Sunday, March 13, 2011

White Collar - 2.16 - Under the Radar - Recap

Previously Sara happened, Adler created Neal and two years of music box drama (proof good can come from bad), he also killed Kate and shot Mozzie (just bad), fractals are useful and pretty, the chase for a WW2 plane or boat ensues

We open as Neal struggles to carry a box of faux Rolexes while Peter smirks. It looks like a character ed. lesson in perseverance. They banter safe cracking tools while Peter fake encourages. Waiting for them is Sara, who becomes a regular next season and is the source of eye strain as I constantly roll them at her presence. Neal's excited to see her though, and Peter gets the fake goods. Sara found nothing interesting rifling through Neal's stuff but she did find a boat in the ocean. For reasons known only to women playing mind games, she asks to talk to Neal privately only to say he looks well. Neal and I are thrown, which is exactly what she wants, and he babbles about her hair. Upstairs, they discuss the archives incident. Neal hesitantly starts but Sara describes it as hot, leaving him more flustered. Neal says it reminded him of college. Sara reminds him that he never went to college but Neal did spend a lot of time there researching. The music of sexually charged banter bubbles in the background. I sigh.

Meanwhile, Jones and Diana join Peter over the faux watches. Jones might also be a series regular next year, which I hope means he does more than sit in the van and babysit Neal. Someone please give him a back story. Jones quickly does mental math, declaring the watches worth 2.5 million on the street. Diana claims he's been hanging around Neal too much. I'd say not enough. They notice the Neal-Sara vibe and wonder "when that happened." I wonder when it will end. Neal gives them a wave and Diana goes to get the "Harvard crew" while Jones lugs the watch box.

Thankfully, we get back to the plot. Peter recaps Vincent Adler for those who missed Forging Bonds. Sara says Adler wants sunken U-boat #869. Jones: "First music boxes, now U-boats." Yeah, this isn't a typical crime show. No one knows why Adler wants this particular sub, but Neal's jaw clenches when Peter reminds us that he shot one person and killed at least 2 others for it. Peter has them track the equipment needed to raise a sub so they can find Adler. Good plan. He pulls Diana and Jones aside to trace Alex Hunter, granddaughter of the German radio operator Adler has been tracking, instead. When they show no surprise at Alex's involvement, Sara realizes there's more to the Alex/Neal story than he let on. Neal admits he understated it. Sara: "Neal, you don't owe me anything. I've lived a life too, but if there is anything between us, then don't lie to me." Neal: "I would never." He tries to charm her, but she bluntly says, "Yes, you would." That's the only thing I like about Sara. She doesn't fall victim to his charm often. Neal claims things were over with Alex a long time ago and they agree to meet at his place for lunch the next day.

Peter and Neal join Mozzie, who is excited about the U-boat. Neal warns him, but Peter asks what Moz thinks is in it anyway. He guesses plutonium or Hitler clones. Bwah! I've missed his conspiracy theories. Peter sees the Chrysler Building painting Neal is working on. "Are you painting that for your girlfriend?" Neal: "Are you 9?" Ha! Sounds like it. Neal paints to calm down and Peter empathizes that he must paint a lot. Apparently, a whole storage room full. At first I thought this was bizarre filler conversation, but it's vital later on. Mozzie gets the antennae warmed up but it has to be right over the sub to work. Peter would rather find Alex than go on a scavenger hunt. Neal calls her, and what do you know, Adler answers! Uh oh! They trade info: Adler has Alex; Neal knows about the U-boat. Adler tells him to let it go -"first Kate, now Alex" - but neither will stop. At the FBI, Diana asks if Alex is working with Adler. Neal vehemently denies it, but Peter's not sure. They all try to find her, but Mozzie gets info first. Hale (please bring him back), the fence from Point Blank, heard Alex worked with Ted Eames pawning silver. Neal and Moz banter about understanding Alex, and Moz hammers it home. "I thought your relationship made perfect sense. Mutual respect. Convenience." Neal wants to but can't negate it. "I want to talk to Eames."

