After last week’s less than stellar episode, White Collar was back to its true, fantastic form with tonight’s episode, “Compromising Positions.” Neal, Peter and the FBI were going up against a talented fixer with a little help from Sara and Mozzie and Neal finally made contact with the mysterious Sam. But can the former cop be trusted?
The episode started with Sam picking up Neal and asking him a bunch of questions. Neal explained his FBI consultant deal and he assured Sam that he could trust Peter. Sam felt the FBI was somehow responsible for what happened to Ellen since she’d been safe all these years until she landed on the FBI radar. Sam basically kicked Neal out of the car, but Neal broke off his key in the door so he could use it to trace Sam’s whereabouts. He brought Mozzie in on the plan, but Mozzie warned Neal that Sam might not be trustworthy and he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to keep Peter out of it. But Neal was worried about Peter doing anything off book since he’s still on probation.
At FBI headquarters, Peter was practicing his testimony for an upcoming case with a prosecutor named Josh. Neal hung out with Jones and Diana while he watched Peter, who was obviously enjoying himself. Neal brought up the fact that he had worked on the Delancy case too and no one had asked him to testify in court. Jones, Diana and Peter mocked him, naming all the reasons his testimony wouldn’t carry a lot of weight. The next day in court, Josh stumbles when he’s questioning Peter and Peter notices that he keeps looking at a woman in the courtroom. He tells Neal that he’s worried Josh might have been compromised, which means the case could be thrown out and Delancy might go free.
That night, Josh comes to the Burkes’ and tells Peter, Elizabeth and Neal that he’s being blackmailed. He shows them pictures of himself in a hotel room with the woman from the court – she’s Delancy’s girlfriend. Peter traces the photos back to a woman named Landon Sheppard, who calls herself an executive consultant, but she’s really a fixer. She’s also had a few run-ins with the FBI before. She shows up at their offices and Peter and Diana question her while Jones and Neal watch. Diana is getting angry and Jones isn’t sure why Peter is basically letting Landon walk all over them. Neal says Peter is playing her and when she makes a call to the mayor’s office, they’re able to finally get her phone records. Neal recognizes a number on there that repeats over and over again: Sara’s.
Sara tells Peter and Neal that Sterling and Bosch use Landon’s services a lot, but she had no idea the woman was also working with criminals. She agrees to help them bring her down and tells them that she gets very angry when anyone questions her means. Sara calls and claims that her ex-boyfriend (she gives Landon one of Neal’s aliases) has compromising photos of her with another man and is threatening to use them against her. She also mentions that he’s a criminal and he’s been violating his parole by gambling with some fellow criminals. Landon promises that she will take care of it. The plan is for Landon to blackmail Neal and for the FBI to get the whole thing on tape. It sounds easy enough.
Peter thinks he might have a lead on Sam and Neal confuses him when he suggests it’s not that important to find him. Neal tries to find out if Peter would be willing to keep things off the FBI radar and Peter doesn’t think that’s a good idea so Neal shuts him down. He returns home and Mozzie shows up with a fake baby. Admittedly, I got a little distracted by this scene, especially once Mozzie pulls off one of the doll’s arms and plugs it into the computer, but I think he was somehow tracking the rental car to find Sam. The next morning, Peter is preparing Neal to meet with Landon and Neal says that he is good at avoiding blackmail and Peter reminds him that he means ‘proving’ blackmail.
Landon surprises everyone when she the blackmail she comes up with is on Mozzie, not Neal’s fake persona. Neal immediately kills the deal and agrees to turn over the photos of Sara and Peter is not happy. Neal tells him that he was protecting Mozzie, but Peter knows there was more going on than that and sends him home. Mozzie is upset that he got made by the “lady fixer” and he thinks the island made him soft. As he’s ranting, Neal comes up with a new idea on how to bring Landon down.
What followed is hands down, one of the best and funniest moments I’ve ever seen on the show, possibly on all of TV, ever. Neal goes to Peter and asks him how he’d feel about sleeping with Sara. While a confused Elizabeth and Sara sit on the couch, Neal and Peter argue in the kitchen about who is going to tell them the plan. They agree to do it together, but Peter quickly pins it on Neal. He wants to set up compromising photos of Peter and Sara and then Neal can resurrect his alias and bring them to Delancy. He thinks once Delancy shows them to Landon, she’ll refuse to use them because of her connection to Sara, Delancy will get mad and she’ll quit because she doesn’t like having her skills questioned. Peter assures Elizabeth that she can be there the whole time and she goes, “In the photos?!?!”
The foursome head to Neal’s and Elizabeth sits back, drinking wine, while Peter and Sara awkwardly pose for pictures as Neal stands out on the balcony and snaps them. But Peter and Sara are having issues making it look real, so Elle steps in and starts making suggestions of where they should put their hands and push their clothes off. Neal tosses out his own suggestions, muttering, “this is weird.” This recap is not doing it justice just how funny this scene was. I had actual tears in my eyes from laughing so hard (and I may or may not be cuing it up on the DVR to watch again as I type this).
Neal puts on his Clark Kent glasses (seriously, how is it fair that Matt Bomer is that hot?) and goes to Delancy with the photos. He slips out as Landon shows up and the plan works just like they’d hoped. Landon walks away and takes the photos with her. But Josh tells them that it might be too late since the defense lawyer discredited Peter’s testimony. Their only hope is finding the chemical Delancy used, which they think Landon has. Neal gets to testify after all to stall for time while Peter works with Mozzie to track down Landon. Mozzie wants to give Peter plausible deniability so Peter literally covers his ears with headphones and looks the other way while Mozzie sets off some alarms in a storage unit, causes a mini riot, but gets Landon where they need her.
The judge is getting impatient as Neal is stalling in his testimony, but Peter rushes in just in time with the chemical that they retrieved from Landon. Neal explains to the court that he was arrested for forgery and forgery is a science and he wants to demonstrate how the chemical works. He borrows a pen from the judge, drinks the defendant’s glass of water and then pours the chemical in there, writes a check and explains if the chemical is what he says it is, the ink will disappear in five seconds. It takes more like six or seven, but it works, Delancy is convicted and everyone is happy…almost.
Outside the courtroom, Landon tells Peter that she knows he never really slept with Sara and the whole thing was staged. She also warns him that Neal is slick and gives him her card and offers her services in the future. Neal tracks down Sam once again and tells him that they need to work together. Sam agrees, but warns that he doesn’t want the FBI involved. Neal gives him his word as Peter watches from his car, taking pictures and wondering what Neal is up to.
This was a solid episode. I loved it for the fake picture scene alone, but I also enjoyed that it set the scene for Neal and Peter being on opposite sides for the Sam debate. But it’s not just Peter. In the scenes for next week, Mozzie goes behind Neal’s back and gets Peter involved because he doesn’t trust Sam. Neal doesn’t know who to trust and Alex is back (yay!) and it looks like she’s running a con that she needs Neal’s help with. I’m already looking forward to it. See you next week.