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?

Review

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.

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White Collar Season 2 Episode 14 Quotes

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

Keller

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.