Peter and Neal exposit Mozzie's findings. Peter wants to haul Eames in, but Neal knows he'll talk more for a favor than Feds. He suggests they pull Mozzie into a faux watch scam. Moz: "I'm holding 5 fake Rolexes. If I get shaken down, I've got a government-stamped bar code on the back of my neck." Ha! Neal tells Eames he wanted to work with Alex, but can't find her. Eames suggests checking Interpol. I wonder how he missed that Neal works for the FBI. Shouldn't that be common knowledge in the criminal world by now? They barter, Eames gives Moz $300 for a watch, and Peter and Jones burst on the scene. Jones chases Mozzie while Peter barks at Eames. Neal steps between them before Peter pats Eames down in order to lift the watch from Eames' pocket with the 2-finger technique from last week. Nice continuity. Once Peter is done, Neal slips the watch back to Eames before Peter pats him down. Peter threatens some more and heads off. Eames owes Neal now and says Alex went to the Conservatory Gardens after their meeting. Peter asks for the watches and $300 from Mozzie, but Moz claims no knowledge of the money. Neal just shrugs. Bwah! "Anytime Serpico!" Peter tells him to buy June lunch.

At the Conservatory, Peter and Neal split up - always a bad plan. Neal makes a strange expression and heads off, only to go missing himself. When Peter gets Neal's area, his phone rings and Adler tells him to get in the waiting limo, where Neal shakes his head in warning. Peter goes anyway and hands over his gun. Adler's in front. Peter tells him to stow the small talk and Neal confronts him about killing Kate, but Adler counters that Neal changing her actually killed Kate. Semantics buddy. Peter asks what he wants. "I want Neal, but I'll bring you along since I can't let you go." Neal's anklet is removed and over Peter's strenuous objection, he drinks iced tea laced with ethanol to knock him out. "Have a drink Neal. You may wake up to find all the answers you've been looking for." Peter drinks too.

Neal wakes to a smiling Alex, who promptly smacks him so he can focus. She thinks they have a plan. "You let yourselves get caught; then the FBI rides to the rescue." Peter: "You got the first part right." Ha! Nothing's that simple! Adler enters, rolling back a screen in their room. Voila, it's a U-boat. A remarkably well-preserved U-boat at that. Shocked looks abound while Adler smirks like a proud papa. The sub was headed to Argentina, but something (it's not clarified) caused it to sink. Adler's father survived the sinking, but Adler needs Neal to open the sub, which is rigged to explode. Neal's the best and he won't refuse because Adler has Alex. Adler: "You can pretend you're doing it to protect her and Peter, but we both know the real reason. You want to see what's inside." Who wouldn't? Adler has the necessary tools but Neal needs Peter's help. Adler will watch behind a blast shield on a remote camera Neal wears. Peter questions if Neal can do it, but Neal just looks at him. Of course he can.

At Neal's, Sara is surprised to find Mozzie. "And you're not a strawberry blonde with a penchant for Voltaire. I guess we're both disappointed." Bwah! Mozzie grouses that he needs to boost the antennae signal since he hasn't heard from anyone. Moz offers relationship advice on dating a con, which is funny and spot on. "You know, it's not going to work out..I get it. We're fascinating creatures; we live a life of danger. It's exciting, slightly erotic. But guys like us, you find yourself always trying to stay a step ahead. You relax once, let down your guard, and it all goes away." Sara needs alcohol and finds the bottle of Lafite Moz hid. Moz realizes Neal is late for his date, which is unusual. He worries and they call Peter, to no avail, mostly because Peter and Neal are drilling a plate in the sub. Peter: "You ever safe crack a submarine?" That's a negative, but Neal figures it's the same. They insert the scope to see a typewriter, and anyone who knows World War 2 knows it's an Enigma encryption machine. They unbolt the plate, which is not rusted enough, while Peter asks if it really takes two people. Neal: "I figured I'd save you from a bullet." Peter: "By putting me in front of a bomb?" I love it, but Adler doesn't like chat. Neal says to join them if he wants to stop them. Not happening. They lift the Enigma to find TNT below. At the FBI, Diana consoles Sara. "Good thing is your boyfriend is wearing a tracking anklet." Egads! Doesn't anyone in the FBI have a life? They're worse than middle school girls. Diana and Jones get worried though when they find Peter took off Neal's anklet at Conservatory Park. They pick up Mozzie and Sara to check it out. In the ever-present Municipal Utilities van, Diana and Mozzie irritate each other. As much as I love Mozzie, he irritates me too here.

