Michael barely manages to avoid being hauled in by the Feds for Max’s murder, but bigger problems – The Machine, and a certain Dead Larry, haunt him in the half-season finale Dead To Rights.

First of all, has there ever been a more solid example of pacing than this episode?From Sam being a badass and wrecking Fi's Hyundai in the name of saving Mike to the jumping death of Max's killer to Fi, Sam and Jesse all but waging havoc to get Mike out of Dead!Larry's clutches, to the switcheroo of Jere Burns' character turning out to be The Ultimate Puppet Master.Tight, taut, beautifully paced stuff, wonderfully directed with great verve.

There are a few wonderful new bits of character development; Fiona's anguish was beautifully acted by GA, and somewhat of a new side to the character was revealed.This wasn't crazy!Fiona, but a new, different, wounded side to her, almost overly vulnerable.I’m not sure if I buy weepy Fiona suddenly caring about killing bystanders, however.And Bruce-Campbell-As-Sam, with his fierce eyes and his deadly determination, anchors the first part of the episode before fading into the background.

If Mattheson’s Larry is dead I’ll be disappointed, because I’d always hoped that it would be Sam who got to finish him off, but there’s poetic justice that Larry’s death comes at the hands of Fiona.There is an insinuative, deadly promise of more plot for Madeline in the upcoming season, but her lack of presence was noticable this episode.

Jere Burns, in two words, brought it.He delivered every bit of the twisty plot and made it count with every gesture and look.Creepiest moment: naming his fake "wife" Claire just to freak out Fiona.He’s going to be a wonderful adversary for the rest of the season.  The show should, at the very least, submit Mattheson and Burns for Best Guest Star Emmys; both earned it.

Another high point was the twisted father/son dynamic between Larry and Michael, which grabbed you by the throat hard this time out.

So the rabbit hole conspiracy that is Mike Westen's life goes far deeper than anyone suspected, and Management is made to look even creepier and more controlling and puppeteerish than we dared imagine.Management would apparently do anything it could to mold Michael into the ultimate spy.The question is, is this dude working in independence of Management/The Machine?  Is he really the Last One?  Or is he the true figurehead?

Highly recommended.