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White Collar - Episode 4.02 - Most Wanted - Recap / Review

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Previously….I hated Kramer, loved Ellen, disliked Collins, distrusted Dobbs, enjoyed Mia, idolized Mozzie, adored Peter, and watched a lot of shirtless Neal. Collins meanwhile turned the island against Neal and Mozzie was awesome. "You run. I run." It was Mia for the rescue and Dobbs for the betrayal in one packed episode.

Bickering about the AWOL Neal, Peter and Mozzie head to Mia's. Mozzie wants to stay at the rendezvous point ala Team Thieving 101 advice. Peter counters that Catching Neal Caffrey 101 suggests following the girl. I wonder if Barnes & Noble knows about these titles. Mozzie vouches for Peter so Mia tells them she dropped him off at Dobb's island citadel of betrayal. Mia is visibly shaken that they haven't left yet and requests to be kept in the loop. Peter reassures her, "One thing I know about Neal - he knows how to run." Meanwhile Neal is locked up in the prison cage a museum forgot. It might have come over with Columbus. I thought Collins was smart. Neal's already almost out of this and the camera guy hasn't even finished panning up. Nothing like a protruding nail lock pick. Even a closet with a desk in front of it would be more secure. Sadly Neal drops the bolt he's unscrewed right as Dobbs and Collins come in. Rur-roh Shaggy. Collins exposits his plan to fly Neal to the Canary Islands to wait extradition while giving Neal some water. He's cocky and annoying and I hope Dobbs kills him. Neal tries for distraction by picking a fight with Dobbs, but it's too late. Collins already sees the bolt. He pushes on the cage wall and down it goes. Neal: "You should get that fixed." Dobbs starts whining. Guess you need a new place to store Neal. Collins pulls his gun and Neal gets nervous, reminding Collins that he's supposed to be the good guy. Collins claims Neal could be armed and is in the act of fleeing, but I don't think he'd get anywhere backed into the cage corner surrounded. WHAT THE HELL? COLLINS SHOOTS NEAL!!! Are you kidding me? This is White Collar right? He actually shoots Neal in the leg. I don't know who's more shocked - Neal or me. That's it. Collins has to go. Now. I disliked Kramer but Collins is so much worse. (Title card rolls.)

Up the hill, Peter and Mozzie camp outside Dobbs' Citadel of Doom with binoculars and a camera, while Peter reminds us they are sans FBI for this one and Mozzie exposits Dobbs' monthly Payola Party. Moz goes straight for the billion dollar question: "Once we get off this island, hypothetically, what are your exact intentions with Neal?" Peter hedges: "Let's find Neal and then we'll deal with the rest of this." Well that's reassuring. We are kept from getting a better answer by the appearance of Collins. Peter: "Best case, Collins got a tip and Dobbs is hiding Neal inside." Moz: "Yeah worst case, Dobbs turned him over." A handshake confirms the worst. Since the Citadel is well guarded, they decide to break Neal out in transit. As a doctor patches Neal up and confirms that he will live, Neal names Dobbs' boats to distract himself from the pain. Dobbs is visibly shaken by this and demands that Neal stand up; Collins is waiting. Neal sees a bowl full of keys and stands up only to collapse back in the chair. The doctor warns him against walking and Neal snaps at Dobbs. Dobbs reluctantly helps Neal walk. Neal: "Believe me. It's the last time I'll ask for your help." Neal again grouses about Dobbs betraying him and since it's the 33rd time, I decide it's a crucial plot element. When Dobbs says he didn't do it for money, Neal realizes he is harboring a secret he'd rather not have the US government know. I smell a convenient plot loop that allows Neal to get back to New York without going to prison. Dobbs: "They're looking for you not me. Let's give them what they want." Neal snatches a key out of the bowl as they pass and ends up zip tied to a Jeep so Peter and Mozzie launch Operation Free Neal.

Let's just say Operation Free Neal requires either a major suspension of belief or you have to believe Collins is brain dead. Your pick. Hector upends his fruit stand on the road Collins takes to get to the airport. Obviously nothing's getting by without the fruit stand being cleaned up and moved first. Collins: "What is this?" Neal: "Don't look at me. I've been caged, shot, and tethered to a dashboard." Bwah! Now a smart federal agent and anyone who has ever seen a spy movie would think trap. They would back up and go another way. Collins instead leaves Neal to go yell at Hector. Mozzie comes up and tells Collins that things would go faster if he'd move fruit instead of yell. That's fine since I'm doing enough carping for all. Does this show really think I'll believe that in the copious files Collins obviously read on Neal there was not one mention of Mozzie? Not one picture. He's been officially involved in federal cases. He was Neal's lawyer for goodness sake. Bah! It's good thing Hector is such a lovable urchin or I might not get over the impossibility of this scene. Hector hands Collins a box while Peter cuts Neal loose. Neal: "What took you so long?" Peter: "Got stuck in traffic." Ha! Peter explains the plan but given Neal's wound it's time for plan B. They take off in Mozzie's car and to hijack Dobbs' boat. Peter does an excellent job of driving backwards quickly. Collins does a great job of not noticing ANYTHING. How is this guy an agent? Mozzie thanks Hector and scuttles off.

