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Episode 418: Last Stand

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Last Stand
Season 4, Episode 17
Last-stand
Air date December 16, 2010
Episode Guide
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Out of the Fire
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Last Stand is the eighteenth and final episode of the fourth season and the sixty-second episode overall. It aired as the second part of the two-hour season finale.

NotesEdit

  • Clients:

SynopsisEdit

Michael's actions cause Vaughn to come to Miami with a tactical assault team. With little hope of survival, Michael, Jesse and Fiona make their last stand in an abandoned construction site, with the list as their only leverage.

Spy FactsEdit

In any desparate situation, the temptation is always to act immediately. It's understandable, but unwise. No matter how bad things are, the first step is always the same: assess the threat and figure out how bad things really are. 

Not all hiding places are created equal. Generally speaking a good hiding place is hard to find but easy to access. On rare occasions, for the most sensitive material, you have to go a step further and find a hiding place even you can't get to. 

Road hazards are a key tool in the spy trade. Whether you're slowing traffic for surveillance, routing cars to set up a tail, or putting yourself in place for an ambush, it all starts with a busted road. For a quick and dirty road hazard that doesn't take too long to set up, a water line is best. Water can shut down a road without raising eyebrows. It's just a matter of getting a charge in the right place to bust the pipe out of the ground. 

Skill will only take you so far in a car chase. The bottom line is physics: machine vs machine. If yours comes up short in the equation, it's just a matter of time before it's over. If you can't outrun your pursuers you have a choice to make: you have to decide if your vehicle is more useful as transportation or as a roadblock. 

Whether it's the Trojan War, the Battle of Thermopylae, or the Last Stand at the Alamo, many of the famous battles in history were sieges in which small forces took on much larger armies. Unfortunately sieges don't make good stories because the smaller force won, they make the history books because the little guys fought well before they died.

Combat medicine is not necessarily about long term healing. Civilian doctors try to immobilize injured limbs to make sure they limp properly. Field medics often have to do the opposite and make broken limbs as usable as possible. Walking on a broken, bloody leg isn't good for you but it's better than taking a bullet. 

Eventually the information spies obtain usually ends up in the hands of a politician. The relationship between spies and politicians is never easy but they need each other. By themselves, secrets are just words. Covert intelligence is only as powerful as the person who uses it. 

Different explosives have different properties. Some release their energy in the blast while others create more heat and flame than force. Bottom line: you won't destroy a lot with propane and canned fuel but you can put on a very good show. 

To repel down a building you need something to slow your descent. Usually that's an achor point but a counterweight is equally effective. Although it's not much fun for whoever gets to be the counterweight. 

A typical explosive device is a combination of a high explosive and a low explosive. One starts the reaction while the other supplies the force of the blast. Improvising a low explosive is basic chemistry. Improvising a high explosive blasting cap is high art.

As a spy, you're trained to deal with interrogation. You have to learn to let the disorientation, the sleep deprivation, and the brutal isolation just wash over you and try not to go insane. In the end though it's not so much the questioning as the uncertainty that gets you. Not knowing what the future holds or if you have a future at all. 

Full RecapEdit

It is morning, and Vaughn has certainly received word that Michael had betrayed him and the organization to federal authorities. The FBI, on Vaughn's instructions, is now closely tracking Michael's movements and contacts with friends and family. With nowhere to run to, his only option to find someone in the government who can offer him and his team protection in exchange for the coveted NOC list.

Sam recruits Madeline, who is safely stowed away in a motel, to help him get to a familiar target: Congressman Bill Cowley. As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Cowley has the power to use the list to take down the organization that burned Michael.

Michael receives a call from Vaughn, who initially tolerates some of the double talk but then directly threatens Michael. He has brought armed men with him and is prepared to take on the entire team and go after his family. With the threat immediate, the plan is to smuggle the NOC list on board a truck bound for a nuclear power plant, with the hope that such a facility is so secure even Vaughn can't get access.

Sam tracks Cowley to a fundraiser, which Madeline plans to crash so that she can lure the congressman to a private place where he and Sam can talk.

Michael and Fiona plan to cause a disruption in the road leading to the plant, and argue about the future, which has long been shrouded in uncertainty and danger. Fiona is tired of fighting, and Michael suggests that his war against the people that burned him may not be Fiona's.

Vaughn's forces are actually closer than the team first thought, and are at the power plant questioning officials. Michael, Fiona and Jesse have no choice but to run. With Michael in the Charger and Fiona and Jesse driving ahead of him, they are spotted and chased by Vaughn's men. The Charger takes the brunt of the fire, leaving Michael to plant an explosive in it and sacrifice it as a roadblock. The explosion gives the team just enough time to find their way to an abandoned hotel in mid-renovation. The firefight leaves Jesse badly injured in the leg and in need of a hospital as armed personnel surround the hotel in pursuit of Michael and his team.

Boxed in, Michael plans to get to the hotel roof and activate the emergency weather equipment and alert the authorities. Vaughn has the superior firepower and has only one demand: the list.

