Neal and Sara bottomed out. Jones went undercover with his ex-fiance to reclaim a kidnapped Navy buddy. Neal and Mozzie went as far as to break into the Burke home in pursuit of the U-boat treasure manifest.
And it all went down on this week's episode, "As You Were."
Most importantly? Jones got out of the van! I never tire of seeing Clinton Jones in the field. It's always helpful and entertaining to learn so much more about one of the show's crucial characters.
It's one of the things that had made this season so important. The closer Neal gets to a decision about leaving, the more attached he gets to the people around him, such as Agents Barrigan and Jones, and the progression of episodes has certainly emphasized this point.I would have never guessed that Jones had been part of a love triangle, let alone on the verge of marriage, back in the day. It seems he truly did love Isabel enough to pursue his FBI career without her, out of respect. It was evident they still had feelings for one another after that lip-lock in his apartment, but they did the right thing by not letting it go any further. I respect that.
As for getting Neal in dress whites - great move. Love seeing Neal in all white, even though his perfectly tailored suits are never an unwelcome sight. There's just something about a man in uniform that a girl can't help but love...
Sara would have probably agreed, had she stuck around at all after their abrupt breakup. But who would want to stay around after realizing she'd been so fundamentally lied to?
Is it that Sara thought she could change Neal into someone who wouldn't want the next big score, or did she wish he'd just been honest about it from the beginning? It placed Sara in a potentially awkward situation with Peter if he ever approached her about the treasure.
I just can't get over how much my heart broke with hers. I think she was genuinely committed to their relationship, perhaps far more than even Sara herself expected. I know I would have been a wreck if I opened my boyfriend's computer to find stolen art that I thought had been destroyed. I would have felt cheated. Neal should have shared it with her.
Then again, that would have required him to admit that he'd laid a foundation for another relationship that would have made it more difficult for him to leave.
One thing's for sure: when Eliza Dushku's character enters the picture next week and Sara is anywhere in sight, it could get ugly. Quick.
Neal certainly wasn't without some additional defining moments this episode: He was wrong to cross the line and break into both Peter's office and his home. Even Satchmo knew it was wrong.
However, Neal may have been partially redeemed. I think Neal's lie to Mozzie about the manifest not being in the Burke home changed the game. Neal can no longer blame Mozzie for his decision to leave or stay. Where Neal may have felt pressure by Mozzie's constant insistence that all relationships and situations are temporary, Neal's fate is entirely in his hands now.
He can pursue sale of the treasure working around what's on the manifest, or he can cop out to Mozzie and say they can't leave because they can't raise the funds.
What I haven't seen happening yet is the moment when Neal tells Mozzie he doesn't want to run. This outcome is not necessarily forced by either option Neal has been presented with by withholding the manifest.
What might have contributed to Neal's change of heart? Definitely Peter's heartfelt call. It was appropriately timed and Tim Dekay did an excellent job of not overplaying the moment. It's a scene that was easily made or broken by the way the actor conveyed himself. Dekay knocked it out of the park.
This was a loaded episode, as the look into Jones' character was a vehicle for insights and reflections for a lot of the other characters as well. Very well played all around.
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.