Asta 2

White Collar: By the Book

I have a new favorite Season 2 episode! The writers are on a role. Which probably means a clunker is coming up. Oh, well, no series is perfect. Not even Friday Night Lights. Season 2, what Season 2?


Going into 'By the Book', I knew it was a Mozzie-centric episode, but I had no idea we'd be given quite so much information! There were references to hobbies, besides paranoia and chess (he reads murer mysteries and has a bookie). He suffers from a seemingly mild form of OCD (rearranging the table at the diner and ordering the same breakfast everyday). He has perfect recall (which makes him an incredibly valuable asset to Neal and potentially the FBI). He doesn't have Neal's gift for wooing, though he's taken a page from his playbook (the word play). And he's crushing on Gina, which is what puts the story in motion.. (He's also so smitten with her, he apparently was oblivious to Neal following him at some point.)

Almost everything revealed about Mozzie fit the character for me. There is one exception. Maybe. Mozzie disarming the guy pointing the gun at him. Now, I thought Willie did a great job with the takeaway. Tim./Peter's reaction was perfect. And it was a rare moment in which the show surprised me. But I am having trouble figuring out when and how Moz would have learned to do something like that. Unless it's somehow tied in with Neal's expertise yet dislike of guns? Hence, my maybe. But Moz's reaction even seemed beyond Neal's skill set. Yes, Neal can shoot well, but he's quick to put his hands up and surrender when someone has a gun pointed at him. Hey, I had to nitpick on something. ;)

By episodes end, Mozzie, doubter of the trustworthiness of The Suit and the system, plans to head to the bureau with Neal and Peter. Hee. I'm sure Moz still has little faith in the government and will continue to see conspiracies ate every turn. However, since 'Withdrawal' we've seen Moz come to believe Peter cares about Neal. And now Peter saved his ass, as well as Gina's, I can believe Moz has faith in him.

While 'By the Book' was definitely Moz's episode, it also provided for some very interesting - and perhaps life changing - moments for Neal. Early on, Neal realized he and Moz were in over their heads. He grew irritated with Moz, even a little angry, as he put himself on the line for him. Could Neal be seeing that what Moz was putting him through is what he frequently puts Peter through? Could he be gaining an understanding of Peter's frustration with him? Could he now sympathize with Peter? And did the writers want us to see all this or is it wishful thinking on my part?

I was thrilled when it was revealed Neal was meant to make the connection and so were we. The scene in the car between Neal and Peter was one of my favorites. Neal confesses he's not slept since the ordeal began. His stomach hurts. His mouth is dry. He's worried and stressed and it's taking a toll on him. Peter doesn't explicitly say it, but I think Neal understands Peter knows the symptoms because he's experienced them himself since partnering with Neal.

If Neal's comprehension was at all iffy in the car, the final scene between the two men left no doubt he got it. “How many dinners with Elizabeth have you missed because of me?" Neal realizes Peter has sacrificed time with the person he loves more than anybody because of Neal (and as Peter's lunch with El proved, even when he's with her, his mind tends to wander to Neal). It's time Peter will never get back. It's an epiphany for Neal, but the question remains, will it stick?

I don't believe Neal will change his behavior overnight. He's lived his life his way for quite a long time. But if he actually begins to think about the consequences of his actions and how he could be affecting others before he acts, it's a step in the right direction and sign of a growing maturity. We shall see.

I'm sure a hundred fanfics will now be written about Neal, Peter and The Pen. ;) Peter announcing the pen as a reward and Neal's reaction (“I want that pen.”) was a cute moment, but also a telling one. The pen is a symbol of many things for Neal. It's proof of outwitting a room full of FBI agents. It's taking a valued possession from Peter. (Literally taking. I think we all saw the stealing of it coming.) But it's also Neal feeling more and more a part of the team. It's Peter's pen. It's a reward given out by the FBI at Quantico. It's something everyone else desires getting their hands on. It's showing he's one of them. Neal lit up when every person in the conference room turned to him to look for insight as to how to catch Tommy. I don't think Neal would – or could – claim to be smarter than Peter, but he does want to be seen as an equal.

Random Observations:

Agent Blake. I hope we see him again. Not that I fell in love with the character or want him to take screen time away from Jones or Diana, but I like knowing the team rather than having a bunch of nameless people sitting around the conference room table.

I always assumed Neal's access on the FBI's computers was limited, but I was glad to have it confirmed. Now, someone just needs to tell Blake he doesn't take orders from the ex-con. ;)

“She meets you and suddenly I become the quirky friend.” A funny line, yet it demonstrates Moz is, in fact, intimidated by Neal's looks and charm and fears being compared to Neal in those departments.

Neal's “Oh my God” as he backed up against the wall cracked me up. Matt's delivery and expression was perfect.

I squeed a bit when Neal said to Moz he hoped they could explain it was exigent circumstances breaking into Gina's apartment. It's my continuity kink. :)

“Big Brothers watching, so leave a message at your own risk.” So does anyone other than Peter ever leave Neal a message? ;)

While talking with Moz about Tommy, Neal mentions Peter found him, twice, but he wasn't running away. And he was running towards Kate. If we also consider Neal's statements in 'Copycat Caffrey' about being caught due to a momentary lapse in concentration and, essentially, turning himself, it would seem to be more proof Kate was, in part, responsible for Neal's arrest.

