Tuesday, March 8, 2011

White Collar - 2.15 - Power Play - Recap

Previously - Nazi china was important, Sara left for Argentina, fractals lead to treasure, Adler created Neal Caffrey - con extraordinaire, Sara likes Neal, my head aches from rolling my eyes (sorry, that wasn't in the previouslies)

We open to Elizabeth describing the world's most crotchety employer, Andrew Stanzler, played by Richard Schiff. Yeah! I last saw him dying on Burn Notice. He's abrasive, rude, and altogether loathsome. I'll be happy seeing him in handcuffs. He demands a last minute 8 foot ice sculpture and Elizabeth is more patient than I would be even if he is a filthy rich energy baron. Money doesn't buy loyalty though, as his assistant Brook accuses him of creating blackouts to charge the city exorbitant fees. She overheard his conversation and did some digging. Let's pause here to ponder the absurdity of having an episode about heat waves and 109 degree temperatures when New York had a blizzard a couple of weeks ago. Better planning would place this episode in the summer where it belongs. Anyway, Peter talks to Satchmo while installing a window air conditioner since he fried the central air. Elizabeth arrives to tell him what Brook said. Those are serious charges since 3 people died and the city paid tens of millions of dollars so far. Peter wants Brook to go to FBI headquarters to talk, but she's too scared. Elizabeth defines hyperbole by claiming Stanzler threatened to shoot the painter. If what he said portends homicide, we'd all be in trouble every time we made a snide comment. Still, he's not to be messed with so Peter needs to talk to Brook at the museum when Stanzler's not around. El asks him to bring Neal to put Brook at ease with his "calming smile." Elizabeth brings both Satchmo and Peter water and we get a weird lingering shot designed to make us ponder their similarities.

Sara is back from Argentina - Darn - and runs into Neal. Until he torched the place, Adler lived there,looking for an ex-Nazi soldier named Gerhard Wagner. Neal will take the info to Peter, which is odd since Sara is perfectly capable of doing it herself. They share awkward goodbyes and then head in the same direction, leading to more awkwardness. Some people say it's cute; I say time filler. Neal grabs a coffee the other direction, ending the scene. At the museum, he joins Elizabeth who is calming a nervous Brook. Unfortunately, Peter's stuck in traffic in Diana's product-placed hybrid and Stanzler's on his way. Peter: "Do whatever you need to do to keep her calm, but don't let her go." Neal snarks about the faulty air conditioner, but Peter's more upset about Satchmo suffering. "He made my dog pant. Now this is personal." Ha! Neal takes Peter's command literally and introduces himself as "Agent Peter Burke". El makes a good con too as she segues right into Neal's lead. He soft voices Brook into going to the FBI. Elizabeth and Neal agree the impersonation was their only choice, but there's a problem. Neal: "So..which one of us is going to tell Peter..I vote you." Bwah! Neal's smart that way.

Peter throws a fit and wants to tell Brook the truth. Neal says she will run if they do. As they enter Peter's office, Neal sits in his chair and goes to answer his phone. Pretty bold Neal, since Brook isn’t there yet. Elizabeth is on the phone and she gets Peter to change his mind in less than 30 seconds. He seems whipped in this episode. I like it better when the Burkes are portrayed as equals. Peter announces to the white collar Feds that Neal will be him for the next hour and huffs when they smirk and raise their hands to ask questions. He hates this! Beside him, Neal copies Peter's gestures and facial expressions. It's funny like when a younger sibling apes you. (Well, not when I was the oldest, but..) Neal does the 2-finger beckon and you know he's been waiting to do that for 2 years now. Peter: "What? You don't even need him…..Stay there." But Neal is already in Peter's office taking to the role quickly.

Awkwardness ensues as Neal and Elizabeth greet each other as spouses with Peter looking on. They hug and kiss on the cheek, while Elizabeth makes 'I'm sorry but what can we do?" eyes at Peter. Peter interrupts and with no other reasonable explanation to give Brook, Elizabeth introduces Peter as Neal. Confused yet? Peter dislikes the idea but goes with it pretty smoothly. He overemphasizes his desire to be an FBI agent instead of a criminal consultant and that Agent Burke saved him from his bad decisions. Neal desperately wants to end this discussion. Neal: "You're giving me way more credit than I deserve." Peter disagrees. "You caught me…twice..and you can send me back anytime you want." Elizabeth gives the "let's move on" cough and I wonder what Brook thinks about this strange laudation. It has to be awkward for anyone who doesn't know the situation.

