Tuesday, April 12, 2011

White Collar - 1.04 - Flip of the Coin - Recap

At FBI headquarters, Neal is bored to tears. Peter asks who he thinks did it. "I'm thinking it was the accountant in the law office." Peter: "With the illegal wire transfer." Neal: "Either that or Colonel Mustard in the library." Peter: "We can pull prints on the candlestick." White Collar Clue sounds incredibly dull. Glad we skipped that case. Peter tells Neal to grab the file, and Neal protests that they have clerks for that. Peter: "I got something better. I got you." Really Neal, it's a file. You're not scrubbing toilets. Neal can't figure out the filing system and meets Lauren, who transferred to Peter's team. Neal's flattered to be in her Quantico thesis. He asks if she found anything interesting and she says, "Truth or rumor." Neal: "Is there a difference?" Maybe not in your world Neal, but for the rest of us, yes. She exposits that while Neal was only convicted of one crime, he's suspected in a whole lot more. Neal thinks Lauren transferred to get to know him and Lauren says, "Yeah, you know I wasn't going to pass up a chance to work with someone I have admired since college." Neal's ego is bigger than the room. "Hey, play your cards right, I'm sure we'll make a case or two." And no, that line delivery isn't quite as smarmy as it sounds, but it's close. Cringe-worthy! Lauren: "Oh honey, I was talking about Agent Burke. He caught you twice, right?" Neal bounces back quickly and asks for help finding the file. "Yeah, we've got clerks for that." I find these two boring together so moving on.

Jones races upstairs to Peter's office. Finally, some action. He tells Peter that Elizabeth and another woman have arrived and they look upset. "You know a buddy of mine, he always kept a separate cell phone. One for the wife, one for the girlfriend. Well, it helps avoid this kind of crossover." Ha! Classic delivery here! Jones assumes Peter's cheating. Has he met Peter? "It's not my girlfriend okay….I don't have a girlfriend." Peter exposits that it is Dana Mitchell, El's high school friend. Elizabeth marches up and says they need to talk, prompting Jones to leave quickly. Smart man. Peter tells El to have a seat, but gets up himself when she does not. Nice manners, Peter. El says Dana's husband John is in trouble. Peter remembers him as Hot Wings Man. Ha! That amuses me. He's wanted by the FBI for stolen Iraqi gold. Fingerprint and hair evidence is stacked against him.

Neal interrupts with the file and sensing the tension, tries to leave. Elizabeth tells him to stay; she wants Neal's opinion. "Just because someone's accused of doing something, it doesn't mean that that person is guilty, right?" Peter: "You really think he's the best person to ask?" Neal says he might be innocent. Peter notices that Mitchell is on the run and El says he's at his brother's house. Peter throws a gasket over aiding and abetting. Neal decides he grabbed the wrong file. Again, smart. This time Peter won't let him leave. "If we have your prints and hair on the scene and you're on the run, are you guilty?" El: "Oh, now he's the best person to ask?" Neal says Mitchell should turn himself in and El agrees. Mitchell is turning himself in….to Peter. Peter and Neal exchange "Oh great!" looks. Mitchell pulls up to the FBI and exchanges hugs with Dana and Elizabeth. Peter feels guilty and Neal exposits that some of the 1,000 year old gold artifacts were melted down. Mitchell declares his innocence and Peter mentions his prints on the gold. Mitchell is stunned. Against his lawyer's advice, he tells Peter that he was approached to smuggle things back to the US by Patrick Ames of the State Department, but he said no. Peter will look into it, but for now Mitchell is arrested. Neal is particularly interested in Mitchell's arms.

Neal thinks Mitchell is innocent. Peter asks why and Neal wonders about the statue of limitations. I love when his past nefarious doings benefit a case. Neal and Peter noticed Mitchell's surprise about the fingerprints, but moreover, you can't melt precious metal without getting splash burns. Mitchell's arms were clear. Peter says it doesn't make him innocent but they look into Ames, who is played by Garret Dillahunt - former Burn Notice baddie, Simon Escher, and current comic goldmine on Raising Hope. Great casting! Peter exposits that Ames worked in reconstruction in Iraq but now he's into private security. Peter questions him about why Mitchell would give Peter his name. Ames denies any knowledge, but his bodyguard has blisters all over his arm. Peter has what he needs and Jones assembles the artifacts. It's time to re-examine the evidence.

