Wednesday, March 2, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Episode 2.15 "Power Play"

White Collar
Season Two, Episode Fifteen, Power Play
Original Air Date:  March 1, 2011

When Elizabeth learns from the assistant of her picky and powerful new client that he is involved in a scheme to cause blackouts in New York City she naturally tells Peter.  He agrees to meet with the assistant but, when he is held up, Neal impersonates Peter to secure her help.  Peter and Neal must trade places and become each other to take down the men responsible for millions in electric costs and the deaths of three people during the blackouts.  Meanwhile, Sara Ellis is back with news that furthers their investigation of Vincent Adler and who, or what, he is looking for.

Elizabeth is briefing her people on the specifics of an event they are catering when her ultra-picky client Andrew Stanzler (Richard Schiff) walks in to further clarify what he wants for the event.  His assistant, Brooke is clearly troubled.  She asks Elizabeth about her husband working for the FBI and tells her everything isn't alright.

Temperatures in New York have soared into the triple digits making life miserable for New Yorker's.  Peter must install a window air conditioner in the house because the central air has gone out after a blackout.  Elizabeth has a talk with Peter about Stanzler who makes his money as an energy trader, so she thought.  She tells him Brooke informed her that she thinks Stanzler has been creating the blackouts.  She overheard her boss talking about it with another trader and, after some research, she thinks he's withholding supply during peak hours then selling supply to the city for triple the rates.  Peter wants Brooke to come into the Bureau to talk about the situation but she is terrified someone will see her and call her boss.  She suggests he come to the museum while Stanzler is out, and he should bring Neal because Brooke is really nervous and he has a calming smile.

Neal and Sara Ellis meet on the street and she tells him Argentina was hot but very interesting.  She figured out where the crates they found earlier were being smuggled out of, an estate in southern Argentina.  It had been burned to the ground and she is pretty sure it was Vincent Adler who did it as she thinks he was hiding there after he fled the United States.  She met some locals including a woman named Rosa who worked in Adler's kitchen.  Rosa said he was obsessed with finding a German soldier named Gerhardt Wagner.  Neither she or Neal know the name but Sara is hoping the FBI can find out who he is.

At the museum, Elle assures Brooke that Peter will be there soon.  While Brooke goes over seating arrangements with Yvonne (Kelly McCreary), Neal arrives alone.  He said Peter told him he'd be meeting him there.  She asks him to call to see how long it will be before Peter can arrive.  Brook receives a text that Stanzler is on his way.  Peter tells Neal it will be around 18 minutes before he can arrive.  Peter tells Neal to do whatever he needs to do to keep Brooke calm but he can't let her go.  Not having any time to spare, Neal introduces himself to Brooke as Agent Peter Burke, much to Elizabeth's surprise.  Neal assures Brooke, who is terrified, that the Bureau will take care of her if she'll help them, which she agrees to do.  Once Brooke walks away to meet with Stanzler, Neal and Elle talk about who will tell Peter what had to be done.  Neal nominates Elle, of course.

Peter isn't happy about Neal impersonating a Federal agent.  Neal knows that if they reveal to Brooke that he impersonated Peter she will never trust either of them or Elle and they won't have her help, which they desperately need, to get Stanzler.  Elizabeth calls and Peter tells her he and Neal have decided they are going to be honest with Brooke.  After speaking with her for a few seconds Peter informs the entire team that for the next hour, and only the next hour, everyone will refer to Neal as Peter and Peter as Neal.  They aren't to ask questions (as some want to do), not to laugh (as some are) and never to speak of it again.

Elizabeth and Brooke arrive in the office.  Neal gives Elle a quick kiss on the cheek, much to Peter's displeasure.  Elizabeth introduces Peter to Brooke as Neal Caffrey.  Peter gives Brooke way more information about Neal than she really needs to make a point to him.  In Peter's office, Brooke tells them that Stanzler's company is the broker and New York's electricity system is a deregulated market.  Peter/Neal suggests Neal/Peter talk to the Commodities Trading Commission before pointing out there's a photo of the real Peter and Elizabeth on the desk.  As Neal puts the photo in the desk drawer, Brooke wants to speak to Neal/Peter alone.  Neal assures her that while Peter/Neal seems intimidating, he's very useful in cases like hers and is the single most valuable asset they have at the Bureau.  She still insists they speak alone so Neal/Peter sends Peter/Neal out to get him some coffee (cream, no sugar).

Once Peter/Neal is gone, Brooke tells Neal/Peter that she believes StanzlerStanzler wants a thief.  Neal feels it's too bad Stanzler has already met him or he could find out what is going on.  Peter insists the "new Neal Caffery" can find out.  Peter orders Neal to talk to Brooke and have her put Neal Caffrey on Stanzlers books.

