Episode Name: Things Unseen
Air date: 8/15/2013
Summary: When Michael discovers an old friend digging up secrets that could expose his cover, he must decide just how far he will go to protect the mission. Meanwhile, Sam and Jesse are thrust in the middle of a street war involving a decade-old murder after Fiona's boyfriend is targeted by a coldblooded gang member.
James kidnaps Mike's entire team as, of course, yet another test of loyalty then assigns them with the task of protecting a middle-eastern diplomat during a lavish charity function. The mission goes instantly south when a waiter poisons their target, forcing Fiona and Jesse to scour Florida for the antidote in the company of one of James' blowhard associates. Meanwhile, Madeline tries to cope with her increasing sense of paranoia after witnessing Fiona's kidnapping, a sensation that is not eased when James decides to pay Maddie a visit at home. When the chips are down, will Michael pick his loyalty to the mission, or his loyalty to Fiona?
"Bitter Pill" feels rather like an old school episode of Burn Notice, balancing Sam's desire for a plateful of crab cakes (which cried out for a hilarious conclusion that the show's serious tone could not deliver) and Jesse's Teflon-slick manipulation of their drug-holding lead in a strip club with serious ruminations about Michael's morality, his continuing romantic attraction to Fiona, and Madeline's increasing concerns about her safety in light of Charlie's existence. While the latter is more than understandable, and the former needed to be reestablished in light of last week's strengthening of the bond between Carlos and Fiona, the latter feels a bit forced this week. Jesse's shock and Sam's disappointment in the choice Michael makes ends up making very little sense if you think about it and especially in light of Michael's own past actions.
Sharon Gless and Coby Bell are at the top of their game in this one; required to be both tough and vulnerable by turns, Gless gives us a perfectly haunted Madeline, and Bell is all tough, glib, sarcastic charm as Jesse. Believe it or not, we don't get that much Michael this episode; while he has a major heroic aside, the bulk of the action involves Jesse, Fiona and Madeline, with Sam and Michael popping in for quick phone conversations. That makes it an interesting episode just for novelty's sake alone.
"Bitter Pill" is an okay episode; nothing special, nothing fancy, unless you're an enormous Mike/Fiona fan who's been yearning to see them have a bit of meaningful contact.