The season premiere of White Collar, “Wanted,” went by in the blink of an eye; that’s how good this show is. The cast, the writing, the plot; everything about this episode was epitome of what makes the show so much fun to watch.
It’s been six weeks since Peter gave Neal the signal to run before he testified at Neal’s commutation hearing and Peter is sad and a little lost without his buddy. (Seriously, I wanted to give him a hug). He’s still working on cases for the FBI, but Peter’s heart is not in them and he’s spending all of his spare time searching for Neal. Kramer has brought in a new agent to lead the search, Agent Collins (Mekhi Phifer), who is not particularly interested in bringing Neal home safe. He just wants to bring him back by any means necessary and he doesn’t particularly care what shape he’s in or if he’s still breathing. (Yikes). Peter is not okay with that and is determined to find Neal first.
We get our first glimpse of (a shirtless) Neal as he’s going for a swim and then jogging back to his new island home, which seems pretty much like the paradise he and Mozzie had talked about. But Neal doesn’t look as happy and carefree as he probably should. He admits to Mozzie that he’ll always miss New York, but this is his life now and he’s going to enjoy it. Neal is at a local market and sees a man stealing from a kid’s fruit stand, so he pays for the fruit and gives the kid some extra money before he heads to the coffee shop and flirts with the woman who works there (Mia Maestro), but she tells him again that she’s not interested. (Somehow I doubt that will last).
Meanwhile, Peter and Elizabeth (love them working together) have been trying to chase down leads and Peter is convinced that the woman Neal hid the Raphael with (Ellen) is the key to finding him. Mr. and Mrs. Suit stakeout her apartment while Collins goes to question her and Peter complains about how annoying stakeouts were with Neal and Elizabeth points out that he really misses him and Peter admits that he does (Aw, bromance). Collins strikes out fast so Peter approaches Ellen and tells her that he’s a friend of Neal’s, but she’s not buying it and sends him away. Elizabeth watches the scene and it looks like she has a plan of her own. Sure enough, Peter comes home from work the next day and Ellen is in his kitchen with Elizabeth. She does have a way to contact Neal and tells Peter to help their boy.
Back on the island, Neal and Mozzie visit Henry Dobbs (Gregg Henry, who must be trying to set a record for being on every show ever). Henry is the guy in control of the island and even though they don’t need to worry about extradition, Mozzie knows it will benefit them to have Henry’s protection. He wants a lot of money for his ‘troubles’ and Neal points out that his guys need to stop stealing fruit from local businesses. Poor Mozzie is having an aneurism, but Henry agrees to Neal’s terms. After that, Neal goes on a date with the coffee woman (I didn’t catch her name) and she has some questions about his past. The date goes well (naked time well) and then Neal’s pager goes off.
Okay, seriously, I’m all for suspended disbelief when watching TV. My favorite show is about vampires. But I refuse to believe that Neal and Ellen had a pager system to keep in touch and said pager system works all over the world. But fine, that’s what happened and Neal called the number on the pager, expecting to get Ellen, but Peter answered instead. Neal teased him about being three for three when it comes to tracking him down. Peter warned him about Agent Collins, but Neal wasn’t too worried. Neal got a little choked up saying goodbye to Peter and then he tossed the pager and the phone he used in the ocean. The next morning, he assured Mozzie that they were safe and no one was going to find them.
Peter recorded the call and then Jones (Sharif Atkins is finally a series regular!) and Diana came over to help figure out exactly where Neal was. They used the sounds in the background: the ocean, church bells and the beginning of a thunderstorm to pinpoint where in the world Neal was. They figured out he was on an island in Cape Verde. Peter circled it on the map, which turned out to be a mistake. Collins showed up with a search warrant and found the map and headed to Cape Verde before Peter had a chance. He was furious and complained to his boss, who suggested he take some time off and he more or less told him that if he was going to go look for Neal, he needed to be careful.
Neal and Mozzie got word that Collins had shown up on the island and Neal knew it was time to run again. He told Mozzie that he could stay if he wanted to and Mozzie reminded him, “If you run, I run.” (Aw, the bromances on this show are the absolute best). Peter showed up next and as he was showing Neal’s picture to the coffee shop woman, Collins came in and offered a substantial reward for anyone who could bring him Neal Caffrey, in any condition. While Collins was distracted with people, the kid from the fruit stand came in and stole Peter’s wallet. Peter chased him down the street and into a building, up several flights of stairs and Neal was waiting at the top. He joked to Peter about how easy it was to steal his wallet and Peter pulled him into a hug and told him how happy he was to see him.
Mozzie was a little less thrilled to see ‘Suit’ but the three men knew they needed to find a way off the island. Mozzie suggested by sea and as they headed to find passage off the island, a crowd started following them, trying to attack Neal. He separated from Peter and Mozzie and said he would meet them as soon as he could. Coffee shop woman saved him and brought him to see Henry while Mozzie paid someone to get them off the island. Henry was not happy with Neal bringing trouble to his island and Neal reminded him that he promised to help him if he needed it. Unfortunately, Henry was much more interested in helping Collins, who arrived at his house, cornering Neal. Cue the cliffhanger.
Aside from my disbelief when it comes to the pager, I have no complaints about this episode. It was a flawless hour of television. I can’t wait for next week to see how Neal is going to get away from Collins and what kind of deal Peter is going to arrange that will allow Neal to go back to New York and work with him at the FBI again. Until then, feel free to hit the comment section below and let us what you think about the premiere and what you hope to see in Season Four.