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White Collar Review: Introducing Agent Clinton Jones

Agent Clinton Jones usually spends a lot of time in the surveillance van, but this week he breaks out and kicks ass in this Jones-centric episode. We even get to know this good guy a bit more—he was in the Navy, went to Harvard Law and was almost married, plus we see his apartment!

The episode picks up where we left off last week with a stunned Sara looking at the treasure cam on Neal’s laptop. Neal returns to his apartment and immediately senses something’s amiss. After some discussion, she ends their relationship saying, “Neal, you live in the clouds. And I live on West 69th.” She kisses him goodbye and leaves. Afterward, a crushed Neal looks as if he may be second-guessing the treasure.

Later Peter and Neal walk and talk, discussing their breakup in typical fashion. Neal tries to convince Peter he’s okay with it. Jones heads home from the van to get some rest but instead finds an intruder in his apartment. There is an intense fight and Jones ends up shooting the intruder in the shoulder. Agent Jones is a badass! I want to see him in action more often.

After the fight, Peter and the FBI arrive at Jones’ apartment. Jones explains the intruder was trying to take a postcard sent by one of Jones’ old Navy buddies, Jimmy Wilson (Jayson Williams). Neal quips, “cryptic postcards from old friends mean trouble.” As Neal is examining the postcard, he notices that there is a microdot under the stamp.

Jones: “Break ins. Mercenaries. Secret Messages.”

Neal: “Just another day huh?”

Peter: “Welcome to life outside the van.”

Jones explains his relationship with Jimmy—they haven’t spoken in five years, since Jones went to Harvard Law after his tour of duty and Jimmy stayed in the military. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s wife, Isabelle (Rochelle Aytes), is at the FBI to give her statement to Diana. The team notices as Jones and Isabelle share a very awkward hello and she calls him CJ. Jones reluctantly fills them in—he and Isabelle almost got married. Yet, she’s now married to one of his oldest friends…definitely breaking some friendship rules there.

Isabelle mentions a man with the alias, “Striker”, assigned Jimmy to his recent assignment at a mine in South Africa. Also, the microdot from the postcard showed a hidden annex on a map of a mine in the same area. They decide they must track down Striker to find Jimmy.

Diana reports to Peter that DC art crimes has a potential hit on a Cezanne painting from the u-boat manifest. Neal secretly records the video of this meeting on his cell phone and later shows it to Mozzie, who reads Peter’s lips about the Cezanne. Mozzie is determined to find a way to sell the art from the treasure without tipping off the FBI.

The FBI learns the manager of the mine was murdered after she reported something suspicious. Barrett Dunne, Jimmy’s employer, is holding a reception for active and retired military personnel—they decide Jones will attend with Isabelle to try to identify Striker. At the banquet Jones, looking extremely dapper in his Navy dress whites, and Isabelle discover Striker is Commander Henry Van Horn (Brady Smith).

Sidenote—guest star Brady Smith is Tiffani Thiessen’s husband in real life.

Back to the recap—outside of the banquet, Peter notices Jimmy, who says, “no one can protect me,” drops a bullet and runs away.

At the FBI office, DC art crimes sends pictures of the Cezanne painting and it is not from the u-boat manifest. After this, Neal tells Mozzie that he believes Peter still has the manifest. He heads back to the FBI office that night to check it out, but Peter is still there and they end up discussing the case—they realize the bullet Jimmy dropped is filled with a mineral from the South African mine. Peter and Neal deduce that they are smuggling the mineral in other countries to avoid taxes.

Next, Peter wants to have a face to face with Van Horn. Van Horn is one cocky individual! He really gets under Jones’ skin and I can’t say I blame him. But Jones then says to Peter, “so how are we going to get this guy?”

Peter gets a wiretap for Van Horn’s cell phone and walks out of his office. This allows Neal to snoop in Peter’s office and makes a copy of a key using his gum. From the gum, Mozzie is able to make a real copy of the key and he believes it is for a somewhat new wall safe. They plot to break into the Burke’s home and find the safe. Before they go their separate ways, Mozzie asks Neal “what’s keeping you here?” Cut to Neal walking into his apartment and sadly looking at Sara’s luggage that she left behind. Instead of staying there, he goes to Jones’ apartment and they drink, talk, and bond.

Jones: “What does having it all mean to Neal Caffrey?”

Neal: “Never having to worry about money. Doing something that’s meaningful. Being surrounded by people I care about and respect. That’s pretty much the dream.”

Jones: “Screw you…you’re already living the dream. You’re the damn dream with a tracking anklet.”

Isabelle surprises Neal by showing up at Jones’ apartment. Neal leaves the two alone and she apologizes for getting Jones involved. They end up kissing but they stop when Jones’ phone rings. It’s Peter letting them know that Barrett Dunne has kidnapped Jimmy.

Peter reveals that they intercepted an email about the kidnapping. Van Horn is holding Jimmy at the Barrett Dunne building. Neal is going to pose as a Commander in the Navy to try to locate Jimmy in the building before the FBI shows up with the warrant. He also will be wearing a gadget that will clone Van Horn’s security card so Neal can freely search the building.

The plan goes smoothly and Neal, who looks handsome in the Navy dress whites (no surprise there), believes Jimmy is being held on the 9th floor. Peter and the FBI serve the warrant and begin to search the building. At the same time, Van Horn plans on leaving with Jimmy and disables the elevators plus jams the radios so the FBI can’t communicate with each other. He also notices Neal on his security cameras, tracks him down, and begins shooting at him with an arrow gun. Van Horn chases Neal through the building and corners him but luckily Jones shows up first to arrest Van Horn. Jones then finds and releases Jimmy. Later on, Isabelle and Jones share a private goodbye.

At the office, Jones agrees to a stakeout for that night with Peter. Neal calls Mozzie to alert him that their plan to break into the Burke’s house is a go. Moz takes Elizabeth out to an art gallery while Neal gets into the house. With Satchmo trailing him, he finds the safe in the Burke’s bedroom, cracks it, and finds the manifest plus a picture of all of them at the FBI office.

His phone rings and it’s Peter calling to check on Neal. Peter offers to talk with Neal about Sara and their relationship. Then Peter says, “I think you deserve some happiness. Whatever I can do to help you with that let me know.” They hang up and Mozzie calls to see if the manifest was in the safe. Neal obviously looks torn but shocks me by lying to Mozzie and saying the manifest wasn’t there.

Looks like what Jones said to Neal earlier about choices, that they are “sacrifices and inevitably that means giving up something you want for something you want more,” must have gotten to him. I’m happy to see Neal choosing his relationships and life in NYC over running away with the treasure.

Wow! This is without a doubt the best episode of the season so far. Jones needs to get out of the van more often! Sharif Atkins was phenomenal! Heading into the homestretch for this summer season. Two episodes left! And next week, my favorite White Collar villain, Matthew Keller (Ross McCall) returns.

Season 3, Episode 8 “As You Were” (original airdate July 26, 2011)

White Collar airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on USA Network.

Images courtesy of David Giesbrecht  and USA Network.

 

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