Entertainment Magazine

Review #2582: White Collar 3.5: “Veiled Threat”

Posted on the 07 July 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Surprisingly, the first episode of the season to have absolutely no apparent connection with the myth-arc has ended up being the funniest and most entertaining episode of the season thus far. I don’t know how it happened, but it’s apparent right from the first case briefing that this is an above-average episode of “White Collar”.

Review #2582: White Collar 3.5: “Veiled Threat”

The fun starts when Peter starts picking volunteers for an undercover operation that involves a ritzy dating service that auctions off eligible men to the highest bidder, with the ultimate aim of getting a suspected black widow to buy one of the men as her next victim. Naturally, Neal is the first to “volunteer”. Jones is next to be roped in (a little more reluctantly than Neal), which was another sign that this was going to be a good episode. And to top it off, Peter caves to peer pressure and volunteers himself. The comedy of the situation is excellently mined. I might even go so far as to say that this episode ranks among the funniest that “White Collar” has ever offered.

The essence of the mission is that one of the three men is going to have to date the black widow, so the team can gather incriminating evidence against her. Amusingly, instead of being annoyed at Peter for volunteering, Eleanor becomes determined to see Peter win. Now that is support. Once Eleanor starts coaching Peter, it becomes pretty easy to predict that Peter will win. But that doesn’t make the subsequent speed dating and auction scene any less fun.

Now it’s important to note that, in this speed dating session that leads up to the auction, Neal, Peter, and Jones only want the black widow herself to bid on them. And this is where a lot of the funniest moments in the episode come from. Jones decides that his best tactic is to try and charm every girl in the house, so that he gets good word of mouth. Neal, however, decides to be as unappealing as possible to everyone but the black widow herself. But in his own words, Neal’s plan works “too well”. As predicted, Peter’s coaching by Eleanor and his natural genuinity pay off.

At this point, the episode could have easily started to lose steam. But it just barrels right along. It’s arguable that the speed dating/auction scenes were the highlight of the episode, but the rest of the episode is still a lot of fun. The tango scene is hilarious, not only because of Peter’s handling of the situation, but also because of Neal’s slight horror at what he perceives to be the end of everything, which gradually shifts to amused surprise when Peter pulls it off.

I’ve mentioned a lot in the past how much I enjoy seeing Peter doing more of the undercover work, taking Neal’s usual role. I think this may be Peter’s most daring undercover mission yet. He’s not as smooth and confident as Neal (which is where a lot of the humor comes from), but he seems to have natural talent in the area.

Of course, as much as I liked the episode, I still take issue with how little character development there was, as well the complete lack of myth-arc material. The development of Peter as an undercover agent is enjoyable, and I want to see more of this in the future. As I’ve said many times, the role reversal that puts Peter in the con role and Neal in the cop role is a great concept. But it’s still being presented in too much of a nonchalant, superficial manner. I want to see the actual consequences of this shift in the character dynamic, rather than it just being used to put the characters in comedic situations.

Rating: 8/10

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