While Mozzie continues working on the antenna, Neal puts together a fake I.D. for both he and Peter in their changed identities.  Peter and Sara arrive at Neal's apartment to show them a DVD as to why Adler is so interested in Wagner.  Peter points out Wagner on the DVD and explains he worked as a radio operator in the U-boat headquarters.  After the Third Reich fell, he fled to the U.S. and claimed to have top secret information he wanted to share with the U.S. but he was sent to a detention center at Ellis Island.  He escaped from the detention center a few weeks later.  Sara questions what kind of information Wagner could have had that Adler would be interested in a half century later.  Neal feels it's related to the antenna Mozzie has been working on.  Peter suggests Wagner may have gotten into the naturalization line.  His name could have been changed and his life along with it.  Peter says they'll check the archives for matches to Wagner.  Everyone leaves and Neal and Sara walk the same way.  Someone is following them so Neal puts his arm around her drawing her close so she can keep an eye on the guy following them.  He turns her around so he can watch the man.  A car speeds up and the man gets into it and it speeds away.

Peter goes over the museum layout with Elizabeth in preparation for his being Neal Caffrey, master thief with Stanzler.  She helps him with his impersonation of Neal, helping him make his Neal a charmer.  As he's getting ready to leave, she calls him back so he can take off his wedding ring.  Reluctantly, he takes it off and gives it to her.  Brooke introduces Peter/Neal to Stanzler.  Peter tells him Bill Roscoe told him Stanzler was interested in an acquisition and if there is a job he's the man for it.  Stanzler laughs the comment off that everyone in his business says the same thing.  Peter ups the ante telling him he can rob the museum in under 20 minutes.  Peter details the buildings weaknesses and tells Stanzler he would skip the display and hit the private collection to avoid security.

Peter briefs the team that Stanzler wants a thief to steal a flash drive from another trader Frances Luntz.  Peter believes Stanzler and Luntz are using their combined market power to create temporary shortages.  Luntz doesn't trust Stanzler and secretly videotaped one of their meetings and that video is on the flash drive Stanzler wants stolen.  They cannot use a warrant because Stanzler doesn't know exactly what's on the tape.  If the video is insufficient they lose their chances of catching either Stanzler or Luntz.  He does want a warrant for Luntz home, however.  When the team has left the briefing room, Neal tells Peter about he and Sara being followed after they left his apartment the night before.  Neal thinks Adler put a tail on Sara who is currently at the Archives where Neal will be meeting her.  Peter orders him to stay close to Sara and tells him he'll need some training for his break in.  Neal's got him covered.

Peter arrives at Neal's apartment to receive his thief training from none other than Mozzie who first wants Peter to take a pebble from the palm of his hand.  When Peter doesn't, Mozzie next asks him to give him $20, which he does.  That was lesson one:  we take, we don't give.  Mozzie pockets the money and continues to the next lesson.

Neal meets up with Sara and they both are free of anyone following them.  She tells him it could take up to four weeks to get access to the files they want.  Neal has a plan.  They tell the woman at the Archives they are looking information about an individual who may have come through Ellis Island in 1946 and need files to match a physical description.  They can tell her nothing else because of National Security.  The woman is very cooperative once she believes Neal is with the FBI, and after he shows her his fake ID identifying him as Peter Burke.  She takes them into a huge room full of ledgers, records and card catalogs--all from 1946.

June brings Byron's "training jacket" up to Peter who Mozzie is trying to teach lock picking.  Peter must drop a bug into Stanzler's jacket so the Bureau can listen to him from the van.  Dropping the bug isn't the hard part.  He must retrieve it without jingling the bells on the jacket.  After two tries where he jingles the bells, Peter declares the task impossible.  Mozzie reaches in on one try and gets the bug, no bells.  June explains Peter must use just two fingers like tweezers so the thumb will never touch the mark, which he wasn't doing.

At the Archives, Neal and Sara continue their search through the mountain of files which Sara admits will take a while.  Neal asks her why she's helping, what her angle is on it.  She tells him if Adler has spent his life searching for something the payoff must be larger than the billion dollars he's already stolen.  Neal questions if that is all and she simply replies she likes the mystery.  She tells him about how when she was thirteen her older sister ran away and the family never heard from her again.  She used to go into her room and wonder if there were clues there as to where her sister was.  She never found any answers.  She feels if they find Adler, Neal might be able to have some closure about Kate.

Mozzie, now wearing the jacket, gives Peter one last chance with the bug.  Peter steps up next to him, reaches into the pocket and removes his hand.  Mozzie feels into the pockets and tells him he didn't drop a bug.  True, he didn't.  Peter brings up his hand showing the $20 Mozzie had taken from him earlier in the day.  Mozzie informs Peter he's ready to commit a crime.

Diana and Jones wish Peter luck the next morning.  Neal tells him it's going to take a while to find information on Wagner.  Neal starts to give Peter a "be careful" speech but Peter stops him.  Neal tells him to go out there and make him look good.  Peter meets with Stanzler and drops the bug.  Stanzler gives him his instructions to look for anything labeled "Project Edison" once he reaches Luntz's master bedroom.  Stanzler will be meeting with Luntz for twenty minutes and that will be all the time he has to find his way in, make the steal and get out.

Stanzler drives up to Luntz's mansion and knocks on the trunk lid of the car, where Peter is hidden.  When Stanzler goes indoors, Peter gets out of the trunk and goes inside.  He gets a quick glimpse of Stanzler and Luntz's meeting about their scheme then heads off to get the flash drive.

