Tuesday, May 3, 2011

White Collar - 1.07 - Free Fall - Recap

Previously - Neal broke out of jail to find Kate whom he missed by 2 days, Peter caught him again by knowing what makes him tick, Neal gets released to Peter's custody to help the FBI with their white collar crimes, Neal signed his forgeries, Ring Man holds Kate, and an Interpol agent told Neal that Ring Man is FBI.

Neal recaps last week's big Ring Man is FBI reveal to Mozzie which confirms his suspicions about big government. Since there are 56 FBI field offices, they've got a lot of suspects leaving Ring Man to make the next move. They are interrupted by Peter's phone call about a jewelry heist at Le Joyau Précieux, the most expensive clothing store in the city. That's got to be quite the shop with NYC prices. Neal tells Mozzie to do nothing as he goes to work. I expected some work-related Mozzie quip here, but alas, no. Meanwhile, Peter exposits the case to Elizabeth, which basically comes down to they know nothing and there might not even be a theft. El knows more than Peter because she tells us the store is having a big pink diamond promotion.

At Le Joyau Précieux, Peter's fascinated with the living statue models. "Like Buckingham Palace." Neal: "I've been to Buckingham Palace. This is better." The manager greets them and asks for discretion as the diamond may be forged. She leads them to surveillance, which shows a masked man entering the vault and removing it. Ignoring subtlety, the thief waves to the camera on the way out. Peter closes the store to investigate, while Neal tells the model with the diamond necklace, "You've just become a very beautiful crime scene." The manager protests lost revenue and says her appraiser isn't there yet anyway. Luckily the FBI has one. Neal examines the necklace on the model, interesting since he could see it better if she took it off. Good chance to flirt though. Peter asks if it's fake and Lauren snarks, "He's talking about the necklace, right?" Neal gets even closer to the model's chest. He says it's beautiful work and the model says thanks. Jones: "I guess that answers that question." (snicker) Peter tells the model to take off the necklace but Neal cites crime scene integrity only to unclasp it at Peter's glare. The jewel is synthetic but the manager says created pink diamonds don't come that big. Neal shows off his jewel smarts talking about radiation and occlusions until everyone is suitably impressed. The problem is no one should have known the time and place of the diamond's arrival, there aren't other security cameras, and the alarm never went off. Peter interrupts Neal's flirting to ask how the thief got in and Neal says he could have snuck past the camera's blind spots. Peter wants the surveillance tape and necklace. Neal wants the model. Peter's reaction is chortle-worthy.

Peter and Neal speculate as they head into the office. Hughes is talking to OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) and he's not happy. Think Internal Affairs. He asks for Peter and introduces him to Garrett Fowler, who is going through Peter's file as they speak. Remember that name, folks. Fowler's investigating the jewelry heist because only some police and FBI agents knew the diamond's location. He asks where Neal was but Peter says Neal couldn't have done it with his anklet. Unfortunately, 6 hours of tracking data was erased from the database. That doesn't sound at all suspicious. Peter tells him to ask the Marshalls who are responsible for tracking Neal but Hughes insists Neal is an FBI problem. I don't like where this is going because we all know Neal's innocent.

Peter joins Neal in his office where Neal looks over possible suspects who have the knowhow to fake the diamond and pull off the heist. One's dead; another's in prison. Neal suspects Adrian Tulane, a smart world-class jewel forger and thief. Peter asks if Neal could. "If I were legally allowed within 50 feet of the right equipment, maybe." They interview Tulane, and Neal is "like a kid on a sugar high." He's excited to meet a forgery legend and compares it to Peter meeting Eliot Ness. I'm surprised Tulane is so young; shouldn't legendary status take awhile? They find him doing the world's most irksome puzzle - it's solid white. Tulane speeds things up by cutting Peter off with details and proof of his alibi. I bet he earned several patches in his juvie Boy Scout troop. Peter tells Neal to stop grinning, and Neal fawns, "What? The guy is slick." Peter: "Let's hope he's guilty too." Good point. As Peter heads out, Neal tells Tulane, "I love your alleged work. Big fan." BWAH!!! Tulane is incredibly confused; I like this actor.

