Asta 2

White Collar: Home Invasion


I have mixed feelings about this episode. The plotting was stronger than other episodes. I could quibble they had more than circumstantial evidence to hold Pierce, but the rest of the 'Con of the Week' held up well. And I liked how they addressed what a con woman may have to subject herself to that a con man would not. There was bitterness and anger in Pierce's exchange with Neal and it was a rare instance of desiring to find out more about the bad guy/gal's backstory.

Today on Twitter, Jeff Eastin asked the fans for their favorite lines in the series. I had to chime in with "I was forced Fed" as soon as I heard it. And "Ambassador of Awesome" MUST be iconed. There were nifty bits of dialogue and exchanges throughout the episode.

Dan and his fanboying of Neal was, as Peter put it, "adorable". And, Neal, it was YOU Dan was admiring.

Having been underwhelmed and disappointed when we finally met Kate, I have to admit I was concerned when I read we would be introduced to another woman from Neal's past, Alex. But I like her! I like her quite a bit actually. The fact she appears closer to Neal's age and the actress stronger helps. I also find Alex's independence and self-reliance appealing. Thus far, it seems as if Kate has relied on others for whatever she has rather than doing much, if anything, on her own. I also want to know what exactly Alex's backstory is with Neal. It doesn't seem like they were ever a couple. Did Kate (and Neal's feelings for her) stand in the way?

Alex also provided us with yet another example of Neal's reluctance to trust anyone in his world. Not only was he not forthcoming about why he was interested in locating the music box (and why would telling Alex he needs to find it because of Kate be an issue?), he lied about his relationship with the FBI.

What I didn't like in the episode was Peter. Turnabout is fair play and for all the times Neal has crashed into the Burke home uninvited, a little payback was in order. But where I really started to sour on Peter was on the couch. The furniture in Neal's room is not Neal's. As Peter himself pointed out, it's June's home. So sitting on the couch covered in sweat was rude and inconsiderate and really, really annoyed me.

Then there was the sting operation gone wrong. I don't wish to be Neal Caffrey's great defender. He's done his fair share of stupid things and acted in his own best interest rather than in the best interest of the FBI several times. But it was Peter running Alex's prints that caused her to bust in on the conversation and potentially ruin the case. And Neal was about to get his ass kicked by three (much larger) men when Pierce got away. And Peter was well aware that Neal was looking for the music box (which may also benefit Peter if it helps take down Fowler once and for all) and, gee, maybe talking to a fence would be helpful in that search? Apparently, Neal trusts Peter at all times under all circumstances; Peter trusts Neal when he's standing in front of him.

At the end, Peter looked a bit hurt that Neal was kicking him out and I thought, "Good". Neal could have dealt with the little annoyances (Peter sitting in his seat, filling the fridge with beer, blasting the TV), but after everything they've been through, to discover Peter still would think the worst of him *and* potentially go after his friends was too much.

Things we learned this week:

It seems Neal has issues with being around dead bodies, though it didn't seem to affect him in 'Threads'

Elizabeth has a sister in upstate New York

Jones went to law school

There's a five minute response time once Neal's anklet has been cut. (I don't think they mentioned that before, but I could be wrong.)

Peter took Mozzie's advice about the wiring and had it redone ;)

The criminal justice system is unfair in it's sentencing


And since the series is going to the dogs next week or, more precisely, White Collar is being pre-emoted for a dog show, I'll try and find other things to discuss. ;)
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I think Peter's investigation of Alex is unfortunate considering how unintentionally he endangered Neal's life, but it's also very Peter. Actually he does trust Neal, he just cannot seem to tell it to Neal's face, which is very annoying, but Neal's friends - he's always going to doubt and not trust 100%. With Moz, Peter is wary, so with Alex, I'm not surprised he did the prints thing, but he really could not have foreseen Alex turning up there, and Alex's strong will of her own.

I agree with you that it's absolutely rude to just plant a sweaty self on someone else's sofa, but I do also think this whole annoying house guest thing was a bit overdone. I really cannot buy Peter being this rude.

I do like Alex a lot too for the reasons you stated, and I wish she is the one Neal loves instead of Kate.

Elizabeth must be so busy telling her sister about Neal XD

Jones continues to be awesome y/y? :)
but he really could not have foreseen Alex turning up there, and Alex's strong will of her own.

