Tuesday, January 18, 2011

White Collar - 2.09 - Point Blank - Recap

White Collar - Point Blank (2.09) - Recap

Preface - This recap was finished one day before the winter hiatus ends. I love this episode. Of all the shows I watch, it was my favorite (and most frustrating) cliffhanger. I can't wait to see how it is resolved tomorrow.

Previously - Alex gave the music box to Neal, Neal gave the music box to Fowler for his and Kate's safe passage, their plane blew up presumably killing Kate, Alex gave Neal the music box key (last piece), Neal stole a marshal's key to his anklet, Mozzie told Neal that Kate called Fowler from the plane.

On a random street, Peter questions whether they should involve Mozzie in breaking the music box's code. I question whether Peter has met Mozzie because of course he is the man for the job. Neal agrees with me and they head to his apartment. Mozzie is in heaven, talking to the box as if he has been waiting for it for years. Peter is annoyed. He exposits the music box key and Mozzie sees the second code. They record and listen to the music as Mozzie theorizes geographical data hidden in the music. Peter takes the music box back to keep it safe, but Neal snatches the key. He wants to lure Fowler out with the box, but Peter says tomorrow "it's business as usual."

Neal and Mozzie exposit about Alex's involvement with the box, and Neal thinks she might know something they don't. Mozzie says it's too bad she has vanished but Neal might be able to find her. Meanwhile, Peter and Diana talk about how Neal coping and where Fowler might be. Apparently, Fowler is broke and checked an old bank account. Peter suggests putting money in his account, pretending it's from the insurance claim from Fowler's wife's murder. If Fowler withdraws money, they can track him. Diana puts the music box back in her safe.

Neal and Mozzie meet Hale, an old acquaintance, who has a lead on Alex and warns that the NYPD is on her trail. Hale exudes class and fun so I hope we see him again. Mozzie and Neal surmise that Alex is stealing back stuff she already fenced. In order to locate Alex, Neal cons the FBI into taking the case using what he knows about Peter to catch Peter's interest. The open case files include mortgage fraud and copyright infringement which bore everyone. If these are his choices no wonder he goes for art theft. Meanwhile June reminds Neal that she's leaving town and he needs to watch Bugsy, her dog. Nice to see you June if only briefly. Back to the con, Neal created a fake file complete with police report, research and nickname - The Silver Burglar. Mozzie scoffs at this and insists the file looks way too new to be legit so they age it with a left-handed coffee cup stain, food smudges, removed staples, and the same perfume as Susan, the FBI highlighter. Great detail here. Mozzie starts humming the Batman theme song because the first person robbed was Commissioner Gordon. Neal: "No one will know what song hummed when you did this." Mozzie: "Live the file." Forging Hughes' signature and creasing the file, using Mozzie's bald head - natch, finishes the project. I love the scenes with Mozzie and Neal working together.

Peter brings the files home to Elizabeth like Neal said he would. Satchmo, their dog, ate the quiche Elizabeth made and I love how Peter silently thanks him. Over Chinese, they discuss the files together. Elizabeth nixes anti-trust lawsuits and Peter passes on medical scams. As expected, they choose the silver burglary. Again, I like moments that showcase what a great pair Elizabeth and Peter are. The next day, Neal is nonchalant when Peter shows him the case. Peter: "What do you know about stolen Spanish silver?" Neal: "Do you even have to ask?" Peter: "Ooohh, just once I wish I did." The rest of the squad likes the case too and I burst out laughing when Jones hums the Batman theme song just like Mozzie. Peter exposits the burglar's MO and narrows it to 3 potential targets. Neal pushes him to the one he knows Alex will choose. Diana tells Peter that Fowler made an ATM withdrawal from an ATM and leaves to track him down.

Meanwhile Mozzie tries to break the music box code to no avail. Mozzie: "Unless GLARVENDKKG means something to you, it's still just noise." We rarely see Mozzie frustrated but he needs outside help on this one. He chooses a code maker who hides codes in gadgets. Neal dislikes trusting him but Mozzie's only giving him a small part of the recording. Neal suggests Alex can decode it and Mozzie is miffed. "Oh sure, perhaps she decoded it already using a stolen silver tea set." Neal heads to meet Alex on a rooftop one block away, where she does surveillance. In the van, Diana joins Peter with bad news. Fowler moved on 2 days before but Diana tracked his alias to an explosives purchase days before the plane blew up. Diana asks if Peter is going to tell Neal, but he's not sure Neal can deal.

