A lot to discuss in the wake of “Taking Account,” yet another White Collar title operating under the slightest of hand. After this week, we’ve seen two sides to just about every central character: Neal as both material adventure-seeker and budding family man; the Sara who digs bad boys and her ethically grounded counter-self; a Peter that can be your casual ally at the same time he’s paces ahead of your every move; and so on. Likewise, it’s becoming easier to project ahead and surmise that Season 3 as a whole will be a tale of two halves—this summer’s 10 installments placing Neal at a personal and philosophical crossroads regarding the treasure, Sara et al, and the upcoming winter slate, which will likely bring the heat from Washington and Anna Chlumsky’s sleuthy G-Woman.
Somewhat unexpectedly, “Taking Account” also treated us to a new, furrier perspective on Mozzie, who found himself a love interest, and rare topless scene (Matthew Bomer, eat your six-pack out.... Ew), alongside guest star Lena Heady (most recently of Game of Thrones and Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles). The Bermudan/British bombshell plays an insurgent hacker named Vulture (nee, Sally) who unwittingly assists a bank thief in a major international heist. In a scene that manages to be charming despite another ludicrous drop-in from our strategically integrated friends at Ford Motor Company, Vulture agrees to a clandestine meeting with Peter and the gang, and asks for the handsome one to exit the car. Which, from her point of view, is neither Peter nor Neal, but their chrome-domed sidekick Mozz.
The actual heist/recovery storyline is eventually resolved via the collaborative work of a post-coitus Mozzie and Vulture, who help Peter track down their culprit and swiftly dispatch him behind bars in one of the series’ most hastily wrapped-up cons. You can tell that, with so many major story arcs among the lead cast, it’s becoming more difficult to fit in an effectively dramatic single-episode sting. The storyline did, however, provide Neal and Sara with the chance to go on a delirious millionaire’s shopping spree that was fun to watch, and a subsequent tongue-lashing from Peter that was long overdue.
But the real suspense was derived once again from Sara letting curiosity get the best of her and, this time, stumbling on Neal’s ultimate secret: the stolen treasure. Firstly, I have to say that I appreciate the way White Collar handles its female characters. With Sara in the picture, there are very rarely any more Bond Girl-inspired vixens swooping in for a quick, unsubstantial flirtation and a chance to flaunt glittering midi dresses (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And Sara is turning out to be as smart, if not smarter than Neal and Peter when it comes to anticipating a con man’s every move. Beyond that, I’m still hanging on to a bit of my opinion from last week that Neal is tentatively leaving these clues as a sort of scavenger hunt, so that he can titillate Sara without outright confessing to his illegal plans.
But even if that were the case, it would take a pretty damn sharp eye and keen instinct to crib the word “Draupnir” off the gold plating of his Les Paul and correctly guess it as his laptop password. And the fact that Neal seems to be asking himself valid, introspective questions about the value of staying in New York with his new girlfriend versus fleeing with Mozzie and endless riches is enough to keep us all guessing about his endgame with Sara. His newly laid pal might be a lone ranger by nature, but it’s becoming clear that Neal plays best with others.
• I HATE when people hang up on phone calls on TV or in movies without saying goodbye. It’s such a weird, unrealistic constant.
• I liked that scene at the elevators between Neal and Hilarie when they both got super bashful. And, per usual lately, Peter’s butting in for a bit of big-brotherly teasing.
• I found it a bit strange that the woman at the Swiss bank just took Neal for his word, over the phone, that he was Timothy Astor, but whatever.
• On a similar note, would Mozzie really discuss the treasure in anything more than a delicate whisper with Sara in the other room?
• “You can keep your little CSI kit in your pants.” Yeah, cause with you, it stands for Carnal Scene Investigation. Rarrrrr.
• Texting without looking is the new lip-reading. (Insert Seinfeld reference here.)
• “I will never unheard that.”
• Who knew Jones was an IT nerd?
• Pretty unnecessary and clichéd scene between June and Sara. Recurring-role quota filled, I imagine?
• Vulture’s politics may have been silly, but believe it or not, those are Heady’s real tattoos. Rarrrrr.
• “Don’t you have perfect recall?” “Symbolic gesture.”
• Peter and Elizabeth’s kitchen…. To die for!