Asta 2

White Collar: Copycat Caffrey

A day late, but not short.



As always, let me get the quibbles out of the way first.

The Thayer was stolen during the daily security tape swap. I'll assume the gallery doesn't actually still use videotape. I still occasionally say I'm taping a show rather than DVRing it. But wouldn't a high end gallery have some sort of continuous digital recording device? And how would anyone know exactly when the swap takes place unless there was an inside man/woman, which we know was not the case.

The scheme to steal the Thayer and fence it seemed clever (for the most part ;) and very involved. Yet, the Krugerrand heist was very simplistic. So much so that I thought Oswald would have been suspicious.

As a former art student, models are very seldom as attractive as that young woman. But I'm probably only one of a handful of people watching that would have been distracted by that. ;) I did, however, find the flirting amusing.

My most significant problem with the episode I'm going to put behind a separate cut at the bottom of the post. Because after the writers were asked about it on Twitter (it wasn't just me!), their answer made me view an aspect of the series, past, present and future, in a different way.

Now, for what I liked...

I've never seen Neal as happy as when he found out his work was being copied. Even Peter commented on his smile and the joy he was exhibiting. And Peter seemed happy Neal was so happy. So much so he didn't appear to mind the cause of it - Neal being recognized for his crimes. He also probably took it as a positive sign that Neal was beginning to move on from Kate's death.

Peter knew Neal had faked three MBAs and two doctorates, yet last week was surprised to learn Neal never finished high school. That seems...odd.

But YAY! to some Peter backstory. He studied four years of advanced math and two tears of accounting. Peter obviously has an excellent analytical mind, but I'd like to see some of the background put into use on the show.

Peter attempts, in turn and in a not-so-subtle way, to get Neal to reveal something about himself. Why did Neal choose to forgo school and come to New York? It's very Neal to dodge the question, but now I'm curious. Could Kate be the reason? Did he do it for love? With good looks, charm, intelligence and talent, Neal could have been a star student and likely succeeded at anything legal he chose to do. So we (and Peter) must wonder why Neal became the criminal he did.

When the student they arrested asked Peter if he knew how hard it was to make money as an art student doing art, Neal gave a look that indicated he could relate. His reaction could be a result of general knowledge and/or common sense, but could be more. Perhaps he wanted to be a legitimate artist. But something forced him to use his talents to make a quick buck, he found immediate success and it became too addictive for him to quit.

I LOVED the scene when Peter handed Neal the class syllabus. "They spent a week on me!" Which, really isn't that long in class time, but it made him so happy! "A new breed off forger. Technological virtuoso. Wow. With a classical artistic foundation. They got it." I'm having flashbacks to Sally Fields Oscar speech, "You like me! You really like me!"

The Antioch manuscripts (and, later, the carrier pigeons) are mentioned once more. I adore continuity.

Peter: "People have been known to fall for a pretty face."
Me: Imagining Neal/Peter shippers squeeing.

I wonder if Neal's "Go Team" was a Matt ad lib? It was a moment that played well along with last week's passing around the photo of Peter. Neal, as much as he may not be happy about being shackled to the FBI, also wants to be one of the "team".

During the class Q&A, Neal states he was caught due to a "momentary lapse in concentration" and "essentially I turned myself in". I don't believe this is entirely true. Yet, I believe Neal feels there is truth in his statements and there well could be. I've always suspected Kate somehow played a role in his capture. Not that she sold him out, but Neal may have sacrificed his freedom to ensure hers or she, at a minimum, was a distraction that allowed Peter to catch up to Neal.

Alex! I think both Moz and Neal were right as to why she didn't come to Neal for help. She is very leery of Neal's ties to the FBI, but Kate is still an issue and Alex didn't know how his grief was affecting him.

The slap! Alex was way to enthusiastic when she asked Neal if she could slap him. And she didn't wait for an answer. Wonder how long she's wanted/waited to do that?

I'm leaning more towards Neal and Alex having had a romantic relationship – or at least a romantic encounter. Again, in Neal's lies there is usually an element of truth. He tells Oswald and the students, "We have a history. We work well together." Both statements are true. He then continues on and says Alex was "something like" a former girlfriend. Of course, if Neal broke it off with Alex to be with Kate....WHY???

Michael Boatman! In such a small role. Since it's clear Russell knew Neal and is rather pissed off he sold him out, I'm hoping that means we'll see him again in the future.

