“White Collar” mini-cap: “Honor Among Thieves” (4.05)

 
 

So let’s all take a moment of silence while we mourn the loss of the lesbian wedding we were all hoping we would get on White Collar. OK, moment over. Let’s talk about this week’s episode “Honor Among Thieves.” We got the beautiful Rebecca Mader (Lost) blackmailing Neal into committing a crime, taking Diana out on a date, and kissing Diana. We got layers of betrayal, even for a show based on questions of trust and betrayal, this one was a doozy. We got answers about Diana’s life outside of work and an end for the shegulls nest we might not like.

This week we start with Neal attending the funeral for Ellen Parker, witness protection member and Neal’s last connection to his dirty cop father. Ellen promised to help Neal get more answers about Daddy Dearest. As she lay dying Ellen told Neal to “trust Sam.” All Neal knows about Sam is that he was an undercover cop who may be able to help Neal fill in the blanks about his possibly a murderer daddy. Of course Neal and Papa Bear Peter see a shadowy figure at the funeral but accidentally scare him off by shouting and running after him. Not your most suave move gentlemen. Neal wants answers and thinks he will find them in the U.S. Marshall’s file.

Peter hits a dead end with the Marshalls who don’t want to share their toys with a criminal. Neal, who is supposed to be on bed rest or something, shows up at the museum the team is staking out. In a stroke of good luck, a janitor found a black box that would have shut down the security system and Burke’s crew is hoping they can nab the thief. Neal wants in because he’s an art aficionado but isn’t allowed in the museum without an FBI chaperone. You steal several dozen priceless works of art and now they won’t let you peruse the collection? So unfair!

So Neal goes back to the van and hangs out when Diana pops in bitching about how much she hates polyester. She’s dressed as a museum docent and Neal starts sulking. “I want to play docent! I know so much more about art than Diana, it’s so unfair!” However, Diana schools Neal’s ass on his silly pop quiz. Sit down Neal, Diana’s got this covered.

Neal and Peter roam the museum chatting about spending the weekend on Fire Island (sadly, too far outside Neal’s radius) and potential suspects when Peter spots a woman sneakily timing the guards. Peter tells Neal to hang out with big sister Diana while he investigates. You can watch what happens next.

 

Oh Diana, you’re giving it all away. The painting might as well be a big old inkblot for all you have revealed about yourself. “Her collapsing form being dragged down by a shadow” and “a heartbreaking sense of melancholy?” Oh Diana, you need a hug. She tries to get one with a terrible pick up line.

Thankfully, it looks like Abigail is game in spite of Diana’s game being more than a little rusty from years of domestic bliss with that shadow dragging her under.

Abigail scores Diana’s digits and Peter and Jones speak for all of us when they ask who the hell tries to pick up chicks during a heist? Neither of them has to answer. Looks like Diana just met her very own, very hot, British, female version of Neal Caffrey. Now she gets to see how her poor straight sisters live when Sexy McThief comes around.

Abigail parades her win with the hottie docent in front of Neal who she recognizes from his photo is “Stickyfingers Monthly.” They chitchat about stealing art, as one does when casing an art museum, before she walks away, creates a diversion and then slips through the FBI’s grasp. Curses!

Back at HQ we get some background on Abigail who is a personal shopper for the super-rich who has moved on to stealing to get what her clients want. When Diana calls her smart Neal teases her about having a crush. Diana’s face recalls an expression not seen since middle school and she practically whines “I do not!” Oh Diana, nobody believes you.

Any doubt that Diana is the smitten kitten is erased when she leaves the conference room to set up a date with Abigail, who has been texting Diana all morning. Neal suggests Diana stay in the room for the call so they can all learn more about the suspect. He’s such an apple shiner. Diana gives Peter a “Daaaad, do I have to?” look before waltzing outside to make the call. Neal tells Jones that Diana is nervous because she’s playing with her hair. Thank god they have a super sleuth on the team because that would have escaped our notice otherwise! She does look mighty excited to talk to this particular criminal.

Peter breaks the news to Neal that he isn’t going to get much from the Marshalls and Neal loses his shit so we can see how desperate he is to get those files. The next day Neal and Mozzie are outside the Marshall’s building when who to our wondering eyes should appear but Abigail and she’s got a proposition for Neal: He steals the art she wants and she gets him the file he needs. Neal is very torn, he wants the file and the answers it contains but he knows that working with Abigail and stealing art from under Peter’s nose could be the last straw.

While the team sits around getting ready for Diana’s date with Abigail, Christie calls. Diana admits she hasn’t told her fiancee about the undercover mission, or by extension the smoking hot British thief, and when she leaves to take the call, Neal comments on how unhappy she looks on the phone. The shegulls nest doesn’t look very comfortable these days.

Neal and Peter are staking out the date in the van and doing an excellent illustration of Cher Horowitz’s theory on body language. They’ve even crossed their legs toward one another. Adorable.

Meanwhile Diana and Abigail are chatting inside the restaurant about Abigail’s job as a personal shopper. Peter is appalled to learn that she passed off a homeless dude’s painting as a masterpiece to the tune of $200,000. Peter wants to charge her with fraud and Neal wants to give her a high five. Diana is enjoying herself on this fake date more than I think we’ve ever seen before.

Abigail calls Diana out for hiding something and Diana admits that she has been “seeing someone for a little while.” She tells Abigail that things between them are not good and that they don’t even talk to each other and that they simply exist next to each other. Neal and Peter feel super awkward in the van as they hear Diana pouring out the details of her crappy relationship with Christie. Abigail is not sorry to hear about these problems as they put her next in line to make out with Diana the docent. Diana happily offers to take Abigail to the museum for a personal tour.

