Asta 2

White Collar: Bad Judgnment

It took me two days to write this. Oh, obsessions, you just can't allow me to be brief!



It occurred to me that the last time I had fairly significant issues with a story it was another Jeff Eastin penned episode, 'The Portrait'. I don't know what or if that means anything. It's not like he's treading Ron Moore territory at this point. ;p

If last weeks episode of White Collar was awesome, this weeks episode I'd deem good, with some very good character moments, particularly Moz. 'Bad Judgment' stumbled where episodes before have stumbled - the plot. It's as if, in breaking the season, a corrupt judge story was suggested, one too weak to sustain an episode, and with no other idea as to how to contain Fowler, a decision was made to tie his story to that of the judge's.

I watched again this morning just to see if a less sleepy me could make more sense of it and...not really. The story is overly complicated as well as convoluted. Too many plot points are the result of 'Hey, it's a good thing that just happened', otherwise Neal and Peter would be sitting around staring at each other. Not that that is a bad thing.

While I'm used to the stories on White Collar being resolved quickly (and I allow for dramatic license on this because who wants to see a mortgage investigation drag on for weeks?), this particular investigation and the subsequent pacing of the episode felt frenetic as we jumped from roadblock to roadblock and location to location. And, in what I believe is a first time occurrence, we had a POV problem. In the previous episode, Neal or Peter or both are involved in every scene. In 'Bad Judgment', only the audience was aware of the conversation between Clarke and Fowler.

Characters of the week seldom receive a lot of character development, but they were especially thinly drawn here. The Sullivan's troubles merely provided a way for Peter and Neal to get to Fowler. We can assume the judge was motivated by greed, but how did she start down that path and get involved with Fowler? And the retired detective seemed like an afterthought, a character created when the writers realized they had no way to get Neal and Peter from Point A to Point B in some instances.

Other tiny things that bothered me...Elizabeth checking with a neighbor rather than the cable company about the cable guys unexpected appearance. There's no tailor available in the middle of the night to create a uniform for Neal, yet Moz could get a ranger's uniform and patch for the delivery company. Moz having the listening equipment with him when that didn't seem to be part of the plan.

Now that I have my complaints out of the way (and if you didn't know me during my BSG days, you have no idea how critical I can get ;), on to the good stuff.....

I really enjoyed seeing Moz have such a large role in this episode. We knew he had skills, but he's more talented than I gave him credit for. Besides his loyalty, I can see why Neal keeps him so close. It appears Neal is even having him review the cases he is working on. I'm guessing Neal is not telling Peter about that.

But most awesome was Moz's bonding with Elizabeth. Or should I say "El". Hee. Moz went from "Mrs. Suit" to "We" (Peter: "Are you a team now?") to using her nickname in record time (I loved Peter's reaction to the El/Moz exchange). First Neal ingratiated his way into the Burke's life and home, now Moz has. The two 'families' are blending into one. (Neal's walking Satchmo, next thing you know he'll be cooking dinner. :)

Interestingly, Neal points out to Peter that Moz's ease around Elizabeth is an indication Moz trusts her. This is after knowing Elizabeth for just a few days. Meanwhile, Moz has known Kate for years and doubts her motives and feelings. He's even eager to join Peter for the "Kate Intervention". (And has Peter had Moz's number all along or did Moz perhaps give it to Elizabeth?)

There were plenty of moments that reinforced Neal and Peter's relationship is once again on solid ground. In the opening scene, the two fall into step and exchange stories of how their weekend went. Neal takes Moz's advice and asks Peter to pass a message to Kate, which Peter does, trusting Neal won't run, whatever the answer may be. And Neal risks his freedom for Peter because neither Peter or Hughes, at that point, could protect him if he got caught in the judge's office.

If the Bromance was toned down down a bit from 'Hard Sell', there were some lovely moments for the OT3ers. Elizabeth 'borrowing' Neal (well, his pallet). Peter's comment, "My wife is inviting you to lunch. The good thing is I can come along too." (Funny thing is, this scenario has already appeared in a fanfic!). And Elizabeth, once more, subverting the law for one of the men in her life. ;)

Other little moments I enjoyed:

Neal's throwaway line while pitching Moz's cleaning services, "He does a great job on my place." It would seem Neal has had June's house swept.

