White Collar "Ancient History" Review: Beta Banned

By Price Peterson

Sep 06, 2012

White Collar S04E08: "Ancient History"

Few things are as awkward as running into an ex, but in the world of White Collar it's basically the opposite: It's straight-up thrilling! See, in real life we tend to run into our exes in unglamorous places, like at grocery store, and we're probably dressed in sweatpants. But in this show Neal runs into exes while wearing three-piece suits in five star hotels or swanky social events and usually the exes are international art thieves looking to ensnare him into elaborate double-cross cons. You know? Meanwhile WE would just be awkwardly explaining to our exes why we were staring at sheet cakes in a grocery store at 1 a.m. Anyway, this whole insanely-hot-criminal-mastermind-ex element is just one more reason why this is the best show through which to live vicariously!

So which gorgeous criminal mastermind from Neal's past showed up in "Ancient History"? None other than Alex, the Greek femme fatale last seen in the Season 2 finale who'd basically been thrown under the bus, crime-wise, after the whole U-boat treasure thing first went down. She'd evidently been chilling in a Greek prison for a year and a half for attempting to steal ancient antiquities (do NOT call them antiques), but only days after her release had already become embroiled in some heavy-duty ancient artifact purloining. Not only did a heist Neal had infiltrated feel like Alex was somehow involved, she explicitly sought him out afterward using her ol' yellow-origami-flower trick. It turned out she was indeed in town, which meant that the FBI now needed Neal to figure out her involvement in the new scheme. Or something. Did it matter? Neal and Alex were suddenly hanging out again!

Meanwhile Mozzie had grown ultra-jealous after Neal received a secret Beta videotape which had been posthumously sent to him by Ellen on the occasion of her death. Neal decided that he only wanted to watch the tape with Sam, and not Mozzie, even though Mozzie owned A LOT of Beta players! I mean, that's just rude right there. So that's when Mozzie resorted to desperate measures: He contacted Peter to help him spy on Neal. (But only after generously bestowing upon Peter the gift of a 2-ton stone coin from his travels.) So yeah, our favorite odd couple teamed up to somehow infiltrate Sam and Neal's relationship, as a couple of jealous, jilted besties are wont to do. But this led to a situation in which Mozzie got the wrong address for Sam's apartment and ended up snooping around ALEX's apartment. Which was being staked out by Peter and led to HIM joining Mozzie in Alex's bathroom just before Alex and Neal arrived back from one of their high-chemistry banter-dates. It was all as farcical as it was HANDSOME.

After Alex discovered that Neal had been infiltrating her goings-on, they understandably had a falling out. As did Neal, Peter, and Mozzie when Neal found out what they'd been doing. Seriously, Neal looked SO MAD at them. (Aw, I hate it when they fight.) But eventually Neal came around a bit after it became clear that he'd been unnecessarily keeping secrets also, and he agreed to help Peter continue with the Alex case. In their ruse, Neal would pretend to win back Alex's trust by helping her knock over a local museum (the FBI agreed to this because it would lead them to Alex's shadowy boss). And, in one of the broader schemes ever featured on White Collar, Neal impersonated BANKSY and got the museum to not only allow him to spray paint their walls, but also close it to the public AND shut off its security cameras. All that without even attempting a British accent. And you know what? It sounded plausible to me! Seriously, the art world is nuts. I wouldn't put it past that gallery owner to be so gullible.

The twist was that ONCE AGAIN the heist was interrupted by the NYPD, meaning that someone aside from the undercover participants wanted the thieves to be caught. As it turned out Alex herself wanted the heists to be thwarted so that the police would confiscate all the valuables into their storage locker and she could just bust in and take them all at once! (Which, haha, okay show.) So yeah, it did appear that Alex was using Neal just as much as he'd used her. And because this was White Collar, just because someone is on the run doesn't mean she won't sneak into your apartment for one last farewell conversation. Sure beats an awkward goodbye in the grocery store dessert aisle, am I right?

Finally, because we can only progress the over-arching story with the tiniest of baby-steps, the episode ended with Neal agreeing to watch his Beta tape with Mozzie and Peter after all. So he pressed play, and... CREDITS! Oh, White Collar, you big tease. Another solid episode in what's turning out to be a solid season. ("Solid" is the correct term here, right? Nothing mind-blowing, just super dependable.) Only two more episodes until hiatus!

And now some pictorial observations for you guys:

... Do we like Diana's ponytail?

... Who WAS this guy? Can he be a new character please?

... Whoa, it actually RAINS in New York?

