White Collar: “In the Red” Recap & Review
As Neal and Peter attempt to stop an adoption scam, Sara inquires about the FAA package that she believes Neal stole from her. Here is a recap and review of the episode “In the Red”.
The FBI catches the case of a jewelry thief, named Catherine, but their investigation leads them to an adoption agent, Luke Donovan. Bringing Catherine in for questioning, she tells Peter that she was desperate for money after Donovan told her that her adopted son’s birth mother was coming forward and demanding money for her to keep Ollie. Diana and Jones go undercover, posing as a married couple looking to adopt a child from Donovan’s agency. Neal then plays a high stakes poker game against Donovan, learning that he is under pressure from the Chechen mob to deliver a large sum of money. Turns out, Donovan has been running this fake birth mother scam for a while, focusing on adopted Chechen children. The FBI team gets the mob boss’ help, in return for not punishing him for illegal activities, in successfully taking down Donovan.
During this case, Sara storms into the FBI, accusing Neal of breaking into her house and taking the FAA package that Mozzie actually stole. She asks Peter to force Neal into taking a polygraph, but Peter refuses to authorize FBI equipment. Luckily, Sara brought her own machine and Neal volunteers to take it. Before leaving Peter’s office to go to another room with Sara, Neal swipes a thumbtack, which he uses to cheat the polygraph. Even though Neal passed the test, Sara is still convinced that he was involved in the package’s disappearance and shows up to his door, accompanied by a few detectives and a search warrant. They find the package and arrest Neal. Peter, upon hearing this, goes to Neal’s room and talks Sara down from pressing charges, stating that there is a kid involved and the FBI cannot solve the case without Neal. After the case is solved, Sara goes to Neal with the package, telling him that she is intrigued by the voice recording of Kate calling someone right before she was killed, and will help him find out who killed her.
Overall, this episode was enjoyable because of the tension it contains concerning whether or not the FBI will be able to take down Donovan when he knows that the FBI is on to him. Additionally, putting Neal undercover has always been a good idea because it is a chance to watch him revert back to the ways of his old life, but geared toward catching those like him. Seeing Neal think on his feet and come up with spur of the moment cons to keep himself out of trouble makes me wish they would do a flashback episode focusing entirely on Neal before his arrest. This episode was also a chance for Jones and Diana to shine, being characters that have had only small roles in past cases. The way the episode was able to blend the story lines of the scam, the maternal love of Catherine, and Sara accusing Neal was seamless, and made for a well-rounded hour.
One of the most interesting aspects of having Sara join the show is seeing Peter’s interest in her and Neal’s interaction. Peter is highly amused at the two of them, so to see him egging Neal about her provides for great television. I think Peter sees their potential to influence one another on a personal level, with Sara being a little uptight and strongly focused on work, and Neal being laid back and interested in having a little fun. It goes back to the last episode where Peter tells Sara to live a little; Neal’s personality can help with this, while she can give him a sort of reality check that he should be more focused and careful. There is a great interaction between Peter and Neal demonstrating their lighthearted relationship:
Peter: Sara is like a tornado and heels, and you’re
Neal: Please, please don’t reduce me to a trailer park.
Peter: If the shoe fits.
I do not know if it’s Sara’s personal interest in Neal or her desire for truth and justice that prompts her to help him out, but regardless of the reason, I am enjoying their interaction. They are an unlikely team, but one that I believe works well together, and they are so fun to watch on screen. This episode further sets up Neal and Sara’s relationship. Although we see Sara still holding a grudge against him for sneaking into her apartment with a gun and orders to kill her, she does lighten up her animosity towards him. When she stops by his house in the end, he is shirtless and she is not opposed; neither was I. Sara offering to help Neal find Kate’s killer was a sweet move on her part, namely because it came out of her own free will instead of being tied to a case or a payoff.