Peter: "You don't like the van. Noted." Two weeks in a row we've had jokes about the van and Neal's eagerness to get out of it. While I initially just found his bristling at his surroundings humorous, it later occurred to me Neal spent four years locked up in a tiny cell. It makes sense that spending hours on end in a small, enclosed space and not being allowed to leave may bother Neal more than he is letting on.

While Neal's plan to help Alex/bust Oswald was not a bad one, he has to come to terms with the fact he can't leave out important details when working with the FBI. If Peter loses his job or gets demoted, Neal can find himself back in prison. I find I can be as frustrated as Peter by Neal's unwillingness to think things through and conceive how it will effect all involved. At the same time, I don't care for Peter treating Neal like a child. His remark, "I can't let my guard down for one day", I found to be condescending.

Moz in the FBI van? I did not see that happening anytime soon. I hope they inventoried after he left.

The Peacemaker! The most interesting aspect to Peter's performance, for me, was it highlighted a problem with Mozzie. Mozzie tends to overdo things. Subtle is not a concept he grasps. It's why I think he doesn't seem to ever pull a con off on his own. He may have many resources, but lacks the acting skill.

Alex: "Neal said you were the best." While it's a nice moment between Alex and Peter (and she really needs to come to trust Peter if she's to be a member of the team :), I felt Peter was touched by what Neal had said about him. Neal made the comment once before, to Tara in 'Threads', but it was out of ear shot of Peter. And Neal isn't at the point yet where he'd tell him directly.

The Kiss! Nicely played. Neal could have pulled back, but didn't. And it lasted just long enough to show there is an interest, on his part. But it's too soon and Alex respects that. "Kate's gone. The rest of us are still here." Alex lets him know she's available when he's ready. Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later. ;)

Neal now has the key. Peter and Neal are unaware they each hold a piece of the puzzle. Peter saying, "Maybe our friend knows where it is", had a nice double meaning to it.

I know some are bothered by the Neal and Peter withholding information from each other, but it makes sense to me. Peter knows Neal is likely to do something stupid if he shares too much too soon with him. Neal, given his past, is hesitant to open up to people. I do believe Neal trusts Peter more than anyone in his life, but completely? No, not yet. One could argue that Peter is not helping gain Neal's trust, but, again, he thinks he's doing the best thing for him at the present time. Plus, it's TV. Characters are always holding something back.




I was very confused by one point on my initial viewing. Oswald and the students knew a lot about Neal. Seemingly, everything about Neal. Yet, Peter informed Neal they were taking off the anklet for the job. This made no sense. I've been handwaving Neal being able to go undercover with relative ease, but I couldn't buy that a man who had studied Neal would be unaware of Neal's second escape from prison and subsequent deal with the FBI. Or is his deal hush-hush?

So I asked the writers during the episode, which is a mistake because they apparently aren't looking for questions while the episode is still airing. When Jeff Eastin and Joe Henderson hopped online during the West coast airing to take questions, someone else bugged by the seeming plot hole resubmitted the question. Turns out, yes, Neal's deal with the FBI is hush-hush. Which, on the one hand, helps explain the seeming plot whole in the episode, as well as some issues with other episodes. On the other hand, shouldn't this have been made clear in the pilot? And if Neal's work with the FBI is supposed to be secret, should he proudly be standing around for the arrests and outing himself almost every week? Even if those arrested don't assume he's working for the FBI, he is clearly working with them.
Ooh, interesting review. On a side note about your biggest issue, the writers subtly answer that question in the story -- Peter takes Neal off the tracker for the case, which means that it's not public knowledge that Neal is on a tracker. Also, Neal explains that he was accused of stealing a diamond but was later cleared, and that he's just been trying to live his life now.

There's no mention of the FBI in the syllabus or in what Neal says to the class, which was just confirmation to me that the feds are keeping Neal's deal with them hush-hush.

Regarding the concern about Neal being present at the arrest...Eventually word will get out that he's working for the feds, and anyone looking hard enough will know it.

Besides, most of the criminals will be able to figure out that who betrayed them. I don't think it's any worse for Neal to be there than if he wasn't there.

Peter: "People have been known to fall for a pretty face."
Me: Imagining Neal/Peter shippers squeeing.


My initial thought went immediately to the Neal/Kate relationship, actually. Especially watch Neal's reaction to that phrase. AND it was a nice playback to "Free Fall".

