White Collar Review: "Payback"

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After a painfully long week off, White Collar returned with an exciting and interesting installment. Who knew Peter getting kidnapped would be so riveting?

Perhaps the most endearing part of "Payback" was the little tiff over forgotten dry cleaning that had Mr. and Mrs. Suit in an uncharacteristically adversarial position. It wasn’t like they were yelling at one another, but the chill in the room was a little disheartening for those of us who see Peter and Elizabeth’s relationship as a future model for their marriage.

Neal on the Phone

I enjoyed how Elizabeth made it a point to tell Mozzie that she and her husband worked for their relationship and that simple fact made them work as a couple. I really loved learning about how their little “I love you” encoded the simple but endearing term, “hun.” I was more than pleased that it made an appearance post-kidnapping, but no doubt we all knew it would.

On that note, there was also the little moment between Elizabeth and Mozzie.

They share a very special relationship that I like getting to see explored a little bit at a time. Remember “
Burke’s Seven?” Elizabeth went to the hospital and indirectly encouraged him to help with the con. She also gave him a kiss on the cheek, which Mozzie affectionately returned this week on Elizabeth’s forehead. Mozzie didn’t stop there, though, he also got Mrs. Suit a Russian surplus ear bug to hear whatever the Feds occupying her home were privy to as news on Peter arrived.

In other news, I really loved when Peter was able to contact Neal over the phone and the bureau helped Neal recreate Peter’s surroundings to help get him out of the cell in which he was incarcerated. Not only was the situation high stakes in general, but the genuine time constraint made the outcome that much more important and satisfying.

Did anyone get the feeling that Keller was trying to bait Neal multiple times during about his being a “law man” and about both he and Neal “running out of options?” It’s like Keller upgraded from taunting him about Kate to offhand comments about Neal’s position as a consultant - like it was somehow dirty or something. I think Keller is a scumbag. His hair even has a greasy look to it. Not to restate the obvious, but he’s just not a good guy.

Perhaps one of the moments that broke my heart a little bit for Neal had to deal with the reverberating ripples that are Kate. Consider the ring and his hopes for children playing on the playground. Plus, if you were looking carefully, you recognized that bench and that statue from a scene in "Forging Bonds," in which Kate and Neal take a stroll through the park. Who knew that Neal was going to propose?

I almost hoped he would have kept the ring so that it could have been saved for whenever he did decide to propose. Then again, I feel like his decision to give it up to Peter was indicative of some forward movement in Neal’s recovery from Kate’s death. He’s healing, and right now I think that’s all us fans can hope for as the show continues to move forward.

Overall, this episode managed to integrate a lot of different aspects of the show, both in terms of plots and relationship, which definitely made it worth the two-week wait. What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (62 Votes)

C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Spectacular episode. Though if I think about it there isn't a time when there is a crappy episode! I loved it from beginning to end. You sensed the real connection between friends and the fact that they've formed this highly unorthodox, strangely functional sort of family amongst themselves. Mozzie is integrated just as much as Neal is and he's become this great addition to their weird "family" that they've created. His connection with June and Elizabeth is riveting. Last time we got to see him and June and this week it was him and El. They care about one another and the fact that he helped comfort her and pecked her on the head...it was sweet. I also love how Neal charms her and he respects her as well. The fact that she knew she could trust him to bring her husband home safely. I've always been awed and intrigued by how much El respects and cares for Neal, she trusted him early on, a leap of faith on her part. Neal and Diana's bond was great in this to. They have this sibling sort of vibe that came full force as they worked to get their colleage free. Loved the staged cell break out. Just a fantastic episode all around.


I was enthralled with Neal creating the cage Peter was in to help with the break out. Loved all things El and Moz. Neal telling Peter he should get in touch with the Scottish Royal Museum. More than likely it was stolen by the English centuries ago. Very good episode. Next one is also by the same writer who also did Prisoners Dilemma, another of my favorites.


When Elizabeth told Mozzie "we work" I took it to mean that she and Peter are a perfect fit. I didn't think she meant they work at their relationship, though they clearly do. Semantics, though. Best moment of the episode for me was Mozzie and Elizabeth, how he bugged the room for her, and the kiss on the forehead. Mozzie cares about Mrs. Suit! Also had to laugh over his "arsenal of hammers" response to Neal suggesting he was worried about Peter. Mozzie really elevates this show.


I think it was a great show agree 100 percent with yr review


I bleive that chick from one tree hill is now a full time cast member maybe she will be his new lover


Great show! Good review! I think Neal finally said goodbye tonight to Kate when he chose saving Peter by giving the ring to Lane, and also when he told Peter to keep the ring. This should now open up the show to bring Sara into it more or have Alex return, or whomever. Since Keller wasn't captured, I guess he will be back in the future. Loved the scenes with Mozzie and Elizabeth, as well as Peter and Elizabeth's "hi hon" code. White Collar gets better with each new episode!

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White Collar Season 2 Episode 14 Quotes

We're both running out of options, Caffrey, your move.


Peter [about Keller]:: He's a little bit more Ratso Rizzo than Cary Grant.
Neal: I'm Cary Grant?
Peter: Only in comparison to Ratso Rizzo.