In this week’s episode of White Collar, a black widow’s in town, so Neal, Jones, Peter, and Diana go undercover at a speed date and auction.
Jones flourishes under his alias. Sarah helps Neal realize what he does to drive her crazy, so he’ll “bomb” all his dates but the widow Selena’s. Unfortunately, though, it works too well and Diana has to bid on him (the only one to do so—and it’s Neal!) to save his pride. Elizabeth, in true style, tries to help Peter gain confidence, but he is hopelessly awkward. Most ladies don’t go for that, but Selena does, bidding $15,000. They go on a dinner date, they tango and, as Neal notes with awe to Diana from the surveillance van outside, “I don’t hear any screaming.”
By the end of the night, Peter gets an invite back to Selena’s place, which is vital for installing a bug. This black widow works with a partner and before Peter can quit dating her, or become her next victim, they must figure out who it is. For the next date, Peter has dinner reservations, but Selena insists on going to Peter’s place. Problems with this include Elizabeth being there and the definitely non-kosher idea of bringing a murderess to the home Peter and his wife share. Accordingly, Peter crashes Neal’s first “real” date with Sarah. Without time to get out of the apartment, Neal and Sarah hide in Neal’s closet, which contains a two-way mirror because, wouldn’t you know, Neal’s apartment used to be a speakeasy.
Selena sees Neal’s sketches and, again with the insisting, sits down to be drawn. Neal does so from the closet and Mozzie arrives in just the proper moment to be the explanation for how Peter got things set up so quickly and to smuggle the sketch behind a suit out to Peter. Selena notices the huge ring Neal’s drawn on her left hand in an attempt to speed this process along, and the engagement is on.
I was very glad to see Sarah back for this episode and, although I’ve been a little uncertain about her relationship with Neal, I noticed parallels in this first date to Neal’s first date with Kate. As Neal shares with Diana in Season 2, Episode 2: “Need to Know,” Neal and Kate conned into a hotel suite for the night on their first date, ordering six of the most expensive burgers on the room service menu among other cute exploits. He’s
refined his technique a bit, going for the romantic, home-cooked dinner for Sarah this time, but as often happens with Neal, things get complicated. After the engagement is on, Sarah tells Neal that it was the best first date they could have had, “Any guy can make a girl dinner. Only you could sketch a black widow from a hidden back room.”
Next, poor, suffering, strong, clever Elizabeth decides they need a guest list from Selena to figure out who her husband-killing partner is. Elizabeth meets with the happy couple for wedding planning and, as occurred last week with Neal and Peter’s real argument under fictional pretenses, Peter and Elizabeth have a real conversation about their wedding, including Elizabeth’s regrets that it was so big and impersonal.
After some legal savvy that reminded me how much I love her, Elizabeth wrangles a few documents from Selena that, later combined with the insistence that Selena would like Peter to leave his money to one of her favorite charities “should anything happen to him,” leads the FBI back to the organizer of the date auction. Also, Peter is almost run over by a swiftly moving white car and may have escaped injury only by Elizabeth’s screamed warning.
Now knowing how Selena got the money from her previous late-husbands, through different dummy charities, high jinks and a bachelor party ensue. Guests include strippers, FBI agents, Neal, Mozzie, Selena’s partner, and a lot of vodka, which leads to the next morning when the FBI prod Selena and her accomplice to meet, connecting them with the money for an arrest. Finally, Peter organizes a second wedding ceremony for he and Elizabeth at Neal’s apartment. It’s intimate and beautiful, just as she originally wanted, officiated by Mozzie and witnessed by Neal.
Neal’s presence at the second wedding, although natural and logical, also highlights the close, persistent bonds between Neal and Peter. Before getting the accomplice hopelessly drunk the night before, he says “This is my best friend’s bachelor party. Let’s make it a night to remember!” The only part of his statement that struck me as odd
was “bachelor party,” because Peter is the least likely person on the show to be at, let alone enjoy, anyone’s bachelor party. I later realized that what should have struck me was not the situational context but “best friend.” I recalled in Season 1, Episode 10: “Vital Signs,” when a very drugged Neal tells Peter “Out of all the people in my life… Mozzie, even Kate, you know… you’re the only one…..The only person in my life I trust.” Neal mentally knows not to trust Peter because Peter knows not to trust him, but there may be more emotional truth to Neal’s statement than falsehoods. I personally hope that their actions will follow Neal’s words, though for drama’s sake, I rather doubt it will happen.
Mozzie Quote of the Week: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate the union of Suit…and Mrs. Suit.”
-Mozzie, while pretending to be Peter’s assistant on Peter and Selena’s date at Neal’s, cons money off his “boss.”
-Neal and Diana’s picnic in the surveillance van, a thank you for Diana bailing Neil out at the auction.
-Diana calling Sarah “insurance investigator Barbie.”
-Neal answering his phone on a speed date, “Oh, hey buddy! Yeah, I’m on a date—here!” he says to the woman, reaching his phone across the table, “Say ‘Hi’!” (I have SO been here. I talked to three of his friends on the phone during the course of the evening. And his mother.)
Next week’s episode of White Collar, “Scott Free,” will air Tuesday at 9pm on USA.