That's the other reason I can't get angry with Peter - he had no way of knowing she could find out that he had run her prints. And really how the hell did she know? Unless she's got some inside information she SHOULDN'T know that someone ran her prints.
I'm 99% certain Peter ran a background check on Moz and was able to find little, if anything. Which is probably more worrisome to Peter. And it would explain why he had Jones come to the house to keep an eye on Moz when he was doing the 'cleaning'.

I agree, Peter could not have foreseen Alex showing up in the middle of a sting operation. But given Alex's connections, there was a possibility she would find out what Peter had done, think Neal may have been involved and confront him about it. Given past misunderstandings, it would have been wise for Peter to mention what he had done to Neal. It wasn't as if Peter had plans to arrest Alex and he was worried Neal would give her a heads up about it.

but I do also think this whole annoying house guest thing was a bit overdone. I really cannot buy Peter being this rude.

Yes. Exactly. I was feeling very angry on Neal's behalf and the logical part of my brain was telling me I shouldn't feel that way since Neal has, numerous times, upended Peter's life and didn't much care about Peter's feeling on the matter. But I think Neal knows when to quit. For instance, in the pilot, after Neal has come over unannounced and filled Peter and Elizabeth in on what he has discovered, Peter asks Neal to go outside while he says goodbye to his wife and Neal does. If Neal had put his feet up on the table and refused to move, I would have felt about him as I felt about Peter in this episode.

If the show lasts several seasons there is hope for Alex. ;)

Elizabeth must be so busy telling her sister about Neal XD

I had a thought last night. What if Elizabeth's sister is single? What if Elizabeth introduces her to Neal and they hit it off. Neal could be Peter's brother-in-law. Hee!

Jones does, most definitely, continue to be awesome. I'm so happy they are giving him more to do. Now they just need to flesh out Lauren a bit more.
I like Alex too. She's a smart, independent woman who is more interesting than Kate. I hope we see her again. We may, since she says she knows where the box is.

I can't be too angry with Peter in this episode regarding running Alex's prints. I think personally he trusts Neal - he tells Kate that Neal is his friend - but he's also responsible to his superiors for Neals's behavior, so I can't blame him for erring on the side of caution. Good think he knows morse code :) There is one thing that confused me though - since Peter knows Neal is looking into finding the box, why would Neal hide the book describing it?
since Peter knows Neal is looking into finding the box, why would Neal hide the book describing it?

I wondered about that too. But that's the type of moment I usually hand wave and there were other plot elements that annoyed me more. ;) I guess Neal didn't want Peter to know he had a lead, but, again, why hide that when Peter knows he's looking for the box? Yeah, all the Neal/Peter stuff was a bit messy this week.
Alex absolutely has a "never slept with him, but man did they want to" vibe about her. ;) In the best, first-season Maddie & David kind of way. That's the sort of thing that's woefully missing from the Kate relationship so far - they don't need to be quite so playfully antagonistic (or just straight up antagonistic, LOL), but any real spark - I'm not feeling it yet.
Have you scene the actress who plays Kate in the ads for Percy Jackson and the Olympians? Someone else hired her! For a feature! O_o

Not that acting talent alone can sell chemistry, but it helps. Alex blew Kate out of the water in every conceivable way. My guess is (I know no spoilers) that Kate will not be The One and Jeff Eastin is wise to start introducing women that could, possibly, next season be a love interest for Neal. Lauren is another possibility but, again, not feeling much romantic chemistry with Neal.
"And I liked how they addressed what a con woman may have to subject herself to that a con man would not. There was bitterness and anger in Pierce's exchange with Neal and it was a rare instance of desiring to find out more about the bad guy/gal's backstory."

I thought that was intersting too. But four years for shooting two people?

But I hope she's back again as a villain, mostly because I'm in love with Sarah Carter's voice (it started back when she played one of Clark Kent's doomed girlfriends, ok, I know...)
Four years did seem like too lite of a sentence. Especially since a murder was involved. Though how often do we see people get a year or less for killing someone in a drunk driving accident? Sadly, it didn't shock me to learn that returning the jade elephants to Japan was more important than a man's life.

She was a good villain. I give credit to the actress, but I also felt Pierce was better developed then other villains they have had. Interestingly - or tellingly - we had two strong supporting female characters this week and the writer of the episode was a woman.
I tripped over the Neal and Peter characterisations in this ep in much the same way as I tripped over the antagonism in The Portrait. It was like, "Whoa! What did we miss?"

