Asta 2

White Collar: Free Fall

I feel like I'm missing covering some aspect of the show. Though it's likely because this is only two pages and my BSG meta usually ran three to four pages. I guess I can afford to be briefer when I don't have apocalypses, killer robots and the human condition to analyze.

Neal: “Peter, I’m starting to like you again.”
Peter: “We’re hanging out too much.”

That, folks, is the episode and Neal and Peter's relationship in a nutshell. Two men on opposite sides of the law, learning to trust one another and spending way too much time together in the process.

This was clearly a very special episode when we were given the “Previously on…” It was a first. And for a moment I wondered if, a la Battlestar Galactica, we’d be shown footage not previously seen! Given how many times I’ve watch the pilot episode, I can safely say it was not the case.

Last night, I did something I had not done before and took a look at some forums and comms for fan reaction…..and was quickly reminded why I stopped doing that with shows I loved. Many fans believe the situation at the end is not as it seems. I would say these are people who have watched a lot of TV and understand when show runners are yanking our chains. But there are those that think Peter may actually be a bad guy. Seriously? We’ve had a grand total of seven episodes of White Collar. In those seven episodes, the writers have spent the majority of the time, not on plot, but on building the relationship between Neal and Peter and, to an extent, Neal, Peter and Elizabeth. Peter’s desire to trust Neal and his inability to fully do so has been a major theme. And we’re to believe Peter has had some nefarious motives this entire time? That he’s been lying to Neal for his own benefit? That he doesn’t like Neal? No, we're meant to be left hanging until January 19th and wonder what the hell it all really means.

I’ve been suspicious since the beginning that Peter knew more about Kate then he was sharing with Neal. Last week, we had evidence Kate had a connection with someone in the FBI and I was willing to believe it was Peter. This week, we have proof Peter has been in contact with her. But when did this begin and why?

I’m not going to dwell on the ring. Apparently, Peter only wears it when he goes to see Kate? I know it’s merely a way to establish visually that Peter is the one in the picture. Though maybe the writers could provide us with a reason for Peter not wearing it for months since he didn’t know Neal had the other half of the picture? Please?

The theory I developed last week about Peter’s connection to Kate hasn’t really changed. I still believe Peter is trying to protect Neal. If I question anything at this point it’s why Neal Caffery? Why, of all the criminals Peter has arrested and convicted, does he want to ‘save’ Neal from himself? Maybe it is as simple as Peter does not view Neal as being as bad as others he has investigated and Neal is young and still capable, to Peter’s mind, of being reformed. But I do wonder if there is more to it than that.

There were too many moments, both large and small, that showed Peter wants to believe in Neal. That he wants to keep Neal working with the FBI. And there must be a very good reason for Peter to keep Neal from the woman he loves.

I felt there was one specific story thread that was a turning point for both men. When Peter learns Neal had a six hour window of opportunity for Neal to steal the diamond, Peter becomes suspicious. Soon after, Peter is handed ‘proof’ of Neal’s guilt and his worst fears realized.

I thought perhaps Peter had doubts when he went to visit Neal in jail. Both men were obviously hurt and angry by the other's betrayal - especially Neal upon learning the information he shared in confidence with Peter, that his initials could be seen under polarized light, had been handed over to the FBI and used to entrap him. Yet Peter seemed, for a moment, to second guess himself following Neal’s earnest declaration, “I didn’t let you down.” The possible acceptance that Neal was being truthful was fleeting, however, as we see Peter tell Elizabeth he believes Neal is guilty.

But only moments after Peter and Elizabeth's conversation, things get very complicated and very interesting. Peter lets Neal escape. As soon as Neal's feet touch the ground, Peter starts to take a step to go after him, then abruptly stops. Hell, he even smiles in appreciation of Neal’s elaborate plan and his success in pulling it off.

Peter may not be happy with Neal's choice to come to his house, and the potential that creates for making a bad situation, for both, worse, but it's a move that succeeds in building trust. It’s not just the evidence of the phone monitoring Neal hands to Peter, it’s that Neal went to Peter for help in clearing him. If Neal was truly guilty and looking at life in prison, Kate or no Kate, he’d run.

But Neal isn't simply looking to clear his name, he's looking to prove to Peter he can be trusted to honor the terms of his parole, if not be trusted to drop the search for Kate. And that Peter holding back from chasing Neal after witnessing his escape was not misplaced faith. Peter can allow himself to believe Neal wouldn’t let him down.

As for Kate, the girl is up to something. If Peter was keeping tabs on Neal during his time in prison, I can believe he was also keeping a watchful eye on Kate. The photo tells us that (presumably) Peter spoke to Kate shortly before she left Neal. Neal was only months away from being released. Was Peter trying to split the two up before Neal's release for Neal's own good? Did Peter’s confrontation of Kate cause her to break up with Neal because she knew what Neal would do? When Neal proposed working with the FBI, did Peter work to make the deal happen out of guilt over Neal serving another four years because Peter's actions resulted in Neal doing something he didn't foresee?