Peter knew Neal had faked three MBAs and two doctorates, yet last week was surprised to learn Neal never finished high school. That seems...odd.

I don't think it's odd. Neal probably forged his school records as well. Peter probably didn't dig too deeply into them because...why would he? It was unlikely that the information from high school (except for a GPA) would have been utterly useless to Peter.

The Kiss! Nicely played. Neal could have pulled back, but didn't. And it lasted just long enough to show there is an interest, on his part. But it's too soon and Alex respects that. "Kate's gone. The rest of us are still here." Alex lets him know she's available when he's ready. Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later. ;)

I loved the kiss. It was very tentative and sweet. And...she hesitates and leans in to kiss his cheek. NEAL is the one to turn his head so their lips meet. I watched it like six times tonight just to be sure I have it right. He definitely turns into the kiss so it's not just on his cheek.

I really hope they don't make Alex a bad guy. :-( Between the Peter scene and the kiss, I would hate for the writers to go with the cliched story of a jilted lover.
It was Peter taking Neal off the tracker that made me go, "Huh?" The class studied Neal for a week! They would know about his release into FBI custody! Wouldn't they? Accept they didn't because it's not public knowledge.

I can rationalize Neal's escape from prison never hit the papers because a) Peter was brought in on the case right away and b) he chose not to plaster Neal's face on the front page of the paper and set up road blocks because he felt it would do no good (agree). But I assumed there was a public record regarding the deal and that after everything Neal has been up to with the FBI, it would be common knowledge. And Keller knew about the anklet and arranged for a meeting with Neal at the edge of his radius. Where did he get the information from? Did he have ties to Fowler and/or the mystery man?

Peter: "People have been known to fall for a pretty face."
Me: Imagining Neal/Peter shippers squeeing.

My initial thought went immediately to the Neal/Kate relationship, actually. Especially watch Neal's reaction to that phrase. AND it was a nice playback to "Free Fall".


Oh, I agree. But after Peter said that line, the camera cuts to Neal and there is a dramatic pause and I could envision the Neal/Peter folks interpreting it a different way. ;) I've been there myself with ships I knew would never materialize on screen.

You could be right about Neal creating a fake high school diploma, but then I wish Peter had called him on it at the time (just a line or two of dialogue would suffice) rather than bringing up obviously phony credentials a week later.

While I don't completely trust Alex (nor does Neal), I just don't see her as being a bad guy/gal. It seems clear she cares about Neal. She's leaving town when she could stick around and work on Neal for some nefarious end. So I'm not really seeing a motive for her to do him any harm. There may be some hurt feeling, if she was jilted, but it doesn't seem like enough motivation to...destroy him?
Very nice recap! I didn't love this ep, but I will rewatch it with your comments in mind - I'll particularly give the Alex/Peter moment another look, because I do think that is potentially a very cool relationship dynamic :-) I also liked the callback to the Antioch manuscripts. Continuity FTW!

I hadn't even noticed that it was weird for Neal to have the anklet off - it's cool that you picked up on it, and extra cool that the writers answered your question. But that makes the end kind of confusing for me - I mean, if Neal's deal is hush-hush, why on earth would Peter do that whole "I wear a badge, he wears a tracking anklet" thing in front of the entire class at the end? That's a direct confirmation of Neal's status, and it seems likely that a lot of students will be talking to the press about their teacher and classmates being arrested... Ah, well. I suppose that's an "All aboard the Fun Train!" moment :-)
if Neal's deal is hush-hush, why on earth would Peter do that whole "I wear a badge, he wears a tracking anklet" thing in front of the entire class at the end? That's a direct confirmation of Neal's status, and it seems likely that a lot of students will be talking to the press about their teacher and classmates being arrested...

Yeah, and I would have thought other people (many other people given they've closed 92%(?) of their cases) would have 'outed' Neal by now. I actually think it makes a lot of sense for the FBI to want to keep Neal's deal secret, but I often feel the WC writers haven't given enough consideration to the media, how unlikely it is the secret could be kept and that Neal should be readily recognizable at this point. Kind of an irony given how much the writers use social media themselves.

I really hope we get a scene involving Peter, El, Neal and Alex in the future. It could be very entertaining!
Unfortunately, the answer to your question makes the ending when Pete says he wears a badge and Neal wears a tracking anklet not make much sense ... and really he didn't have to say that at all. Oh well...