In Peter's office, Brook and Peter explain de-regulated energy markets "so if someone bought up enough energy they could temporarily, artificially create a shortage." Neal to Peter: "Don't get any ideas Neal." This would be funny, but it highlights how often Peter prematurely warns Neal not to commit a crime whether he's considered it or not. It makes Peter seem arrogant; I like them better in brother mode. Peter exposits about the commodities trading commission, when he notices a picture of him and El on his desk. At least this time it's turned toward Peter's desk instead of facing out like a couple of weeks ago. Neal channels his inner Peter to awkwardly remove the picture. I'd expect a con man to be more fluid. Maybe it's because he's about to invoke "turnabout's fair play" on Peter. Brook wants to talk to "Peter" alone, and Neal claims that while "Neal" seems intimidating, he's the best resource the FBI has. Peter rolls his eyes while Neal smirks. Brook insists so Neal sends Peter to fetch him coffee. Yikes! That will bite Neal for weeks I bet, as Peter glares at him all the way down the stairs. Brook eavesdropped on Stanzler's private phone call to Bill Roscoe. With Google to her rescue, she found he was a criminal. Funny, because when I Googled him, I found a computer scientist, instrument maker, DJ, photographer, and lawyer. You have to be quite the thief to make it that high on Google's search engine. Neal knows him though because he cites breaking and entering. Luckily Jones distracts me. To Peter: "Don't you hate it when Peter makes you get coffee." BWAAH! Peter: "You're getting me mocha chai lattes for the rest of the month." A little cranky Peter? Diana joins in the fun as Jones catches her up. They tease Peter some more before getting to the bottom line. Gerhard Wagner has no info in his file because the Department of Defense classified it. Peter will use his contacts to get the info. As he goes back to his office, Jones and Diana snicker about the situation. They need more air time. Outside the FBI, Peter says the burglary is right up Neal Caffrey's aisle, except Stanzler already saw him. Peter suggests that he play Neal, an idea Neal scoffs at. Peter insists to reassert his control. Have issues much Peter? I don't usually see Peter this insecure and it rings false to me. He is adamant that Brook introduce him to Stanzler as Neal.

That night, Mozzie welds the fractal antennae while Neal makes his own an FBI badge. Not a good idea! Especially since it he made a copy of Peter's badge and glued his picture over it. Mozzie banters about heat and the antennae but Neal is distracted by paperwork. Apparently, Peter retaliated by making Neal fill out the forms. I like it! Moz warns Neal about getting stuck impersonating a "suit". Moz: "Get out or I'm going to find you wearing wingtips." Ha! Neal shows Mozzie the badge he made. Too late! "The metamorphosis is complete, cockroach." "Thanks Kafka!" The banter ends when Peter and Sara enter. Neal does a much better job of slipping the fake id into his pocket than he did the picture earlier. Peter looks at the welding equipment: "Do I want to know?" Mozzie: "Not yet." I love the progression of Mozzie and Peter's relationship. Sara and Peter have research on Wagner and Moz's eyes light up at the prospect of top secret video and popcorn. Ha, Neal likes butter on his popcorn. Unfortunately, the video's boring and Mozzie loses interest in Wagner as a radio operator for U-boats. I guess we know what the antennae leads to. Peter exposits that after the war, Wagner tried to get asylum in the US for top-secret information he could share. Instead he was detained at Ellis Island. They ponder how Wagner's life fits Mozzie's antennae and Peter surmises that Wagner escaped the detention center and went through Ellis Island on an alias. All they have to do is match Wagner's description with someone who entered Ellis Island at the same time. Well, if that's all they need, it should be wrapped up by morning. Mozzie asks Peter to search his top secret FBI files for info on the death of the electric car. Peter: "Sure and I can throw in some stuff about crop circles." Apparently, Mozzie switched identities too since he thinks Peter's serious until Neal raises his eyebrows at him. Pretty naïve there Moz.

As they walk out, Peter tells Mozzie that the US doesn't do mind-control experiments, while Neal and Sara head the same way. Sara wants dinner and Neal's heading to the gym to swim. The anklet is waterproof. Good to know. Seeing they're being followed, they hold each other close and whisper sweet-nothings to each other…er, I mean talk about the stalker. Neal twirls Sara around so he faces the stalker, who realizes he's been made and hops into a car. Neal gives chase but like last week, he's no match for a speeding car. Dramatic music plays as Neal dramatically says, "Whoever he is….he knows you're working for us." I know the PTB are manufacturing a Sara-Neal romance; I saw the previews. But please for the love of the better characters you already shaft, let this be a 3 episode maximum arc. It's not even that I don't buy Sara's character. It's that the more time Sara's on screen, the less time we get Jones, June, Diana, Elizabeth, and even Mozzie. No new character is worth my Mozzie time.

