Sunday, January 23, 2011

White Collar - 2.10 - Burke's Seven - Recap

reface - This recap took me days to do. I kept getting off a geeky research girl tangents. Good news - I may now be the leading expert on season 2 coffee mugs. Bad news - no one cares and I still don't know what Ivan Bliminse has to do with the invisible man. Anyone know? Welcome back to White Collar! January never looked so good.

Previously - Kate died, the music box hid a code, Neal pulled a gun on Fowler, Fowler knew Burke's mystery man (Julian Larssen), and Mozzie got shot! Aaahhh! Why cliffhang me like that writers? Why?

We open as Mozzie is rushed into surgery. He flat lines but is brought back. Yes, I panicked even though I knew he would be okay. Neal's at Mozzie's side while Peter exposits that Mozzie is "in a medically induced coma. There's nothing you can do for him here; there's something you can do out there." I feel jipped because I want to see Neal's reaction to Mozzie's shooting so getting right back to work doesn't do it for me.

At the FBI, Peter shows Neal a picture of Julian Larssen, expositing how he shot Mozzie and works for the man who killed Kate. They don't know where he is but they have to keep him in town. Neal avoided Peter by having lots of aliases. Larssen has his made abroad, so if they burn all his known aliases, he will need another one. Good thing Neal has contacts; he will talk to the area forgers so Larssen can't get one. Peter counters by asking that the forger give him an alias they can track. Good plan! They separate as Peter questions people about Larssen's aliases while Neal uses sleight-of-hand to sneak black business cards to all forgers in town. They follow the card, which says by the way, to a museum(?) Hey, it's Devlin the shamelessly self-promoting forger who burned Mozzie in By the Book. Instead of the I DO ID t-shirt, he's wearing one that says Burned Identity. How many forging t-shirts does this guy have? Kuddos to the White Collar team for continuity. Neal says if Larssen chooses them to make him a fabulous id under the alias Justin Springer. Devlin and others protest "bad for business" but it's for Mozzie. Either Devlin now shares a bond with Mozzie or he's ticked someone shot their own because everyone's in. Unfortunately Devlin mumbles so badly I can only get "One…….your kind…..honesty." Meanwhile Diana burns Larssen's known aliases, including Blitek which Diana automatically knows how to spell. Hmm.

Back in Mozzie's hospital room, Neal sleeps as Mozzie awakens. He tries to take out the oxygen cannula, but Neal wakes and stops him. It's all husky voices and manly bonding; I've waited over 4 months for this. Mozzie: "They did it. They finally got me." It's so Mozzie that Neal and I smile knowing he will be okay. The bullet missed Mozzie's heart by 2 millimeters, but Mozzie claims he doesn't have one. Neal says, "Look at the bright side; you're not dead." Moz: "I know. It's worse. I'm in the system." But never fear, Neal has his back. He's registered under a fake name, Ivan Bliminse. Aww. Mozzie can't remember the actual incident to identify the shooter, but Neal says it's okay when Mozzie starts freaking out. Neal and Peter will find the one responsible.

At Peter's office, his new coffee cup proclaims him the world's greatest FBI agent. Trust me, it's new. I checked. A lot. Neal calls Peter about Mozzie. "He quoted Nietzsche to a nurse. He's going to be okay." Yeah! Peter shut down his aliases so it's Larssen's move. Sure enough, he's right behind Neal. Way to give me a heart attack, USA. In an alley, Larssen sees Neal's hat on the ground. I hope that Neal went up a fire escape and has Peter on the phone. No such luck. I guess Neal thinks righteous anger is a match for an assassin's gun. Unfortunately, he's wrong. Larssen pushes him into a wall. He can tell Neal who's in charge if Neal helps him flee town. Neal says no but Larssen ups the ante by saying the one who ordered Mozzie's death is the same person who had Kate killed.

At Peter's, Neal explains the deal to Peter and Elizabeth. Oddly, Neal drinks water while the Burke's have wine. Peter: "You make that deal, a killer walks free. Neal, you can find your revenge in the justice…" Neal: "I know." Peter: "You're not listening to me…..You are listening to me." Neal will do it Peter's way, showing how tight their partnership has become. At the FBI the next morning, Neal wants self-defense lessons. Given he doesn't carry a gun and an assassin pinned him in an alley the night before, I think that's reasonable. Peter disagrees. "New York is safer if Neal Caffrey is lacking in at least one skill set." Peter, you're a bit callus about Neal's safety here.

