Asta 2

White Collar: Point Blank

Brief and non-spoilery reaction to the episode: I loved, loved, LOVED it. My new favorite episode of the series. And if Neal needs a hug, I'm here for him. ;-)

Now for the long winded version of my thoughts....

First, an amusing sidenote! I jokingly tweeted shortly before the episode aired, as a courtesy to those on the West Coast, I wouldn't announce if Neal or Peter were killed. Who knew I should be worried about Mozzie?!

I did not see Mozzie getting shot coming. That was a surprise. Nice job writers! However, I can't say it was much of a cliffhanger. Willie Garson is one of the stars of the show. He loves working on the show. Jeff Eastin loves having him on the show. The chances of Mozzie NOT pulling through? Zero.

Only one aspect of the episode didn't work for me - the Alex fake out. I have and will continue to believe Alex is a friend, ally and, hopefully, someday, more to Neal. So trying to make me buy she's one of the bad guys isn't going to work. At most, I can accept the possibility she'll do something self-serving, with unintentional consequences for Neal and others, but not that she'd actively plot against them or do harm to them.

I did, however, love that she gave Neal her number. It wasn't only because she's now (supposedly) safe from whoever was searching for the music box, but it felt as if she and Neal were entering a new phase in their relationship. Neal needed the music box for his plan to work, but there was also a genuine desire to get Alex out of the mess she was creating for herself and prevent her from being arrested.

I adored the continuity and references to previous episodes, going all the way back to the pilot. They remembered Neal agreed to walk the dog as needed in exchange for living at June's! And, yes, it is a small price to pay.

Alex had the music box and key in her possession for a day. Many of us questioned at the time whether she had discovered something about it or took something out of it, and assumed she returned it because she found nothing.

When it was revealed Fowler's wife was murdered I felt it had to be an important plot point, otherwise, why throw the detail out there? Considering the parallel drawn between Neal and Fowler (Both men had to deal with the murder of the women they loved. Both sought revenge instead of justice.), I'm now suspicious that whoever the Big Bad is, he (or she?) has a pattern of manipulating people to do their dirty work for them. Perhaps the man who murdered Fowler's wife was another patsy? And Fowler, in a way, murdered an innocent man?

We also learned the Mentor program was real and it seemed to be focused on Neal. It just wasn't the music box our bad guy was after. Neal was a target and likely not just for what everyone thought he had, but for who he is and his skill set.

Now let me gush for awhile about Neal Caffrey and Matt Bomer. This was Matt's finest work to date on the series. I'm SO HAPPY Jeff Eastin gave him some meatier material and layers to play with. It was a nuanced performance by Matt and we were able to know what Neal was thinking and feeling without him saying a word.

And, oh, how Neal broke me at times in this episode. Neal has declared, “I'm fine”, numerous times this season which means he's very much NOT fine. They all know it, but he's been completely unwilling to share with anyone what he's been feeling. Peter even calls him on it, “You won't admit. You won't show it. But I know how difficult the last few months have been.” Is Neal simply an extremely private person who doesn't wish to share his grief or burdens with others? Or is there some other trauma from his past that has caused him to put the “I'm fine” wall up every time someone reaches out to him? I'm dying to have Neal's backstory revealed.

Neal did some stupid, selfish things in the episode, but it's the Neal we know and I love. None of his actions were out of character and while Peter may have been furious (rightfully so) and disappointed, deep down he knew Neal could, once again, disappoint him. Not because Neal wants to or plans to, but because Neal can't stop himself. Kate remains Neal's one weakness and her murder continues to cause him to act before thinking things through.

It was interesting that, early in the episode, we are introduced to Hale, a long time acquaintance of Neal, Alex, and Mozzie. He makes a comment about all children growing up, accept one, and looks right at Neal. Neal laughs, acknowledging the truth of the statement. That's why I can't get angry with Neal, for reasons we have not yet learned, his emotional maturity did not develop at the same pace as his age and intellect. But I do think he is starting to grow up. He may have thought killing Fowler would make things better, make the pain and anger stop, but as soon he was faced with pulling the trigger we could see his hesitation. I'm not even sure Peter needed to be there to talk him out of his plan; Neal's own conscience was already telling him he wasn't a killer. (ETA: I found it interesting that as Neal was preparing to kill Fowler/talking to Bugsy it was as if it was a normal part of his day. He seemed to be in denial as to what he was about to undertake. Again, living in the moment and not really comprehending the extent of his planned actions.)