Elizabeth to Moz: "I don't think he bugged the dog."
Moz to Elizabeth: "Amateur!"

Neal's declaration that he would have bribed Peter himself if he knew he could be bought so cheap.

Elizabeth worked as the assistant manager of an art gallery when she met Peter. Given Neal's background there could be an interesting past/future connection there. What is we learn they almost crossed paths years before?

Peter asking Jones to drive Moz home and Moz quickly realizing Peter's ulterior motive.

Hughes is really growing on me as a character. I never disliked him, but he's a much cooler boss than I expected him to be. He broke a lot of rules to help Peter.

It was fun to see everyone hang out together at the Burke's (Accept Lauren who was MIA without explanation. Would it have killed them to mention she was on an assignment?) and Elizabeth popping in at Neal's but it all the meetings felt a bit rushed.

Peter: "You have copied my signature."
Neal: "Let's focus on the crime at hand."

And Questions:

Where the heck was that new room located in the Burke house? It wasn't upstairs so was it on the lower level?

If Kate didn't send the postcard with "D5" written on it, who did?

Could Kate's father, Robert, be alive? Why lead Neal to the grave to find an origami flower that apparently means what they think it means? Here's a thought I had: what if Neal was an apprentice of Robert's? What if both Neal and Kate believed he was dead (or Kate could have known he faked his death, it really doesn't matter), but Kate has discovered he isn't, is a prisoner of Fowler/The Man with the Ring and the price for his release is the music box? It would be good way to explain that, yes, Kate does, in fact, love Neal, but she also loves her father and is willing to sacrifice her relationship with Neal to save Robert.

Or I could be completely wrong. :/
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Elizabeth to Moz: "I don't think he bugged the dog."
Moz to Elizabeth: "Amateur!"


About a second before that, my partner said, "They should check the dog for bugs." Heeee!

I had so much fun with this ep! *airily handwaves plot holes*
I'm a contradiction because I am very nit-picky, yet I can hand wave A LOT. ;) The plot holes are not pissing me off. I think, in the case of White Collar, I feel compelled to mention them because the plotting of the show could be better and it could make an awesome series even awesomer. But it is the first season and Jeff Eastin and Co. seem more focused on the characters (which is ALWAYS what makes me fall hard for a show) and writing for them (and have been extremely consistent in that writing) and they sort of fill in the plot around them.
There are some shows where plot holes totally kill my enjoyment of the episode (sometimes even the show) and there are others, like White Collar, where I just don't care. Hee! I love this charming little show. I also like your Robert-Kate-Neal theory.
If I adore the characters I can be pretty forgiving of plot holes (see Battlestar Galactica ;). I'm certainly not watching White Collar to see how Neal and Peter come to solve the case each week! And it's not that the writing is carelessly sloppy. I know they are trying. It's only when it's clear the writers don't or have stopped giving a damn that I get pissed off. I point to The X-Files as an example of this. Shortly before David Duchovny realized he had had enough, there was an episode in which Scully asks Mulder about a suspects state of mind and Mulder responds, "I don't know. I'm not a psychologist." I actually screamed at the TV, "YES, YOU ARE!" At that point, I thought if Chris Carter no longer gave a damn, neither did I.

I have to give some credit to Raiders of the Lost Arc for my theory. ;) But the sudden introduction of Kate's dead father along with my desire that she hasn't been playing Neal for years and was actually forced to betray him makes the scenario seem plausible. I hope!
^ I have to agree, I have less of an issue with plot holes in a show like this because for the most part it's so damned much fun. Really, duping the judge's secretary for the signature was such a FUN setpiece I was chuckling the whole time. ;)

Jones. Oh, Jonesy.... you are THE MACK. (Truthfully, the minute the rest of the staff came walking in behind him and the look on Peter's face... I got a bit verklempt. That was lovely.)

