Asta 2

White Collar: Power Play (Hey, I just got the tile!)

Sometime late Friday night I realized I had failed to post about White Collar. Yes, it was that kind of week. Then, Saturday was spent at The Child's (TM her mother, please do not be thinking I suddenly have a child!) first birthday and Sunday was lazing about and catching up on all the TV I missed. US version of Shameless you are really growing on me and I'm glad you got a second season pickup. :)

Oh, there was also some news this week about 17th Precinct Did you hear? Yeah, that took up some of my time and a lot of my squee. It also reinforced that as much as I enjoy White Collar and like Matt Bomer they just can't compare to how I feel about BSG and Jamie Bamber. Seriously, I have never been as excited about any moment on White Collar as I've been about each shred of news about 17th Precinct, which won't even begin shooting the pilot until tomorrow! This is what Jamie and a reunion of some of my favorite BSG people can do to me. Now, I just need to wait and see if NBC will rip my heart out and stomp on it. With the cast and crew this pilot has, one would think it would have to be absolute garbage not to be picked up to series, right?

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I know a lot of people loved this episode, but either it was too fan-ficcy for me or I had built it up too much in my mind because I wasn't that squeeful about it. There were moments and scenes I loved, and I appreciated it more on second viewing, but the parts didn't equal a satisfying whole. It also felt like there was a necessity to cram a lot of story elements in this episode to help set up the finale. Jeff Eastin mentioned on Twitter he'd love to have a slightly longer season and "Power Play" struck me as an episode which could have benefited by being a two parter. We had the Case of the Week, Neal, Sara and Mozzie working on the mystery of Adler's end game, the Neal/Peter identity swap and Sara backstory introduced. With the exception of the Neal/Peter switch, I didn't feel any of the elements worked as well as they could have. Stanzler, in particular, was underdeveloped, his motives were vague at best, and would he really have taken on the task of murdering two people himself?

What did work for me.....

I always suspected Neal had a little crush on Elizabeth. :) My two favorite moments between the two were, first, at the FBI when Neal went to kiss Elizabeth and stopped just as he realized what he was about to do and with Peter right behind him. Hence, the cheek kiss and hug instead. (Boo! ;) And, at Stanzler's party, when El asked how Neal how he was enjoying being an FBI agent, Neal stated he's still trying on the role, then looked at her and said, "But the job certainly has it's perks." Awwwww.....

While I'm not a fan of Neal/Sara, I was fine with the half naked make-out session. I'm shallow and not going to argue against Matt/Neal showing some skin (as long as it is part of the plot and not him bizarrely answering his door shirtless). It also was clear it didn't mean anything, at least to Neal.

In Sara's last couple of appearances, it's been obvious Sara is looking at Neal in a very different context. Neal's acted interested, but seemingly only out of curiosity as to her change of heart about him. I'd even say he's been perplexed at times. It's not until he stops being Peter Burke - and Elizabeth's loving husband - and witnesses from the outside what he most desires (and thought he would have with Kate) that he's suddenly all over Sara.

The cold, hard truth is Sara was there. She was convenient. If Neal couldn't have love and everything that goes with it, well, he'd settle for getting laid. It's not admirable, but it's understandable given everything he's been through: years in prison, losing the love of his life, and being, however artificially, part of a marriage. And it also serves as a positive sign he is moving on from mourning Kate.

As for Sara, I'm still not sure how I feel about her. I can appreciate the writers toning down the Sara we were first introduced to who was tough, all about the job, and with a strong desire to nail Neal Caffrey...in the other way ;). She's been made more sympathetic as well as becoming a useful contributor to the team. However, it feels as if they've gone from one extreme to another. She's supposed to be around 30, I'm guessing, but everytime she's around Neal now she comes off like a thirteen year old with a crush. When she asked Moz if Neal sent him to come sit with her I expected her to follow up with, "Does he like me like me?" And when it was made clear she had no idea who Alex was (I knew they hadn't met, but thought she may be aware of Alex given Alex's profession and her past with Neal), I feel like she's about to have a rude awakening.

Sara having a missing sister was a nice twist. By that I mean, I was assuming she had a dead husband/boyfriend in her past to parallel Neal's loss of Kate so it was a relief to hear it was another family member. Of course, I'm now assuming one arc in Season 3 will be Neal and Peter trying to track down Sara's sister as thanks for all her help and to give her closure.

The other thing I really like about the episode is we were able to see how easy it was for Neal to slip into Peter's role. I don't mean playing Peter, but becoming an FBI agent. More than it being easy for him to do, he appeared comfortable in the role. I'm not sure the metamorphosis is complete as Moz stated, but Neal is getting further away from who he was and closer to who Peter thinks he can be. There were both small and large indications of change throughout the episode. It struck me that Peter referred to Neal and "Mr. Caffrey" when addressing the agents at the bureau. A sign of respect. In the van with Diana and Jones, Neal took the lead. When Neal had the FBI agents follow him to find Peter, one could be heard saying, "Yes, Sir", as if Neal really was in charge of the operation. And Peter admitted it was harder for him to fit in Neal's world than it was for Neal to fit into his.