I’m not sure Peter has had any contact with Kate since that picture was taken. In the pilot, when Neal asks Peter if Kate’s in France, Peter seems sincere when he tells Neal he doesn’t know where Kate is. And while Peter is aware of Neal trying to track Kate down, his reaction to Neal informing him he’s talked to Kate is one of surprise. My working theory is Peter made some sort of deal with Kate, warned her to stay away from Neal for the good of both (but more so Neal), and he’s realized she’s broken the deal.

I also suspect it’s key that Neal took Kate’s call on Peter’s phone. If Peter obtains a report on Neal’s ankle monitor every morning, we’re to believe he wouldn’t check on a phone call for “Mr. Caffrey” taken on his phone? Why would Kate call the FBI offices if they are holding her/threatening her? Why not call Neal’s cell phone? And with Peter in the conference room next to Neal, we know Peter couldn’t have forced Kate to end her call abruptly. Think, Neal, Think!

I’m not so clear on what is going on with Fowler and Mentor or MENTOR. Was Adrian Tulane Fowler’s Neal Caffery? Is he looking for other FBI/ex-con partnerships for his program? Yeah, that seems silly to me. It was Peter and not Neal that was the target of the investigation, but why use Neal to get to Peter? I don’t for a second believe Peter is anything other than an upstanding, exemplary FBI agent he's long appeared to be. Could Kate have gone to the Office of Professional Responsibility and told them Peter was strong arming her in an attempt to discredit him and get him off of her - and Neal’s - back?

OK, that was a lot of talk about plot. I usually don’t have much to say about that!

I covered quite a bit of the Neal/Peter relationship already. Overall, I think the theme of the episode, in terms of their relationship, was Peter coming to trust Neal. Neal could have run; he came to Peter. Neal told Peter of his contact with Kate and how it affects his choices. Now, when we return from the hiatus, I believe we are going to see Neal having to learn to trust Peter. The series can not continue indefinitely with each second guessing the others motives. By the close of the season we should see the two men having all the faith in each other that partners would.

There were a lot of squeeful moments throughout the episode. Peter taking Neal into custody, cuffing Neal’s hands in front of him and covering the handcuffs with his jacket so the rest of the team would not see Neal as a criminal. The anger exhibited by Neal and Peter during the jailhouse conversation and both men feeling betrayed and hurt. The Great Escape and Neal’s “What else can I do?” pose. Neal making Elizabeth an accomplice. Hee! Neal sitting by the pillar and talking to Peter, paralleling their first scene together in the pilot. Peter, Loren and Jonesy toasting Neal's return. :)

I know Neal doesn’t have many people he can turn to for help. Mozzie was doing his part arranging real estate deals and going through FBI records. But Neal wanting to go to Peter and Elizabeth’s home to talk and, later, Peter bringing Neal home to review the security camera footage...there’s something very intimate in that. I don’t mean in that way, though I’m certain numerous fan fics are now being written thanks to ‘Free Fall’, but Peter and Elizabeth’s house is just not a house to Neal, it's a home, a place Neal feels comfortable in and, perhaps more importantly, safe in.

Is anyone else oddly obsessed with the bakery? By that I mean, just what kind of assets does Neal have that he can afford to buy some prime NYC real estate that may not have even been for sale? I know the real estate market isn’t what it was, but it’s not that bad either. And I kind of wish he would keep it. They could all have a hang out. And serve June’s Italian roast! But Neal’s remark to who he thinks is Mozzie on the phone, “I told you to just sign my name”, likely means he’s dumping the property.

Did everyone catch the Psych promo/tribute to Hall & Oates? AWESOME! It's one of the few times I skipped the recording back to rewatch a commercial. I also liked USA's characters promo. Tiffani is so excited to be a mom! And Matt stating, "I'm from a red state." Very funny. Love ya, Matt. :)
  • Current Mood: giddy giddy
I have thinky things to say, but since I'm about to run out the door I just want to share this:

Literally two posts down by flist was this from fabu saying practically the exact same thing about the bakery *g* There may be a Save the Bakery campaign starting soon

(and I'm with you on assets - Neal's so casual about it, and if those assets are that disposable (and that readily accesible compared to all the stuff he has hidden and hasn't told Mozzie the location of) then dude's got to be well off, yeah?)
I look forward to your thinky things! :)

Thanks for the link! I left some thoughts over on fabu's post. The bakery seems to be quite popular! Though I'm sure the judge wouldn't want to have to possibly see Neal on the way up to his office. :)

I'm getting the sense that if June needed to sell her ten million dollar home fast, Neal would be there with a check for her. Seriously, how much did he steal???
And with Peter in the conference room next to Neal, we know Peter couldn’t have forced Kate to end her call abruptly. Think, Neal, Think!

That is a very good point! Also, we've repeatedly seen Elizabeth say to Peter, "You're a good man." She's been married to him for ten years -- I think she'd know if he was a duplicitous Machiavelli, you know?