RANT WARNING - Peter notices his coffee cup is missing and I notice the plot contrivance anvil 10 seconds before it lands on my head. Waking up 3 days later, it still makes no sense. First, it's a new cup. I checked. So Elizabeth must have given it to him since Mozzie got shot. Very possible. Then, Neal mentions they all know not to touch his mug, but Peter's never been anal about that. Touchy about coffee - yes. Coffee is a running joke. But in season 2, Peter uses different mugs - usually a white or blue one with the FBI logo and lots of disposable ones. In fact they must have a communal set at FBI headquarters since they're used interchangeably by all. (Hope they have a dishwasher.) Since Neal and Peter have worked separately since Mozzie got shot, how does Neal know of this coffee cup rapport. In the end, I chuck it to writers needing to get from point A to point B and not caring how they get there. Still, it bugs me when things are ret-conned for no reason. TANGENT OVER. Back to the story.

Justin Springer, aka Julian Larssen, bought a plane ticket to Samoa, allowing the FBI to track where he lives. (Side note - why is Elizabeth's picture facing outward instead of where Peter can see it). At Larssen's place, he is fairly cool that the FBI broke down the door to get him. "You could have knocked." Peter notices the sheers Larssen had when they came in prompting them to look in the shrubbery. Aha! Jones finds the smoking gun.

Meanwhile, Neal pushes Moz expositing a good recovery and that soon he won't need the wheelchair. Mozzie stops him by saying the code hid plans to build something. Neal wants to wait but Mozzie is emphatic. "I was shot for that code. Now that Larssen took my notebook, they have the equation too. I'll be damned if they're going to build it before I do." Worked up, Moz touches his heart prompting Neal to calm him. I want a Neal reaction shot when Moz says he was shot for the code. Alas, no dice. After he finds what the code builds, Mozzie is retiring. What? Neal is also baffled. "Death bed epiphanies are not your style. If this is about not being able to remember…" That does have to bug Mozzie. He has a photographic memory. To not remember the most significant event in your recent life has to irk him more than most. Yet, that's not the issue. He's having a crisis of conscience about telling Peter that Neal was going after Fowler. His FBI consulting made him a nark and he can't reconcile that. Neal: "You told Peter? Thank you. If you hadn’t Moz, I might have killed Fowler and Fowler didn't kill Kate." Awww. Best minute and a half of the entire episode. Neal asks about the "coded equation" but Mozzie doesn't know anything…yet.

At the FBI, Peter questions a surprisingly silent Larssen. Why isn't he singing for a pardon? Hughes interrupts with a ballistics report. The barrel was filed down but a single fingerprint was on the slide - Peter's. Uh oh! Prisoner's Dilemma - Part 2 coming up. Department of Justice Agent Rowe is back to suspend Peter for evidence tampering. In Withdrawal, Rowe said Mentor didn't exist and Neal forged Fowler's papers. Before seeing next week's previews, I thought he was the traitor who got Fowler into OPR. He could still be. They also let Larssen out for lack of evidence. Neal and Diana are horrified. This sucks! Peter: "Larssen destroyed me."

Over at Peter's, the Things that Confuse Me list appears again. Neal and Elizabeth talk about Mozzie's care package (gluten-free brownies and bendy straws), while Peter calls Diana. If Peter is suspended and his house is outside Neal's radius, how is Neal there without an official FBI? Shouldn't his anklet alarm go off? Very odd. Anyway, Peter and Elizabeth agree they will get through this mess, making them one of my favorite married couples on TV. She heads to the hospital and Peter explains that every case he has worked on is in question. Neal: "Maybe I'll get my anklet off sooner than I thought." They wonder how Larssen got Peter's print on the gun. Neal suggests, "He could have used a photo-edged metal master of the print and used it to cast a latex positive." Um, that's complicated. In Flip of a Coin we learned people can lift a print off a beer bottle. Perhaps Peter should wear crime scene gloves whenever he leaves the house. They surmise Larssen did not get Peter's fingerprints from his FBI file because the gun print is too in-depth. I wonder if the FBI habitually leaves employee's files where anyone can access them. Door knobs are too messy, but aha, the disappearing beloved coffee mug is a viable suspect.