I loved, loved, loved Mozzie's training of Peter along with guest lecturer June. :) I sometimes forget how much June must know. And Byron had a training jacket! I bet he would be thrilled it's still getting use. (By the way, this is the third episode in a row in which a suit jacket has been pivotal to the plot. I sense a pattern!)

Favorite line(s): Peter: "We have agents for that." Neal: "I have something better. I have you." HEE! Continuity for the win! :D

Second favorite line(s): Peter: "You married up." Neal: "You're telling me." I love the exchange says something about both men, as well as how awesome El is. At the same time Peter is expressing how he fortunate he feels, Neal's response conveys how lucky he knows he would be to have El as his wife.
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I've gotten two (TWO!) surveys as a television consumer (heh) that have asked detailed questions about White Collar and the addition of Sara to the dynamic as a love interest for Neal. In both of them, I've indicated that I thought they should stick with Alex. :)

I enjoyed the episode, but didn't love it. When we got to the previews for the finale, poor Don said, "but we've already seen that one. They must have showed them out of order." I'm still not sure he believed me when I told him it hadn't aired yet.
I've gotten at least one of those surveys and I'm sure you know how I answered. ;) I always feel as if I need to state I don't hate Sara, I just don't see her with Neal. And, unless I'm in deep, deep denial, I'm not seeing the writers as intent on pairing Neal with her. The only time I've seen Neal interested in Sara in THAT way was when he thought he was about you have sex with her! And Bomer's not a bad actor, so I'm also not believing he's failing to sell us on Neal's interest, but rather he's following the writing and directing for the character.

Poor Don! But I get where he's coming from. They really do need to wrap up the mystery of the music box and Kate's (presumed ;) death because it feels like we're treading water with the story at this point.
I can appreciate the writers toning down the Sara we were first introduced to who was tough, all about the job, and with a strong desire to nail Neal Caffrey...in the other way ;). She's been made more sympathetic as well as becoming a useful contributor to the team. However, it feels as if they've gone from one extreme to another. She's supposed to be around 30, I'm guessing, but everytime she's around Neal now she comes off like a thirteen year old with a crush. When she asked Moz if Neal sent him to come sit with her I expected her to follow up with, "Does he like me like me?" And when it was made clear she had no idea who Alex was (I knew they hadn't met, but thought she may be aware of Alex given Alex's profession and her past with Neal), I feel like she's about to have a rude awakening.

I told somebody else that I half expect Sara and Neal scenes to end with them bursting into a song a la High School Musical so that they can discuss the complicated emotions when dealing with a crush. :/ :/

It's not so much that I mind Neal having fun sexy times; it's just that the progression of the 'relationship' makes almost no sense to me. I know he's lonely and possibly desperate, but I'd rather he find his comfort with someone other than a gal who seems (to me, anyway) to have ulterior motives with him.

Granted, I like him and Alex together, and that's surely got ulterior motives, but at least they feel natural and sparkle on screen. I'm not buying the "suddenly Neal is awkward around his crush". :/ :/ :/
I think we discussed on Twitter (as much as you can discuss in 140 characters or less ;), Neal's awkwardness around Sara. I'll admit I may be rationalizing it, but the one way it makes sense to me is Neal is confidant with a woman if either there are feelings on both sides or there are no feelings on both sides. He would have to be blind and deaf not to realize Sara went from wanting to see him back in prison to, well, wanting him. And the situation with Sara is not like the first and/or only time he was with Alex romantically where they both knew it was pretty much going to be a one night thing. I think he gave into his baser needs in the archives, but, prior to that, he was thinking about how he's not ready for a relationship and she was likely looking for one and he was unsure how to approach it. Especially with her being a useful asset at the moment.
I can accept the reasoning, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I realize Neal is on this journey for his true self, or his better self, blah blah. I just can't get on board with how the writers are going about it. I find it rather unconvincing and mildly irritating.

And I truly don't understand the sudden change in Sara's behavior. One minute she's ready to throw Neal into jail. Then she finds out his girlfriend died and she decides he's human?

It's a little creepy. I'm hoping that it turns out that Sara is just trying to play Neal, but Neal knows it and is just going along with it. *crosses fingers*

My least favorite Sara scene to date has to be the one in the archives with Mozzie. She sounded snobby and then childish. Meeeeeeh.

Still, I may end up liking her. I've started out despising characters and changing my mind. We shall see. :D