Fiona and Jesse plan to distract Vaughn's forces long enough to provide Michael cover to get to the roof. They fashion an explosive device out of the hotel's leftover supplies as Fiona contemplates how she has waited for Michael to give up the spy life and pursue something more normal.

At the fundraiser, Madeline gets to the congressman, still upset that his last encounter with her almost got him killed, despite providing him with a story compelling enough to win his re-election campaign. Madeline needs Cowley to talk with Sam. He tells him the entire story regarding the NOC list and John Barrett's involvement. Cowley is skeptical at first, but grows more receptive as Sam provides more details that weren't made public.

Michael gets to the roof thanks to the diversion provided by Fiona and Jesse, but the roof is already covered by one of Vaughn's men. They fight hand-to-hand and Michael prevails, taking his bulletproof vest and having him tied up. Michael activates the weather equipment and escapes down the side of the hotel.

Sure enough, the police arrive in response to the distress signal. There is now a prospect of a fair fight between Michael's team and Vaughn's men. Hopes are dashed, however, when Vaughn is able to call them off thanks to the help of an officer in the Department of Homeland Security, also co-opted by the organization. Michael, Fiona and Jesse are indeed alone, and no one is coming to help them. The only hope is to fashion another explosive and lure Vaughn's forces into a trap.

Sam continues to press Cowley, who senses the opportunity but wants to confirm the details with officials first. Sam thanks Madeline and asks her to flee to safety. Sam is left with Cowley, who is still skeptical and needs time to consider the prospects. Decisions are made quickly, however, because it appears the congressman is under threat right after he calls the FBI. Suddenly, the cops are everywhere. Suspicious about the timing, Cowley escapes the fundraiser with Sam.

Michael and Fiona argue some more as they create the explosive device and rig it to a stairwell. Jesse's condition is getting worse, and perhaps it is time to exchange final words. Fiona attempts to lure Vaughn and his men up the stairwell by pretending to make a deal for Michael's sake. Vaughn's forces are to ascend the stairwell to the top floor and collect the list in exchange for amnesty.

Vaughn appears to go along with the deal, but it turns out he has some insurance: his forces have captured Madeline while fleeing Miami. Michael's plan is exposed. Madeline resists but Vaughn threatens to kill her should Michael try to be clever.

There is one last chance for Michael to save his mother and perhaps Fiona and Jesse as well: hand the list to Jesse and lure Vaughn's men into a trap with the explosive device they created. Fiona is distraught, because such a plan would only lead to Michael's death. Michael gives the list to Jesse and, envisioning this is the last they will ever see each other, apologizes for burning him and ruining his life. Jesse, almost in tears, is equally conciliatory.

Michael is successful in escaping to a small building on the hotel grounds. He holes himself up in the building and continues to draw fire from all sides, but allows Fiona and Jesse to escape.

Fiona and Jesse walk down the hallway, but she stops in her tracks and goes after Michael. She belongs with Michael, and admitted that she knew it would mean trouble ever since she met him.

Michael is beginning to run low on ammunition, just as Fiona comes to his aid, much to his objection. With Vaughn's forces closing in, they vow to set off the explosive together when the time comes. They are both prepared to die.

Vaughn is right there on the front line, waiting to take Michael and the NOC list. He stops suddenly, however, when explosive charges block their path. From over the garden wall, a group of infantrymen storm the hotel grounds and take control of the area. Vaughn is visibly furious, but is knocked back down to the ground. Sam stands right above him. He is with the troops, who have come to rescue Michael and his team.

Night falls and the army have taken full control of the hotel. Vaughn is in custody and taken away. He laments to Michael of the sort of force they could have become, but Michael wants none of it. It turns out Sam was able to locate Michael thanks to the distress signal sent out by the weather equipment, and get Cowley to deploy troops to the hotel.

Jesse is given medical care for his leg injury, and hands the list back to Michael. He tells Michael to take care of Fiona, who embraces him before he is taken away. A pair of federal agents want to escort him out and ask him questions.

Soon, Michael is alone with the two agents as they travel by car to an unknown destination. They won't tell him where he's going or for what purpose, but once the car stops, they hand him a trench coat and allow him to step out.

It is dark and cold outside. Recent snow has fallen on the ground. Michael dons the trench coat and surveys his surroundings. He is standing in front of a tall building. Inside, a man steps out of the lobby and outside to greet him. They recognize each other, with the man extending his hand and welcoming him back. Michael and this mysterious man enter the building. He is back where he belongs, in Washington, D.C.


CastEdit

MainEdit

RecurringEdit

TriviaEdit

Continuity ErrorsEdit

  • In the final scene, the visible breath of Michael and the agent is faked. When the camera is on Michael, his breath goes off to Michael's right. When the camera is on the agent, it goes off to the agent's right, which is Michael's left, the opposite direction, meaning one of them is moving upwind.
  • It is likely the entire scene from when the camera begins to pan away from the two characters is computer generated as the buildings and layout of the street leading to the capitol building do not match what is actually there. Additionally, the image is foreshortened and manipulated so that other recognizable Washington monuments (which would normally be too far away or obscured by the capital building from that camera position) are clearly visible in the frame.

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