Friday, February 11, 2011

White Collar - 2.13 - Countermeasures - Recap

Previously - there were no previouslies, but Neal and Peter found a ruby thief and saved a kid. Not bad.

Neal and Mozzie discuss building the antennae from the fractal found in the music box. Who knew this thing would get so complex? Mozzie's relishing the challenge to build it using 1940's technology, including vacuum tubes which were used in TV's, radios, and early computers. Neal: "I'm sure you will figure it out. Good work, Moz." Mozzie: "I don't like that expression…Well, work implies I have a job." I love Mozzie, but it must be for Neal to keep track of his quirks. Makes me feel sorry for Neal.

At the apartment, Neal yells for June. Is this typical or is Neal particularly excited? By the way, what happened to June's granddaughter from the pilot? You'd think she'd show up as the female eye candy. Instead, we welcome Billy Dee Williams as Ford. Wouldn't have recognized you Lando, but you still have presence. Neal is suspicious and touchingly protective of June. She introduces them and wink-winks that they are both con men. A blind can see the plot theme anvil hovering. Ford was partners with June's late husband, Byron, and she helps him with housing and gives him Byron's old clothes. Sound like anyone we know? Neal questions Ford but he sidesteps like a dancer and flips Neal a Kennedy half dollar. Neal heads straight to the FBI with it and asks Diana to run the prints. Apparently they have had the favor conversation before. Neal: "I should think long and hard before trying to pull anything over on you…And if I ever did try, you would break one or both of my arms….I'm willing to risk it." That gets Diana's attention. Neal says he's worried about June but Diana thinks he's worried about his meal ticket. Neal knows "there's something off about this guy." I believe you Neal.

Back at Peter's, Satchmo was at the vet after swallowing Peter's handcuff key. Elizabeth's sympathetic…to the dog and makes Peter apologize to it. Huh? For the first time, I question Elizabeth's judgment. The scene is strange but luckily Diana interrupts with news that the print got a hit. Elizabeth takes a rain check on lunch as Peter heads to the office. The coin includes the print of murder suspect and career criminal, Jonas Ganz. He was charged for homicide in a theft, but did time for grand theft auto. Neal worries about June, but Peter says his first prison term was in 2000, which couldn't be right. Sure enough Ganz is a youngish white guy. Begging the question, why weren't Ford's prints on the coin? They agree identity theft is out, because no one wants the id of a known criminal. Luckily, Jones finds the connection; Ganz and Ford were cell mates. Ford, whose real name is Bradford Tillman, was in jail for selling "nonexistent land to a half a dozen major corporations." Peter: "Another smooth talker." Sorry writers, not buying a connection between Neal and Ford. These are superficial at best. Apparently, Byron and Ford ran an illegal casino out of Neal's apartment. "It always did feel like home." Ha! Diana's surveillance leads directly to Ganz.

Meanwhile, Neal comes home to find June in his apartment. That's intrusive. I never caught my landlords in my stuff, but they didn't keep old photo albums in my apartment either. Ford wanted to see it, which peaks Neal's attention. Cut to a picture of June, Byron, and Ford looking very dapper. Ford asked about Byron's suit, making Neal suspicious. June heads downstairs as Neal heads to the…woah! I knew Neal's place had to have a bedroom but get a load of that closet. Yikes! I'm jealous. And how many rooms does Neal have? I think Neal's apartment is bigger than my house. No wonder Peter threw a conniption in the pilot. Anyway, Neal finds a receipt in the suit but before he can analyze it, Ford's at the door. Great big apartment - very little privacy. My house is looking better all the time. At this rate, Neal should install a revolving door. Ford and Neal talk about understanding each other and the good old days of illegal gambling. "Bunco squad took the craps tables." Ford claims "the joint was nicely juiced." Marked cards for those of us not versed in con lingo. Ford was the mechanic, or card cheat. "Running up cards in your own joint. That's risky." Neal is oddly impressed and they play well off each other. June interrupts to ask Neal to dinner. Ford admires, "She's not like the rest is she? She sees us for who we really are." Ford says he wants a second chance. Neal: "Good. I was worried you were looking for something else." Stay worried, Neal. You've got good instincts. However, wait to take the receipt out of your pocket until after the door closes. Not your best work.