Neal conning the FBI was wrong, but I also though it was pretty darn cool. And I have to admit I was a little proud of him for actually pulling it off.

Even cooler was Neal's swashbuckling (and for anyone at a certain Stargate panel at Dragon*Con, that term now has a whole new meaning! ;). It was a wonderfully staged and edited sequence, made even more impressive by the fact that was really Matt doing it all. The music even worked well. Too often shows use music to manipulate emotion, but I didn't feel that way in this instance.

As much as I loved Neal's chase and confrontation of Fowler, the scene in the van may well be my favorite. Again, I must say Matt did a fabulous job conveying Neal's roller-coaster ride of emotions. But Peter/Tim's response to discovering Neal had manipulated him was just as fabulous. Peter wanted to believe they had made progress. Neal had trusted him with what he knew about the music box. They were working together to track down Fowler. And only moments after Neal said, “Of course” (and it's the first time I saw Neal deeply conflicted by the knowledge of what he was really doing), Peter learns Neal was having the box stolen. Neal quickly slips into his not-quite-lying routine, but it's a pointless ruse. Neal has, again, betrayed Peter's trust and it's painful to both men.

Other things I loved....

Neal saying, “our clerk, Janice”. Our? He really is feeling more and more a part of the FBI, isn't he?

Hughes has his assistant forge his name. Hee!

Not only is Neal allowed to take files home and help select cases, so is Elizabeth!

“Girlfriend? That must kill you.” Oh, Alex, you know Neal SO well and I love you for it.

I know it was a serious moment, but when Peter tells Neal, “I can do whatever I want with you”, I imagined fandom's hive mind going to unintended places.

My favorite exchange:

Peter: “What do you know about stolen Spanish silver?”
Neal: “Do you have to ask?”
Peter: “Just once I wish I did.”

And did anyone else notice the girl at the door of the museum checking invitations checking out Neal as he walked in? Nice touch. ;)
  • Current Mood: happy happy
Not to distract from any of your well-justified squeeee, but if you could point me in the direction of a screen cap of Tim in that blue polo shirt, I would be most grateful. Cause, yeah. DAMN, people. *thud*

(I wasn't expecting THAT either. LOL)
I've finally caught up! Just in time for the finale. :-)

First off, Mozzie can't be dead! Poor Mozzie. And that guy didn't get the deciphered code off him, did they?

Or is there some other trauma from his past that has caused him to put the “I'm fine” wall up every time someone reaches out to him? I'm dying to have Neal's backstory revealed.
Me too! I recently saw the season 2 opener and well, I was surprised not to see more open grief at Kate's 'death' on Neal's part. All that emotion must go somewhere, right?

I loved the part when he tossed the gun past the metal detector. He's got such chutzpah, that boy. And yes, the lady at the door was totally checking out his bum. Can't blame her. :-)

I wonder if I missed something with Fowler and the gun. Didn't Neal take all the bullets out except for one? That stole the suspense for me in that scene. He never intended to kill Fowler. He may have wanted to but he wasn't poised to in that moment. Or did I miss something?

Swashbuckling was awesome!

Peter: “Just once I wish I did.
It's all in the delivery. Peter does long suffering so well. Gotta love those two and their chemistry together.

Hey, do you still think Kate is alive? I think she is but at this point I hope she stays out of the picture so Neal can continue to flirt with Alex.:-)

And new eps in January! That's sooooo long from now!
Hey, remember when Kara was dead? Heh. Sorry! ;)

I wasn't sure if Patchwork Man got anything off of him or not. It looked like he stuffed something in his jacket, but would Moz carry around the recording with him?

We saw glimpses of how fragile Neal was emotionally, but why did he think he couldn't show more? Moz and Peter wouldn't judge him. It has to be something in his past that prevents him from opening up more.