Devlin was too easily tricked into giving up Tommy's new name. On the other hand, it gave Jones a great moment and I loved his, “You guys have more fun than we do.”

There was no mention of the music box. I'm glad Jeff Eastin has decided not to have that play a role in every episode.
  • Current Mood: pleased pleased
\o/!

But I am having trouble figuring out when and how Moz would have learned to do something like that. Unless it's somehow tied in with Neal's expertise yet dislike of guns?

I actually had no problem with it for that reason. I figure that, like Neal, Mozzie has talents that he prefers not to have to use.

I want to know if Blake got in trouble -- or at least got teased for having been so easily manipulated. *g* (I mean, I'd be happy for that to be addressed in fic, rather than canon, because as you say, screen time, but still. Way to fall for the obvious con. *pets him*)

Edited at 2010-08-05 01:48 am (UTC)
Maybe Moz really has Ninja skills! We shouldn't laugh at him! ;)

Peter already does the eyeroll when Diana and Jones do research at Neal's request, if not having lunch with El and being worried about their boyfriend Neal, I'd imagine he would have had a few choice words for Blake. Running Gina's name really wasn't a huge issue, but if Blake can be so easily played what else could Neal get him to do in the future?
Still reading the rest of your comment, but this:

But I am having trouble figuring out when and how Moz would have learned to do something like that.

Mozzie was in with the Detroit Mafia at some point. He may have learned it from there, or he may have other training we don't know about. Ah, the mystery deepens.
Was he *in* the Detroit Mafia or did he just have dealings with them? He certainly could have picked up a few tricks or felt he needed to to protect himself, but, like Neal, I think he has lines he won't cross and I can't envision him being part of a violent organization.
I think there may have been a time for both of them where maybe their lines weren't as clearly drawn as they are now.
“How many dinners with Elizabeth have you missed because of me?" Neal realizes Peter has sacrificed time with the person he loves more than anybody because of Neal (and as Peter's lunch with El proved, even when he's with her, his mind tends to wander to Neal). It's time Peter will never get back. It's an epiphany for Neal

I really liked that: Neal finally saw what it was like to handle an asset with a difficult personality, the rewards and the hair-pulling. Because I don't think it was just a matter of Peter's time; it was also that Neal has been a very, very difficult fit in his world, and he's had to do a lot of work to convince other people that it's worthwhile to make the effort. Neal had to do the same with Mozzie.
I also liked this exchange, which summed up the situation perfectly:

Peter: (Paraphrasing) "How did it feel to walk in my shoes?"
Neal: "I prefer Italian leather."

Neal now has a better understanding of what Peter goes through dealing with him, yet he doesn't really want to change. Nor do I feel he needs to become a junior FBI agent. He and Moz have a skill set that allows them to circumvent certain procedures and without them doing that Peter and the bureau wouldn't have been able to finally get Navarro. It's a matter of Peter being a tiny bit more willing to follow Neal's way of thinking and Neal realizing there are times he needs to think through the consequences of his actions, stop what he'd doing and go to Peter. I thought I saw moments where he wanted to do that, but he was too preoccupied with having to keep Mozzie in check. Which, again, is what Peter must deal with frequently.
That was a delightful episode! :) I agree with you about almost everything; the Mozzie-taking-gun scene struck me as part and parcel of the persona he was using, and since there's so much we don't know about him, it didn't ping for me.

Is TT still off-set? That lunch scene was green-screened, with Peter and Elizabeth never sharing the same space. :(
the Mozzie-taking-gun scene struck me as part and parcel of the persona he was using

Ah. I can see Moz being so into his part that he believed he could disarm the guy even if he didn't really have the skill to do it. If that makes sense. ;)

Tiffani is back on set this week. I believe they are filming either episode 10 or 11. Which means we still have several weeks of green screen to look forward to. :/

Actually Tim and Tiff were together. All the scenes with her were filmed in LA, with Tim, before production resumed in New York.
I thought they both looked a bit odd, but couldn't really tell. The green screen is distracting!

On a side note, I liked Diana's hat. :) Neal's not the only one who can handle stylish head gear.
You just made me think of Peter's comment to Neal in the Pilot about how Diana would like to be wearing the hat. ;)
Agree with everything you said. And i didn't even know it will be mozzie centric and was pleasantly surprised that they make it so interesting and full of info (on all three of them).
I had no problems with Moz having gun skills. I like this character because when he looks like a geek he's more then just a geek and even if they revealed a lot of things about him in this ep they didn't reveal everything. And yes, that scene was played so well it added *+* to the mystery that is Moz.
What I loved most about this episode is the feeling of comaraderie that is developing among all the characters. Especially loved how they all knew they were being watched by each other :)
Yeah, I love how they're all becoming so close. And I suspect Peter, after witnessing Moz's skills first hand, will be willing to bring him onto cases from time to time.

I assumed Neal and Moz knew Peter would have someone keeping an eye on them, but did Jones need to take the van? Or did Peter assume Neal and Moz would know what he would do so figured he might as well be obvious and have Jones use it?
It was a great episode of solid characterisation, the reason why I fell in love with the show in the first place :)