In the conference room, Neal joins Lauren, Jones, and some priceless Iraqi antiques. He lifts one up and Lauren throws a fit. "I'm looking for clues." Lauren: "Yeah, you're looking for your next jail sentence." Neal snarks that she just joined the team, but she counters, "Yeah, and I didn't even have to go to prison first." Good point. She hands Neal latex gloves - better point. What was Neal thinking? Jones asks how Neal would frame someone and he retorts, "I've never framed anybody. Only been framed." Yeah, keep up that story. Maybe someone will buy it. Peter tests Neal about the fingerprints and Neal notices they are all left-handed. Peter calls that impossible and they discuss it over drinks. Neal clarifies that a set of clean prints is needed to frame Mitchell, but is stumped by why it's only the left hand. Peter adds that they found the gold through an anonymous tip - red flag, and Neal suggests Peter slow down on the beer. Apparently, Dana is staying at Peter's and while they both commiserate on her situation, Peter can't handle crying. He's completely thrown and it's funny to see the in-control Agent Peter Burke uncomfortable. Luckily, Neal notices that Peter's only touched his beer with his right hand. Whoever lifted Mitchell's prints had drinks with him.

Peter arrives home and asks if they want good news or bad news. Dana flips that there is bad news and El gives Peter the stink eye. He recaps the prints and asks about Mitchell's schedule. Dana starts crying and Peter's flustered, saying this is good news. Elizabeth drags him to the hall. Peter needs to know if Mitchell was cheating on Dana and El refuses to let him interrogate her crying friend so El and Dana talk. "Sometimes Peter doesn't realize he's an FBI agent." Dana and John fought over a journalist doing a follow-up story who took him out for drinks. El says John wouldn't cheat, but Dana doesn't know what to believe. Also, John's Yankee cap disappeared at the bar. Explains the hair evidence.

Back at the office, Neal and Peter recap (again) and Neal asks why Elizabeth talked to Dana. Peter: "I thought some female intuition would be helpful." Neal calls him on it, "Dana started crying didn't she?" I love how these two get each other even in the beginning. Peter defends, "I didn't even do anything. I had no idea what went wrong." Ha! The journalist, Alisha Teagan, was embedded with Mitchell's unit. They recap the episode AGAIN for anyone who wasn't paying attention, and while I appreciate the break, they've recapped a lot already this episode and we're only at the 15 minute mark. Are viewers really that dim? They brainstorm that Ames had Teagan use her press status to bypass customs. At the news station, Peter checks in while Neal flirts with a publicist. Peter tells Neal to watch Teagan's reaction to hearing an FBI agent is waiting for her. Neal protests and uses the publicist's key card to gain access himself. He skirts Phil the security guard by bringing in a whole stack of coffee. However, Peter is not happy to see Neal inside. He hands out coffee to the crew, saying he's the new sports anchor. Ha! As Peter interrogates Teagan, Neal breaks into a locked drawer in her office using a paper clip, finds a pawn shop receipt, and copies it. Peter's distracted by following Neal's progress while trying to stall Teagan. Outside, Neal gives Peter the pawn shop ticket and Peter crumples it up. Luckily, Neal made 2 copies. Smart! He gets Mozzie to check it out.

Peter arrives home, where he is promptly kicked out so El and Dana can have "girl time." He heads to Neal's, where Neal studies old maps to figure out the bottle clue Kate left him in the pilot. He realizes the "x" in Bordeaux is the clue. "X marks the spot. Kate loves the classics." Neal calls Moz with the news and Moz heads over because he's got news too. There's a knock at the door and Neal assumes it's Mozzie but Peter's there with wine and beer. At least he brought a gift. Peter says he wants to solve the case, but Neal knows it's to avoid Dana. Moz knocks and Neal tries to silence him but he's already talking about the coin from the pawn shop. Neal calls him Mr. Haversham (or Havisham if you prescribe to the Great Expectations idea) and Mozzie tries backtracking by saying he's courting June. Peter asks if Neal wants to keep going, but Neal says, "No. I don't. You're right. This is…" Peter stops him - no real names. Good because I doubt Mozzie's his real name anyway. Peter: "I thought you'd be taller." (snickers) Moz: "Me too." Bwah! I love these two together. Peter offers Moz a drink while Neal shakes his head with apprehension. Moz says he doesn't drink but Peter says, "You do tonight." Moz: "Gin's good." Neal's mortified. I laugh too hard to care.

Neal is even more uncomfortable as Peter and Mozzie bond over Kate's mysterious clue. Peter: "I don't get it. The girl leaves nothing but an empty bottle behind." Moz: "The least she could do is leave a full one." They laugh while Neal scowls. I'm with Neal here; it's cruel to tease him about his missing love. Both Moz and Peter look half-drunk which means they are both stone sober and plying the other for info. Peter mentions the view and Moz champions con man philosophy over Neal's objections. "It's not about the stuff. It's about doing what we want to do. Who cares about 9-to-5's and 401 K's? Playing by the rules only makes borders that just take away everything's that good about living life." Neal stage whispers, "Moz, you lived in a storage unit." BWAH!!! Classic! I wonder where he lives now. Moz protests that he's really living while Peter and Neal exchange smiles. "As long as I don’t have to live under anyone else's time or dime, I'm a free man. I can do whatever I want." Peter; "Like going to the pawn shop and getting that coin you have in your pocket." Busted! Round one to the FBI. Neal signals Mozzie to show Peter the ancient Islamic dinar stolen from a Mosul museum. Alicia is part of the theft but Peter can't use the evidence to prosecute her. Moz: "Your rules Tin Man, not mine." Neal tells Peter to hand the coin over as Peter hatches a plan.