Neal shows the receipt to Mozzie, who promptly declares Ford trouble. Neal agrees but there's no proof unless Mozzie analyzes the receipt. Neal also asks him to hang around June for a few days - aww. I like protective Neal. Mozzie agrees to both. Hey, Mozzie and June have a book club. Just thinking of their book list cracks me up. I wonder if June likes conspiracy theories too. Neal didn't know about book club. Moz: "It's very exclusive." For some reason, I cracked up at this. Must have been the delivery. Peter phones Neal to update him on Ganz's crew and wants to talk to Ford at the FBI. Neal suggests a dinner party instead, but Peter killjoys it. "You want me to bring my wife to a covert interrogation?" Neal: "I may have implied that you're not exactly a noble citizen." Peter: "I said no. Find another way." Neal's other way is to call Elizabeth instead. Peter's reaction is priceless. Elizabeth has no problem with "dinner and an interrogation" and reminds Peter that he owes her a meal. I guess the bizarre scene earlier was setting up this one. Elizabeth says it will be fun to Peter's consternation.

The Burke's arrive and June and Elizabeth head in while Ford and Peter exchange greetings. Neither are what the other expected. Neal calls Peter his "outside patsy." Since the outside man gets the mark into the con and a patsy takes the blame, I'm not sure what Neal is hinting here. He says patsy is a compliment but I think no. After dinner, Ford plays the piano so June can sing. June has Neal join her and the Burkes are pleasantly shocked by Neal's voice. However, I heard Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay's version of Carry on My Wayward Son (flash to Supernatural) so I just find it pleasant. People should sing more often on White Collar - well, no musical episode, but little flashes. Ford and June dance and Elizabeth lets it slip that Peter is a good salsa dancer. Neal: "Do you have any pictures of that because I'd love to show the guys at the office." Peter wants results before he has "to sing something from Pippin." Bwah! Mozzie to the rescue. Neal leaves a very discomfited Peter on his own to talk shop with Moz. Ford was a big name player although Neal hadn't heard of him. Moz: "You know how it is. In our business, no reputation is the best reputation." Mozzie deciphered the receipt using a hair dryer and Photoshop. Neal: "Why do you have a hair dryer?" BWAH!!! Best line of the night. This one's classic folks! The receipt was for a custom-made table in Byron's study. Mozzie asks about the party as Neal checks it out. A hidden lever causes the middle table panel to flip over revealing a printing plate for $100 bills. Neal puts everything back at the sound of footsteps.

Meanwhile, Ford stops playing the piano when June picks up the photo album. Elizabeth coaxes June to show it to them. She's pretty good at covert interrogation herself. The Burkes make a great team! Neal runs into Ford upstairs. Ford suggests he's looking for records and Neal diverts him to the library while getting Peter. However, by the time he shows Peter the handy table trick, the plate has vanished. Peter questions if Neal's sure but recants at Neal's look. Of course he's sure. Ford is on the run. Neal and Peter head to his apartment so Neal can research. Who's there but Mozzie in a white suit and bow tie with wine? Neal says he's late. I wonder how he got changed and over there so fast. Did they have another full dinner after Ford left? Peter: "Did you bring ice cream from your truck?" Ha! Moz does look like an ice cream truck driver. Mozzie is intrigued by Ford's accomplishments. I'm intrigued by Neal's book on the history of the Federal Reserve Bank. First off, isn't that catnip to him? Second, why does the treasury department allow such detailed descriptions of the $100 bill? The printing plate was for the 1991bill which had less security features like watermarks, microprinting, and optically variable ink. Peter asks what Ford needs to make counterfeit bills but Neal needs "reading material…(from) the US Treasury." Like I said, catnip. Peter's eyes roll as Mozzie and I smirk. At the FBI, Neal is fascinated with an official printing plate. Peter: "I'm not comfortable with this." Neal: "Really? You're not comfortable? I've got the men in black bobsled team breathing down my neck." They do violate the personal bubble rule. However, "these treasury agents are a little skeptical. You look like a twelve-year-old who just found the lingerie section of a Sears catalog." Um, Peter, it's Victoria's Secret now. This isn't the 1890's. Still I love this scene. Great acting all around.

Neal says Ford's plate is real but he needs the right press, cutter, inks and paper. He might duplicate the ink but not the paper. "So I've been told." The treasury goons are not fooled and hastily grab the print when Neal puts it down. Don't blame them a bit. Peter suggests the inks and paper could be stolen by Ganz's crew. Diana brings in Ford, who was caught during the Ganz stakeout. Ford is surprised by Neal and Peter's real business relationship but he shares what he knows. He traded information about the printing plate for protection in prison. I wonder what secrets Neal gave up for protection. I love Neal, but Ford's chances of survival look better than Neal's. Of course, Neal had a plethora of big jobs. Ford claims he wanted one final score, but Byron turned him down. Neal accuses Ford of playing June, but Ford counters that he took the plate to protect her. Neal looks unsure. He asks "from one professional to another" - love Peter's look here - why Ford doesn't have fingerprints. He rubs his fingers with pumice every day. Peter: "Wake up. Brush your teeth. Scrape incriminating evidence off your fingertips?" I know shows that could use a good dose of pumice.