Peter runs through the museum schematics with Elizabeth, wanting to impress Stanzler with his criminal knowledge. She thinks Peter is sexy as a rogue, but laughs at his best Caffrey impression. She claims Neal's more charm and less Texan gruff. He needs more whisper voice and less power stance because Neal influences people without a badge. Peter sexy voice compliments El and then kisses her and winks. It's a fun scene. She reminds him to take off his wedding ring and he looks uncomfortable. Aw! Peter: "I feel naked without it." El: "Maybe you could wear a hat." BWAH! Peter won't go that far. The ruse works with Stanzler though. Well, not the whisper voice but knowing that Stanzler has a much less guarded personal display works wonders. He's in. At the FBI, Peter exposits that he is to steal a flash drive from another trader named Francis Luntz. Luntz videotaped a meeting with Stanzler and is using it as blackmail. Diana teases him by calling him Caffrey while Jones asks if he flaunted his past crimes. Peter doesn't bite but says the two are in collusion with each other, forcing the city to pay high rates to end the blackouts. Neal wonders how Peter got the job. "I'm that good." Neal looks wary of his new competition. Ha! Diana asks about a warrant but Stanzler doesn't know what's on the tape and Peter doesn't want to risk losing Stanzler and Luntz. He does want a warrant for Luntz's home. Neal: "I don't need a warrant to break in." Sour grapes, Neal? As the others leave, Neal tells Peter about being followed. He thinks Adler's tracing Sara and since Kate and Mozzie didn't fare well on Adler's bad side, he's worried about Sara. Neal will meet her at the archives and Peter tells him to stick close. Argh! Peter also needs to burglar training. Neal: "I've got you covered." This should be interesting!

Hey! Mozzie's training Peter. I am now super excited for this scene. I love their scenes. Bwah! Mozzie channels his inner Kung Fu with the pebble in the palm trick. Peter eye rolls so Mozzie wants $20 instead. "Lesson One: we take. We don't give." Ha! Peter demands his $20 but Moz calls him a difficult student and moves on. Meanwhile, Neal meets Sara to cut the 4-week wait time for archive access. He holds her hand to help her up a curb. It's a curb, folks. They are neither high nor tricky. My eyes roll. At the archives they cite national security, but what's still top secret about 1946 immigration? Not their best cover. Neal flashes his fake FBI badge and tells Sara, "Peter knows…the broad strokes." Sadly for them (and us), there's a whole room of 1946 archives. It's going to take a while.

Back at the vastly more entertaining Mozzie School for Criminal Arts, Peter works on picking locks while Mozzie calls him "sausage fingers". The door opens and June carries in Byron's pickpocket training jacket. If they move too much, the bells on the jacket ring. June and Moz trade pickpocketing styles and while Peter is startled that June knows so much about crime, I am too busy laughing. This is why we need more June time! Not extra new characters in an already too crowded cast. Moz explains that Peter needs to drop a bug in Stanzler's pocket "so your little Evil Empire friends in the van can listen in on him" but then also get it back. Peter tries to get the bug out without jingling the coat bells. No dice. He says it's impossible but Mozzie does it. The key is to only use 2 fingers like tweezers - no thumbs allowed. Peter's suitably impressed with both Moz and June, who knows pickpocket hand movements too.

We leave crime school to join archive searching already in progress. Neal and Sara sift through photos. Neal, as bored as I am, makes small talk. "So tell me Repo, why you helping out? What's your angle on all of this." Sara talks big payout, but when Neal pushes she admits that she sees his point-of-view. Her sister ran away when Sara was 13 and she never knew what happened. She made up stories ofher sister's life but never got closure. She wants to help Neal get closure with Kate. Aw, that's so…nope, I'd rather go back to Mozzie. Still, Neal is charmed and sympathetic. And we're back for Peter's final exam. Moz wears the suit while June nods encouragement to Peter. Peter changes the game plan though. Instead of dropping a bug, he lifts his $20 out of Mozzie's pocket and makes it disappear into his hand. June smiles and Mozzie approves. "You Peter Burke are ready to commit a crime."

At the FBI, Diana and Jones wish Peter luck. Peter compliments Mozzie to Neal - "There's a very good teacher inside that shiny head of his." - but they agree they need more archive time. Peter smirks about Neal spending time with Sara but Neal cuts him off, warning about Stanzler. Peter: "You don't give me the Be Careful speech. I invented the Be Careful speech." I love the role reversal. Neal says that if he's playing Peter he should give the speech but Peter delineates between "In the Van" Neal and "Outside the Van" Neal. Neal pep talks, "OK. Then go out there and make me look good." Peter meets Stanzler and drops the bug on him. He has 20 minutes to find anything called Project Edison. In the van, Neal tells Peter "We have ears on you," but apparently that's Jones' job and since he doesn't get to do anything else, he guards the privilege. Neal tells Peter to check drawers and cabinets. Diana gives Neal the raised eyebrow and he hastily adds, "as Mozzie taught you." Neal, darling, we all know you're a thief, no need to hide it. Peter finds a safe key in the underwear drawer and opens the safe, which contains a flash drive conveniently marked Edison. Peter makes a copy for the FBI. Mean while Luntz and Stanzler talk about adding Chip Wheelock, CEO of East Coast HydroElectric to their scam. Luntz says it's too risky and Stanzler suggests they meet at his party. Peter decides to wait to take down all three. Peter leaves the Luntz estate in Stanzler's trunk and then gives him the flash drive. As Stanzler helps Peter out, Peter gets the bug back. They agree to do more business on Saturday.