Just read an awesome fixit, though: The House Guest. It made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. /dork
As I mentioned to shaney above, I recently found out 'The Portrait' was supposed to air after the pilot, they decided to move up 'Threads' and the episodes all got shifted because of that. Jeff Eastin alluded to some continuity concerns. The rearranged airing order does explain some of the unexpected antagonism in 'The Portrait'. Though, in the back half of the season, the episodes are running in the order they intend so I can't explain the weirdness in 'Home Invasion'. Which I'm watching right now and, nope, not getting any better. I had a feeling Neal and Peter shaking up for a couple days wasn't going to be as entertaning as we hoped.

Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check it out. :)

Oh, interesting! In some ways, having antagonism in 1.02 would have boded very poorly for their partnership. I mean, Peter needed an incentive to keep Neal out of jail, so having a few wins under their belts now does give them more room to be at odds without risking everything. I guess. I just don't like it. It makes me squirmy. *mocks self*
Actually I didn't have an issue with this episode. I look at it as Neal withdrawing somewhat from Peter after the big reveal in "Vital Signs". He's feeling vulnerable and maybe he's freaked out by how much he's relying on Peter. He probably feels he shouldn't be relying on Peter as much as he does, so he does what he can to push Peter away.

Neal was....off even before he found out Peter ran Pierce's prints or before Peter started to annoy him.

As for Peter...I think he just doesn't know where to draw the line sometimes. He was purposely pushing Neal's buttons, and taken great amusement from doing so. I don't entirely blame him, since Neal has, on occasion, been extremely irritating. Peter doesn't have Neal's finesse when it comes to dealing with people -- it isn't until they fight that Peter seems to realize maybe he's pushed Neal too far.

It was good for this episode to happen, because they were getting too comfortable with each other, and I feel that it's too early in the show for them to be settled completely in their relationship.

There's been some discussion that Neal's declaration of trust came too soon, the writers may have realized that and 'Home Invasion' was a way of taking a few steps back. The idea wasn't a bad one, it's the execution that failed. Though I agree with you that Peter lacks Neal's finesse and likely didn't realize he had pushed Neal too far until Neal informed Peter he found him a hotel and already had his bags packed.

Neal has been an unwelcome visitor more than once at the Burke's and a little payback was in order. But Neal knows how to be a good guest once he's invaded someone's space and Peter's manners seemed to completely disappear once he got to June's. I can't believe El needs to be around 24/7 to keep Peter in line. I just chalk it up to not great writing.
The only thing I think Peter did that was mildly rude was to seat himself on the couch while he was sweaty. I'm not sure why everyone thinks everything else Peter did was so terrible.

I seem to recall that Neal stuck his hand inside a cereal box without washing it first. To me that's more disgusting than sitting on a sofa while sweaty.

I don't think Neal's declaration of trust was too soon because he wasn't really aware. He let it slip but it may not be something he is consciously aware of.

I don't see "Home Invasion" as a way of back-pedaling, but as a way to further illustrate how different the two men are.It's a logical thing to see how they interacted as long as you understand that humans are completely illogical.

Neal's been under pressure to find Kate, find the music box, and he's been hiding it from Peter. He finds a lead to the music box and she won't help him. You pile on Peter showing up and ruining his meeting with that only lead, and you have a guy under pressure who is ready to snap.

Peter went for pay back on all the intrusions into his life. He's not as intuitive emotionally as Neal or Elizabeth are. He also doesn't know at that point how much Neal is hiding from him. I don't sense that there was ever any maliciousness in what Peter was doing -- he was just being very puckish.

You couple a stressed-out Neal with Peter's obvious attempts to annoy Neal, and you're going to have a recipe for an emotional melt-down.

Everyone focuses on what Peter says to Neal -- no one has yet commented on how Neal basically accused Peter of not running to his aid quickly enough. With the lies and omissions of truth added to that accusation, it made Peter upset and he responded with words he didn't mean.

It all seems to make sense to me. When we are tired, or stressed, or upset, sometimes we say and do stupid things. I liked "Home Invasion" because it made the characters more human.

Besides, no matter how angry they were at each other, Neal knew he could count on Peter to find him, and Peter knew that Neal hadn't run. The argument and the petty little things in the episode didn't really change how they felt about each other.