Outside Neal questions why Peter's disgruntled. "This is the part you like, moving the pieces, solving the puzzle." I'm struck by how well they know each other. I guess the cat-and-mouse game before Neal was caught trained them to work together. Peter asks for Neal's alibi but he doesn't have one. Neal figures he is the only suspect and Peter demands to know if he did it. Neal says no, walking away in a weird slow-mo gait as Peter looks on. It's an odd shot. Later, Peter tells Jones to look at Neal's forged bonds under polarized light for initials and at least the previously now makes sense. Jones asks if this is related to the jewel heist and Peter answers, "Let's hope it's not." Oh ye of little faith; Neal's far more clever than this. Meanwhile Moz and Neal discuss Kate's Ring Man. Moz: "I appreciate the irony. We're looking into them and they're looking into you." He has somehow gotten Hughes' FBI file and we learn Hughes was such a great agent that when he was forced to retire, they loopholed him back. No skeletons here. Ruiz from the Book of Hours episode is deemed very skeletony but not bright enough. Jones, whose first name is Clinton, and Lauren were also checked. Neal and I second guess Lauren since she's obviously not a man. The last one on the list is Fowler. He worked violent crimes until his wife was murdered. Yikes! That sucks. After a year absence, he switched to OPR. He's suspicious but no ring. Moz hopes it's someone else. "OPR is like this giant sucking black hole, accountable only to the DOJ." Neal's intrigued by this but I'm not sure why. (Mozzie and Neal sidebar that the DOJ is really the military-industrial complex and big oil.) The best part though is even Moz asks if Neal stole the necklace and offers to fence it. Neal's tired of proclaiming his innocence. Ha! Reputation does come back to bite you.

In the FBI conference room, Neal spins like a kid while Hughes has the most sour expression known to man. Neal suggests they get Tulane when he fences the diamond but Peter says it's too hot to sell. Jones whispers something to Peter and Fowler arrests Neal for the jewelry heist. Apparently the fake diamond has an NC micro-etched on it that matches Neal's bond signature. Peter arrests Neal and suggests he remain silent as Neal proclaims his innocence. Peter does him the courtesy of handcuffing him in front and puts a jacket over the cuffs so people cannot see them. That is remarkably decent of Peter, especially since he thinks Neal betrayed him. They slow-mo the walk out again as we watch the differing reactions from the agents.

Back in prison orange, Neal is confronted by Peter who says Neal let him down. Neal: "I let you down. You told Fowler to look for my initials." Peter: "And you told me to look at your bonds under a polarized light, remember?" Neal counters he's not stupid enough to sign his work again. Peter lays out the evidence in case we missed it - Neal's initials, only the police and FBI knew the diamond's location, tampered anklet, and no alibi. It looks bad. Neal claims he was set up and is working on who did it. The conversation stops when a guard says Neal's lawyer is there. Hey! It's Mozzie! Bwah! Peter questions his credentials. Moz: "You can check my University of Phoenix online degree. Go Cardinals. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to speak to my client alone." Ha! Love the bow tie too. As Peter goes, Neal calls out, "I didn't let you down." It seems important to Neal that Peter believe him.

Apparently, Neal and Moz have a great plan brewing. Too bad we cut to the FBI before we hear it. Fowler praises Peter on a job well done, but he defends Neal's worth to the bureau. Hughes steps in to say Mozzie requested all FBI files on Neal. For some reason this makes Peter smile and Fowler nervous. It may be the files Fowler shreds as soon as he hears the judge's order. In jail, Moz hands Neal some shredded documents and Neal tells him to buy a bakery. Ummm, what? This fabulous plan sounds complicated. Mozzie's as bewildered as I am. At the same time, Peter, Lauren, and Jones powwow about the case. Since they can't follow Moz, Peter's clueless about Neal's plans although they know Moz purchased real estate in Neal's name. Peter: "He bought a bakery?...Why'd he buy a bakery?" Beats me, Peter. Attorney-client privilege means they can't even get the address. Who knew? Shouldn't it be in some Hall of Records somewhere? As Peter puzzles over the bakery, Neal puzzles over the shredded documents, literally. He puts them back together one strand at a time. They end up transcripts of Peter's phone calls. Dramatic drumming signals that something is not right here.

Speaking of not right, Neal readies for his meeting with the judge by asking Moz about construction at the bakery and the judge's chambers. A broken air conditioner is a good sign for Neal. For me, it's a sign the plan is about ready and I'm excited to see it. As Neal heads to court, Peter meets with El. Peter's adamant Neal's guilty but El says he might have really been framed. Lauren brings them news. Instead of being arraigned, Neal will confess in chambers so he can name important people. Peter's immediately suspicious because Neal doesn't confess. He heads to the judge's. I hope he's wearing a sleeveless shirt because the judge is positively roasting. He has the bailiff open the window and I suddenly get a smidgen of the plan. The judge clears everyone out so that Neal can name names. Neal: "I'll admit I've done a lot of things in my life that I'm not proud of. No, no that's not true. I'm proud of most of them, but what I'm about to do today, this is going to be good." We cut to Peter getting directions to the 4th floor chambers when he notices a new bakery opening there. Neal admits he is innocent of the jewelry heist, so the judge asks point blank, "If you didn't steal the diamond, then who did?" Neal: "I'll let you know." He jumps out the window onto the bakery canopy while the judge shouts for the bailiff. FABULOUS!!! As he clambers down, he sees Peter and shrugs before jumping into a red van. Peter smiles from the sidewalk. "He's not in the van." Good guess, Peter.