Again I wonder about FBI security, as Diana and Jones use FBI cameras to confirm that someone broke into Peter's office. Guys in fedoras can go anywhere. Larssen used a maintenance pass (Hope you're still alive maintenance guy) and pulled a Neal past the guys at the booth. The camera captures the mug but they never get a clear shot of his face. However, evidence shows that Larssen was on Peter's computer. Jones confronts Diana about the secrets she and Peter have been keeping and she tells him to talk to Peter. I'm glad because I've missed Jones screen time. At his apartment, Neal plays chess with himself which seems futile, but I'm not a chess player. Peter barges in without knocking. Rude much? Apparently Larssen erased part of his file and since Peter keeps a secret key logger on his computer, he can track it. Neal: "I have never appreciated your distrust in me more." Bwah! Larssen erased the name Frederick Bilal, a Nigerian prince with a passion for horses. "I thought those only exist in spam e-mail." Bilal owns shipping companies and relaxes at the Rogers Yacht Club. Neal thinks "con" to get in since Peter's benched. Peter: "The only options aren't the law or the con Neal." Peter calls in a favor from Sarah Ellis. Oh goody!

Sarah gets Peter and Neal in because her company insures several boats. I wish it was good to see her again, but… She greets Neal, "Nice to see you fully clothed" prompting a quizzical look from Peter. They see Bilal and Neal says he was a prince once too. I'd love to hear that back story. Peter insists he can do the job without his badge but Neal thinks "he's like Superman without his powers." Peter shocks me by talking racing terms and I have no idea what he said. It works though. Sarah: "Well, Clark Kent seems to be doing well for himself. What now Boy Wonder." Nice! She calls him on doing guard duty but Neal claims it's code to look around. Sarah: "Does Peter know that's what it means?" Ha! Sarah's not irking me like usual. Peter offers Bilal insider racing tips if he hooks Peter up with under the table shipping. Bilal's not too smart because he considers it even though Peter's a stranger. Meanwhile, Neal wants a closer look at Bilal's yacht. He and Sarah pose as Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wellington, club owner. Neal needs Sarah's wallet because "marriage is based on trust." Sarah: "Trust that I have my baton and I really do love to hit people with it." Neal gives the wallet to a boat hand and they approach the captain, talking about booking a tour. The boat hand gives Sarah her wallet. "Excuse me, Mrs. Wellington. You dropped this." Neal makes her give the boat hand $50. Bwah! Nothing she can do about it. Unfortunately, the captain met Mr. Wellington so Neal quickly claims he is Frank Wellington, Jr. Sarah insists everyone calls him Junior and there's nothing Neal can do about it. Turnabout is fun play today. Sarah leads the captain off to ask questions while Neal takes pictures of the log with his camera. When they are working together and not obnoxiously screwing each other over, I am fine with Sarah.

At the club, we learn that Peter grew up around horses. Guess that's why he speaks racing. Sarah leaves as Neal exposits that Larssen rents the boat every time he comes to town. Obviously he's secretly shipping things. Peter is lost without FBI support so Neal suggests a con. "Nothing illegal but if we.." Peter: "All right." Neal: "Just hear me out, ok…I saw what you did there." It's parallel to the earlier conversation. Love it. They start by assembling a crew. Neal: "Welcome to the other side." Peter meets with Jones and Diana, while Neal talks with Sarah and Elizabeth works on Mozzie. Jones wonders why they didn't originally include him but Peter says it was to protect him. The exposition fairy explains the music box, Peter's suspension, Mozzie code-breaking, etc. Jones: "A music box? Open it up, it plays a little tune, ballerina goes around on top." It does seem innocuous when put that way. Jones: "I'm on your team Peter. I'll back your play. Anything to get out of that van." Bwah! We need more Jones. Neal explains that they need Sarah's equipment. No dice. Where her equipment goes, Sarah goes. "Now what kind of wife doesn't support her husband. I'm in Junior." Two down, one to go. At the hospital, Mozzie emphatically states that he is retiring. Elizabeth throws him: "Mozzie I am not here to recruit you. I am just here to give you your care package." She questions the bendy straws because "they do wash the glasses here." Mozzie: "Oh yeah. Next you'll tell me that Paul McCartney wasn't replaced by a look-alike in 1966." He asks about the plan but Elizabeth sidesteps it. "Honey, you need your rest and hey you might actually like retirement." She points out an old guy knitting. Yeah, she's that good. They need to recruit Elizabeth as a spy.

