While tonight’s episode seemingly ignores the anger that Peter would have rightly felt towards Neal after what he pulled last week, and it does nearly nothing to advance the season long plotline of Neal uncovering his father’s secrets, it was still an entertaining episode — but had the episode focused entirely on the first ten minutes, it might have been amongst the series’ best.
In the first ten minutes, Mozzie tells a story to Neal and Peter about uncovering a storage closet that seemingly contains National Treasure-like clues pointing to a long-lost American artifact: the flag that George Washington carried across the Delaware River.
Over the course of his telling, we hear Mozzie describe the scene taking place, and any time Neal or Peter stop to interrupt him (via voice-over), the scene on your TV seems to stall and then stop, like a film reel. It’s a cheap effect, but an effective one, and something I wish the entire episode was about.
Imagine an episode that shows us what happens to Mozzie during a day or days when he’s not hanging around Peter and Neal. Or June. Or Jones. Or Elizabeth. (Actually, maybe the gallery wouldn’t be that interesting.)
A parallel reality White Collar episode that focused entirely on a secondary character that only showed bits and pieces of how Peter and Neal fit into the overall narrative could be amazing television. Alas, we got “Identity Crisis”, and while it was entertaining, it was a bit derivative.
As Mozzie helps Neal and Peter uncover clues leading to the eventual flag and a killer, we learn that most of what is driving Mozzie is his belief that a centuries old spy ring run by the Culpers is involved. More importantly, Mozzie believes his parents were spies and his dedication to that unsound belief drives him day in and day out, just as Neal may or may not have been driven to a life of crime once he learned his father was a corrupt cop. (“A self-fulfilling prophecy” he tells Peter.)
He at first wants to give up on the case when he thinks spies aren’t involved, but eventually becomes an integral part in not only capturing the killer, but helping uncover the location of the flag. Unfortunately, they’re all had by a woman pretending to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in actuality, a Culper spy who steals the flag out from under their noses.
(Mozzie doesn’t seem to mind so much though.)
The ending that reveals Mozzie, Neal and Peter had been had by the Culper spy would have been way more surprising, however, if USA hadn’t spoiled the flag unveiling in last week’s promo…
A fun episode, with fun transitions/cutaways including the ten-minute flashback scene at the beginning, Mozzie performing a shadow puppet show for Neal and even an imaginary flashback to Washington-era. But, if only the entire episode had been based around the idea they had in the opening … it could have been even more incredible.
Alan M. Danzis
(Image courtesy of USA)