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White Collar "Identity Crisis" Review: National Treasure Pleasure (With Bonus Matt Bomer Gallery!)

White Collar S04E06: "Identity Crisis"

Last week's episode of White Collar was a fairly standard art heist plotline but represented something of a watershed for this show: Diana has an inner life too! Most procedurals tend to suffer from a lack of character work, so it can be a breath of fresh air to see formerly stoic or mysterious team members thrust into highly dramatic situations. Speaking of breaths of fresh air: How about that steamy kiss between Marsha Thomason and guest-star Rebecca Mader? I know it's 2012 and that moment shouldn't have been that big a deal, it still sort of was! Credit where credit's due: USA is not necessarily the stodgy, safe network I once chalked it up to be.

This week's episode "Identity Crisis" continued the trend of fleshing out secondary characters (Aw, Mozzie!) but did it with arguably one of the silliest plotlines this show has featured in a while. That's not necessarily a burn; I'm a total sucker for spy stories, hidden passageways, ancient letters, and clues hidden in plain sight. But come on, modern day Revolutionary War-descended spies? Anyway, the episode began with an awkward acknowledgment that Neal was still looking for Ellen's murderer, but his thumb-drive of evidence hadn't yet borne fruit. It did contain one possible lead: A mysterious e-mailer had used multiple IP addresses near Ellen before she died, so Neal suspected that it was probably "Sam," the contact Ellen urged Neal to trust. To me the biggest hint that this person was Sam was that the email address in question was "CitizenSam1@airstream.org". I don't know, I'm not an expert.

So the low-stakes adventure got off to a rousing start when Mozzie ran into Neal's apartment and breathlessly recounted how he'd purchased a storage locker (think Storage Wars but with June as a wingman instead of a frowned-up wife) that contained a fully furnished apartment setup. That's where he discovered a leather-bound journal with encrypted messages, an address, and a pair of antique keys. So of course he then found the apartment, let himself in, dusted, tried on the monogrammed robe, and helped himself to the stash of bourbon. And just as he'd discovered a secret passageway behind a bookcase, a masked gunman entered and began shouting code names and questions at Mozzie. Clearly the man thought Mozzie was someone else and looked ready to murder him, but Mozzie escaped through the secret passage and now needed Neal and Peter's help to figure out what was going on.

Fortunately it was a slow day at the office, so the entire team assembled to get to the bottom of this. Right off the bat, Peter put his historical geek skills to use and we learned all about the Culper spies, a ring of citizens who'd once helped George Washington in the days leading up to the revolution. Apparently they had modern day ancestors and it seemed likely that they (or someone else in the know) were after the priceless original American flag that Washington himself had once bandied about to annoy the lobsterbacks. But for Mozzie, this situation was about much more than just figuring out who had pointed a gun at him while he was illegally squatting in an apartment. In a truly enchanting and emotional sequence involving shadow puppets (seriously!), we learned that much of Mozzie's worldview had been shaped by his parents giving him up for adoption as a baby. He'd long believed (or hoped) that they'd given him up because they were actually spies, and therefore if he could prove that the Culper spies were still active it would give him hope that his parents might still be active somewhere out there as well.

After tracking down several modern-day descendants of the Culper ring—including a foxy blonde professor (who, fun fact, was played by the same actress who played Matt Bomer's wife in Magic Mike) and the now-institutionalized owner of Mozzie's storage space—the team focused on one particularly suspicious man: The author of a critically panned book all about the Culper spies. As it turned out, he definitely was the man who'd pointed a gun at Mozzie, and not only that but he'd straight-up murdered one of the other spies recently. So yeah, a bad guy. After Neal impersonated George Washington's ancestor (and Jones impersonated Thomas Jefferson's!), it looked like the bad guy was all but ensnared. But because Mozzie still wanted to know how to find that antique flag, he interfered with the sting in order to get the last piece of the puzzle: Coordinates to a peephole that, when uncovered, would shine a picture of the entire city onto an old painting and... You know what? Nevermind. It was ludicrous.

Anyway, pretty soon Mozzie and the foxy professor lady were being held at gunpoint by the bad author dude and together they uncovered an "empty" box where the flag was supposed to have been. But just as Peter arrived to arrest him, the foxy professor lady had disappeared and Mozzie was pretty sure she'd probably pocketed the flag. Which meant that the Culper spy ring definitely DID still operate. Which confirmed to Mozzie that spies ARE real and anything is possible if he believes in himself. Or something like that. It was nice though.

Not the most gritty or even logical plotline I've ever seen, but it was downright grounded compared to the movie National Treasure, which I also love. It was all pretty fun, and Mozzie's moment in the spotlight helped continue to flesh out his character beyond the likable punchline-machine we already know and love.

Speaking of know and love... Neal's face!