Returning to the more interesting sub, the Enigma poses a problem. There are "15 billion, billion possible combinations." Isn't Adler a bundle of hope? Neal: "You're good with crosswords." Peter: "Not that good." Neal asks if he has a favorite color and it looks like they are going with wire cutting. Peter reminds Neal that this is his skill set and balks at Neal using "usually" in this conversation. Neal: "I don't know if they bluffed with wires 60 years ago." Good point. Neal debates the silver or black wire, while Peter says El's favorite color is purple. Great choice, but irrelevant. Neal decides to cut both. Still, he wants a heart to heart in case it doesn't work. Peter cuts him off saying "me too". Good to know they are on good terms if this is it - which we know it isn't. They cut and something starts ticking fast. Adler says it's going to blow but Alex figures it out. Her grandpa, the radio operator who received the last SOS, told her to remember the King Midas story. Adler is shocked she is related to Herr Wagner; I'm shocked he kidnapped her without knowing this. It's moot though since the ticking stops when Neal types in Midas. Peter: "That was close." Neal: "We could have cut it closer." Not by much, Neal. They open the hatch to find more TNT.

Neal climbs down the hatch while Peter hands him tools before joining him. Peter: "If I see jars of fetuses with little black moustaches, I'm turning around." BWAAH!!! Best Peter line ever! Neal: "I don't think this is the one carrying the Hitler clones." Nope, it's carrying billions of dollars in Nazi loot - Van Dyke and Rembrandt paintings as well as jewelry and other plunder. "Freedom's treasure before it turned out to be Troy's treasure." Neal: "This has to be one of the greatest collections of art that's ever been found." Speaking of which, shouldn't 60 years at the bottom of the ocean in a sub with a gaping hole in it have ruined said paintings. The inside is remarkably well-preserved. Neal, Adler, and Alex are astonished and excited. Peter wants an exit plan. Neal takes off his remote camera to force Adler to come in, giving Neal and Peter time to reactivate the antennae. They pry it out and Neal plans to reconnect it to a power source in the limo. Adler joins them with Alex, who notices a pocket knife on the guard's keychain. She makes a fuss to lift it, confusing Neal who wonders why she wants Adler to shoot them instead. Adler agrees. "OK. Shoot them. Then get a mop or something." Bwah! I love him as a bad guy. Peter calls time out and they head for the limo. Neal and Alex have an eye conversation as Adler gets "the drinks ready".

While the others are drugged, Mozzie makes Diana wish he was drugged in the van. He uncomfortable being in the van and wants out. Diana says they are not abducting him but he can't leave, which sounds like abduction to Moz. And me. Sara plays peacemaker. "I don't know why, but I do like you and I don't want them to hurt you. So do yourself a favor and shut up." Moz tells them to listen because he's getting a moving signal. Meanwhile, Peter, Neal, and Alex wake up in a dry dock, hands bound and legs attached to cement blocks. Apparently, Adler loves mob films. His henchmen release water into it. Peter: "Adler's taking the whole arch villain thing pretty seriously." Neal: "He always had a flair for the theatrical." Alex wants the cavalry and Neal assures her, "Moz will be here…I hope." But an antennae isn't MapQuest and Moz can't decide if it's right or left. It doesn't help that everyone, except Jones, yells at him. Chill people. Flustering him won't make him go faster. At the dock, Alex mentions the guard's knife. Neal is admiring but not surprised. She put it in her cleavage so Neal gets it out with his teeth. I laugh while Peter rolls his eyes. I'm sorry but I love Alex. She doesn't need to be with Neal, but I hope she keeps guest starring. She's my favorite female character. Untied, they race up the stairs only to be seen by Adler's henchmen. They start shooting, but it's Diana and Jones to the rescue. Peter: "Don't think we could have cut it any closer than that." Neal and I agree. Neal hugs Alex. "You saved me again." Alex says he saved her too and they kiss. Aw! I like them as a casual affair. Sara is less happy to see them kissing and Neal realizes he's screwed.

