|Neal and Peter with lots to smile about!|
That said, I find myself entirely in agreement with Peter on this score: “Nobody trades up from baseball.”
But back to the episode. We begin with a tribute to the Pilot: Neal removing his beard—but this time for an entirely different reason. He’s home where he belongs, in New York City. His only problem is Peter’s reassignment, for which he blames himself. And the gourmet lunches he brings Peter, while touching, aren’t a substitute for working with the man.
Meanwhile Hughes has told Peter to keep his head down in his new job at Evidence. Don’t make waves, Hughes says. That’s the quickest way back to White Collar. But if anyone can tempt Peter into a riskier path to reinstatement, it’s Neal.
Confession: I am not a fan of White Collar messing with the format I love. However, a clever, fun case for Peter and Neal to solve together—under the table, of course—goes a long way toward reconciling me to Peter’s wretched new gig.
There are lots of lovely tidbits here: Mozzie’s return, the mitzvah he performs for Peter, and the fact that Diana and Christy have been ring shopping. But nothing beats watching Peter and Neal bring out the best in each other as they go undercover, with Peter largely following Neal's lead.
Neal’s plan is flawless, except for the getting-Peter-back-into-White-Collar part. The part of me that loves the format groaned, but Diminishing Returns was so close to perfect that I think I can survive watching Peter slave away in Evidence a little longer.
But Peter's reassignment isn't the only ongoing story-line. Neal opens up to Peter, confiding what he knows of his family history—including the origin of his name. Peter, who has just found closure on a nagging open case, understands that Neal needs closure with his father's past, and encourages him to talk with Ellen.
Ellen begins telling Neal the story . . . a story that should continue to unfold for the rest of the season. As Elrhiarhodan, my friend and fellow WCF contributor, noted in her post-ep dish, "And so the mythology for Season Four begins. No music boxes, no man behind the curtain, no blood-soaked treasure. Just a boy wanting to know who his father was."
Thank you, White Collar. I'll take Neal's search for his roots over music boxes and Nazi treasures any day.
And now it's your turn, Collars. What did you think? Were you as impressed with this episode as I was?