First let me get this out. Peter! Elizabeth! IN A ROOM TOGETHER! And no green screen in sight! :D I was so focused on that I missed most of the dialogue the first time around. Though, I did pick up on their non-verbal and fragmented conversation. Seem familiar? My mind went to 'Unfinished Business'. Neal and Peter have developed the same ability to know what the other is thinking and what they are going to say without having to say it.
I thought I had seen series pay fan service before, but never quite like White Collar last night. Truth is, I'm not usually a fan of fan service. Usually, it's done for the wrong reasons, done poorly or both. Nothing in 'Prisoner's Dilemma' struck me as forced or coming out of nowhere. Neal and Peter's relationship is complex and unique. They know it. We know it. So to have fun with it, to shine a light on how their relationship could be interpreted, seemed natural to me.
We begin with Neal trying to crash Peter and Elizabeth's date night. If circumstances were different, I may have been a little perturbed at Peter's resounding “No”, but we have had to suffer through Elizabeth's absence so it's understandable, after so much time apart, they want some alone time together. However, I suspect if Neal had called El, she would have given in and she and Peter would have been making a museum run while the pot roast cooked.
When Neal approached Diana about going to the Powell, I was rather taken aback by her reaction. She seemed rather mean with her, “I went last week. You shouldn't have waited so long.” I wondered where the reaction was coming from and thought we would get an explanation later in the episode, but, no. On second viewing, I didn't have a problem with what she said, but how she said it. Whether it was Marsha or the direction I think it was a poor choice of line delivery. When Jones shot Neal down later, I had no issue with it.
Upon learning Franklin was demoted after having an inappropriate relationship with his CI, I thought to myself, “They're going to go with that parallel? SERIOUSLY???” So can we assume Neal and Peter are Franklin and Rebecca in about a year? ;)
Nick Halden: Car Saleman. That was a perfect confluence of con man and cover. I really loved seeing 'Nick' try - and succeeded - in selling Dan a car. I spent two plus years in retail hell and I never judged what a person might spend based on their appearance. My co-workers who did? Big mistake.
There were several other things I loved beside the Neal/Peter interaction. The ENTIRE cast was well used. Each character and actor had a moment to shine (I especially enjoyed Jones pretending to turn on Peter) and no one seem marginalized.
The anklet was also well used. There's been criticism that Neal seems to frequently travel outside his two mile radius. (I still don't bblieve the hanger in 'Unfinished Business' could exist within it.) But we saw Neal, in his desperation to attend the White Bored exhibit, is constrained. We learned the new anklet can pinpoint his location within a yard. And we also learned it can be a detriment to Peter as well. Deckard (or anyone else with connections to the Marshal's office) can find Peter's location when he's with Neal, which, as we know, is often.
Neal's competitive streak was in full force and was even encouraged and celebrated by Peter. Neal was positively gleeful when he asked Peter, “Is this a CI off?” And Peter was so proud when his CI beat Franklin's.
But my absolute favorite moment was thanks to the AWESOME Bancroft. Since I felt almost all of Bancroft's scenes could have easily been scenes with Hughes, I'm assuming the character was created due to James Rebhorn being tied up with another project. However, Hughes mostly has a grudging acceptance of Neal because Neal elevates the unit's success rate. Bancroft went several steps further. Maybe he really did want to go to the White Bored exhibit, but it also just could have been a thank you to Neal for his contributions and help in clearing two agents. I so badly wanted Neal to get to go the exhibit. He wanted it so much!
A few random thoughts:
We now know Elizabeth and Moz's safe words. I'm not sure I want to know why Moz has one and how he came to use “bread basket”.
I do, on the other hand, want to see the amazing view from Thursday. ;)
Favorite line (and one I'm likely to use) myself: “I guess it was more of an FYI.”
Other great lines: “Be careful, Mario.” And when Neal talks about the car coming equipped with a GPS tracking device, Peter responds with, “Just like you.”
Neal now has a key to his anklet. What will he do??? I'm sure the writer's have another plan, but I'd love to see Neal have the key until his time with the FBI is up and just as Peter goes to unlock the anklet, Neal whips out the key and does it himself. In other words, he chooses to stay put.