The gun was loaded. He fired one shot than told Fowler he had five more in the barrel. I'm not sure why there were so many bullets on his table at home.

Jeff has said she is dead, but also has been dodgy on the question. And see above comment about Kara. ;) I'm still not convinced she's gone. Has anyone looked into a coroner's report? If Kate had planned to blow up the plane, who is to say, when the plan was going south, she went out another exit then blew it up? I still want to see Neal make the choice to leave Kate...and move on with Alex. ;)
It looked like he stuffed something in his jacket, but would Moz carry around the recording with him?
Mozzie might carry a fake interpreted recording or something? Mozzie's smart like that. I hope he's not in too much pain. :-(

It has to be something in his past that prevents him from opening up more.
Maybe! I hope so. I want to know more about Neal.

I'm not sure why there were so many bullets on his table at home.
It's confusing. I know Neal doesn't like guns and can be so convincing. I thought he just filled it with one bullet to convince Fowler he had a loaded gun. But I have no evidence of this. And I guess they would have mentioned if the gun hadn't been loaded.

Has anyone looked into a coroner's report?
Yes! It was the season 1 finale and still isn't resolved. Were there remains? A memorial?

I would love to see Neal move on with Alex. :-) But after he deals with his emotions about Kate.
Were there remains? A memorial?

Inquiring minds want to know! We know Kate's father is dead....or do we? There could have been a headstone and no body. Maybe it's a family tradition?! Um, but back to the point I was going to make. If Kate's father is dead, what about the rest of her family? Does she have any? And, if she didn't have any family, wouldn't her remains go to Neal? Even if he's shut down emotionally, I assume he'd want to do something to memorialize her.
I will say that in the mid-season finale, something will happen that will create a very serious rift between them and be hard to heal. (this was posted in Jim's interview)

When Jim's interview came in kept thinking ok who is not going to be the one to break what they have started. And minute Neal made that folder for Peter to get the next new case I saw how far they have come just tumble down. I thought maybe Peter would keep the folder from him on who bought the explosives but was glad he believed in how far they have come to show Neal the info and try to talk to him about it. I was sad when Diana called in and Neal actually thought he would get away with what he did; I am not sure when he has one thing on his mind that he thinks about the consequences; and guessing the consequences of how far him and Peter have come. I know he was hurt when Peter lied to him but was glad when music box came out and they would work together. But I see Neal in a struggle where Peter is the one good thing in his life and wants what Peter has but then there is another side to him which is Alex and Moz that make him go over and just con people even people he should be trusting. So it will be intresting when season comes back if we start up and we should after moz is shot and how Peter and Neal are with each other it will be intresting and agree all the actors did a great job last night gotta credit Tim he also had a mix of emotions to deal with one of trust with Neal and then to be betrayed and then to talk neal down. Matt did a great job also; the emotional turmoil and such; and willie ever so happy in his conspiracy world. Bring on the second half in january.
I am not sure when he has one thing on his mind that he thinks about the consequences

I think this is key. When it comes to Kate and her death, Neal is single minded. He can only focus on that. We even saw this tunnel vision after he was sent home. After everything that had happened and truths revealed and his status with the the FBI in question, he was still obsessing about Kate. I know he doesn't want to hurt/jeopardize anyone else, but when Kate is on the brain he can't see how his actions can affect others, even himself. I mean, he couldn't have expected to get away with killing Fowler. Had he pulled the trigger, again, it would have meant life in prison without parole.
Hughes has his assistant forge his name. Hee!

Remember in the pilot, Peter tells Diana to forge his name if she has to. That seems to be common business practice at the Bureau. (o.O)

I loved Peter soooo much in this episode! He knew exactly what Neal was doing and why, and he managed to be pissed off without getting personal or judging him harshly. *SO MUCH LOVE*
Ha! I had forgotten about that! Maybe Blake is working on forging Diana's signature? ;p

Peter had every right to be angry (and I think he was mostly angry at Neal at possibly destroying his own life), but Peter knew there was no intent to hurt him or anyone else. It's why he can forgive him. It's why I can forgive him.
and I think he was mostly angry at Neal at possibly destroying his own life

Yes, that. <333333333333
I always have to watch a second time. I totally missed the bullets (I kept seeing them, but didn't realize their meaning.)