Peter stands over a street manhole, telling Jones to find out where it leads. He's joined by Hughes and Fowler and gets in Fowler's face about how well Neal was doing before he showed up. Hughes breaks it up by asking for details. Lauren says the van driver was hired to drive to another street and the van itself had a removable floor panel. Peter says Neal went underground and when Lauren asks about the anklet, we learn it was removed when he was arrested. Hughes: "Burke, find him. Again." Fowler protests but Hughes reminds him that Peter caught Neal before. Fowler asks Peter's plan, and he says, "Set up roadblocks. Put up wanted posters." Ha! Exactly what he said would NOT work in the pilot. Somehow I don't think Peter really wants to catch Neal, which is interesting since Neal definitely wants Peter in the loop. He calls the cell phone of Elizabeth's assistant, Yvonne. Neal tells El he needs her help. Since we cut next to the Burke house, I guess he gets it.

Elizabeth meets a weary Peter, who gripes about the police outside. "As if he'd be careless enough to come here." El looks particularly guilty and Peter nails her with a "I can't believe you're abetting a criminal" glare. She nods that he's in the kitchen and Peter whisper yells, "Neal." I laugh so hard I almost miss the next line. Great facial expressions between the Burkes. Peter's beside himself. To Neal: "Of all the places you could run, you go to my wife." To El: "You helped him sneak in." El: "Well, I wouldn't have had to sneak him in if there weren't those people sitting at our house." BWAH!!! Peter accuses El of lying to the FBI but she counters, "Honey, I did not lie to the FBI. There was just a lot of milk and cookies and pleasant distracting conversation while Neal slipped around the back." I love Elizabeth! There can never be enough Elizabeth on this show. Her and Mozzie. Neal asks for 1 minute to explain and El echoes it before kissing Peter and leaving.

Peter: "One minute. You explain what you were thinking when you did a freefall from the judge's chambers, while I decide if I drag you back in chains." Neal: "OK. Does that mean I start now?" Ha! He explains that Fowler's setting him up. Peter interrupts but Neal has 52 seconds left. Better make them count. He shows Peter documents Fowler shredded once he knew all the files had to be given to Mozzie. It's a transcript of their conversation when Peter told him about the jewelry heist. Peter declares he couldn't wiretap his home phone without a court order. It's no tap; Peter finds a bug in his phone. Someone was inside his house. Peter flips and Neal cites a timeline to show Fowler's dirty. His initials didn't appear on the diamond until after Fowler accessed the file Peter gave Jones. Neal's minute is up but he's still there later confessing about looking for Kate. Peter: "Am I supposed to look surprised?" He is surprised when Neal says he talked to Kate. He shows the picture of Kate with Ring Man and explains that Interpol told him an FBI agent has her. Peters asks what Ring Man wants but Neal can't say without being arrested. Peter: "I should be arresting you right now." He tells Neal to give him what he wants and….hey, wait. That doesn't sound like Peter. What's up with that advice? Neal: "If I do there's no guarantee I'll ever see her again." I'm suddenly aware of how much this scene reminds me of Neal being arrested in the pilot. He's seated forlorn against a wall out of options with Peter over him. It can't be coincidence. Neal wants Peter to look into Fowler and although Peter protests we know he will. They have to do it without the FBI knowing, but Neal thinks it will be easier if Peter clears him first. Neal hands him a burner phone and says he can contact him through it. Peter doesn't want to know anything else. Neal: "Plausible deniability." Peter: "Words to live by." Neal heads out the back.

The next day, Jones declares Neal's "been spotted everywhere from Jersey to Geneva." Peter says he's covering his bases but Jones exclaims, "Ah, he stole them right off the field." That's apt. Fowler apologizes to Peter about their fight and asks him to guess Neal's location. Peter says he's probably heading out of the country. Fowler asks if he'd stay in Manhattan and Peter wonders why he would. Fowler obviously knows about Kate. Peter reiterates road blocks and wanted posters and Jones realizes something's up. Once Fowler leaves, Peter tells Jones to watch him since something's wrong. As Peter leaves an OPR guy tries to follow, but Jones intercedes so Peter can slip off to meet Neal at Le Joyau Précieux. He wants to know how the thief did it. Peter calls Neal "Jacko" in his don't notice me clothes andthey banter about Neal's mug shot on the front page of the newspaper. Neal worries about being seen but Peter plans to say he caught Neal, who is showing how he broke in. Neal: "Stealthy. Peter, I'm starting to like you again." Peter: "Well, we're hanging out too much." BWAH! Good one.

