Due to my new status in life as a working stiff, I was not able to watch last week’s episode of White Collar until today. My apologies for this very late review! Also, because of my increased workload, I will have to drop my regular covering of Covert Affairs. Why, you may ask, am I continuing to cover White Collar but not Covert Affairs? Well, Covert Affairs comes on later. Yes, that’s the big reason; my apologies to our Covert Affairs fans! I will continue to watch and enjoy that show thoroughly, as I hope all of you will, too.
So, this week, we learned that Mozzie was orphaned as an infant, left at the door to an inner-city Detroit church, and found by the head of the attached children’s home, Mr. Jeffries. The only item with little Mozzie in his bassinet was a teddy bear named Mozart. Unable to pronounce “Mozart” as a child, little Mozzie called the bear “Mozzie,” a name he adopted when he left Detroit after scamming the local mob out of $500,000. Why is this important? Because the mob has tracked Mozzie down, wanting him to scam the Irish mob of NY in the same way he scammed them, or Mr. Jeffries gets it.
Mr. Jeffries, meanwhile, is on the run to NY to warn Mozzie. Mozzie, though, has Neal, who hears in the FBI’s morning meeting that a Detroit mob boss is in town and, knowing Mozzie came from Detriot, Neal starts poking around. So does the Detroit boss. Peter, knowing Neal, figures out something’s up, literally connects the dots of Neal’s and the boss’s movements. Clever, clever Peter.
Anyway, Mr. Suit gets Moz in bed with the Feds to protect him and Mr. Jeffries, and to end the next great mob war of NY before it starts. Mozzie is taken into protective custody, where he must explain to Peter that, although he is The Dentist of Detroit who stole $500,000, he is not responsible for the rap sheet which the Detroit bosses racked up to keep it under wraps that The Dentist was a twelve year old kid.
Poor Mozzie in an FBI safe house tugs on Elizabeth’s heartstrings, prompting her to bake him muffins and visit, playing gin and chatting, which is a genuinely sweet scene. Her concern for Peter touches even Mozzie, who assures her that Peter will be fine. Mr. Suit, meanwhile, is posing as professional gambler with Neal as his “Lip Man,” in a classes corner room where the rich can bet on horses. Neal has a few seconds jump on the feed and, after a bit of finagling and a very public yelling match with Peter. Here the two leading actors shone with their wit, timing, depth, and humor.
Struggling to come up with legitimate-sounding material for their argument, after insulting one another’s clothes, Neal shouts, “As soon as anything goes wrong, you always blame me first!”, and the audience knows this is a real argument.
Neal glances up, seeing that the last race has started; he must end this quickly in order to save their sting. “Next time your hot wife gets lonely, tell her to call me.”
Below the belt, and not serious, but still.
The Detriot boss’s muscle and the Irish boss buy it, Neal and Peter live to fight another day. Or in the next ten minutes because…
Mozzie ingeniously ditches the safe house and changes the time and place of the money drop tot eh Detroit boss, intended to link the boss to the money scam and provide evidence for arrest. The Dentist uses a melon, silk pajamas, his Mozart teddy bear, voice recordings, an alarm clock, cords, an electric toothbrush that doubles as a screwdriver, a CD of whale songs, and a clandestine pick-up from June. Mozzie confronts his Detroit mob nemesis and encourages him to walk away from the money and drop off the grid, which the greedy heart cannot do. He picks up the briefcase, the recently arrived Feds move in for the arrest.
In all, this episode explored Mozzie’s background and character as well as set up the emotional conflict Neal (as well as Peter, to a degree) will face when it’s time for the cons to leave New York and make new lives off the masterpieces from the Nazi sub. Mozzie, too, will suffer because of their leaving.
The manifest may well come into plot prominence again in a few episodes, but for now, Mozzie and Neal seemed content to deal with the more pressing concerns of caring for the people they love: Mozzie for Mr. Jeffries and Neal, Neal for Mozzie, Elizabeth, and Peter. If things get more serious with Sarah (not seen in this episode), she may also have a place on Neal’s list. All of this leads me to believe that Neal will, in the series finale, have to choose between staying and going.
For the sake of drama, I believe that either something will go horribly wrong, or Neal will leave. But not for long—White Collar needs Neal and Peter together to work. Case in point, the look Neal and Peter exchanged in the last moment of the episode. Neal expresses to Peter that it’s hard for Mozzie to say goodbye, and hard to be gone. Peter knows Neal is planning to leave, Neal knows that Peter knows, and the look says it all.
I am increasingly concerned for Elizabeth’s safety. If something happens to her, Peter may never forgive Neal, nor Neal himself (any faster than Kate’s death, anyway).
However, life is valuable on White Collar and, unlike, say Lost, deaths are not inserted merely add or heighten drama, nor to shake things up. I therefore don’t believe Elizabeth has a great red X on her forehead, or a sniper’s little red dot, but her conversations and incorporation into recent plotlines lead me to believe that she will have an increased role to play. Alex, Kate, and June (and even random strangers, again mostly women) have been threatened in order to manipulate Neal in the past. Alder is still missing and Elizabeth is a strategically important woman in the lives of both male leads.
Mozzie Quote of the Week: “I need as many buyers for my slight-of-hand-me-downs as I can get.”
-Neal and Peter dressed in tuxes, having their picture taken by Elizabeth, “Prom picture!”
-The nameless Fed outside Mozzie’s hotel room learning whale from Mozzie’s blaring CD.
-Mozzie calls Peter by his name!
-Baby and young Mozzie with thick, black-rimmed glasses.
-The cast commercial encouraging adoption, starring Mozzie actor Willie Garson and his adopted son.
Tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) episode of White Collar airs at 9pm on USA.
P.S. See this beautiful creation of a featured quote in this episode along with photos.