"You ready to take down a giant?" - Neal
"Grab your slingshot." - Peter
Neal and Peter have faced a lot of villains over the last four seasons -- many of whom weren't afraid to kill to get what they wanted. But they've never faced a U.S. senator before. Someone like that has incredible pull. For starters, he can fire whoever gets in his way.
That worries Elizabeth and her fear for her husband's safety threatens to tear Neal and Peter apart.
Trust has been an issue for Neal and Peter over the years -- especially the last two seasons. But for the first time in a long time, they've been completely honest with each other, until Elizabeth tells Neal, "No more we" after Peter gets into a really bad car accident that wasn't an accident.
She wants Neal to leave Peter out of their investigation. And, "If you have to lie to his face to keep him safe, you damn well lie to his face" she tells him.
And lie to Peter's face Neal does later on in the episode about a key they found in Ellen's stuff that Mozzie and Jones were running background checks on. Peter expresses how hurt he is to Elizabeth after Neal leaves but she doesn't say anything.
Senator Pratt first came onto Neal and Peter's radar when they discovered he not only ordered Flynn's transfer - that led to his death last week -- but hewas also a police Captain in DC. James Bennett's police captain even.
Even though Peter quickly lets his boss Reese Hughes in on his investigation, he, Neal and Diana still have to use some unorthodox methods to trail and track the Senator.
First, Neal impersonates an assistant with Mayor Bloomberg to distract Pratt's assistant, so he can sneak a peek at Pratt's schedule while he's in town. The first stop? The Kensington Salon where Diana winds up posing as a barber giving a straight shave so Neal and Peter can add a tracker to Pratt's phone, as well as put audio and video recording in his briefcase.
(It all almost falls apart when Mozzie calls Neal's phone ... while it's in Pratt's hands, who thinks he's holding his own phone. Mozzie catches on quick and pretends to be an annoyed voter to throw him off the track.)
Later, Peter and Neal discover Pratt is making unscheduled (and therefore secret) visits to a real estate developer named Cole Edwards. Peter discovers more info on Cole until he gets into his car accident.
After that tearful plea from Elizabeth at the hospital to leave Peter out of it, Neal goes after Edwards himself, posing as someone who appeals to his ego and wants to build him a phenomenal building that speaks to his legacy. Neal and Cole argue over the building materials -- Pratt had talked Cole into using cheaper, but crummier and illegal materials -- but agree to talk again soon.
(Again, Neal is almost caught by Pratt who arrives for his own meeting with Cole. He just barely escapes without being seen.)
After the visit to the hospital, Jones and Diana confront Edwards after he illegally agrees to use the cheaper material in his new building. They use his arrest to try to force him to rat out Pratt after accusing him of rigging Peter's car.
On TV later that day, Pratt takes credit for Cole's arrest before Neal confronts him about his dirty dealings. Pratt even admits he knows who Neal's father is -- and tells him that he was the one who was corrupt.
Neal promises to come after him, but Pratt informs him that the White Collar division at the FBI is undergoing restructuring starting with Hughes who is relieved of his command.
Hughes insults and thanks Neal on his way out and asks him to take care of Peter. Instead of Pratt scaring Peter and Neal by firing Hughes, it makes them redouble their commitment to taking the Senator down.
Later that night, they both independently are examining Ellen's key again -- Peter with Jones and Neal with Mozzie. They both discover that it's not actually a key. It's a silhouette of a cityscape that they just need to hold from the right vantage point to discover what it means.
Peter and Neal are back where they seem to always wind up. They're not trusting each other, they're keeping things from each other and they're nipping at each other's toes during an investigation.
The difference is that this time, it's Elizabeth's fault that it's this way. Whether she confesses to putting them at odds, or Neal tells Peter the truth, will likely have ramifications for all three leads in the weeks to come.
(Image courtesy of USA)
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