Peter knows Mozzie so well; he does like to stick with the plan. Moz: "You ditched me. You stole my car. I had to take a taxi here. That was not the plan. What happened to you?" Neal: "I got shot." Moz: "Oh, welcome to the club." Bwah!! Neal: "It's good to be a member. And I'm fine." Love this exchange. Neal has the keys to Dobbs' yacht but doesn't know which one is his. Mozzie eliminates the middle one because it doesn't have deep sea fishing equipment and Neal and he mention the names of Dobbs' boat. Out of nowhere, Peter starts singing: "Isabella I can tell-a. Esmeralda, find Adelle-a. Mirabella, so compel-a. Was there a Mirabella?" Neal: "Yeah." Peter: "Rob's fair ladies." Mozzie, Neal, and I are all baffled. Mozzie says it for us all: "Did he get into the rum?" Peter is stoked; Mozzie not so much. "Who cares? Why did you just defile a nursery rhyme?" Bwaaah!! Mozzie is on fire today. Peter leaves us all hanging by pronouncing that he may be able to get Neal reinstated in New York. What an evil time for a commercial! As we return, Hughes is on the phone talking about a criminal named McLeish on the FBI's Most Wanted list for 20 years. Hughes is skeptical that Dobbs is McLeish, especially when he looks at Neal's sketch. Hughes: "It looks as much like McLeish as my cousin Phyllis." Ha! Who knew he had a sense of humor? Neal mimes plastic surgery, Peter tells Hughes, and Hughes and I think too much tabloid watching for these two. Jones suggests running a photo through biometrics to see if it's a match. Then Peter lays down his cards by suggesting that if Neal brings McLeish in, he gets his old deal back working with Peter. Reese says he'll take it to Justice if it really is McLeish. Peter and Neal do the manly happy dance, while Hughes makes it clear he knows Neal is right there. Peter: "I got a promise on a maybe." Neal: "But you're giving me a chance." Me: "Aaawww. I love this bromance."

Moz comes back with pictures, singing Peter's criminal song. Peter thinks it's a snappy tune. Moz says more like an earworm. "It's driving me insane. Was this like some government experiment in tune implantation?" Peter says every new FBI recruit analyzes the McLeish case and Neal exposits that it's a mnemonic device, for anyone who didn't learn ROY G. BIV. Mozzie: "But the FBI never found him so it's like an exercise in harmonic futility…much like the Macarena." So well put and so, so true. Peter: "The girl always gives you away." Is that foreshadowing I hear? The group waits impatiently for biometrics results so Mozzie calls Peter on going above and beyond and wants the score. Peter confesses that he brought in Kramer to prove Neal had the U-boat art. Neal says it's his job and Peter agrees, but Kramer took it way too far. Neal says that's on Kramer not him but Peter still feels guilty. Peter: "Neal, you'll be running forever." Peter doesn't want that for him and even Mozzie's touched by the sentiment. I wonder if the bromance could be more awesome. A phone call confirms Dobbs is McLeish and now it's con time. Neal's disabled, Peter has no power, but Mozzie has hope. It's all about options. They decide to strike Dobbs' power source - the bribe money. By playing the Gossip Game at McLeish's party, they'll get the bigwigs to believe he's about to take the money and run. Mozzie pays for Dobbs' boat to be filled up and stocked with gas in front of the sheriff. (Good to see you Detective Sanchez from the Closer.) Peter goes undercover as the bartender. Peter: "I tapped a keg or two in college." Neal: "I'll give you a refresher." His facial expression makes me roll with laughter. Neal does his best Cocktail mixology flourish. Peter…um, doesn't drop the bottle. Mozzie meanwhile sends the regular bartender on a dream vacation and gets Mia to recommend Peter for the job. Neal objects. "I don't want her involved in this." Mozzie counters that she wants to help. Fast forward to Mia and Hector boxing liquor and garnishes. I guess this island doesn't have child labor laws. Does Hector go to school?

