White Collar "Ancient History" Review: Beta Banned

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?

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