They cross to the vault taking note of the cameras, surmising that the thief never left the vault. Neal notices that a light flickers now but didn't on the security tape. They pry both lights off and find a prohibition tunnel. Fowler took over the investigation before the FBI could examine the vault carefully. The tunnel leads to a street grate and Neal notices a security camera above it. Peter: "Who said Big Brother's a bad thing?" Um, everyone who likes privacy. Back at Peter's place, Neal asks where the cops went and Peter says Jones imitated Fowler to relocate them to Penn Station. Multi-talented he is. They catch Tulane on the camera when he checks out a hot girl passing by. Lust will get the best of you, buddy. Neal says he knew Tulane's plane tickets were fake, but Peter and I just roll our eyes.

Back at the FBI, Fowler reams Jones for helping Peter disappear but he asks why Peter would need to unless he was followed. Fowler threatens Jones and he tells him Peter arrested Tulane that morning for the jewelry heist. Jones: "I guess that clears Caffrey." I like snarky Jones. He should appear more often too. Fowler and goons barge in while Peter interrogates Tulane. He offers Tulane immunity since "believe it or not, I don't think you're the brains behind this operation." Tulane doesn't roll over but Peter found the diamond at his girlfriend's house. Tulane hypothetically talks about a benefactor and says he's being set-up. Peter: "That seems to be going around." OPR follows Tulane out and Peter confronts Fowler with the bug from his phone. Fowler: "I'm not done with this investigation." Peter: "Neither am I." They glare at each other as the elevator doors shut. Later, the gang gathers in the conference room with champagne to celebrate. Neal protests the paper cups but Peter tells him to stuff it. They toast Neal's return and Peter puts in a plug for Neal working with them instead of running away. They also toast to OPR leaving…for now. Neal: "Celebrate the victories however long they last." They all drink to that.

Neal gets a call and says it's probably his lawyer. Peter tells him to put Mozzie on retainer. I love when they banter instead of growl at each other. Alas, it's Kate and that's never good. She says Ring Man is close and Neal says he's FBI. She agrees and tells him to give Ring Man what he wants. Sadly, Kate never says what that is. Is everything a treasure hunt to her? Perhaps it would be easier if Neal knew she was talking about. She warns Neal to trust no one and I say that starts with Kate herself. She's far too shadowy. Neal heads back to his place upset, but an oblivious Mozzie is too excited about uncovering conspiracies in the FBI to notice. He looks up to see Neal's distraught face. Neal feels helpless because Kate won't give her location. Moz theorizes that Fowler's keeping her in a hotel room he found paperwork on. Neal races to room 525 and bangs on the door. They let him in but Kate is obviously not there. Instead, Fowler's running a sting called Mentor. Neal accuses Fowler of watching him before the heist occurred, but Fowler denies it. He was watching Peter instead. WHAT? PETER? HUH? Things get worse as Kate enters a hotel room where a ringed man awaits. Peter's voice says, "Hello, Kate." She answers, "Hello Peter." My jaw hits the ground and my heart races. How can Peter of the awesome Peter-Elizabeth duo be the bad guy? What's going on? USA never makes main characters the bad guy. To say I'm shocked is an understatement. As Kate turns on the light, Peter says, "We need to talk about Neal." Kate doesn't look near as startled as I am.


When I first saw this I was truly shocked. I spent the hiatus wondering how I could have misjudged Peter so much and not seen any hint that he wasn't the hero on the white horse. Once hiatus was over and we got answers, I realized you just can't trust a White Collar cliffhanger. I was no longer sucked in when it was Diana's turn and I don't believe it during this hiatus with Neal. Fool me once USA, but not again.

I really loved this episode when I first saw it because of the shocking ending. I also enjoyed how Elizabeth interceded to help Neal out even if it put Peter's career at risk. She knew Peter needed to hear it and he trusted her enough to not call the cops in right away. Neal and Mozzie's plans always thrill me because they are complicated but interesting and somewhat plausible…well for USA anyway. However, the thing that really caught me in this episode is how they ratcheted up the mystery and intensity so I was eagerly waiting for the hiatus to end. That's how to keep people interested and talking over the break.

Screencaps by TV Caps and White Collar Online
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