Neal meets Teagan at the news station and they roll camera for an interview. Neal tells a story of 2 people, a greedy thief and an opportunistic beauty, who find treasure, smuggle it out, and frame an Iraqi soldier. Teagan wants to stop camera and says he needs proof. Neal pulls out the coin and asks if she recognizes it. "What this story is missing is an ending. I'm not sure what happens to Mitchell. The outcome of his life may as well be decided on the toss of a coin." Neal flips the coin and asks Teagan to call it. She yells to turn the cameras off. At FBI headquarters, she flips on Ames and says she only did it because of the market crash. She took some gold coins but Ames made Mitchell the fall guy. They melted the gold to keep the FBI from looking for the rest of it. Teagan doesn't know where the rest is so Peter sets up a sting. Teagan will tell Ames that the Mitchell case is unraveling and the FBI is on their trail to get him to sell the gold immediately to a private buyer.

Neal is the wealthy buyer. Jones and Lauren go over his cover but Neal is not impressed by the car. It's a Mercedes but Neal counters, "Oh, this isn't even a S-class. I need it to look like I can drop a few million on antiquities. This says look what I kept in the divorce." Lauren: "Really, you can't make this work? What kind of a con man are you? The Neal Caffrey I did my thesis on could make this work." Neal heads to his place to wake up Moz. "Did you draw on my face?" BWAAH! How old are they? An practically comatose Mozzie tries to decipher Neal's recap and lands on the need for an impressive car. Moz: "I'll get my Slim Jim." Neal says no theft and Mozzie air quotes, "Yeah, we can't steal it" before falling back on the couch. I love this man! Steals every scene he's in! A decidedly more awake Moz walks with Neal to a carwash. They are dressed as FBI and claim one of the limos being cleaned was involved in a 418, which by the way is a missing persons case. Moz finds "gunshot residue" and Neal says they can either take the car or charge the cleaning crew with whatever they find in the back. Moz chauffeurs Neal, Teagan, and Lauren to the meet to Jones and Peter's astonishment. Jones: "I guess he made it work." Jones asks about Mozzie. Peter: "That's Haversham. Good man."

Teagan is nervous, knowing how dangerous Ames is, but they double cheek kiss before entering a museum. Ames tries to trip Neal up on ancient history but Neal knows his Romans. The van folks smile at Neal's knowledge as he tells Ames that the museum pieces are real, not reproductions. Ames: "I've always believed that the best place to hide something is in plain sight." Teagan falls apart so Lauren says they should move things along. Not so quickly. The bodyguard and Lauren pull guns. Ames: "Don't play games with me. You're with the FBI." Neal: "Technically, I'm just a consultant. She's with the FBI." Ha, Neal, but I don't think Ames cares. Ames splits and Peter chases him. Mozzie is eating Chinese and drinking wine in the limo when he sees Ames pull a gun. So he hits him with the limo. BWAH!!! Funniest thing the whole episode. Moz rolls down the window and tells Peter, "I was never here." Peter thumps the limo roof while Mozzie drives away. They make an awesome team.

In the museum, Neal calls stand-off but Lauren tells the body guard to shoot Neal and she will book him for murder too. Neal is unappreciative. Jones rushes in and stand-off over. Neal: "Nice bluff…I know you were bluffing." Lauren just walks away. Everyone is handcuffed and Neal tells a relieved Peter, "Looks like you can go home again." Peter brings Mitchell to Dana. As they kiss, Elizabeth and Peter join a mutual admiration society. El is proud of Peter but Peter gives her all the credit. "If you hadn't given me that push.." El: "Well, it was more like a nudge…maybe a little love tap." "More like a left hook." (snicker) El says John will be happy to be home and Peter wholeheartedly agrees. "He's not the only one." They hug and I maintain that they are the most awesome TV couple around.

This episode had a nice twist in that you rarely see a procedural tackle a frame-up over a who-did-it. It was a refreshing change of pace. I also love Peter and Mozzie meeting for the first time. However, Lauren always feels like the writers are trying too hard and there is way too much recapping in the episode. I like how they seem to outgrow much of this as the season progresses.

Screencaps by Emma-Jane
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1 comment:

  1.  Wow. Can't believe the next season is the season final. Gonna miss this show badly..