“White Collar”: “Stealing Home” Recap & Review
In Tim DeKay’s directorial debut, Neal and Mozzie are involved in a theft at Yankee Stadium. Sanctioned by the FBI, they infiltrate the group responsible for the heist, while Peter reminisces about his days as a minor league pitcher. Here is a recap and review of “Stealing Home”.
With Neal’s commutation hearing quickly approaching, the people around him begin to question how they will testify. Peter urges Neal to rekindle his relationship with Sara, to make her the angel in his pocket. Sara, unaware of the hearing prior to her run-in with Peter, is worried about testifying because the reason for her break-up with Neal (the treasure) will be brought up. Later, she visits Neal at his home, inquiring about why he did not mention the hearing when they reconnected (in “Pulling Strings”). He reveals that he did not want her to assume he was asking for a favor in return for helping her with a case. After a long, honest, off-screen talk, Sara informs Peter that she has decided to testify on Neal’s behalf, convinced he is a changed man.
The FBI gets wind of an impending robbery by Gordon Taylor at Yankee Stadium, and when Neal relays this information to Mozzie, he learns that Mozzie has already been accepted into Taylor’s crew. In order to secure his own spot next to Taylor, Neal plays him in a billiards game, winning with his elaborate skills. While Neal and Mozzie are with the crew planning the theft of Babe Ruth’s first home run ball, Taylor enacts a jamming device, forcing the FBI to wing the take-down. Mozzie tips off Taylor while the plan is in motion; Taylor once again escapes the FBI and gives Mozzie a job offer in Paris in a few months. In other news, the FBI succeeds in cracking Neal’s prison letter code to Kate, but has yet to translate it.
Slowly throughout the episode, information is brought to light about Peter’s past and his desire to play professional baseball, having numerous wonderful memories of watching Yankees’ games with his father. Peter tells Neal that he used to be an AAA pitcher but was forced to retire after an injury. Neal orchestrates a surprise for Peter: he is allowed to pitch from the Yankee Stadium mound, forgetting about his past, about things that no longer constrain his present life.
Being a huge fan of baseball, though not particularly the Yankees, I was both excited and hesitant for this episode, looking forward to the puns, but worried that a themed hour would be too out of the ordinary for the show. Luckily, all involved delivered a great episode, and props to Tim DeKay for fantastic direction. Having three stories, one of the case, one of Peter’s past, and one of Neal’s future, does not sound like it would blend well, but it did. Every storyline was entertaining and none seemed to overpower the others in importance or focus.
I loved the overarching struggle that the characters were going through regarding whether to testify for or against Neal. Although we are still a little unsure where Peter, Diana, and Jones stand, Sara made it clear that this time around, she will be testifying on Neal’s behalf in court. Looking back on her first episode, where she was so eager to pin Neal to the wall, her evolution as a character almost models Neal’s. She has come full-circle with her prior beliefs about him after getting to know him, just as he has changed his outlook on his situation after working with Peter for three years.
Agreeing with Sara, I think that Neal is a changed man. Back in season one, he was often looking for ways to lose his tracking anklet and release himself from Peter’s custody, but now Neal seems to look forward to his work and using his same skill set. Personally, I would like for Neal to be granted freedom because in that moment lies the dilemma of whether or not to honor the friendships he has made or revert to the ones of his past, and that would be interesting to watch play out. I think he would ultimately choose a paid position with the FBI instead of re-entering the criminal world. But, considering Kramer’s determination to shoot Neal down with hidden secrets from his past that even Peter does not know about, the likelihood of release appears 50/50.
Another question plagues my mind regarding the finale, not whether Neal will be released, because we all know they cannot change up the dynamic of the show too much or it would no longer be White Collar but rather will Sara stick around? As much as I have searched for information regarding Hilarie Burton’s contract, I have come up empty handed. With one episode left, I could see it going either way. On the one hand, I could see the writers sending her off in fear of having no new stories to tell. On the other hand, her and Neal appear to be rekindling their relationship, maybe starting off slower than before, but nevertheless, she seems to have forgiven him and has no problem with him around. How cool would it be if Sara became a consultant to the FBI and worked with them on more cases? Episodes focusing on the cases she brings in have been among my favorites, and I thoroughly enjoy the dynamic she has with everyone on the team.