... Y'all gonna tune in next week for THIS?:

Thought so!


What did YOU think of this episode?

  • Comments (18)
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  • DanielleS05 Sep 10, 2012

    Price random guy looks like you.

  • bluemystique Sep 08, 2012

    Solid is the perfect word to sum up the season thus far. It's solid, dependable, loyal, and...sounds like a troop of cub scouts, but instead of donning tiny little shorts and shirts with badges they don suits,skinny ties, and fedoras.



    Eh. Alex never interested me. She was sooo flaky, but I get it, in the sense that in their line of work there is that constant threat that your friends with benefits companion can and will stab you in the back because there is no honor among thieves and who can squander a great opportunity? Sara never does it for me either, so comparing them regularly seems pointless to me. I caught a glimpse of the origami flower and knew trouble was a coming.



    Yes. I liked Diana's pony. She's changing up the hair after the breakup. Diana's on the prowl y'all. And random dude did look kinda awesome! Based on how long it took them to get Jones in the creds, random dude could very well be considered a supporting character for all we know.



    I think I'm starting to enjoy Mozzie and Peter teaming up even more than Peter and Neal. But then again, Mozzie is awesome with everyone. I can't get enough of a Mozzie and Mrs. Suit or a Mozzie and June scenario either.

  • mistycold Sep 07, 2012

    - Sam is Samantha. He is a she.

    - He is definitely not a she.

    - Well, he's curious.

    - This is not Sam's suite.

    - That file listed this as his address.

    - The file I explicitly told you wasn't Sam's file?

    - So I've made a tremendous mistake.

    - That was Alex Hunter's file.

    - Oh! That explains the brassiere.

    Peter/Mozzie for the win. Then, welcome back Alex. I have felt so much your lack in the last season: she has given a beautiful tone to the whole episode. She couldn't get the U-boat treasure so she steals another. Liked how the writers played with the viewers: will Neal be a ratfink about Alex? Will Neal defy Peter to help Alex? I'm not a shipper so I like her no matter what she does. She's interesting and devious :-) Neal's hesitation when he finally came over to Peter's to watch the video with Peter and Mozzie was so sweet. Can't wait to see what's on the tape....

  • JT_Kirk Sep 07, 2012

    Mozzie stockpiling Betamax VCRs was awesome, although really since it's Mozzie he only would need to own 3 and stockpile replacement parts for those (mainly replacement heads and pinch rollers and eventually bearings and motors if he uses those units a lot).



    I think that Rai stone would make an awesome and unique yard ornament.



    They never said it, but I got the impression Alex was hiding on the confiscated truck so she was taken to PD evidence warehouse along with the loot.

  • stanking Sep 06, 2012

    All seeing Alex did was make me realize how much better Sara is.

  • safibwana Sep 07, 2012

    Immaterial. Let's face it, we all want Neal to flirt with whatever random girl is in the episode, so Alex vs Sara vs [random Argentinian girl we're pretending lives on an island off of Africa] doesn't matter, because the show pretty much doesn't work if he ever settles down with one. So, I ship Neal and empty chair.

  • Atlantida Sep 07, 2012

    So agree! I like Alex more than Sara, but I won't suffer from the absense of both in the show. Neal's face and his interactions with Peter and Mozzie are the reason good enough for me to watch the show anyway.

  • nshinron Sep 06, 2012

    Sara is a better person no doubt but to keep the show interesting I think its best what the directors are doing.........make us wonder what happens next to Neal's every aspect of life...................

  • mnemesis Sep 06, 2012

    This episode was good except for Diana's ponytail !!!

    It made me realize how much I wan't to see Neal and Sara back together...

    Can't wait to see the next one after this frustrating ending....

  • NnePires Sep 06, 2012

    OMG Price, are you in my mind?! =D

  • JustinJohnson9 Sep 06, 2012

    Great episode. Like you mentioned, this is a very solid season of White Collar. Not mind-blowing, but still very solid and very enjoyable. It's always great to see Alex, and man did she put one over on Neal!!! She got me too! I never saw her pulling that con at the end, so well done!!!

  • Atlantida Sep 06, 2012

    Loved this episode! Alex always was the best for me, I like her much more than Sara. And we got another prove that Matt Bomer is beautiful in ANY clothes, even in a hoodie))

  • mmmshuddup Sep 06, 2012

    I liked this episode plenty. And I somehow knew that Alex was going to notice right away that Neal didn't clean off his suit. So awkward!



    What's with the ending and the preview though!? That's what had my jaw on the floor! I need to see that tape!

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