Peter and Neal discuss Ford's revelations, but Neal's uncertain if he's lying. Peter remarks that Ford also wears a hat. "I'm not him Peter." No kidding! I've said that since the 2 minute mark. Peter thinks Ford's motive is more big score, less protect June. Neal: "People can change Peter." Some like you, Neal - yes. Most people - no. I love Peter's small smile. He looks so proud of Neal. Peter sends Ford and Neal undercover. Neal goes in as the forger. Well, after they get Ganz's original forger arrested for counterfeit autographed baseballs. Jones sets Ford up with a transmitter watch to his surprise. They haven't used wires "since Carlito's Way." Neal 's hesitant to go undercover with someone that old school. Ford: "Son, I once walked out of the Met holding a Renoir." Now Neal is really impressed.

Ford, Ganz and Neal talk past crime, stumping Peter. "It's like they are speaking Criminese." Bwah! Another good line. Neal and Ford riff off each other and I see why both were good at the con. Ganz tests Neal by asking which of 3 id's are fake. Again Peter goes all proud papa. "Watch this." Neal correctly answers all three are fakes - wrong base, laminate too thick, Illinois spelled wrong. Seriously, what forger doesn't spell check? Ganz is overly enthusiastic about Neal's skills. I guess because he uses some really crummy forgers. Everything goes swimmingly until Ford mentions the past forger's fake baseballs. Ganz is immediately suspicious and so am I. It's a rookie mistake. Did he do it on purpose? Peter gets rightfully worried as Ganz shoves a pistol at Neal. However, Neal proves his superiority by claiming he called the Feds on Forger #1 so that he could get in on the deal. Ford backs the play by saying he couldn't risk his share of the money on Forger #1's skills. Ganz gets in their faces but says they are in. Ganz asks if Ford trusts "the kid". Ford: "Hell no, but what choice do I have." That's the right answer.

Back at the FBI, Peter takes Neal's tracker off so he can be ready immediately. He does still have one. Good to know. Why didn't they take it off before entering a murderer's den? Peter muses about Neal and Ford's day without subtlety. Even the ghost of the dead horse protests. Truly Peter, this horse has died, gone out to pasture, been sold for glue, and had its remaining parts boiled down. There is nothing left to beat here. Give it a rest! Peter asks, "You want to be like him when you grow up?" Way to condescend there. Neal: "More fun than sitting in a cubicle." Peter: "Neal, if ever you do decide to grow up, you should realize this one thing. You can either be a con or a man. You can't be both." Hey Peter! Shut up! He's not 5. Belittling him doesn't do anything but make you sound like a jerk. I'm tempted to smack you myself. Luckily, Neal has more self-control. He tells Peter the aliases on the fake ids using word association. "Joseph Dowd runs with a bad crowd." He has a one for "every cop and crook I ever met." Peter asks if his was Burke the jerk. Neal: "You tell me what else rhymes with Burke." Normally I'd feel sorry for you Peter but since you were just a jerk, I cite karma! Neal notices the forger's booking fingerprints have 2 types of ink on them and surmises that all they still need is the paper. Diana finds Joseph Dowd's hotel near the BCU plant, where paper is made. Peter calls in the Treasury Department and Secret Service.

Neal heads to June's where Mozzie has finished book club. Bwah! They're reading Kitty Kelly. That's major trash reading. I'm disappointed. Mozzie is disappointed that Ford, a true legend, is working for the FBI. Neal however sends the dead horse's ghost into a fury, hitting us over the head with the moral. "Byron had it better." He had June and a home. He wanted out of the life, so he hid the plate. Still, he couldn't get rid of it because "temptation of that last big score is strong." "Ford can't resist it." Neal: "Few of us can." Okay, unless this foreshadows that Neal being tempted to join Adler again, this is a strange running theme. Given the fact that Adler presumably killed Kate, I can't see that happening. I kindly suggest, MOVE ON writers. This subplot is far too sappy for my fun show. Dead horse's ghost agrees and stampedes away in hopes of never returning again. Back to the plot, Ganz and Ford are missing and the treasury department forgot to tell Peter they were expecting a delivery. Peter sends someone to get Neal but it's too late. Neal heads for the door while his phone rings. Ganz forces Neal to leave. For some reason, Mozzie waits until Neal's taken to answer Peter's call. Everyone's wonky tonight.