Abigail takes a rain check and they agree to meet up the next day at the museum. In the meantime Abigail takes the opportunity to drop in on Neal to let him know that she got the file. He tells her he doesn’t want it and then she drops the bomb that she planted a few of his hairs at the scene of the crime and tells him that if he won’t steal the sculpture he’ll go down for the file theft. Ooh our boy is in a real pickle this time!

The next day, Diana is getting ready in the FBI van. Neal tells her she looks great and she shoots back that she’s not trying to look great but simply wants to look the part. She tells Neal that she knows he heard what she said on her date but that she was just playing a role. He notes that the best lies come from a place of truth and Diana, cutting a look at Jones, tells him that it’s not the time or place to talk about her tale of woe with the good doctor. He sweetly tells her that he is happy to talk any time.

Peter arrives and calls Neal out for casing the Marshall’s building. Neal admits to being tempted but says he knows that Peter’s way is the best way. Cut to Mozzie inside leaving the things Neal needs to steal a priceless work of art. So Neal means Peter’s way is the best if it involves committing a felony under the nose of the FBI.

Abigail arrives at the museum and she and Diana flirt as Diana takes her to the back room for a private tour. As soon as they get into the back room, Abigail surprises Diana in a most welcome manner.

While they enjoy their sweet lady kisses in the back room Mozzie starts jamming the security cameras and Neal, Peter, and the cavalry rush in to the museum. Neal disappears and steals the sculpture using some nifty tricks and gadgets cooked up by Mozzie, who is doing his best impression of Q in this episode.

While Peter and Jones go over the footage from the robbery Neal heads home leaving Peter to realize that Neal isn’t on the footage. Neal went directly from the van to the site of the theft without passing go, whether he collected swiped $200 is still up for debate. As Neal packs up the sculpture to hand over to Abigail the next day he relates his guilty conscious to Mozzie, who convinces Neal he did the right thing.

Diana shows up to Chez Caffrey later that night, looking like someone stole her puppy and tells Neal she’s going to need a glass of wine the size of her head. Sure she’s been undercover many times before but never had something happen like what happened with Abigail. She admits she told Abigail the truth on their date but that she hadn’t realized it was the truth until the words came out of her mouth. She tells Neal that she enjoyed pretending to be single and knowing that because it was for work she didn’t have to feel guilty about it. Neal tells her that if she wants to stop running from her problems she’s going to have to give something up.

In a show based on issues of trust and betrayal Diana’s self-betrayal is a fascinating twist. The show revolves around the will he-won’t he storyline of Neal betraying Peter’s trust. They are the Ross and Rachel of the show and we’re never quite sure if they will make it in the end or if Neal will, metaphorically, screw the girl in the copy shop.

There is great tension in never knowing if he is going to do the right thing or if he is going to let the team down. Diana has always been the antithesis of Neal. Diana has always been steady, dependable. Her identity is wrapped up in doing the right thing, being the best agent she can, catching the bad guys, being immune to the foibles that trip the rest of us up. In this episode she fell short of that.

This episode showed Diana being betrayed by her heart again. She wanted that newness, she wanted anything other than the woman she had at home, the woman she promised to marry. It was a betrayal of the steady, unflinching person she thought she was. She is surprised to learn how truly unhappy she was with Christie and how easy it was for her to pretend to be single, to date, and to enjoy the company of another woman. For a woman who doesn’t trust easily, she looked utterly lost after losing trust in herself.

Our feelings don’t always match up to the people we think we are. Certainly that is true for many of us when we come to terms with being gay. We may feel betrayed by our hearts when our minds are telling us that we are not “supposed” to love other women. Diana is secure in being gay, it’s never been questioned on the show, but it’s refreshing to see her vulnerable side as she goes through a similar moment of her heart and body betraying what her mind says is the right thing. I can only hope that this new, more vulnerable and infinitely more interesting, Diana sticks around.

Back in the land of heists, Peter calls Jones and Diana back to the office where he tells them that Neal went straight for the sculpture that afternoon. Diana looks ready to kill Neal. She tells Peter and Jones that she and Christie broke up, on Neal’s advice, and she wonders if Neal was lying to her about having to give something up and is sickened with herself for taking his advice. On the plus side, pissed off Diana might be my new favorite thing in the world. I wouldn’t have been shocked if the episode ended with her putting a bullet in his ass. For his part, Peter is ready to put Neal away for good when he delivers the sculpture the next day.

At the drop, Neal gets Abigail to admit that she was blackmailing him before refusing to take the file from her. Peter looks so happy that his baby boy is all grown up and not taking possession of stolen goods. He almost wets himself when Neal calls to tell Peter where he can find Abigail and the stolen sculpture. Peter and Neal have a nice father-son moment when Neal claims Peter wouldn’t have believed him if he told him about the blackmail and Peter wishes Neal had given him the chance.

Diana gazes at Abigail through one way glass looking every bit the conflicted Special Agent. Agents don’t normally ogle the suspects but Diana is certainly enjoying the view.

She’s happy to hear that Neal finally gave something up by not taking the file when he had the chance. Maybe pissed off Diana isn’t sticking around. In the end, Neal gets off without going to jail and gets the file from Peter. Peter is left wondering if Neal was running one big con the whole time.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you sad about Diana and Christie breaking up or are you thrilled at the idea of Diana dusting off her game and trying the dating pool? Emily Proctor (West Wing, CSI:Miami) has just been announced as a guest for two episodes later in the season, I for one wouldn’t mind Agent Berrigan dating Ainsley Hayes.

 
 

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