White Collar Review: Textbook Behavior?

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Neal toed the line between asset and liability this week, playing substitute teacher and partner to Peter's Hong Kong banker as they investigated an embezzlement scheme at Manhattan Prep.

If you had any doubts about the intensity of the prep school atmosphere before, White Collar made it blatantly clear on "Upper West Sider."

Neal as a Teacher

There were lessons to be learned all around, and not just in romantic poetry. The episode started with Neal, in essence, attempting to bribe Peter with baseball tickets. It wasn't long before Peter taught him a very valuable lesson: focus on the job at hand.

If Neal had done that all along, he wouldn't be finding himself in this particular position. It wasn't Neal's work for the FBI that put him in the path of the treasure he so desperately sought, it was his extracurricular pursuit and eventual deceit regarding it. If Neal had simply focused on the cases at hand as he worked them with Peter, things would be a lot different - but perhaps also a lot less interesting.

Personal issues aside, this episode had me on the edge of my seat more than once. There were several close calls as they investigated Andy Woods.

My favorite moment took place when Peter was forced to pull the fire alarm to clear that hallway. What was that about textbook behavior, Peter?

Similarly, when Peter was interacting with Woods and they were discussing their children, I loved how Peter seemed to continuously reference Neal as his son, calling him "very bright, but impulsive. His moves seem to land him in trouble." It emphasized for me a sometimes lost element of Peter and Neal's relationship, this parent/child connection.

Peter not only looks out for Neal, but also wishes that he learn a lesson at each step. In this case, Peter was struggling with whether or not to make a full and complete statement regarding the Keller case, realizing that doing so would implicate and doom Neal to prison. Acting in a motherly role, and as Peter's most trusted confidante, Mrs. Suit stated that the right man (Keller) was behind bars. That says a lot about how familial the relationship between Peter and Neal has become, if not how it has always been.

More telling were Neal's words to Chloe about being able to start a new life now that her father was going to prison. You really can see how much Neal wants to change, yet at the same time you wonder if any of it is a face he's putting on. I still hear, and will likely continue to repeat until it comes to pass, that Neal said explicitly to Peter that you can only change once you've hit rock bottom, and openly admitted that he did not believe he had hit it yet.

Either he was arrogantly running his mouth, or he's significantly reformed his behavior in some way, as spurred on by some catastrophic event, including Elizabeth's kidnapping.

Another highlight of the episode was Neal and Mozzie launching a secondary operation of their own to unite Evan and Chloe... and that Neal perfectly recited poetry from memory. Did anyone else find themselves swooning even a little bit (or even a whole lot)?

I did well in school, but I would have done better with Neal as my substitute teacher. Good news is there is still hope for my college career that he could one day appear as a substitute for one of my professors. I will continue to dream, unashamed.

Luckily for Evan, Neal and Mozzie's love advice and behind-the-scenes mastery seemed to pull the star-crossed lovers together. If only we could get the same results for Neal and a very absent Sara, then we would be back in business!

Who is you favorite romantic poet? Favorite poem, maybe? Sound off below!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (583 Votes)

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


Loved this episode and just love the show..........can't get enough of Matt Bomer!


This episode was classic White Collar! LOVED it. This is the cast that I really like. I am NOT a Sara fan and that started when she started being abrupt at the FBI and staying there instead of a safe house. She spoke so harshly to Mozzie and Neal in the beginning and took over way too much for a side character. She was forced into the show.For what reason I don't know?? She would have been a better character if she stayed consistent as coming after Neal for the painting, so he would have to keep one step ahead of her. Adding Hilarie Burton to the cast was a bad idea. When you bring an actress in who has a huge fan base, it stifles the real discussions of whether we really like a character or not. I would have like to hear the discussions of this character if she was an unknown actress. I think everyone would have been more objective.


Sorry but wt heck is hilarie burton isn't she a season regular


Add me to the "Not a Fan of Sara" group. Loved the show again. It is amazing how much Neal looks up to Peter and doesn't want to disappoint him. I believe that is why he wouldn't leave when Moze was ready to.


Great episode. I agree with the review. Lots of humour too (10 points to Gryffindor, Mozzie smiling seeing the Chem Lab, saying it's a great school because the lab had nitrogen, Mozzie/Peter scene at Neal's). I liked how Evan saved Neal and got Chloe to like him by taking the blame on the spot.


I agree that once we get Sara back in action with Neal, whether they are together or not(preferably together!), then all would be back to normal. Missing her the last two eps!


Such a great episode. I loved Neal as a teacher...and Elizabeth was right(as per usual), he'd be an excellant one. I also loved how invested both Mozzie and Neal were in helping out Ethan.It shouldn't surprise me that Mozzie is ever the romantic. Plus kudos to Graham Phillips for making me like him, because I don't care for his character on TGW. I love how no matter what Elizabeth is always in Neal's corner. She's always the catalyst behind Peter coming to his senses and valuing Neal. It's sweet how much she cared about him even before she really knew him,and those moments when they come up again do give off the perfect family vibe.


Sara with Neal is NOT missed! Glad not to see her in that aspect. Sara as the whip smart, baton wielding, intelligent, take no prisoners woman who wants to arrest Neal, a few minutes here and there wouldn't be too painful.


I don't care for Sara. I didn't like how she talked to Mozzie and didn't even pronounce his name correctly.
She's to skinny too.


I was glad you mentioned the part when Peter was talking about his 'son'. It made me think of the Burma episode when there were hints of Neal's family history. I really hope they start to explore a bit more of his history outside of Kate and Adler.

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White Collar Season 3 Episode 12 Quotes

Until we are cleared, I am keeping my distance from the bureau's favorite Brooks Brother.


The way you handled this case, the way you carried yourself..it makes me believe this partnership can work.

Peter[ to Neal]