Ganz grabbed Neal so he can identify the correct paper to steal. Makes sense, but Neal protests that he doesn't do this kind of work. Ganz says to make an exception. He gets the guards out by threatening a child and I wonder what Neal would do if they shot them. It's not like Ganz hasn't done it before. Luckily, Neal doesn't find out. He grabs the paper to the sound of police sirens and they leave. Peter heads over there, but Ford's still missing. The bells of doom clang their premonition since dead horse's ghost has left. Sure enough, he's in the former bar turned counterfeit palace, placing cut newspaper in a briefcase. Neal's disappointed that Ford wants one last score and Ganz pulls a gun in the tension. He smart alecks about it being his turn so he's headed for prison again. Neal prints the fake bills (fully clothed and without welding machinery, I might add - no sans shirt quota met tonight). Ganz wants everything printed even if it takes days, but Peter and Mozzie are on the case so I give him 20 minutes tops. Peter suggests Mozzie and Ford think alike. "I accept your accusation." Ha! Mozzie surmises Ford would go some place familiar where he hasn't been caught. Peter remembers Ford freaking out about the photo album and they realize he's at the Lenox Lounge. Byron used to run the backroom. Bingo! We have a winner. 20 minutes was too generous.

Ford closes a briefcase full of money as sirens blast. While Ganz checks it out, Ford flips a lever to trade out the briefcases. How does the briefcase stay attached to the table when it's upside down? That will stay a mystery because Neal flips the briefcases again, so Ganz heads out with the money unbeknownst to Ford. Neal realizes Ford called the cops ("I saw a cat stuck in a tree.") and exposits how Ford planned everything from the start - from the coin to the police. Neal's ticked he "puts June's life at risk. For what Ford? For a score?" That right there is why Neal will never be Ford. He cares about people over himself. The FBI arrive to Ford's chagrin. Neal: "I guess someone's really worried about that cat." *snicker* Diana busts Ganz with the cash and doesn't take him calling her sweetheart well. Ford wonders how they figured out the Lenox. Neal: "Unlike you, I've got a partner I can trust." Aww. Love it. Peter heads inside. "Until the suspect is secure and Caffrey's safe, no one move." Aww again. This is the Peter I love.

Ford picks up a gun while Neal reasons with him. He offers Ford a second chance. "It's not too late Ford. You can still walk away from this if I back your story. Give you two options. One, get rid of that gun, become a cooperating witness, and take June dancing." Option 2 - "You take that case and run as long as you can." Ford won't change; he leaves his hat and walks away. Neal is crushed. He picks up the hat and tells Peter "I tried to help him." Peter exposits that Byron figured out that "there's no such thing as a final score, only the next one. Unless you figure that out, you're going to lose in the end." Preacher Peter wraps up and he and Neal head out. Neal returns the hat. I hope Neal isn't giving up hats altogether. I love that about him. Ford meanwhile opens the briefcase and realizes he's been conned. The moral anvil crushes us all to smithereens as we see that he has indeed lost it all.

Cue sad jazz music as Neal returns to June's house. She looks at the photo album, listens to Byron's old records, and realizes Ford isn't returning. She let him in "to remember what Byron and I had even if it was just for a while. Maybe I wanted to go dancing again." She's visibly upset as Neal goes over. "May I." He offers her his hand and they dance to the music of times gone by and slowly fading memories. My cold heart warms as a lump rises in my throat. Why would anyone think Neal and Ford are the same? They are both cons with a flagrant disregard for the rules, but Neal puts others before his own well-being. We saw that when he left prison to find Kate. We saw that in his reaction to Mozzie getting shot. We see it now as he comforts June. It's a beautiful moment. One I wish we had ended with.

But it's not meant to be. Mozzie joins a depressed-looking Neal about finding a vacuum coil. He talks about the timeline for a prototype only to realize Neal's thoughts are elsewhere. Neal ponders how everything will end for him. Moz: "You mean the big score or the big house? Is there another option?" Neal cites Byron but Mozzie thinks true love is "the biggest con of them all." Apparently, con artists have their own saying: "Old con men never die, our smiles just fade away." Mozzie grins to cheer Neal up, but Neal is introspective and grim. It's all sad and gloomy until Mozzie again saves the day. He asks about the printing plate, which Neal put back in Byron's table "for a rainy day." I'd think Peter would check on that. Mozzie is a good friend. Everyone should be so lucky.

I enjoyed this episode mostly for June's increased part and the rapport between Billy Dee Williams and Matt Bomer. They did a great job riffing off each other, which made their characters click. I also love when characters get protective of each other like Neal for June and Peter for Neal. It adds depth to the relationship. The whole dinner party scene worked well too. However, Peter's constant preaching at Neal is getting annoying. Peter's better than this. In the season opener, this was played as a con between Neal and Peter to distract the woman with the gun. Now it seems like an all-too-real rift. And, unless there is a big payoff to the "Neal has to choose" moral, it needs to go away right now. It's dragging down the pacing of the show.

In two weeks - Neal has to rescue a kidnapped Peter. I'm a sucker for role reversal stories, so this one looks great!

Screencaps by White Collar Online.
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