For some reason, the fact that both Peter and Neal made the same face where they just barely kept the rotten pate from falling out of their mouth made me howl with laughter. XD

I love your theory about Robert. Of course, that would make Neal Indiana Jones, and Robert would be Abner Ravenwood and I guess Kate would be Marion. And so far, Kate ain't no Marion. ;)
I certainly hope no one thinks the plot holes are ruining the show for me or my love is at all wavering. I'm just a nit-picky person at heart! ;)

It was nice to see more of Jones. I hope they start integrating him more into the show. Lauren has gotten the (slightly) better development of the junior agents thus far and I'm not sure why. I hope there is no plan to pair her with Neal eventually because the chemistry just isn't there.

Elizabeth really sold me on the pate scene because she was so sure it was Peter's less developed pallet that was the problem and not that the pate was actually terrible! And what does it say about Moz's pallet if he took all the leftovers with him? O_o

I totally thought Raiders 'homage'. ;) Which I'm actually fine with if it means Kate isn't revealed as nothing more than an evil, greedy bitch who broke Neal's heart. Sadly, I've seen this depiction pop up in fics and it bothers me on several levels. I hope Eastin doesn't add fuel to that fire.
Hee ya I really could not wrap my head around the case this week and I think your post helped me to locate several issues and for me I think mostly it's the crazy pacing and thus too little actual explanation and drawing out minor characters etc.

However I do love that it's a Peter centric episode; he deserves some love and his face when his whole team turned up to help him <3

I like your Neal + Kate + Robert theory but I still think Kate is evol :p
I think the story would have worked better had it been spread out over two parts and they had more time to flesh out the characters. There was so much going on and we're to believe it all got resolved in a few days?

I neglected to mention that this was the first episode where Neal wasn't the focus. And it's possible Moz had as much screen time as Neal did. Spreading the wealth amongst the ensemble as well as putting Peter in the field more, as they did last week and will do in the future, can only help the show's longevity.

I really hope Kate's not evil. It seems far too simple. Plus, Neal's been hurt enough. I definitely don't want Kate to be The One, but I'd like to see the relationship end on good terms. Neal needs to be able to fall in love again *and* trust whoever that may be.
Whooo "White Collar". Do you know where I can download this particular episode? I have an LJ friend lomer who is a fangirl for both BSG and SPN actually appears briefly in this episode. I tried to DVR it, but was messed up. So I desperately want to download it.
The place I download is a members only comm and I'm not sure they are taking new members. :/

I just saw lomer! USA is repeating the episode right now. It's also on 11:00pm est Thursday night and 9:00am Sunday. There may be other repeat showings. Make sure you are recording the right ep. 'Hard Sell', last weeks ep, is also being repeated.
I am so sorry it took me so long to thank you! I finally recorded the episode with the info you gave me here. ♥

BTW, lomer is going to appear on Law & Order as well, the original one that is. *g*
This show makes me so happy I just go with the flow regardless :)

Perhaps they're concentrating in developing character more at the beginning of the show to make sure the audience cares enough to keep tuning in. It's refreshing after all the police procedurals that have been on so long. I'll give them a season to figure things out.

USA has certainly come a long way since Silk Stalkings.
I was just listening to interviews with Jeff Eastin that are posted on Hulu. Originally, he envisioned the show as focusing on the 'Con of the Week', but quickly realized it was the relationship between the two men that was the draw. He admitted the cases are now merely a backdrop for the Peter/Neal character dynamic. Those two are the main reason people watch, not for the cases each week.

OMG, I watched a couple episodes of Silk Stalkings last week! I found it on Hulu. :) Man, it was an interesting experience. USA has gone in a very different direction with their original programming.
And really, how hard would it have been to get the judge to flip on Fowler for immunity. Really? Come on!
PS I kinda liked the detective. It'd be nice if he were recurring. It's good to have some local PD on your side when you're a Fed.
Was the detective a regular on ER? I know he starred on a series not too long ago. It would be nice if Peter developed some connections outside the Bureau. Thus far, it's been people Neal knows that have been the most assistance to them.