Up on the rooftop, a burglar spies and Neal tells Alex about the FBI. Neal references To Catch a Thief and I have the sudden urge to watch a Carey Grant movie. Maybe His Girl Friday - love the banter. Neal says he wouldn't have set Alex up if he had her number but Alex is still being pursued by shady people of the music box stealing kind. Neal warns her about the NYPD and asks if she cracked the code. Alex: "I'm lurking on a rooftop, spying into people's windows. Do you think I cracked it?" Neal suggests that Alex take the music box from Diana's apartment and give it to a Russian museum, putting attention on the museum and off her. Alex is leery but Neal promises that no one is home. She agrees. Except, in the van, Peter reassigns Diana to the Fowler case. He tells her to work at home to keep it off the FBI radar. Neal tries to get Diana to stay. "I like the van when Diana is in it. You're the only thing that smells good in here." Diana: "Then take your last whiff because I'm leaving." Peter: "Diana has more important things to do than be your potpourri." Bwah! It's the last sign of fun before all turns serious. At Diana's, Alex just gets the music box when Diana comes in. Alex escapes from the window as Diana finds the empty safe.

In the van, Peter discloses to Neal what Diana found out about Fowler. Peter knows how difficult Kate's death has been for Neal and he appreciates Neal's trust. It's a poignant moment. Neal is visibly thrown to see the explosives receipt. Peter promises that they will get Fowler. Unfortunately, Diana calls to say the music box was stolen. Peter: "Don't do this, Neal." Neal unsuccessfully denies stealing the music box and Peter promises he will not get away with it. The next morning, Diana shows a newspaper article claiming that the music box was mysteriously returned to the museum. They are having a one-day, invitation-only showing before sending it back to Russia. Peter accuses Neal of trying to lure Fowler out and benches him. Neal: "You can't pull me off this, Peter." Peter: "I can do whatever I want with you. You're lucky that I don't put you in lockdown." Peter kicks Neal out.

In an antique shop, Mozzie meets with the Japanese code maker. A stuffed squirrel is bizarrely displayed on the counter. Maybe it's just me, but it would discourage me from buying anything. The plot contrivance anvil and Neal show up unexpectedly. Neal catches Mozzie up on Alex, the music box, and his manipulation plans. He just starts talking about the explosives, when the genius code maker returns chatting about a 2-part code. He invites Mozzie to work with him on it. Aww, Moz. I thought you were a better friend than that. He's so excited about the code that he ignores the warning signs that Neal is falling apart. I'm nervous for Neal and very sympathetic. Everyone is so focused on the case that they have forgotten the person. Not good with someone as smart as Neal. And the anvil drops - plot contrivance #1. Neal sees an open box with a pistol on the counter. Not for nothing, but doesn't New York have gun laws that don't allow guns to be where anyone can snatch them. Which, of course, is exactly what Neal does. To sum up, a distraught, alone, and armed Neal is loose with vengeance on his mind. Uh oh!

As Peter and Diana strategize a stakeout, Peter wants Neal monitored continuously. "Neal wants Fowler more than I do and I can't let that happen." I love when Peter looks out for Neal like a big, FBI-badged brother. At the Russian Heritage Museum, Diana says Neal's at home and Peter hopes Mozzie is with him. Unfortunately, Mozzie is nowhere to be seen as Neal dresses for the occasion. He looks a little scruffy, signaling his inner turmoil. He grabs his forged invitation and undoes his anklet. As he heads to the museum, Diana picks up Fowler, who bribes his way in. Peter goes after him but is interrupted by a locked door and Mozzie's phone call. Mozzie went to tell Neal of a break in the code only to find Neal's anklet around Bugsy's neck and loose bullets on the table. "It's a dark day when I turn towards the system instead of recoiling….Remember when you asked me to tell you if Neal was going to do something stupid. Well, I regretfully report that he's out of his anklet. But that's not the stupid part. He's got a gun."