Everyone was on top of their game. Mozzie calling Peter about Neal was a high point for me.

I loved the forgery of the FBI file. It makes me wish I could have seen Moz and Neal in action before Neal's arrest (I know there's a flashback scene, but I want to see them in action on a caper, greedy, I know.)

I loved that they let Matt's hair be wild in his confortation of Fowler; it showed how unhinged he was at that moment. And, his bowing of his head as Diana handcuffed him was heartwrenching.

Tim DeKay delivers the "put upon" lines so well.

I wonder what Mozzie's shooting will do to both Neal and Moz and how that will affect how they proceed in the future.

A very well done episode.
Mozzie calling Peter about Neal was a high point for me.

I forgot to mention that! It was another shout out to a previous episode. Mos had agreed to give Peter a heads up if Neal were to do anything really stupid and self-destructive.

Contrasting with the wild hair, Neal took time to work on his appearance before he went to meet Fowler. He was trying so hard to keep up appearances and the moment he saw Fowler, he became completely unhinged. And while it probably had to do with the weather while shooting, I also like we could see Neal perspiring. Have we ever seen him sweat?

And he willingly allowed Diana to cuff him. He was so defeated. :(

I don't see Neal and Moz's friendship ending, especially since it wasn't Neal's fault Moz was shot. But Moz was becoming increasingly comfortable working with Neal/the FBI and I think he'll take a step or two back from that. He'll likely still help Neal with research, but not be an active part of the con, at least for awhile.
reaction to the episode: I loved, loved, LOVED it.
Great review :)
No, really, i'm with you, very well written ep with very good acting.
Now let me gush for awhile about Neal Caffrey and Matt Bomer.
*joining the gushing* Seriously the guy can act.

Neal has, again, betrayed Peter's trust and it's painful to both men.
I love that kind of angst. tension is real and IC and i can't blame Neal for being Neal, you know. He played Peter but for only reason i can't be mad at him and i think Peter completely understands that too. And i think the way how Peter fought for Neal trying to stop him from becoming a murderer proved it.
All in all, is it January yet?
The plotting in this episode was some of the strongest I've seen. Why can't it be so tightly written every week?!

Seriously the guy can act.

I was looking at screencaps earlier of the scene where he's alone in his apartment after learning the truth. The emotion he was able to convey with no dialogue was amazing.

Edited at 2010-09-10 02:39 am (UTC)
Why can't it be so tightly written every week?!
Believe me if the writing would be that good every week we'd get bored because then there would be nothing to bitch about ;)

I was looking at screencaps earlier of the scene where he's alone in his apartment after learning the truth. The emotion he was able to convey with no dialogue was amazing.
He hooked me with that scene. Not that i didn't see he can act before but scens like that add something new to your impression about the actor. Esp if the scene is with no words. Now (of course) i want more scemes like this for him :)
We are on the same page re: Neal and his actions. My instinct was to be angry, but then again like you said, he would not be Neal if he had not done all these, and everyone has an Achilles heel, and in his case, it's Kate, and whoosh rational thoughts go out of the head.

I'm also with you on Peter. He's disappointed, yes, angry, yes, but not so much over Neal breaking the no secrets deal, but more of him wanting to protect Neal and keeping him safe, and wishing Neal would trust him more and open up to him more.

I enjoyed the FBI con ;)

I adore the song they played during the museum scene. Great great use of music.

I am also with you on Matt Bomer giving a great performance in this episode. He nailed it :)
If Neal wasn't Neal....that would have been a very boring episode. ;)

I have to believe, at this point in their partnership/friendship, Peter is frustrated that Neal is not opening up to him more in regards to his feelings about Kate and his plans to avenge her death. Neal is a con man and it would be ridiculous for Peter to believe Neal could ever be completely truthful. But there is a difference between keeping secrets and lying about what you do and doing the same in regards to what you feel. Peter, like us, is having trouble understanding why Neal won't open up about his obvious pain.
"Neal conning the FBI was wrong, but I also though it was pretty darn cool."

I was hoping for a "we're going to steal the FBI"