White Collar


QUESTIONS:

... Who's the bigger geek: Peter or Mozzie?

... How many secret passageways do you have in your house?

... Have you ever whipped a gun out of somebody's hand using a decorative belt?

... Are you Sam?

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"After Neal impersonated George Washington's ancestor"



I think you mean *descendant* :D
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-Mozzie looks the part, but it's definitely Peter.

-Ahem, which house? And what are these secret passages that you speak of? If I told you it wouldn't be a secret, silly!

-Belt? No. Scarf? definitely.

-Not today.



this was a mostly fun episode to fill up the season, sandwich it between more important episodes. Overall it still fit in with this theme that is weaved throughout this season. The whole family thing. The unorthodx family that is the majority of the characters on this show. The imaginary family that Mozzie had. The real family mysteries that Neal is dealing with. I dig it.
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This first class super duper Sons and Daughters of the Revolution ring is still operational and they meet in some cave on a wooden table that reeks humidity and we are supposed to take this seriously.Even as a joke it's a joke.If anyone knows anything about spying is that it is extremely expensive and extremely delicate. But they do know some people who know some people influential enough to ruin the academic career of some poor professor and drive him into a murderer. But they were just able to find the Library or the killer or in fact anything.

YOu know there are some women, my mother was one of them, who are able to make anything they wear look splenderous.Well, this team of actors can do that, but I don't know if it's that much of a compliment.
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Dude.. I love National Treasure hahaha!
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The level of crazy and far-fetched-ness the plot to this episode was should be bothering me and making me dislike the episode. But, uh, no. I really enjoyed it. I think it has to do with the overall writing and directing of the episode, as it really seemed like the writers intended for it to be quite goofy and crazy, and with that in mind, I was able to enjoy it. If it seemed like the writers and director took this seriously and made it as dramatic as they could, it wouldn't have worked. But I was entertained with not only the crazy plot, but how the plot brought out some serious backstory and characterization of Mozzie. Mozzie's delightful, and his shadow-puppetry was adorable. Moz helping the bad-guy run from the feds was a tad bothersome, but I reminded myself that Neal pulls stunts like that all the time.



Bigger geek: Peter. I think it's quite scary that Peter is as big a geek as he is (almost as much as Mozzie), while still keeping a LOT of it inside and hidden away in himself. So while I see Mozzie as a bigger geek at current face value, I believe Peter to be a bigger geek because he seems like he has A LOT that he still hasn't shown.

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Mozzie



Does hiding in the attic when skipping school count?



No, usually I talk the person holding the gun to death.



Well, are we absolutely sure Sam's a HE? I guess, no, I am not.

However, I do consider myself quite the geek, too. As such I feel the strong need to point out that the writers gave a little nod to the conspiracy nut Garson played on Stargate SG-1 on several occasions. That character, Martin Lloyd, reminded me A LOT of Mozzie as he is now. Fun Fact: on Stargate, most of "Mozzie's" theories actually turned out to be true. Although he didn't know it at first he actually was an alien. If the writers ever thought as far as I did, I would understand Mozzie's mention of the Stargate as a joke indicating that there actually might be a speck of truth behind his spy-parents-theory.

Then again, I'm crazy....
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I was going to say that Mozzie is the obvious bigger geek, but then i remembered Tiffani Thiessen's line on the episode "Where There's a Will" (S3, E2)



Tiffany: Honey, do you want to grab some mirrors and go play with Neal?



So, Peter, hands down..
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Yeah Peter is absolutely the biggest geek! And it's positively delightful lol
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PETER!!!!!!!!!!!



I have 18 half of which lead underground :D



No but i have thrown a vase at some one



Maybe.....

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This was a goofy episode, I liked the setup being told from a point of view different from the show's norm, but Peter seemed all-in way too early, and then it just started bouncing around like Disney's Gummi Bears on crack. I guess part of my problem with it was it actually felt a tad predictable so there wasn't much room once the drama was over to do anything fresh. Oh, except unfurl a 200+ year old flag that should have immediately crumbled to dust (that would have been an awesome visual, everything identical in that last scene except the flag disintegrates as it finishes flying open).



After doing an episode like this, I think it's time for the show to live up to its name and have Neal cover some boring actual white collar crimes.
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A flag stored inside in a box in a water free environment? Who knows? Did they mention if it was wool or silk? I don't think we have enough information to know what should have happened. Plenty of things made out of cloth from that period are still in fine condition.
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I really liked this episode. Something a little different from the norm, and a cute back story for Mozzie. That actress who played the "spy" also plays Morning in Episodes. (Seriously great show!)



Peter is a massive geek! He gets stupidly excited by things, whereas Mozzie is just learned. :)



I have at least 12 secret passageways. Never know when someone will sneak in and pull a gun on you. True story.