Sadly, although they've got Adler's men, they don't know where Adler, the warehouse, or the treasure is. Alex says he's waiting for a boat. She gives them details about the warehouse. It's by a weather buoy, but she doesn't know which one. Peter wants satellite pictures of Adler getting the sub out. Neal wants to go to the waterfront, but Peter orders him to go home and rest. Peter will do the same. Neal agrees: "Live to fight another day, huh?" They might break up a fight as Sara talks to Alex. She knows Alex is uncomfortable at FBI headquarters but Alex says, "It beats being held hostage…just barely." Sara introduces herself as Jones warns Neal. "Across the room. Danger! So which one you going for? Hey, I'll be your wing man." Ha! May you have more scenes next season! Neal: "If I'm not out in 10 minutes, send back up." Neal asks what they are talking about, and Sara leaves them alone. Alex says Sara's great and shoots Neal down when he says "it's not like that." Give it up already. Neal changes the subject. Alex's grandpa took her to Coney Island as a little girl and told her treasure stories of the world's most beautiful things. He encoded the fractal in the music box after getting the final SOS. Planning to go to America to find it, he fled Germany but the music box was lost. He did keep the key, which Neal also kept. Alex thought they were just stories, but on his death bed, her grandpa gave her the music box key. Alex: "You remind me of this treasure. It's a wonderful fantasy that's just out of reach." She kisses Neal goodbye and my heart sinks at the thought of not seeing her anymore. She better come back! You hear me, Jeff Eastin! Awesome scene!

Neal and Sara meet in the hall. Neal tries to apologize but Sara's an adult and this relationship won't work. Peter interrupts their breakup, which I knew was too good to be true. Elizabeth invited them both to dinner and Peter insists they join him. "You're invited. That means you're coming. Both of you." If I didn't know better, I would swear Peter was playing matchmaker to keep Neal on the straight and narrow. Peter says it will be fun; Neal and Sara look like it's anything else as they awkwardly sit on the couch. Peter and El argue about weather stripping and she wins their bet. Neal and Sara need more wine to make it through the dinner. They split by gender over coffee and Sara asks Elizabeth about being an FBI agent's wife. "Yeah, I would be lying if I said I didn't worry about him, but I knew who he was when I fell in love with him." Sara asks if she tried to change him. El: "No, why would I. I mean, we're married for better, for worse." This is why I love her. She's smart and caring. Sara mentions Neal and El says having Neal is actually better. Sara's surprised that El trusts Neal, and she realizes Sara's conflicted. "Neal's a lot of things, but when it counts, you can trust him." Yep, I adore Elizabeth and I trust her instincts. I just wished Sara didn't.

Neal asks Peter if he's in trouble but Peter says they're probably talking shoes. (snicker) Neal thinks they are talking about them, but Peter says it's only Neal. "You've got a lot to learn about women…I come home to this every night. Last Sunday, I was on that couch lying with El. She's reading and I'm watching the game and Satchmo's asleep on my feet. It hits me. Again. I'm the luckiest guy." Aw! I love Peter too. They make the best TV couple. Neal: "I don't think that's who I am." Maybe not, but you want it. Peter: "You just need to figure it out, and when you do, then you'll be the luckiest guy." Peter's definitely playing matchmaker. El joins Peter, complimenting his butt. I decide the spin-off El and Peter home show would be good TV too. Regrettably, it's Sara and Neal's turn. Neal awkwardly says it's complicated and Sara agrees that's his specialty. "I could teach a master class." He insists he wasn't lying about Alex, and she knows he meant it at the time. Neal looks down, "At the time. Yeah." He reminds me of a repentant puppy. Sara kisses him and says he owes her lunch. Everyone smiles again, although I think this is out of character for Sara. Since when does she back down? I expected her to make him sweat and stew a couple of days.

