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White Collar: High Stakes

whitecollar_s1ep6_002Have I mentioned how gorgeous Neal Caffrey looks in his hat…what a great way to begin the show!! This week’s episode was different on many levels: more characters involved and new serious twists. We learn that Neal is tired of boring mortgage fraud cases, but a dangerous and exciting case comes along with high stakes for both the FBI and Neal.

FBI agent Mark Costa was working undercover to penetrate Lao Shen’s (a money launderer) organization but has disappeared. The FBI asks Neal to use one of his old aliases, Nicholas Halden (Neal is very surprised that they know about this alias) to contact Lao and find Costa.

Lao is only in New York for 72 hours and Neal must learn Pai Gow, a Chinese version of poker to impress him. Mozzie tries to teach him with the movie “Tiles of Fire.” Mozzie knows the movie a little too well; his mouthing of the words, although funny, annoys Neal. Mozzie is such a character; true to form for the USA Network. June is back, she brings the boys food and plans to join them for the rest of the movie and sequels. June (Diahann Carroll) only had two small scenes, but she was fantastic and I hope to see more of her soon!

One of my favorite scenes was when Burke, Cruz and Jones monitor the Pai Gow game from the apartment of a local Chinese restaurant owner. When entering the apartment, the agents and Neal remove their shoes and we discover Peter wears funny patterned socks! Neal asks, “Are those standard FBI issue?” Peter tries to cover his embarrassment by saying, “They were a gift from Elizabeth.” Neal’s response: “One that keeps on giving.”

Neal exchanges the ankle monitor for a watch that will track him but also record conversations during his interactions with Lao Shen. The game is going smoothly until the NYPD arrives and shuts it down. Neal flees to protect his cover during which he sees Meilin, a beautiful woman from Lao’s entourage, who invites him to her hotel room. Meilin breaks his watch and confronts him because she knows that he is Neal Caffrey, not Nicholas Halden. She also confesses that she works for Interpol and if he helps her, she will help him find Kate.

The next morning, still at the stakeout, Peter wakes up missing a sock. He questions the young adorable daughter of the apartment/restaurant owner about his sock and says, “You’re a little klepto aren’t you?” Peter assumes that she cannot speak English but we realize she can when she tells Peter, “You’re weird.”

Neal doesn’t tell Peter what he knows about Meilin and Agent Cruz reports that the tip to the NYPD about the game came from Meilin. In an effort to find out who she is, Burke goes to a hostess bar where she works. Peter whitecollar_s1ep6_005talks to a group of Chinese women who only speak in Chinese but he secretly tapes the conversation, just in case they say something important.

Back at the FBI, while waiting for the translator, Burke and Cruz are listening to the recording, when the daughter of the apartment/restaurant owner walks in and tells him the ladies called him a bad name. She translates the rest of the recording which included, “They think you (Peter) are stupid” which Peter asks her to leave out of the translation. On a side note, Cruz tells Peter that they discovered Meilin works for Interpol. The translation leads Neal and Peter to a warehouse, in which they find the body of Agent Costa. Also, Peter calls Neal’s bluff about Meilin and tells Neal to tell him what he knows. Neal finally tells Peter that Meilin wants Lao to walk. Peter gives Neal an ultimatum: “Either take Lao down now or our partnership comes to end.” Neal’s shocked response: “We’re partners?”

Neal goes home to June’s to find Meilin waiting for him. He questions her about Agent Costa and finds out that Lao killed him because he thought Costa was working for a competitor. Meilin continues to try to persuade Neal to help her by saying, “The man who’s got Kate…I know who it is.”

Neal gets a new watch with tracking and recording features from Peter. As he heads to the meeting with Meilin, she gives him a bank account number to use with Lao. Neal complies and receives a flash drive with supposed information on Kate, which turns out to be empty. However, he still helps Peter and the FBI by losing his watch to Lao in another game of Pai Gow meaning that Peter is privy to Lao’s conversations and has enough to take him down.

After wrapping up the case, Meilin calls Neal and reveals that Kate’s captor is someone in the FBI. We end with Neal staring at FBI agents and looking very shaken.

One of the best parts of this episode was the interaction between Peter and the little girl. It was hysterical!

The angle with the FBI involvement with Kate was unexpected. Good for the writers! I was hoping they would think out of the box this week. I have so many questions and guesses as to what will happen. Trust is the real issue here. Who will Neal believe? I am very excited to tune in next Friday, December 4th for the fall finale!

For another take on this week’s episode, check out High Stakes and Poker Faces by Renata Sellitti

Season 1, Episode 6: All In (originally aired November 27, 2009)

For more on White Collar, click here.

Fridays at 10/9c on USA Network

Photographs courtesy of USA, Electric Artists, and David Giesbrecht

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