Mozzie helps Sara go through the files at the Archives.  She asks if Neal sent him to stay with her to which he replies no one sends him anywhere, he just goes places.  The lights go out on them and Mozzie takes that as a sign.  He puts on a helmet and grabs a device telling Sara he'll let her know what that sign was, gets up and leaves.

At Luntz's mansion, Peter arrives in the master bedroom.  Peter finds a key and Neal talks him through the caper telling him to look for an in-wall safe.  He finds one behind a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Luntz.  He opens it and finds the video.  He makes a copy so the Bureau can have one and the original can be given to Stanzler.  Diana alerts the team to the conversation between Stanzler and Luntz about having a guy inside the power company who flips a switch causing rolling blackouts and they will make a fortune.  Luntz is reluctant to speak with the man but Stanzler urges him to.  Neal informs Peter of this and Peter orders they will wait till Saturday and take down all three men.  Peter gets out of the house and when he gets out of Stanzler's trunk, he gives him the drive and retrieves the bug from his jacket pocket.  Stanzler gives him his payment and asks if he wants another job.  He'll pay him double to be at the museum at 5:00 on Saturday.  Peter agrees.

At the Bureau, they watch the video Peter copied from the flash drive.  Neal and Peter brief the team about the plan Stanzler and Luntz have and Peter reveals he's been invited to the event as Neal.  They can take advantage of the situation and slip video feed onto Stanzler.  They installed a camera in place of the lapel button on his suit.  Brooke will make sure Stanzler is wearing the jacket with the camera.  Jones and Diana will be in the van.  Neal will be accompanying Elizabeth, as a precaution.

At the event, Stanzler introduces Peter/Neal to Neal/Peter and Elizabeth.  Brooke informs her boss that Luntz has arrived.  Stanzler takes Peter/Neal aside and into a room where Luntz is waiting.  He tells Peter he wants him to watch Luntz and will have more for him when he returns then leaves.  Peter talks to Luntz who apparently believes him to be the inside man from the power company.  Luntz thinks the entire scheme has gotten way out of hand and he wants out.  Peter asks Luntz straight out if Stanzler told him he was the man from the power company to which he receives confirmation.  Peter finds the doors locked and he tells Luntz about Stanzler having him break into his home to steal the video.  He contacts Jones to let him know they are locked in the Stanzler Gallery.  As Jones is starting to work on that, he gets a call altering him to another blackout getting ready to sweep through the sector.  Peter orders Diana to find Elizabeth and the two women head to the backup generator.  Peter has figured out Stanzler's plan.  He plans to kill Luntz and him (Peter) when the power goes out.  Peter is trying to pick the locks while Neal keeps eyes on Stanzler.

When the blackout occurs, Neal pulls out his fake identification and orders everyone to stay calm.  He runs after Stanzler and is stopped by a locked gate.  Again, he pulls out his ID and orders a guard to open the gate.  Jones informs Peter Stanzler is making his move.  Neal puts agents on the move to the Stanzler Gallery to save Peter and Luntz.  Stanzler arrives in the gallery with Peter and Luntz.  Diana and Elizabeth arrive at the generator which has been disengaged.  Jones asks if she can turn it on.  Stanzler begins firing toward Peter and Luntz in the dark.  The generated lights come back on and Neal enters announcing the FBI, ordering Stanzler to drop his weapon.  Peter overtakes Stanzler and he is arrested.

Peter and Neal chat outside the museum and Peter tells Neal that he (Neal) enjoys being him (Peter).  Neal admits there is a certain allure to the profession and Peter admits being Neal Caffrey has its charms.  When Peter sends Neal off with a "good work" he slyly takes Neal's fake ID from his pocket.  Elizabeth finds her husband and gives him his wedding ring back.

Neal arrives at the Archives where Sara is still working and brings her some food.  The power goes out on them and Mozzie, who is looking at microfilm.  Neal and Sara share a kiss and things begin to escalate farther when the power returns.  Mozzie catches Neal and Sara when he returns to tell them he found something.  Wagner went through immigration with the name Michael Hunter who died in New York.  He has one surviving family member, a granddaughter, Alexandra Hunter.  Alex takes a call and informs the caller she's heading to the location now.  She's being followed by the same man following Neal and Sara.

From the episode description I knew this show was going to be great.  It didn't disappoint.  This episode was awesome!  One of my favorites yet.

The humor was amazing.  I loved the point Peter had to make to Neal when he first met Brooke.  She didn't need to hear everything Peter wanted to tell her but he made sure Neal was surely aware that he could send him back to jail at any time.  The humor was rolling through virtually every scene from the briefing where Jones and Diana wanted to know about Peter's meeting with Stanzler masquerading as Neal right to Mozzie teaching Peter how to be a criminal.  Peter learned from the old pro Mozzie pretty fast, didn't he?

I like Neal and Sara as a couple.  It's always a pleasure to see Sara in the show.  She's tough and no-nonsense.  I think she and Neal together is an interesting twist seeing as how she's pursued him in the past to put him in jail.

With the new developments concerning Alex and Sara, I'm sure that next weeks season finale is going to be something else!

White Collar airs Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. (US Eastern time) on the USA Network.
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