Mia's concerned the plan is too convoluted and I have to agree with her. Neal swears everything will be fine, which makes me wonder if he is conning her or conning himself. With the exception of Kate, he's always been a realist. He says it will get rid of Dobbs for good and Mia is all for that. She just doesn't want Neal to die for it. As she and Neal kiss, I decide that I really like Mia and Hector and will be sad to see them go. Peter meanwhile works on bartending skills. "Neal, do we have bitters?" Ha! Still Peter progresses with his flourish if not in his drink making. Mozzie: "If you can't nail the quality, go for quantity…..Pour it like it's Hemingway's last call." Best line of the night! Moz brings bad news. Dobbs' safe is uncrackable so it's time for the Fake and Bake, making it appear like it's empty instead. To make it work, Neal paints and Mozzie does some carpentry. They recruit Hector to break Dobbs' window and at this point, I question the writers. Are Neal and Mozzie really okay with putting Hector in danger? I can't imagine things going well with Hector if he's caught. This is the second time they have involved him in their schemes. Presumably Peter has agreed to this also, and none of it sits well character-wise with me. Luckily Hector is not caught and the plan is a go. Peter's skills have come a long way and they all toast together. Neal: "To the island's most wanted." Peter: "May they be returned to where they belong." While they are toasting a glass shatters to the ground. Moz: "That's not an omen." Peter: "No." A while later, Collins raids Neal's place to find Peter instead. Peter says he's heading back home because Collins interfered and made things worse. Peter: "I came here to convince Neal to turn himself in. Meanwhile you've got the Wild Bunch chasing him down like a dog on the street." Collins: "I'm doing my job." Peter: "Really. Word around town is that you shot him. You're a bigger menace to society than he ever was." You can say that again Peter. Will this guy just die already. Peter says he's booked a 4 o'clock flight out and points Collins to the bar as he leaves. Smoothly done Peter. Collins heads to Mia's after reading the name on the glass.

At the party, Peter plays Kevin the bartender and does a stunning job. He's impressive. As is his ability to say just the right thing to get gossip going. He says Rajulio, the usual bartender, is being detained by Collins. Meanwhile, Moz brings in glass to repair the window and Neal not-so-stealthily climbs a tree to the second floor. Things are going as planned and the sheriff and a political big wig come to ask about Rajulio. Peter says Rajulio saw money from Dobbs' safe being loaded into his boat. Moz lets Neal in and after a groan-worthy pun about island-hopping, we finally see the Fake and Bake. Neal painted a picture of an empty safe and Moz brought a mirror so once angled correctly the painting would reflect in the mirror. This scheme should be renamed Half-Baked. It's the most ludicrous plan yet. As they adjust for height, the wind blows a bottle on to the mirror and the mirror crashes. 7 years of bad luck might end up being good luck. I still don't think that plan would have worked. Time for plan Q - the storage room. Collins has a plan of his own - woo Mia into revealing where Neal is with reward money. Mia wavers and looks at the clock before finally agreeing. It sounds like revenge since Neal is leaving her. Anyone who buys this is new to White Collar. This show suckered me with the Peter ring thing in season 1. I won't be easily fooled again. Dobbs' however hasn't had that experience and he falls into Peter's trap. Peter talks about Dobbs' vacation plans and Dobbs' denies filling up his boat with gas right in front of the sheriff. The sheriff saw the Esmeralda being filled up and talks about Rajulio. Dobbs finally gets that he's surrounded by angry people and goes to show them their money. Peter meanwhile tells Dobbs' assistant about a plane leaving the country.

Neal and Mozzie have turned Dobbs' study into a state of packing. Ships in bottles crated. Trunks everywhere. Neal: "Showtime. I know this isn't exactly how we planned our retirement." Mozzie: "Neal, the law on our tail, an ocean breeze, a precision heist from an island overlord. It kind of is." Ha! So true and so fun. Dobbs and the sheriff come in and Dobbs is flabbergasted. He says he will give the sheriff more money but Neal starts yelling from the terrace. He claims Dobbs set him up and that Dobbs is now the target of the Justice Department since he is really Robert McLeish, number 4 of the FBI Most Wanted list. Collins shows up at that point to brag that Mia turned him in while Dobbs sneaks off. Listen you power hungry worm , you're going to look like a bigger fool when this ends. It's best to shut up and let others brag about you. Otherwise you look like a douche. Neal to Mia: "I hope you get everything you deserve." Mia: "I'll think about you with every dollar I spend." Yeah, this was part of the plan. If the dialogue doesn't convince you, the smirking looks at each other certainly should. They do everything shy of winking.