At a warehouse sweep the next day, Peter assures Neal, "Adler's not getting away, Neal. I won't let him." Neal knows, but does he know something else too? He looks at the buoy and heads away from the FBI. He seems to know exactly where he is going. He tries a door but Adler joins him with his henchmen. He compliments Neal's persistence and says that a truck loaded with the treasure is inside. Adler will give Neal half if he helps him get away. Would that be before or after he kills Neal? Does anyone trust this guy? Neal: "Wow! Sounds like a really good deal. You must think I'm an idiot." Nope, no one believes Adler. Adler wants to capitalize on Neal's greed, but Neal has lost too much. "You took everything away from me." Adler points out that Neal tried to take his fortune too. "Tell me why Kate had to die. If you want my help now, tell me." Adler reiterates what Fowler said. Kate wanted the explosives so they could live happily ever after, pretending to be dead. She called when Burke arrived, and Adler blew the plane early to avoid Peter ruining things. He could have blown up Neal too, but Neal's not grateful. Adler: "You were as close to a son as I ever had." What? You don't blow up your son's girlfriend, shoot his best friend, and send assassins and crooked cops after him. This shtick doesn't fly. Neal: "No, I'm nothing like you." Adler counters: "There's nothing sadder than a con man conning himself. C'mon Neal, let's stop hurting the people we love. Let's bring this thing full circle, you and me. Just like old times." Anyone else think Adler's a cobra about to strike. He's cold and mesmerizing and even though you know he'll kill you, you can't stop listening. Brilliantly played! Neal tells him to go to hell right as an explosion rips the warehouse.

Diana and Jones come out of a different warehouse, when they see the explosion. Peter asks about Neal and starts running. Adler and Neal get the warehouse door open but are blown back by another explosion. Adler wants in but Neal tells him it's gone. Adler accuses Neal of setting a bomb and pulls a gun on him, but Neal insists he would never burn priceless art. True! Adler: "You won't get away with this. Goodbye Neal." Peter shoots Adler as he readies to shoot Neal. Sorry he's dead because he was a great foil. Neal: "He would have killed me." Peter questions what Adler was talking about, but Neal doesn't know. Peter: "I'm glad you're alright." Diana and Jones walk Neal away from the warehouse as Peter sees a burnt painting piece. It's the Chrysler Building. The exact same one in Neal's apartment earlier. "Damn it, Neal." Peter calls him back. "You did this. The fire, all of it. You did it." Neal says he wouldn't burn up priceless art. Peter accuses him of stealing it instead and using the fire as a cover. Neal denies it and walks away but Peter grabs him. "Your long con on Adler finally paid off didn't it. You saw your chance and then you took it. I don't know how. I don't know what game you are playing…" Neal denies it a third time. He didn't steal it - no lie. Peter: "I think you did." Neal: "Then prove it." Anyone else get chills during this exchange? Neal walks away from the FBI, looking back once. I love this show. Awesome, awesome scene!

Neal arrives home at night to find a key and business card on his table. The card says: 77850 Ganesvoort St, Unit A, New York, NY. You'll thank me. It's typed on a typewriter with no apostrophe or name. Very mysterious. Neal of course checks it out. And there is a priceless collection of Nazi plunder, the entire contents of the U-boat by the looks of it. Neal looks overwhelmed and then he smiles. The end.

And there you have it folks, season 2. I liked this season better than the first. It was more tied together and I loved how the relationship between Neal and Peter grew stronger. Of course, that may change in season 3. Once again, they neatly tied up the season arc while leaving plenty of questions to ponder. Who took the treasure? Did Neal know anything about it? What will Neal do now? Will he tell Peter? I assume he was wearing his anklet when he checked out the warehouse, so it's likely the FBI will know about it soon. Will Peter trust Neal again? I don't know about you, but I can't wait until June to find out.

In the meantime, don't forget to join us over at SpoilerTV for more White Collar polls, articles, and or course, spoilers. (Spoilers are optional for spoiler-phobes out there.) Each Tuesday, I will post something White Collar-focused so we can still enjoy White Collar Tuesdays until the new season returns. This week's topic: Who do you think stole the treasure?

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