Now that Neal's up for commutation next week, all his friends and co-workers have found themselves at a crossroads: Testify on his behalf to the advisory panel and get their friend's sentence overturned, or be honest about the fact that he occasionally falls off the wagon when it comes to stealing untold fortunes? It's telling that everyone—especially Peter, recently returned Sara, and newly engaged Diana (congrats, girl!)—all desperately wants to help Neal. Is there anybody on White Collar, or even in the world or universe, who wouldn't want to help Neal? No, there isn't. Okay, maybe certain blind people but that's IT.
Cool sky. Anyway, also finding himself at a crossroads in this episode was Neal himself: Tasked to infiltrate and take down rival world-class art thief Gordon Taylor (who Neal clearly admired and had a bit of a man-crush on), Neal was torn between doing his job and also participating in the heist FOR REAL. The heist itself entailed lifting Babe Ruth's first-ever home run ball directly out of a glass display case in Yankee Stadium. The artifact had a special poignancy for Peter who it turned out used to be a PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER. For two weeks, in the minors, but still.
Here is Neal wearing a tan suit in public like it's no big deal.
Anyway, as Mozzie informed Neal, the only way he could get hired for the job was to pass Gordon's billiards test (?). Apparently Gordon can judge a potential heist partner by the way he molests the felt, so fortunately Neal used to be a nine-year-old pool hustler in St. Louis. This show has the best backstories!
So then in a sequence that has to qualify as the most seductive in recent memory, Neal walked around the table just sinking ball after ball while his prospective boss just looked on like this:
Um. This is strictly a comment on what was happening on screen (and let's keep it that way in the comments, guys), but was this the most erotic thing ever? Anyway, I don't know what this scene was but it was obviously the best. And Gordon agreed because suddenly Neal was part of the gang!
The heist itself was fine, it involved a fake version of the Babe Ruth ball that Mozzie had whipped up, plus a secret note scrawled under the leather that only Peter would recognize (being a former pro player for two weeks and all). After the switch was made, a last-minute tip-off alerted Peter and his crew and the bad guys were taken down... All of them, of course, except for Gordon who'd been mysteriously tipped off by Mozzie and/or Neal, because Gordon's the kind of guy who they might want to work with in the future.
But those kinds of obvious signs of shadiness didn't go unnoticed by Peter (or the team of agents currently trying to prove that Neal once sent coded messages from his prison cell), so it was clear that Peter was suddenly having doubts about testifying in favor of Neal's release. However, like the warmhearted con-man he is, Neal used his skills to find one of Peter's old rookie cards and impress him with it. Similarly, he convinced Sara that he didn't want her to testify, he merely wanted to hang out with her more. Which, Bingo on both ploys! Oh Neal, who can stay mad at you?
What do you guys think will happen in next week's season finale? Me, I'm guessing too many things are counting against Neal at this point and he'll probably personally decline the commutation himself. Wouldn't that be such a Neal thing to do? Also wouldn't it be such a Producers-of-White Collar-who-want-the-show-to-last-much-longer thing to do?
Oh, and I don't know why anybody would care about this, but here's an INFINITELY LOOPING .GIF OF MATT BOMER'S FACE:
... What did you think of "Stealing Home"?
... Should Neal go chill at Gordon's Mediterranean villa for a while?
... Do we maybe know a little too much about Peter and Elizabeth's sex lives?