It's a party at the airport. Peter and Mozzie arrive first, followed shortly by McLeish. Peter offers Moz a ride to New York, but he turns it down because "the world beckons." Peter wonders where but this is Mozzie. He's not telling The Suit. I say Moz is back to New York within 1 episode. I'll be devastated if he isn't. In a moment of solidarity, they shake hands and I'm reminded again of how much I like scenes with these two. It's a grudging respect and Moz tells Peter to make sure the Feds live up to their bargain with Neal. Peter: "I will." Mozzie: "I know." Simple words but they mark years of relationship-building between the two. It's a powerful scene and a possible turning point in their uneasy bond. Peter heads to the plane when Collins arrives with Neal and gives the punch line. Dobbs is McLeish and he's on the plane. If Collins wants credit for arresting the FBI's most wanted, he has to agree to the fake story Peter and Neal have concocted about Collins recruiting Neal to get McLeish. Peter: "Why give Neal all the credit when we've gone to all this work to include you?" Collins: "You set me up." Neal: "For the win." Collins wants to know what Neal gets. Neal: "My old desk back." Collins is all about the team as long as he gets the career-building credit. Peter: "Hear that. We're going home." Neal: "I'm going home." Mozzie watches as they head into the plane. I'm a little sad by that. Back at FBI headquarters, Jones and Diana welcome Neal back. Diana: "You know I also thought I'd be the one to shoot you in the leg." Neal: "Oh well there's always next time." Diana: "I hope there is a next time (Jones) did what he did for Peter." Neal understands and Peter points out an appreciation on Neal's desk, while Jones points out Neal's beard. It is a little incongruous with the suit and tie Neal's sporting. Peter says Neal's pouting because he wouldn't let Neal collect any reward money. Neal wants a medal so Jones pulls out his brand new tracking anklet and they all laugh…except Neal who looks uncomfortable and slightly wistful. Neal's a man trapped between desiring two different worlds, satisfied with neither. Bravo Matt Bomer for selling the scene.

In Neal's apartment, Ellen drops by and I squee because she's a fabulous character. I hope she stays around awhile. Neal is equally happy to see her. Ellen exposits that June didn't re-rent the room and I wonder if anyone thought she would. It's not like she rents to Neal because she needs money. I would much rather have had a Neal-June reunion scene. Ellen breaks the news that Witness Protection is relocating her in a few weeks. Ellen: "Both of us get another new start." Neal: "Yeah, I was really hoping we'd have more time together." You and me both Neal. We better get a whole lot of Neal back story in that time. Neal says Ellen is his family but she implies that the Burkes and Mozzie are instead. Neal: "They don't know about our history. They don't know about my dad." Ellen suggests Neal drop it but he can't. "Everything I grew up believing was wrong. Everything. And I ran before I got to hear the full story. I'm not running anymore. I want to know who he was." Ellen promises to tell him before she leaves, but she wants to talk about the island and Mia now. Oh show, please do not kill Ellen before she can spill everything we want to know.

At this point I'm all aglow at the episode. Neal's alive and not in jail. The team's back together with Mozzie on his way I'm sure. We have the promise of back story. And then we pan to Peter getting grilled by Hughes for his part in the mess and I remember things aren't so perfect. Neal and Peter's complicated partnership is now being scrutinized by higher ups and Peter disobeyed a direct under to stay away from the case. I don't like the sound of this. The final nail comes when Hughes says DC is giving Collins and Neal all credit for bringing down McLeish. No kudos for Peter. Peter: "Now that Neal is back, I will make sure that both of us stay on the straight and narrow." Apparently DC does not think that will work anymore than I do. Hughes: "I'm afraid we're past that Peter." As Peter heads to where Neal is telling the story of his grand adventure to Diana and Jones, my heart grows heavy. Neal: "Everything alright?" Peter: "No, I've been reassigned." Neal: "What do you mean?" Peter: "It means I'm no longer working white collar." What? What!!! We just got them back together and now they are going to tear Peter and Neal apart again. Really? Nooooooo!!!!!

This was another big hit for White Collar and keeps me excited for the season. I love hearing about Neal's past and while I will miss Mia and Hector, they played their roles well. Once I got over the shock, I was even okay with Peter's transfer. One because I know it won't last long. Two because both Peter and Neal did some major law skirting in the last three episodes. There needs to be consequences for those actions to maintain any semblance of credibility. Since they couldn't do that with Neal except for the anklet's return, Peter becomes the fall guy. By far the biggest problem with the episode was how absolutely ludicrous the schemes were this time. They weren't even shooting for plausible. Mirrors tricking people into thinking safes are empty. An FBI agent who doesn't recognize a trap or an accomplice. I'm used to suspending belief on White Collar but even I find this episode a stretch. Good thing everything else was pitch perfect. The pacing was fabulous, the relationship moments stellar, the quips abundant, and the acting topnotch as always. So if the resolution was far, far too pat and some scenes ludicrous I can roll with that. White Collar did exactly what I count on it to do. It entertained me for 42 minutes solid and made me excited for the next episode.

Screencaps by deny1984

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