Entertainment Magazine

Review #3661: White Collar 4.7: “Compromising Positions”

Posted on the 30 August 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Matthew Negrete
Directed by Paul Holohan

While not exactly the big myth-arc episode I was hoping for, “Compromising Positions” offers up another entertaining case-of-the-week, with one scene that ought to go down as one of the funniest (and awkward) moments in the entire show. But we’ll get to that a bit later. The episode starts off with the anticipated meeting between Neal and Sam. It doesn’t go very well. Sam gives Neal no answers, only vaguely alluding to a bigger conspiracy of police officers who have moved on and up the ladders of society.

Review #3661: White Collar 4.7: “Compromising Positions”

From this point on, Neal and Mozzie focus on tracking Sam down again so Neal can make another attempt to ally with Sam. Not surprisingly, their activities end up interfering with the case-of-the-week. This plot point is almost becoming a bit stale, but I do like how it plays into development of the relationship between Neal/Mozzie and Peter. It says something that Mozzie actually suggests bringing in Peter to aid them in tracking down Sam. And Peter’s increasingly shady activities say just as much about how far he’s come.

I appreciated the refreshingly unusual introduction to this case. Instead of everyone meeting at the familiar meeting room at White Collar Division, things start out with Peter on the witness stand, testifying as a key witness against a slimy real estate fraudster. When the prosecuting lawyer balks during the hearing, Peter and the gang must leap to his aid and salvage his case. I enjoyed the running gag over Neal’s continued assertions that testifying is a con, which naturally results in Neal taking the stand during the climax.

This episode marks the introduction of a female “fixer”, who proves to be the main obstacle in the investigation, and has a certain amount of potential to recur. “White Collar” doesn’t always have the greatest track record as far as allowing interesting characters to re-appear (though there are some good exceptions), but they’d be smart to bring back both Landon Shepherd and our Culper spy from last episode: Tempest.

This episode isn’t a “laugh-a-minute” affair like some of the best comedy episodes in the past have been, but it does have what may be one of the most memorable comedy scenes in the entire show. As it turns out, Sara Ellis is a client of Shepherd’s. So to create friction between Shepherd and Delancey (the criminal the gang is going after), Neal comes up with the idea of faking a set of photos of Sara and Peter having an affair. The resulting scene, with Elizabeth coaching Peter’s acting and Neal playing the role of overly enthusiastic photographer, is as hilarious as it is cringe-inducing.

I think the show could really use another big reveal right now, but this method of doling out the mythology in small bits (and then saving the big whammies for the finales and mid-season finales) is standard operating procedure for “White Collar”. The season has taken some steps toward becoming more serialized, most notably in the two-part season opener and Peter’s time away from his desk. But overall, it’s not far off from the norm. I’d love to see more, but I’m just happy to have a season that compares favorably with the first three, easily beating out the inferior third season.

Score: 8/10

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