Nah, i use the secret passageways in my house to escape trigger-happy loons.



I am Sam, Sam I am.
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good news.
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I actually have been researching the Culper ring recently and I just wanted to point out one thing. Thomas Jefferson has in no way been connected to the Culper Spy Ring. His name has never even been mentioned in my research once!

There, I've said my piece.
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Psh. I think you missed the point o.O
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Would you rather Jones had said "Crispus Attucks?"
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They don't have ancestors living in modern New York. They would have descendants living in New York. The original culpers would have been the ancestors.
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They did it in the show too--which is where I'm guessing Price got it from. It bugged me in the show.
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Oh, didn't watch the whole thing. I' thinking of letting this show go.
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Now I'm torn b/w leather jacket and black cardigan...
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Despite the crazy storyline, I just went with the episode and it was great!! For all we know, maybe his parents were spies. Yeah, crazy, I know, but Mozzie is just so good at disappearing it insane!! LOL!!



Mozzie is the bigger geek. No doubt!!!



No secret passageways in my house.



Never done that and hope to keep it that way.



Sam is old enough to be my Dad, so no.
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Matt Bomer is so beautiful that he seems unreal... I absolutely lost the ability to can...
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hate the book but he is my imagined christian grey
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yeah, he's the best candidate, but he'll never agree to play in this sh...t))
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As long as we're on the topic of "silly" storylines, what's gonna happen with the continuation of this spy ring? I mean, will all of the subsequent episodes automatically inherit that "silly" vibe just because the premise itself was deemed "silly?" I don't think so.



I mean, I tend to be biased at times when I REALLY like a show and as such I sorta force myself not to be bothered by its quirks or otherwise. But even I noticed that the idea behind the Culpar spies was sorta outrageous! Nevertheless, I quickly got over that fact and let myself enjoy everything else about the episode. Let's all agree that the next episodes to come shouldn't suffer loss of merit due to inheritance. lol
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I don't see them as that outrageous, depending on how to you take them to be "spies"



If they're just descendants and pretty much just doing a more secretive-society thing, that's not too out there. There are plenty of secret clubs out there involving.. nothing powerful like conspiracy theorists like to believe (I hope) . So it could just be an extension of that, only instead of meeting weekly at the club house, they also send secret texts.

Now: if this was like SD-6 in "Alias" and actively spying on people and such, that's another story. But for all we know they're just 2 steps away from being a sweat lodge in Santa Barbara.
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Anyway, yeah I mean the idea of a secret society is not only plausible, but absolutely real. The silly part HERE is the spy ring itself. I mean it's hard to believe that THAT spy ring specifically would have lasted.. lol and for what? But whatever, it was a good episode!
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umm yes they do exist. and what "conspiracy theorists?" why does that word coupling have to be immediately associated with nuts? Plato himself said more than 2,000 years ago, "those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses."
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-Mozzie is much more open about it but Peter is a closet geek and when it comes out it REALLY comes out. I vote Peter!

-I wish I had like 10.

-No but I know how to effectively relieve an assailant of their firearm using my hands. :)

-I am Haru of the Takagura dojo.



Guys, I thought this episode was really cool. I love how White Collar can make even silly plotlines out to be somewhat plausible. In this case it was hardly plausible, but yet that didn't really matter because it was still awesome, ya know? Chuck was my favorite series so I too am a sucker for spy stories.
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*that* kiss was nothing in comparison to the Rachel/Nina kiss in Alphas (SyFy) (if you're in the market for that kind of thing). But i'm watching both these shows from the UK, so perhaps this is something about the TV network that they are appearing on...
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Yes, the Rachel/Nina kiss was sex performed only with lips.
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I had no idea that kiss was a big deal. Didn't even register. Was it a big deal because it was basic cable? Or just because it was USA? Would it be more of a big deal on the broadcast networks? It certainly wouldn't be a big deal on a premium channel (I think). I'm so out of touch.
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it was a big deal because it was hot hot hot
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I just try to tune that stuff out. I never really bought Marsha Thomason portraying a lesbian though. Probably because she isn't one. The kiss seemed feigned a bit. And anyway, her ex-fiance was way cuter so I wasn't a fan of that storyline hahaha
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Decent episode. I recently read that book that they were basing the bad guy on and it was fantastic. I recommend it to anyone that likes history books. However, the only thing I really have issue with is, now that they "know" there is a ring or at least suspect. And the ring is actually in their universe. Could they potentially use it again? I kind of would like that. I like their overall story arcs for the most part.



Questions?

Mozzie, obviously.



I live in an old house. The only secret passageways I have in here are the unsealed windows and such that keep the place drafty. And the floors are uneven so one door will keep opening and one keeps closing. It is fun when I have girls over because I can convince them my house is haunted.



Not this week.



Not old enough to be Sam.
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