Episode Title: "Burke’s Seven"
Writer: Joe Henderson
Director: Michael Smith
Previously on "White Collar":
Neal (Matt Bomer) came dangerously close to killing Fowler, the man he believes to be responsible for Kate’s death. However, he soon learned that Julian Larson (Paul Blackthorne) is the man behind the plot. Meanwhile, Mozzie (Willie Garson) deciphered the music box code only to be shot by Larson before he could reach Neal and Peter.
Mozzie comes out of a coma and Neal sets his sights on Julian Larson. He and Burke (Tim DeKay) hatch a plan to "burn" all of Larson’s alias to flush him out of hiding. Neal spreads the word to his contacts in the forging community and soon Larson emerges on a city street at night, where he confronts Neal, offering to give up his boss, the man responsible for Kate’s death, if Neal will let him leave the country. Neal declines the offer and Larson flees.
Burke finds Larson thanks to an airline ticket booked under one of his aliases. The FBI raids his loft where they confiscate a gun – inside of which Burke’s fingerprints are found. Larson is released from custody and Burke is forced to surrender his badge and gun.
Meanwhile Agents Barrigan (Marsha Thomason) and Jones (Sharif Atkins) discover that Larsen snuck into the FBI office and lifted Burke’s prints off his coffee mug. Neal and Burke learn that Larsen is working with a Nigerian prince to smuggle a package overseas. They concoct a plan to get the smuggler to make a call to Larson on a pay phone and thus lead them to their man. The plan works and Larson shows up to get the crate he planned to smuggle, which strangely enough, only contains World War II era china, stamped with a swastika.
Mozzie explains to Neal that the music box code is actually a fractal, which leads Neal to conclude that the man behind Larson is also the same person who led Neal to his life of crime.
We all know USA shows skew towards silly but the season 2.5 premiere of "White Collar" bordered on ridiculous at times.
Sure, great liberties have to be taken with the concept of buttoned-down government institutions like the FBI in order to make a show like "White Collar" tick. But the idea of a man wanted for murder putting on a hat and thus easily getting by the maintenance guys, who apparently are the only real security measures this FBI office has late at night, is preposterous.
The same can be said for several of Neal’s cons, but his schemes tend to be cute (the lost wallet trick at the yacht club was a classic) in a parlor magic trick kind of way. And there’s just no way the "Burke Seven’s" plot to get the Nigerian prince to use a pay phone to call Larson would have worked, but it was fun to watch the scheme go down.
As for Mozzie, it’s nice to see him back on his game after this summer’s cliffhanger, at the end of which his fate remained uncertain. But I’m not sure how much more of this "bad guy behind the bad guy behind the bad guy" storyline "White Collar" can sustain now that we know Moz is alive and mostly well. But next week’s episode looks like a fun origins story for both Neal and Burke, which might just be the big payoff this storyline needs.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.