For me it's not just that they're holding back information that's the problem. It's the way the episode basically shoved it in our faces that Neal and Peter both now know something about the music box and it becomes obvious that they could solve the case sooner if they would talk to each other. They start to seem like real idiots for not talking to each other about the case and solving it that much sooner.

His remark, "I can't let my guard down for one day", I found to be condescending.

Yeah but it's kind of true since Neal keeps pulling the same kind of stunts.... I don't I guess I can agree that Peter can be harsh but I also still feel like Neal deserves harsh for his stupid stunts. This is probably one of those areas where I'm too much on Peter's side and I'm not considering Neal's POV enough...
The writers: closing one plot hole and digging another! ;)

The music box and withholding of information we come at from different perspectives. It's possible Neal and Peter could solve the case sooner if they shared information, but it makes sense to me, given Neal's tendancy to rush into situations when he shouldn't, that Peter hold back sharing what he knows. Also, it's TV and I've yet to watch a show where the characters shared everything with each other. Even on Friday Night Lights, perhaps one of the most realistic shows to ever air on TV, the characters don't tell each other everything.

This is probably one of those areas where I'm too much on Peter's side and I'm not considering Neal's POV enough...

And I'm primarily a Neal fangirl and looking at it from Neal's POV. ;) I understand Peter's frustration and find it admirable he's giving Neal a chance to be out of prison and work towards a life he can be proud of - one that doesn't involve crime. It's not as if Neal isn't hearing what Peter is saying to him, but Neal has spent his adult life living that life in a certain way - a criminal way. And old habits die hard. For Neal to change his ways will take time (heck, if they didn't we'd have no show), and Peter needs to understand that.

And while I've never broken any laws or done jail time, I do get aspects of Neal's personality. When people start lecturing me, I listen, but I still get my back up and tend to largely ignore what they have to say. I'm not saying it's admirable, but it's how I'm wired. I'm stubborn and often feel *my* way is the best way. So even when Neal screws up (which he does) I'll empathize a bit and try to explain, if not defend, his actions.
I sat throught the ep smiling. it's such a good thing to feel happy about the show you watch.
I always thought that Neal's deal is a secret so i wasn't surprised the students didn't know about it. And OMG! Aidan as Oswald!
I'm not leaning Neal/Alex but i like their dynamics. And also i have no problem with Peter and Neal keeping secrets from each other. If there would be no tensions there'd be no show.
Oh, and as for Neal outing himself in almost every case standing there while FBI arrest bad guys i wonder that maybe the bad guy to that time know aboout his involvement but they know there could be circumstances when you can't say no to FBI so they could think they forced Neal to help them.
I'm not shipping Neal and Alex, exactly, but I feel they have a nice chemistry together, I'd like to see Neal move on from Kate and Alex seems like a good choice to help him do that. Besides Elizabeth...whose taken...unless Peter wants to share. ;)

And also i have no problem with Peter and Neal keeping secrets from each other. If there would be no tensions there'd be no show.

Yes! Exactly! I think having come from BSG fandom, we're used to characters not sharing. ;)
Oh, the chemistry is there i agree and i like to watch it too.
But NO! No Eli for Neal, please :) Eli is for Peter. I like them together.

Re: tension. Yes, it make everything so interesting to watch. That's why i didn't even mind that part in 201 when Peter didn't know about Neal not graduating. Maybe it was a hole but i liked Peter's reaction (well played).
I think Peter's reflex is still to be authorative, I think I can relate to his inability to always be able to pick the right way to get through his emotions to Neal. He just let the frustration that stems from caring about Neal turn into anger and harsh remarks, which is quite typical of me sometimes. Okay oops for turning this into self-analysis.

I agree with you on the huge question mark over Neal's deal and the hush-hush of it all. He's going undercover ALL the time, and surely his enemies and possible previous collaborators would know about the anklet somehow.
I think Peter's reflex is still to be authorative, I think I can relate to his inability to always be able to pick the right way to get through his emotions to Neal.

I would agree. And Peter has never had to deal with someone like Neal Caffrey on a daily basis. I certainly understand his frustration, but after years of living his life a certain way, Neal is not going to see the error of his ways or be able to change those ways over night. I think if El were around more she'd be a good influence on both men.

He's going undercover ALL the time, and surely his enemies and possible previous collaborators would know about the anklet somehow.

It dawned on me Keller knew about the anklet. Hmmmmm.....
I loved this ep, plot holes and all. And I was borderline before, but I am now wholeheartedly behind Neal/Alex. Just sayin...