Episode Title: "Under the Radar"
Writer: Jeff Eastin
Director: John T. Kretchmer
Previously on "White Collar":
Neal learned that corrupt businessman and his former mentor, Vincent Adler was behind Kate’s death and Mozzie’s shooting. He and Moz uncovered a fractal antenna diagram that may lead to what Adler is after. While the team pieced together Adler’s plans, Neal’s relationship with Sara deepened.
The team turns their attention back to Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy), who the FBI has learned is searching for a sunken Nazi U-Boat off the coast of Manhattan. Peter (Tim DeKay) sets the team to tracking down Alex Hunter (Gloria Votsis), Neal’s old flame and occasional accomplice. Sara (Hilarie Burton), who’s back on the scene, is concerned about Neal’s relationship with Alex but he assures her it’s all in the past.
After getting a tip on Alex’s whereabouts from a small time grifter, Neal (Matt Bomer) and Peter head to a garden conservatory, where Adler forces them into his limo and takes them to the warehouse where the U-boat is stored.
At the warehouse, Neal wakes up to find Alex, also held captive. Adler tasks him with opening up the massive submarine, which is rigged with explosives. Neal enlists Peter’s help and the two work on the hatch as Adler watches on via remote camera.
Back at Neal’s apartment, Moz (Willie Garson) works on the fractal as Sara arrives for a lunch date with Neal. Moz warns her not to get involved with a con man but she brushes the advice aside.
At the warehouse, Neal and Peter crack the hatch but a timed bomb is set upon opening it. Alex suddenly remembers the code to stop the bomb, which her grandfather, who was a crewman on the boat, gave her. Neal and Peter go inside and discover a massive collection of priceless art and jewels. Neal takes off the camera so Adler can’t observe them but he soon follows them inside the submarine. Neal and Peter agree to leave with Adler’s henchman, presumably to be executed but they’re secretly hoping Moz will find them with the fractal antenna.
Just as Adler’s henchmen are about to shoot Alex, Neal and Peter after they free themselves from their restraints, Diana (Marsha Thomason) and Jones (Sharif Atkins) show up to save the day. Alex and Neal share a kiss, with Sara watching on.
Back at the FBI office, Neal attempts to smooth things over with Sara but she won’t have it. But when Peter invites the two to dinner at his house, she can’t refuse.
The next day, the team goes in search of the sub. Outside the warehouse, Adler confronts Neal, offering to split the bounty with him if he helps him escape. Neal refuses, still visibly upset over Kate’s murder. The warehouse then explodes from the TNT still inside the boat. Adler accuses Neal of plotting the whole thing but he denies it. Adler is about to shoot Neal just as Peter shows up and shoots him first.
He then accuses Neal of stealing the art after a fiery scrap from one of Neal’s paintings floats by him. Neal denies it and challenges Peter to prove his theory.
Back at his apartment, Neal discovers an envelope containing a key and an address on a card. He goes to the address and finds a room a filled with all the Nazi treasures and stands there in disbelief with a massive grin on his face.
I’ve been sort of luke warm on "White Collar" for a while now. I tend to give it pretty decent ratings (7-9) range but that’s relative to the show, itself. A good part of the time, I find it too far-fetched to invest in and too silly to even laugh at. But that might have changed with this season finale.
"White Collar," like fellow USA dramedy, "Psych," is mostly an episodic procedural, that occasional calls back to over-arching story lines, usually around sweeps and finale time. Sometimes, it can get annoying, especially when the story line is weak and you have to try to remember details from episodes over a year old. Not the case here though, with "White Collar’s" season two finisher.
Actually, let me qualify that statement. I love Andrew McCarthy as the big bad and equally enjoy Willie Garson as the tin foil hat wearing con man, Mozzie. But at times the "Adler" storyline felt a bit convoluted and well, silly. Music boxes, nazis, submarines and a wacky fractal antenna all seemed too nonsensical to follow or care about.
But I’ve come to an understanding with "White Collar." It’s an intentionally silly show, in its own way. The stakes are often high but the drama sometimes feels too watered down by all the "fun" the characters are having. "Under the Radar" however, found the perfect balance between the two sides of the coin.
The fun was to be had in watching Neal and Peter break into a Nazi U-Boat and uncover a treasure trove of Word War II era jewels and art. Moz being taken for a ride by Jones and Diana? Also lots of fun.
But the stakes were awfully high, with Neal bent on taking down the man responsible for killing the love of his life. And then there’s that duality that still exists inside the white collar con man. The writers have been tugging at Neal’s leanings towards returning to his past life of crime but thus far, he hasn’t taken the bait.
But finding himself surrounded by a bounty of the things that have captivated and seduced him into the criminal underground, priceless fine art, historical artifacts and glittering jewels? He may not have made the decision, yet, to go back to his old ways, but Peter’s convinced of it, already.
With Neal off the FBI’s radar, (no ankle bracelet!) a whole new opportunity appears before him. How did it happen? Who’s behind it? Now, suddenly I care about Neal Caffrey.
Luckily, we won’t have to wait too long to return to Neal and his World War II era treasures, when "White Collar" returns this summer.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.