Oh, Mozzie, Mozzie, Mozzie, how could you make me laugh and cry almost simultaneously? That little orphan boy with the parental conspiracy theory who grew up to become the ultra-paranoid man-with-many-names broke my heart. Willie Garson, you were especially brilliant tonight and I give you 10 out of 10 secret decoder rings for your performance.
The actual title of tonight’s episode was “Identity Crisis” and it proved to be true in more ways than the obvious. We had numbers in place of names; modern good guys pretending to be long-dead good guys; bad guys and one bad girl descended from different long-dead good guys. Invisible ink, secret messages in newspapers, a secret passage behind a bookcase in a library, a small con run by June and Mozzie for ownership of a storage compartment and we’re off in search of what turns out to be the flag reportedly carried by a young James Monroe during Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River Christmas Eve, 1776.
I actually have mixed feelings about this episode. I’m a history buff, with a special love for the American Revolution. I also like “airport novels” as Neal called them. One would think an episode like this one would be right up my secret passage-way. It wasn’t. It was a bit difficult keeping the numbers and the names straight (as Jones said: “enough with the numbers”) and there wasn’t quite enough action to keep me 100% attached to the main plot. I give it 6 musket balls out of 10 only because it had all the wonderful treasure hunt type clichés, and they had Jones take the role of Thomas Jefferson’s descendent.
Emotionally, though, this episode hit the bulls-eye. We had great character development for Mozzie, wonderful banter between Neal and Peter without last week’s horrible tension and distrust, and good bits with Diana and Jones. There was great sub-plot continuity tying together the end of last week’s episode with the very beginning of this one. We ended last week with Neal inserting the flash drive copied from the Marshals and opened up this week with Neal and Peter discovering there wasn’t anything useful on it except a mysterious email address they believe belongs to the invisible Sam. Naturally, Neal being Neal, immediately sent off an email.
Powell Channing wrote this episode; the guest actors were quite good, and we had a wonderful few minutes with the delightful June, Dianne Carroll. It’s always a joy to watch her interact with Mozzie, especially when pulling a con together. In fact, in this episode the best moments were achieved with our regulars while they were paired off.
Neal and Peter in the car watching Mozzie while they “un-tensed” using their car seats’ massage feature and Peter quizzed Neal on Mozzie’s past was priceless. I know there are many fans out there who still want Jeff Easton to write Tim DeKay’s idea of the perfect episode: Neal and Peter stuck in an elevator for 42 minutes. Car scenes like this are simply small teasers of future greatness.
The puppet show was a perfect way to explain more about Mozzie’s childhood, how he felt being dumped on a doorstep, and why he ended up the man he is today. Neal watched the show with his heart in his eyes and it was a toss-up who was going to cry first at Mozzie’s choked up “and they lived happily ever after.” In fact, Neal was sympathy personified throughout this entire episode; 10 out of 10 hearts-on-his-sleeve go to Matt Bomer for that performance.
We had a great con with Neal, Mozzie, and Jones (Sharif Atkins) as they carefully and craftily got the man (Damien Young) who tried to kill Mozzie admit to killing one of the Culper spy’s descendents. After doing his thing, Mozzie disappeared into the van, leaving Jones, standing tall as a modern son of Thomas Jefferson, and Neal, to direct the con as General George Washington’s (impossible) offspring. “I cannot tell a lie” was rather amusing coming out of Neal’s normally conniving mouth.
A small nit I must pick: George Washington had no children, ergo, he had no descendents.
The ending was excellent. Mozzie was happy, the Culper Spy Ring got their flag, Peter and Neal ended up confused, and the music once again was perfection. I did find out that White Collar’s composer is Jon Erlich, and what music is used is chosen by the music editor.
There were many, many good one- and two-liners in this episode. Below are a few of my favorites.
Mozzie: “Seriously Suit? What would you do in my situation?” Peter: “I would never be in your situation.”
Peter to Neal: “This isn’t a federal case and you’re fresh out of the Bureau doghouse.”
Peter to Mozzie , re Neal: “Neal’s enough of a live wire I don’t need a spark plug in there, too.”
Mozzie: “But, this spark plug got him here, didn’t he!”
A little Trivia:
Stargate! Oh, Martin Lloyd, how I did love thee. Willie Garson did three stints on the long-running SciFi series “Stargate SG-1” starring Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks (currently on NBC’s “Saving Hope”).
Mircea Monroe, “Tempest Strong”, played the wife of “Ken”, Matt Bomer’s character in “Magic Mike”.
Dana Jeanne Norris is a former travel agent, now a returning college student, and writer living on the central coast of California. She’s an active advocate for LGBT civil rights, same-sex marriage, and anything that keeps our children safe.
Be sure to check back for more and stay with us at SmallScreenScoop.com and join us on Twitter (@SSSCOOP) and Facebook (SMALLSCREENSCOOP’S PAGE) for episode guides, recaps, giveaways and exclusive interviews with your favorite TV stars.