bly to listen. Bly reluctantly does, then asks Michael what happens if his plan doesn't work.

"If it doesn't work, it probably means I'm dead," Michael says.

Michael takes Sam to the hospital. While they wait for a receptionist to get a doctor, Sam and Michael take a moment to reminisce. Sam says it reminds him of Kuwait and Michael says he'll "never forget" lugging Sam six miles in a sand storm. Sam says he won't, either.

A gurney is brought for Sam. Before he gets on, Sam reminds Michael not to let him down on his promise to make this right.

Michael stays in the waiting room, knowing that gunshot wounds are reported to the police and that the hospital's security system is tied to law enforcement. It's bad stuff if you want to stay off the grid, but great if you're trying to attract attention. Soon enough, the cops show up and Riley is right there. Fi and Jesse are outside watching. They see Riley and lots of other CIA agents and report this to Michael. Jesse tells him they're "going to need a lot of eyes looking the other way" if they want to get to Riley's car, so whatever Michael is planning he "better make it spectacular." Michael says that's what he was planning on.

Knowing that a security guard is watching him, Michael casually gets up and then runs away, leading the guy on a foot chase to the southeast side of the building. The guard radios his location in and Riley moves with all the other cops. Michael finds a motorcycle and steals it, leading the cops on a foot chase while he has wheels. He ends up actually driving the motorcycle through the hospital, eventually driving it through a huge window to get outside. Riley is angry.

Sam in the hospital.

Sam is now cuffed to his hospital bed and Riley comes to pay a visit. She tells Sam she has one question for him, but Sam says he has no answers. She replaces his pain medication with a stimulant she says will make him more sensitive to pain, and maybe he'll offer some answers after a while. Sam, already shaking with pain, tells Riley that he was slowing Michael down, but that she raised the stakes when she called in a hit on Michael's mom. Now he's encouraging Michael to "speed things up," and that Michael is going to find her before she finds him, and he "is going to end this." Riley leaves and Sam screams in pain.

Outside, Jess asks Fi if she's alright. She says she liked it better when their plan was to leave. They see Riley come out of the hospital and she doesn't look happy. She makes a call and tells the person on the other end of the call to meet at 3 p.m. Fi calls Michael and tells him about the meeting.

Bly and Michael wait in a car and keep an eye on Riley at a marina. Fi and Jesse are also watching nearby. Bly gets frustrated watching Riley stand around smoking a cigarette, but soon enough a yacht pulls up and Riley walks toward it. Bly is taking long-range photos of it all and has a long-range microphone set up. He snaps pictures of cartel kingpin Alejandro Lopez getting off the yacht. They listen as Riley chews Lopez out for this "best guys" getting "their asses handed to them by Michael Westen." She tells him to get better men, "and twice as many."

"You want a pass from the CIA," she tells Lopez. "You want help with the DEA? Then you better start holding up your end of the bargain, even if it means Westen's head on a plate."

Lopez says Michael "got lucky once  it will not happen again."

Michael turns to Bly and asks, "Was that worth the trip?"

Lopez invites Riley onto the yacht and says they're going to find Michael. Bly is upset, saying this is the kind of thing that ends up in a congressional hearing. He tells Michael that "someone's future just got a little brighter." Michael tells Bly, "for what it's worth, I appreciate it." Bly tells him not to get too gushy on him. A marina security guard comes to the car and Bly tells him they're part of an investigation that's classified and he needs to keep it quiet. The guard turns around and gets on his radio. Michael tells Bly the guard is with the cartel, Bly doesn't get it right away. The guard turns and tosses a grenade into the car. Michael sees it and jumps out, shouting, "Grenade!" Bly fumbles with his seat belt and the grenade goes off, taking Bly and his camera with it.

Lopez asks over the radio whether the "police" the guard saw are dead and doesn't get an immediate response. The guard looks at the burning car and Michael emerges from it, shooting the guard twice in the chest. Michael calls Fi and tells her the evidence is all gone and Bly is dead.

Michael comes back to meet Jesse and Fi. Michael doesn't want to leave. All the evidence they had on Riley was lost in the car. He says if they leave, then Bly died for nothing. Michael wants to get onto the boat, mentioning his promise to Sam.

Michael goes to another spot in order to swim to the boat, while Fi and Jesse lay down cover fire to distract Lopez's men and give Michael an opening to get to the boat.

The yacht starts moving and Riley is concerned. She says she can't be on a cartel boat in open water. Lopez's men retreat. Jesse and Fi doesn't know if that's a good or bad thing.

On the yacht, Lopez tries to convince Riley that everything's under control. He goes looking for the driver and sees no one. Michael then sneaks up on him and knocks him out. Riley was coming in behind Lopez and she and Michael end up pointing their guns at each other at the helm.

Micheal on boat.

Riley tries to tell Michael he's getting himself in more trouble with the cartel, and Michael knows they already want him dead. Riley looks out the window and says, "What about the Coast Guard?"

"Yeah, I know," Michael says. "I called them."

He goes on to say he told them about a well-armed drug boat in their waters. The Coast Guard  which is far more heavily armed than one might expect  announces to the yacht to stop.

Riley tells Michael that if he ignores the Coast Guard they'll fire on the boat. Michael says he's counting on it, saying they're going to "finish this one way or another," after Riley called the cartel in on him. Riley asks Michael if he wants her to call in and confess. She hands over her gun and tells Michael he won.

But Michael knows it's not that simple. He figures Riley has already set things up to make it look like he was the one working with the cartel, including falsified accounts and communications. That is what he wants her to give the agency. She denies this, but Michael says he'd bet both of their lives she did. He tells her it's "a great plan, but it only works if I'm dead. It still might work, but you will die with me." The Coast Guard fires some warning shots and Michael reminds her the Coast Guard is "not very patient" with these situations. They fire a cannon shot.

Riley can't believe Michael would get them both killed, but he tells her, "My friends have suffered enough." He hands her a cell phone to make her confession.

Riley tells Michael his idea he has about who he thinks she is and what she'd do is "a fantasy," and a creation of his own twisted mind.

"Then I guess we have nothing more to talk about," Michael says, before speeding up the boat.

The Coast Guard now prepares to fire off as many as 100 rounds of high explosives. The Coast Guard again calls for the boat to stop its engines or it will be fired upon. The officer says they have five seconds, and starts counting down, "5 4 "

Riley jumps for the phone and agrees to call. Michael responds on the radio and complies with the Coast Guard's instructions to slow down. Michael says, "We just need to make a phone call."

Riley calls for the deputy chief.

The facts are being sorted out, and Fi, Sam, Maddy and Jesse are in their own holding cells. They've been there three weeks. Fi is getting frustrated and asks where Michael is. She gets no response. She's led outside, where she sees Michael in a suit, apparently giving instructions to some helicopter pilots. She comes to him and hugs him. Michael asks the agent who brought her to give them a minute.

We also see Sam, Maddy and Jesse emerge.

Michael tells Fi that they will be released shortly, but he needs to talk to her first. Michael doesn't even need to speak to explain that he's made a deal to protect them all. He says he couldn't leave them all in custody forever, because "they weren't just going to forget everything that happened and release you." He starts to say he did what he had to do, but Fi corrects him to say, "You did what you wanted to do."

Michael reaches to touch Fi's arm and she bristles, crying. Sam, Jesse and Maddy watch this from afar. Michael looks at them, them looks at Fi again.

We zoom in on Michael's eyes and fade out.






  • This episode marks the last appearance of Olivia Riley and Jason Bly.


  • Jason Bly