Is anyone else oddly obsessed with the bakery?

Bakery AU!!! Hee!
I think she'd know if he was a duplicitous Machiavelli, you know?

Exactly. And what Machiavelli wears novelty socks?

The bakery seems to be quite popular! At least it will live in fanfic if not on the show. :)
Excellent commentary, as usual :) The only thing wrong is that we have to wait til January to find out how what is really going on. And I'm fine with it - after much cursing and knashing of teeth ;)

I was like you, I thought I wouldn't have anything fun or interesting to watch this season, so I am so happy and grateful to USA.
I'm grateful to USA as well for giving us scripted drama to watch at ten three nights a week. :) And Leverage and Southland will be returning to TNT. Hmmm, I don't seem to look forward to much network TV anymore.
but there are those that think Peter may actually be a bad guy.

And even some few that are apparently upset and hurt that Peter isn't who they thought he was. Which... I feel bad for them? But it was completely obvious that we weren't getting anywhere close to the whole story there. Just, you know, enough of the story to send the fans spinning into whiplash OMG.

Peter lets Neal escape.

That's the thing that got me. He was right there. He could totally have caught Neal, and I think he had enough prep time to do so. He didn't. He just watched. And smirked. At the time, I just loved it, but in retrospect seeing how it all ended... I don't know. It just seems like there's even more to it than Peter thinking Neal might not have done it. And of course, it's not as if he was particularly helpful to OPR & co. as far as actually finding Neal; what he told them is absolutely what anyone would do when a criminal escapes. He didn't give them any of his expertise in Neal-catching at all.

I also love Elizabeth the accomplice, and that Neal came to their house to hide out. Awesome.

Is it January yet???
The final scene with Peter and Kate was kind of a surprise, but not really. I think there have been plenty of hints that Peter knew more about Kate then he was sharing with Neal and I could easily accept he's had contact with her. But it's a big leap to go from Peter knows how to find her and they need to talk about Neal to OMG HE'S THE BAD GUY! The concept of the show is built around Neal and Peter's partnership and their relationship is key to getting people to tune in each week so while we may be a bit peeved at Peter for keeping secrets from Neal, I still believe he's been trying to protect him rather than hurt him. Peter wants Neal to reform and a productive, law abiding member of society; Kate, I think, just wants him to keep scamming and stealing and make them both very rich.

I may have watched 'Free Fall' four times now and I didn't get the sense that Peter allowed Neal to escape to...set him up? I would agree that Peter was not 100% convinced of Neal's innocence, but in that moment he chose to allow Neal to escape so he could perhaps prove to Peter he was innocent. Peter, having caught Neal twice, would be reasonably confidant he would capture him so why not give Neal a few days to see what he comes up with since the OPR and FBI were only collecting evidence to prove Neal's guilt.

Elizabeth is an awesome accomplice. She distracted the agents with cookies and milk! And she's starting to think like Neal. She didn't let him in, he snuck in the back door! Hee.
But, but... anyone who wears a giant gold pinky ring IS a bad guy...

Mo Ryan's blog
Annedreya, here, Asta. Nope, didn't read your blog before commenting on her site, but maybe "great minds think alike"? :) And now that I've found your blog, I will be reading it!
I've watched all of the episodes over and over - love this show that much - and I see subtle clues everywhere that led to my speculation that Kate is playing Neal and Peter's trying to keep Neal from "screwing up his life" by warning her to leave him alone. But that no one, not Peter, not anyone else, is holding Kate. Just my theory, of course, but I'm definitely looking forward to January 19th!
Re: Mo Ryan's blog
Hey there! I hope you know I was joking about reading my blog before you commented on Mo's post. The chances of anyone reading her thoughts and mind were somewhere between minuscule and none. ;) But, yes, great minds!

I've watched the episodes more times then I care to admit too now. And I rewatched the fall finale just last night. :) Maybe because I have watched the episodes so many times it seems pretty clear to me that Peter is trying to protect Neal. I'm sure Peter has access to information on Kate that Neal doesn't - though Mozzie seems to get his hands on a lot of government documents! And if Kate is in danger and being held by someone then how is she able to call Neal any time she likes and wander all over the city? I'm almost at the point of wondering why Neal isn't questioning Kate's actions more, but I'm willing to say Neal is blinded by love at the moment and doesn't want to think the worst of her.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts!
Just something that I remembered reading your point on Peter covering up Neal's handcuffs - he had refused to let anyone else cuff Neal except himself. I lovee that Peter allows no one to bring Neal down, except well himself, and even then he still wanted to protect Neal from humiliation :)
Peter was especially protective of Neal in that scene. It also struck me that when he was reading Neal his rights he stressed the part about not saying anything and basically told him to keep his mouth shut. Peter may have believed Neal was guilty, but he also didn't want Neal to say anything, in anger, that could incriminate himself.