How far exactly does this rabbit hole go?

When Michael Westen and his compadres took up the task of tracking down Nate’s killer, it felt like the beginning of the end. A chance for Michael to find both closure and catharsis after years of trying to mend his reputation. Instead, in “Desperate Times,” Burn Notice chose to keep unraveling the thread rather than start tying up a loose end.

Having located the assassin Tyler Gray in Panama, Michael decides to turn to the CIA for the resources necessary to bring the cad to justice. But to no one’s surprise (except, of course, Mr. Westen’s), Agent Card can’t spare much more than a dime, brother. Nope, this one’s gotta stay off the books. That means the agency can only offer one Central American-based desk jockey and all the toys they can carry. It also means that if the poop hits the fan, they’re on their own.

So our intrepid quartet heads to Panama to catch themselves a killer and it’s not long before they find him. Rather, it’s not long before Gray finds them. Mercenary squads arrive at Michael’s (rented) doorstep, guns a-blazing, to get the drop on our heroes. The crew scrambles and regroups, setting up a plan to snatch their quarry and wait for the cavalry.

Not everything about being a spy involves strip clubs, fancy dress cocktail parties and general subterfuge. Sometimes you gotta blow things up. This week, Burn Notice blew up a lot of stuff – buildings, cars … even well-meaning, but not-quite-field-ready agents before the Westen Gang finally got their man.

If you were left with the feeling that it all happened too easily, you’re not alone. For a trained military operative with the ability to blend in nearly everywhere, it’s far-fetched that anyone would be able to track and capture Gray in the time it takes to bake a cake. But that’s because Gray has a role to play. Face-to-face with Michael, Tyler Gray confesses that he’s just a pawn of the CIA and this mission was supposed to end with Westen and company lying in pine boxes. The mastermind behind this insidious plot? None other than Agent Tom Card.

The same Tom Card that was simultaneously consoling Madeline Westen over the loss of her youngest son. As he sat furrowing his brow and showing his best expression of concern he was plotting to have Maddy’s oldest boy rubbed out in the streets of Panama.

It wasn’t all that long ago when Burn Notice had lost its way, piling one conspiracy on top of another. It had become a convoluted mess. This season went a long way toward undoing the knots and giving the story a new focus. Now that Michael and friends are trapped in Panama facing a new threat, the real danger is getting lost chasing straw men and duplicitous agents through an alphabet soup of governmental agencies.

Can it be that everyone really wants Michael Westen dead? Why is it so imperative when all he wants to do is be a boy scout? And why is killing him so hard? Especially when people seem to be able to find his apartment with little more effort than using Google Earth. Hopefully the answers to these questions and more will be revealed when we meet up again in November. In the meantime, post your theories in the comments.