What does this week’s episode of White Collar bring to its loyal fans? Mystery. Intrigue. New vocabulary words. Neal being Peter and Peter trying to be Neal. Your standard fare, really. Like most shows nearing the season finale in a week’s time, the fractal plot is back in full force. Well, half force.

white collar recap power play

Maybe even that is pushing it. The over arching season plot, the fractal code found in the music box that started this whole thing with Kate, Neal and Adler, takes a back seat to the heist of the week. As such, the episode begins in Elisabeth’s art gallery with a rather pushy bald fellow and his mild mannered assistant, Brooke. Last week, Elisabeth mentioned to Brook that her husband worked for the FBI, something I found intriguing because Brooke didn’t exist last week. Can you say convenient?

Clearly shaken, Brooke the Convenient whispers to Elisabeth that her boss, that pushy bald fellow, may have something to do with the citywide blackouts recently plaguing New York and she thinks maybe Mr. Burke could investigate. When the lovely Mrs. Burke tries to convince Brooke to visit Peter at his office, she balks at the concept, too afraid her boss will find out and put a horse’s head in her bed.

Peter is informed of the idea while installing an air conditioner, their central air not working thanks to the blackout issues. Why a window unit would help when the power is out is beyond me, but maybe when they were chumming it up with Brooke the convenient, the Burkes went out and purchased a backup generator to power their house in the event of future power failures.

Also, Satchmo is the best name for a dog, like, ever.

When Elisabeth convinces Peter to bring Neal to the meeting with Brooke, having convinced her to show up to the gallery because it is a neutral place, the heist of the week plot begins in earnest.

white collar richard schiff

WHITE COLLAR -- "Power Play" -- Pictured: (l-r) Richard Schiff as Amdrew Stanzler, Tim Dekay as Peter Burke -- Photo by: David Giesbrecht/USA Network

And so does the fractal plot. Sara is back in town; you all know Sara, right? Neal was once supposed to whack her, didn’t, and then the FBI ended up protecting her instead? Not ringing a bell? Well, remember when the Bureau uncovered those Nazi plates, the ultimate chic chinaware? Sara volunteered to track leads for the gang, but she’s back from Argentina or Guatemala or Bolivia with a name: Rammstein von Hammersvast. Or maybe the name was Gerhard Wagner, I’m not sure – my German is fuzzy. He’s connected with the fractal plot in a serious way.

I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but the relationship that’s forming between Neal and Sara is growing on me. She’s only included when we absolutely need her, preventing her from wearing out her welcome, and she likes llamas. Llamas! They’re almost as picture worthy as their cousin, the alpaca.

At the meeting, Peter is held up in traffic because he’s in Diana’s car and that thing is downright ridiculous. When Brooke starts to look spooked, Neal swoops in and claims to be Special Agent Peter Burke, smooches Elisabeth and drops the “H” word, getting her to play along to prevent Brooke from disappearing. He’s able to convince her to come into the Bureau.

In other news, Diana needs a new car. How the FBI approved of that hybrid thing she drives, man, oh man. That is almost as unacceptable as the tardiness of Moz in tonight’s episode.

Neal is unable to convince Burke to agree to the identity swap madness he has concocted to soothe Brooke’s skittishness, but is assisted with the crack of the whip from Elisabeth in changing Peter’s mind. If they pull the rug out from under their informant, she might spook again. When Brooke asks Real Neal who that creepy suit hanging around the background is, Burke immediately looks to get back at the former convict, introducing himself as one Neal Caffrey, consultant and convicted criminal.

Hijinks, they are ensuing.

white collar matthew bomer

Sara and Burke come to Neal with news on Gerhard Wagner, the mysterious German immigrant that came to America following WWII. He is connected with the hidden fractal in the music box. When the gang breaks to begin tracking down the whereabouts of Wagner (pronounced ‘Vaag-ner,’ in case you were wondering) Neal and Sara head off in the same direction, he to the gym, her to find something to eat. Personally, I think they should have stayed at Neal’s place, sipped some vintage, maybe engaged in a little Tom Foolery. I’m probably alone in that.

Someone that is glad they didn’t start knockin’ boots, however, is the shadowy figure in black that’s tailing the pair. Uh-ohs! They notice him at the same time and get awfully close to each other in trying to get a good look, Neal pulling Sara close as they angle to view the third party. Realizing he’s been made, the tail disappears before they can question him.

My thoughts on the happenings? Mysterious. And sexy. Sexterious. I told you there would be a new word for your vocabulary.

Burke begins to get into the character of Caffrey all the way down losing his wedding band and dropping his voice to approximate the quiet sexy whisper Neal is so fond of. Moz continues to amaze, taking the New Neal under his wing to teach him the art of thievery. That Mozzie chap may have no people skills to speak of, but he sure steals nearly every scene he’s in, I swear it. And the Real Neal better watch it; a few more sessions with Moz and Burke might not need his consultant for much longer.

Yeah, right.

When Real Neal and New Neal go to do their FBI / It Takes a Thief thing, Moz shows up to keep Sara company as they search through the vast archives of immigrants that came in through Ellis island in the hopes of finding clues about Wagner’s whereabouts. She correctly senses that Neal sent Mozzie because he’s worried about her being alone, but Moz assures her that he isn’t the type to be bossed around.

No one sends Mozzie; Mozzie goes places. And don’t you forget it, neither.

In reality, she couldn’t have hit the nail more squarely on the head if she had tried. Neal is worried that the nefarious Adler knows Sara is working with them, and he’s afraid that something is liable to happen to her the same way it did to Kate at the end of last season, the same way it happened to Moz when he was introduced to a bullet a few months ago.

After some of those Real Neal, New Neal hijinks that involved Peter in another sticky situation, locked in a private room at the art gallery instead of a cage this week, we drop the pretense of the identity swap and the blackout plot to go back to where the real interest is: the fractal code. Neal returns to Moz and Sara, and just when the two are about to get busy – Neal and Sara, not Moz and Sara or Neal and Moz. Although Sara and Moz . . . hmm – Moz interrupts the coupling with urgent news.

Gerhard Wagner, upon his assimilation into the United States after defecting from Germany, changed his name to Michael Hunter. While this would have no doubt helped Burke track him down, Hunter died, and the only surviving member of his family is his granddaughter: one Alex Hunter.

Dun dun dun!

Alex Hunter has been involved in the show from the beginning, sometimes acting as Neal’s partner in their search for the elusive music box, sometimes as his lover in the pre-Kate days of his life. Now she’s connected to Wagner.

As if that bombshell wasn’t enough, the episode ends with Alex walking along, talking to someone on her cellphone. When she hangs up, that shadowy figure in black that was tailing Sara and Neal is seen following her now, and there is nothing sexterious about it.

Dun dun dun!

Written by Dave Lucas. Find him on Twitter @Sellar_Door. Make sure you stay tuned for his recap of the next episode.

Images: USA Network

White Collar Power Play Summary: WHITE COLLAR Season 2 Episode 15 – Peter and Neal assume each other’s identities to uncover a collusion scheme.

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