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April 24, 2014

'White Collar' - 'Need To Know' Recap

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 21st 2010 4:00AM
White Collar(S02E02) "How come you always end up with the hot girl in the hotel room and I end up with the sweaty bald guy in a warehouse in Queens?" - Peter, to Neal

One of the things I like about 'White Collar' is that even the case-of-the- week episodes have enough "big plot" in them to keep things interesting. I wasn't too intrigued by this week's FBI case -- a sleazy politician again! -- but as long as we can include scenes where Peter and Mozz banter and argue and Neal and Diana get to know each other better, the episodes still bounce along in a really entertaining manner and I enjoy them.

I did have a problem with the resolution of tonight's episode, and it's the same problem I remember writing about quite a bit in season one. The solutions to the cases seem to happen too quickly and are based around contrivance, clichés, or convenience. So, the politician's henchman sends a goon to rough up Diana a bit, but of course she outdraws and shoots him just as Peter and the rest of the team busts into the hotel room. Then the whole plot is wrapped up by Diana saying "I guess we have enough to put Jennings away now," and then the final scene has Neal and Peter and the FBI going into Jennings's office and talking about how the henchman spilled the beans about Jennings. Too quick.

But whatever. This is a show as much about the journey than the destination, and it's all good. Besides, I love it when TV heroes get the bad guy in the end and can't just arrest him, they have to insult and embarrass him completely.

Some viewers have been wondering why Diana has the jewelry box, assuming that she might be in on the plot to kill Kate and/or Neal. But tonight they made it very clear that Diana has the box because of the investigation that she and Peter are doing. I like how Peter really wants to help Neal -- it shows the bromance these guys has goes beyond being FBI partners -- but wasn't the opening scene kinda goofy? It seemed that the bad guy was awkwardly hiding his face when he ran away not because of he has to keep his identity secret but because: a) It gives the characters something to do for the season, putting together his face and using computer software to put the pieces together, or b) The role hasn't been cast yet so his face has to stay hidden.

But every season has to have a bigger overall plot and bad guy. 'Burn Notice' does this too. I hope 'White Collar' doesn't start inventing new characters and "big" bad guys every single season, some new guy that Neal and Peter have to go up against and find to solve the bigger mystery.

Neal said to Peter tonight that he had never lied to him. That was a lie, wasn't it? I mean, Neal explained that he may have let Peter draw certain conclusions, but he never lied to him. That's an odd thing to say because even though I'm not going to go back and review every episode to see if Neal lied, lying is what Neal does. Not sure if the writers want us to feel guilty because Peter and Diana are investigating who killed Kate behind Neal's back, but I don't think it's believable. Besides, I agree with Mozz: Peter and Diana trying to figure out what happened to Kate is a good thing.

I'd love to know why the guy called Mozz "Mr. C." though and who "Mr. F." is.

More thoughts:

• So Elizabeth is away on business. Neal told Peter that maybe Elizabeth will make them so rich that Peter can retire early. Tiffani Thiessen has recently had a baby and it looks like they're trying to keep her away as long as possible. Logical, but it's painful to hear "explanations" like this as to why a character isn't around. Though I guess it's better than having a pregnant Thiessen stand behind potted plants and furniture.

But honestly, does she have to stand in front of a bad green screen of The Golden Gate Bridge just so we know SHE'S IN SAN FRANCISCO, VIEWERS! I mean, we're not stupid. Just tell us she's in San Francisco and we'll believe it. If she ever travels to Paris I'm sure they'll show her in front of the Eifffel Tower, and if she goes to Italy the Leaning Tower of Pisa will be just over her left shoulder as a guy flips a pizza in the air in the foreground.

• This episode had one of those scenes that dramas like this often have: The hero going through the bad guy's office as the bad guy is walking toward the office and he has to be distracted by someone else while the hero gets the information he needs. Of course Peter got out in time (thank goodness there was another door in the office and the bad guy is so deaf he couldn't hear (or see) a chair moving or doors opening. Doors are really silent in TV shows when they need them to be.

• "I hate sneaking around like this. We're supposed to be the good guys." That's what Peter said to Diana. Did he think that last season when he was sneaking around Neal's back and going to see Kate in the hotel room and all that? It seems to me that Neal and Peter lie to each other a lot. But it's usually for their own good.

[Follow Bob on Twitter.]

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