Peter wigs and puts Diana on the lookout. Meanwhile Fowler looks for a way out of the room he locked himself in. Neal enters and while the hostess leers at him, he cons the security guy into leaving his post to find a party crasher. This allows Neal to flip the gun in the air as he walks through security, neatly catching the gun when he's passed. Somehow I don't think this works in real life. All those people and no one sees anything? Diana tells Peter that Neal is in and everyone converges. The music makes everything even more intense. Neal sees Fowler and races upstairs only to be stopped by Peter's voice. He heads the other way but Diana sees him, so he takes out a short sword and cuts the banner hanging from the window. He swings from them to crash into the window where Fowler is. Peter hears glass breaking and Neal fires at Fowler, purposely missing. Peter and Diana go into panic mode to get the door open. Neal is disheveled and crazy-eyed as Fowler exposits that he lost his job and his wife. Neal is torn, putting down the gun only to pick it back up. Peter breaks in to talk Neal out of killing Fowler but Fowler tells him to pull the trigger. He denies killing Kate or knowing who actually did it. Peter reasons with Neal but Neal wants Fowler to know how Kate felt as she died. Peter demands, "Look at me. Look at me, Neal." He does and Peter tells him "This isn't who you are." Neal hands the gun to Peter and Diana cuffs him on Peter's orders. The scene is intense and personal and perfect. It's White Collar at its best. You've got to see this scene. As Neal is led away, Peter confronts Fowler, "Did you kill her?" and demands Fowler tell him everything.

We return to FBI headquarters with Peter, Neal , and Fowler in Peter's office. I question the intelligence of this. Neal is still visibly upset as Fowler explains that someone called him about his wife's murderer. He was videotaped killing that person and blackmailed into the music box business. Whoever is pulling the strings has a lot of power, enough to get Fowler in OPR. Fowler couldn't get to Neal while he was in prison so he went after Kate instead. He claims the explosives were Kate's idea and Neal wigs, but Fowler insists the explosives were supposed to go off over the ocean after Kate and Neal had bailed. I hope her plan included the pilot bailing out too. Neal agrees that Kate might plan it that way. If everyone thought they were dead, no one would look for them. Neal confronts Fowler about Kate calling him from the plane but he denies it. I guess the next big mystery is who she called and how that leads to the hand pulling the strings. Diana and Jones interrupt with a newly reset anklet. Peter tells Neal to put it on and go home. Um, that didn't work so well last time. Shouldn't someone keep an eye on him until he decompresses?

Alone in his apartment, Neal is distracted, pensive, and playing with bullets. Not a good sign. Again, why are they leaving this man alone? He becomes more unkempt by the minute, throwing things off the table and getting ink all over himself. My heart aches for him. Luckily, we head back to Peter's office before angst takes over. Peter asks Fowler about the meeting from the beginning of the season. Fowler didn't know his contact but when Peter shows him the surveillance of Patchwork Man, he recognizes the face. It's an old Special Forces buddy of his, Julian Lawson. Diana breaks in about a murder at the code maker's antique shop. Bye, bye code maker. Peter hears the music from the music box playing and the detective on scene gives the basics. No robbery, music playing when they got there, no picture of the guy. The code maker's book says Eureka at the bottom so someone figured something out. They notice Neal on the surveillance tape and surmise that he is the next target. They race out to protect Neal.

Meanwhile, Neal is showered and looking more like himself. Alex arrives and Neal hesitantly lets her in. He really needs a peephole for his apartment. Peter flips when Neal doesn't answer his phone and the producers want me to believe Alex is going to shoot Neal. Ha, I fell for that when Peter had the ring. I'm not falling for that again. Neal confirms that Alex is in the clear but he's still flying blind on Kate's death. He's confident that Mozzie will crack the code and Alex regrets getting Neal involved in it. Alex goes for something in her purse right as Peter breaks open the door. It's a notebook and pen. I knew she wouldn't betray Neal. Not at this point. Now if it were over a job, that I could see. She gives Neal her number and Peter notices her Spanish silver pendant as she leaves. Neal questions the gunplay and when Peter tells him about the surveillance tape, Neal realizes that Mozzie is in danger. Man, I wish we got better reaction time for this. I would love to see Neal react to Mozzie being in danger because of him.

However, we switch to Mozzie sitting on a park bench drinking coffee. Julian Lawson shoots him and rifles through his pockets as Mozzie bleeds. What! You cannot kill Mozzie! He's my favorite character. Blood seeps from Mozzie's chest as he falls over. The end. Aarrggghhh! I cannot believe the writers ended like that. Months and months of pondering what happened to Mozzie. It was the best and most frustrating cliffhanger of them all. I can't wait to get answers as the hiatus finally ends. I need Mozzie!

Screencaps by RC TV Caps.
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