At Neal's, Sarah and Neal flirt while learning to use her voice translation equipment. I miss Alex here. Neal can only use the 99 words they have recorded Larssen saying. Neal asks why Sarah is helping. She likes having him owe her and getting inside his head. That sounds ominous to me, but Neal is intrigued by being research. They prank call Peter before everyone gathers at Peter's. Mozzie believes they are all surprised to see him. When they aren't he recognizes what Elizabeth did. "Nicely played, Mrs. Suit." Peter and Neal debate the word con vs. sting and they exposit everyone's role. Diana will spook Bilal, Jones will reroute the pay phone, and Mozzie will block cell reception. Using Sarah's equipment, Neal will convince Bilal to move the cargo. Voila! A surefire way to get Larssen. Except that leaves Peter framed for tampering. Peter: "One con at a time." Love Neal's reaction to this.

The con goes swimmingly until a guy gets on the pay phone to talk to his wife and won't get off. Elizabeth pretends to be his wife, telling him to get off the phone and buy her some flowers for a romantic night together. We now have Burke's Seven. Elizabeth amazes Peter, Neal and me with this. Back on track, Sarah steers Neal through a tricky part in the conversation. He tells Bilal to go to 4268 5th Avenue now, the same place the business cards led the forgers earlier. I get it. I thought the web address gave the directions. (By the way, it leads to the Fellowship of Fools website. incredibly, they spotlight Fairly Legal there which is a new USA Network show. Moz would say conspiracy.) Bilal brings the crate only to be arrested. It contains Nazi-era china which is the most puzzling thing yet. Bilal doesn't know why Larssen is shipping it, but has no trouble flipping on him. Larssen agrees to meet at the "safe house."

Since Peter is suspended, they need the FBI on board. Enter Sarah with a harassment complaint on Larssen's behalf. Agent Rowe goes to stop Peter. "Still think this is a witch hunt?" he asks Jones. Jones doesn't blow his cover with Rowe but still fills Hughes in on the basics. At the safe house, Larssen uses latex prints to put Peter's prints on assault weapons just in time for Rowe, Jones, and Hughes to arrest him. Peter is cleared of all charges. The crew watches from a distance only to see Larssen undo his handcuffs with tweezers. I so think Rowe is a part of this. Peter jumps on a horse to capture a fleeing Larssen. Awesome scene. By the time the others get there, Larssen is handcuffed with Peter riding beside him. Neal: "Nice riding Butch." Peter: "Thanks Sundance." Love the continuity and the line. Neal wants to do a seven-man con before Peter gets reinstated but Peter says no way. Neal: "We made a good team. C'mon admit it; you enjoyed yourself." Peter: "A good con never admits anything. You taught me that." Neal calls Mozzie about the good news but Mozzie one-ups him. He's built the equation.

Back at the safe house, Sarah and Peter ponder what is going on. If you get answers, please fill me because I have no clue. The carton was going to Argentina. Peter can't pursue it there but Sarah can, and I say go for it. She was more fun this episode, but I can only handle her in small doses. Peter says it's dangerous but Sarah thinks, "Could be fun. Tell Junior I'll send him a postcard." Peter's puzzled by the Junior but heads to the office. Diana gives Peter a new mug that looks exactly like the one he used before the plot contrivance anvil dropped. Then Peter questions a willing to talk Larssen. Larssen gives up Vincent Adler; Peter is stunned. I don't know him so my reaction is moderate.

At the apartment, Neal uses his comfort voice when speaking with Mozzie. It's endearing but bound to get on Moz's nerves if he doesn't stop soon. Mozzie created a fractal of bendy straws that's quite pretty. I don't know what it has to do with Nazi china though. Moz: "It's a fractal design. Fractals are used in like everything from predicting nature disasters to metallurgy. There's one in your cell phone." Okay, I kind of get it. Just like Peter before him, Neal is stunned; he recognizes the pattern. "We both know who (the man behind everything) is Moz. It's the man who made me who I am today." Now I'm stunned too.

I like this episode. It answered many of the questions I had before hiatus while amping up the tension for future episodes. I am surprised they used this story line so close to Prisoner's Dilemma and I didn't like the nonsensical plot devices, but they were tempered by some great scenes with Mozzie and Neal as well as a interesting con. Mostly I liked how the secondary and lead characters worked together throughout the whole episode. White Collar's biggest strength to me is the secondary characters and it was fun to having everyone on screen together. Kuddos!

Next week - Andrew McCarthy is Vincent Adler. But most importantly, it's the flashback episode that I've been waiting for months to see. Neal meets Mozzie, Peter has that hideous mustache, and hopefully I finally understand what's so special about Kate. Be on the lookout for Willie Garson's son Nathan also.

White Collar airs on the USA Network on Tuesdays at 10/9 central.

Screencaps by In a Dream Caps
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