Last week's tropical-flavored episode of White Collar ended with our beloved Neal betrayed by his ex-pat benefactor Dobbs and finding himself held at gunpoint by the dastardly semi-rogue Agent Collins. (Whew!) So "Most Wanted" picked up more or less where that one left off, but now Neal was being held captive in some rinky-dink homemade jail cell. Seriously, in the span of about ten seconds he'd disassembled his handcuffs and part of the cage before he was interrupted by Dobbs and Collins. When Collins discovered that Neal had been up to mischief, guess what he did? He SHOT Neal in the leg! Oh Collins, you despicable jerk.
Meanwhile Peter and Mozzie were surveilling Dobbs' seaside mansion and plotting Neal's escape. And, you know, just generally laying low:
Recognizing that it was only a matter of time before Collins would drag Neal to the airport for his forcible extradition, Peter and Mozzie took advantage of the fact that the only way to access the airport was through a choked, one-lane alleyway. And that's how Lil' Hector got yet another opportunity to show that he's basically Cape Verde's answer to Short Round from Indiana Jones. What WOULDN'T this kid do for a couple bucks? Upon pulling into the alleyway, Collins found himself blocked in by a toppled papaya cart. After Collins reluctantly got out to help clear the strewn fruit, Peter snuck up and freed Neal. Yep, the ol' spilled papaya in the alleway to the airport scheme. The oldest trick in the book, basically!
Anyway, this still left the issue of how to get Neal back to the States and reinstated as a white collar crimes consultant and Peter-best-friend. Well, get ready for this bit of serendipity: Noting that all of Dobbs' model ships had womens' names—the same names contained in a lullaby mnemonic device Peter once learned to study a notorious criminal on the FBI's Most Wanted List—it was discovered that Dobbs was actually someone named McLeish, a much bigger "get" for the FBI than Neal. So Peter promptly cut an informal deal with headquarters that if they retrieved McLeish, Neal would get his old gig back. But HOW would they wrangle such a powerful man?
Honestly, their plan was as complicated as it was ludicrous. It involved Peter learning how to bartend in a montage straight out of the '80s. It also involved a scheme that would make Wile E. Coyote blush:
That's right, somehow they were going to frame Dobbs for having absconded with tons of money that he was supposed to be doling it out to local law enforcement at that night's party. For one reason or another this fake empty safe thing didn't work out, so Plan B was Neal running into Dobbs' party and accusing him of stealing money in front of everybody. It worked! Pretty soon the local cops were super mad at Dobbs and he was boarding a plane to get out of there.
Meanwhile Mia had gotten in on the action by getting Collins to show up at the Dobbs party just in time to arrest Neal and take him to the airport alongside Dobbs. Then, once everyone was present, Peter presented Collins with the bargain of a lifetime: Give him Neal and Peter would allow Collins to take full credit for nabbing one of America's most wanted criminals. Always the opportunist, Collins made the right choice and it was hopefully the last we ever saw of him. (Still all mad about that bullet hole in Neal's thigh.)
Finally, back in the FBI Headquarters, Diana and Jones (that might as well be his first name, right?) greeted Neal with open arms and it was like the whole gang was back together! Except for Mozzie, who opted to stay put in Cape Verde, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing him soon. Anyway, after Jones ceremonially placed the ankle bracelet back on Neal, all was right again. EXCEPT then Peter was called into bossman's office and informed that he was being demoted. That's right, no more white collar crimes for him. It wasn't made clear, but I'm guessing Peter will now have to investigate people who defy those FBI warnings at the beginning of DVDs or maybe people who tear tags off of mattresses. Whatever it is, it won't be as fun and it won't feature as much Neal. Bummer!
If we're being honest, there's a good chance that "Most Wanted" was not the BEST episode of White Collar we've ever seen. While it certainly had its fun moments (even if they were more cartoonishly over the top than usual), it wasn't exactly the most compelling hour of television ever. But it'll be interesting to see how Peter's demotion is carried out, not to mention Neal's newfound interest in his own past (of which he made clear during a visit from Ellen). Will this be the season we meet Neal's dad??
Last thing: The below .GIF was featured in the "last week on White Collar..." montage, but I do NOT remember seeing this part!
Do you think there's a treasure trove of footage of Neal gallivanting around Cape Verde that they're saving for the DVDs? Fingers-crossed!
Oh, and BIG BTW, here's how Neal looked this week:
... Will Neal get over Mia or will she be back?
... Was Collins the worst?
... What kinds of crime will Peter deal with now?
... Do you miss Sara?