Back at the archives Mozzie now helps Sara. Moz admires Wagner because he used the system's flaws to his benefit. Sara asks if Moz is her babysitter, but he says no one tells him what to do. Not sure I believe that. Moz: "He's not worried about you if that's what you're implying. I am here for obvious reasons." Oh how I wish it were true. For reasons I do not get, Sara decides this means Mozzie's interested in her. Huh? Where did that come from? Get an ego check, honey. Moz: "I'm here to double the work force. I want to get Adler too." Of course he does. Adler had him shot. The lights flicker and Moz straps on a mining hat. Bwah! Sara's stunned. I laugh.

The flash drive has video of Stanzler and Luntz's first meeting. The team exposits how adding Wheelock means more blackouts. Peter wants to slip a video feed on Stanzler at the party with a button camera on Stanzler's suit, which Brook snagged from the dry cleaners. To recap, Peter goes to the party as Neal, Neal goes with Elizabeth as Peter, and once again Diana and Jones are in the van. Urgh! The party begins with Stanzler as Head Jerk. He introduces "Neal" to "Peter" and Elizabeth and everyone needs a drink. Luntz arrives with his trophy wife, as Neal and El discuss the perks of FBI life. Peter babysits Luntz, only to realize that he thinks Peter is Wheelock. Stanzler set them both up. The lights go out and Peter attempts to pick the gallery lock but can't do it in the dark. With the security cameras out, Stanzler tries to shoot them. At the party, Neal uses his FBI badge to tell everyone to remain calm, but he's locked in, leaving Peter and Stanzler to play cat and mouse in the dark. The lights come on as Neal bursts through the door telling Stanzler to drop his weapon. No need because Peter takes him down. Very impressive!

Outside, a handcuffed Stanzler is lead away while Neal and Peter recap. "I didn't know you had moves like that." "I didn't know I authorized a badge." They realize they are standing like each other and revert to normal form with Peter's hands on his hips and Neal's in his pockets. Bwah! They both liked the role reversal. Neal: "I admit there's a certain allure to your profession. How about you?" Peter: "Being Neal Caffrey has its charms." Neal: "Ignoring convention, embracing your id." Besides Peter looks good in black. Peter feels he had to work harder to be Neal than vice versa but Neal's not sure. Either way, Peter learned well as he snags Neal's fake badge out of his pocket as Neal heads off. Bwah! Elizabeth joins Peter. (She got the generator back on.) She gives him back his wedding ring and they kiss. Neal looks back at them wistfully. It's one of the allures of Peter's life. Aw!

Neal rejoins Sara, bringing her leftovers from the party. She mentions Mozzie in microfiche and they chit chat until there's a blackout. Sara leans across Neal to turn on Moz's lantern, which leads to making out in the stacks - college anyone? They're undressing when Mozzie excitedly murmurs in German. I think it was the equivalent of "Eureka" in American. The lights come back on but Neal and Sara are busy groping each other. Fortunately, Mozzie interrupts with news. Neal's annoyed. Sara's flustered. I laugh. Moz: "The urgency transcends the awkwardness." Bwah! Mozzie found Wagner and mentions Sara missed a button. None of this matters because Wagner died in New York leaving behind one granddaughter - Alex! Sara asks who she is. Neal: "I thought I knew." Who cares because Alex is "heading to the location now" with a hooded man stalking her. As music swells, we fade out and I beam. Alex has a real role in the next episode. I CANNOT WAIT!

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. Not as much as Payback, but better than the two before it. I loved the role reversal and the scenes with Mozzie, June, and Peter were awesome! Maybe my favorite scene since midseason. I love the set-up of Alex as Wagner's granddaughter, and I can't wait to see where this ends. I hope Alex makes it out alive because I really like her. As far as Sara goes, I hope Neal and Sara see tonight's lust as Neal pining for a real family like he sees with Peter and Elizabeth. What I don't want is a continued relationship between them. Sara already takes up too much screen time and there are enough platonic relationships that they do not need another love connection. Plus, I don't see Neal as truly being over Kate. But all that really matters is…

Next episode - Season finale! With Alex and Adler and hopefully a big piece of the music box mystery.

Screencaps by TV Caps - White Collar
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