Ever hear of an Elevator Pitch? That's where people summarize their ideas or job history and qualities in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator to the lobby. This is an Elevator Recap for this episode of White Collar. Ready? Going down. Oh, please don't put in those earbuds...
After carefully inspecting the home of the woman that Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) thought was Rebecca Lowe (Bridget Regan), he and FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) decided to play things like he didn't know what the situation was to avoid spooking Lowe. He was going to meet her for breakfast while the FBI continued searching Lowe's place and adding bugs, but she showed up at his place early and after a quick call by Caffrey, pretending he was going to be late which alerted Burke that it was OK to continue searching her home. An idiot FBI agent dropped a file on a tripwire on the door and it alerted Lowe, but Burke's quick thinking of leaving a Chinese delivery menu made her think it was the menu that set it off. Oh yeah, and Caffrey had told Lowe that he was falling in love with her to buy more time before she left, turning her into a near-giggling schoolgirl.
Burke and Caffrey decided to change the angle and had her come in to the office, where Burke told Lowe that he thought it was Caffrey who had murdered Curtis Hagen (Mark Sheppard) and that she should keep her distance. She then quickly called Caffrey and met him at a nearby park - with about 50,000 undercover agents and Caffrey having a directional mic pen. She was about to blurt out who she was but then spotted the undercovers and fled, comandeering a taxi.
Now that her cover was completely blown, Burke and Caffrey were examining her apartment - with a brief interelude of Lowe sending a warning shot through a window that grazed the debonair con man - and found her go bag with money. After that, they found the gun that she had used to kill Agent David Siegel (Warren Kole) - it was in a construction site that had just had cement poured on the day Siegel died. Burke sent Caffrey home - telling him to stay off the grid. But Caffrey contacted Lowe and then met her (whose real name was Rachel Turner, a traitorous M-5 agent), at a location that she had texted after he promised to give up where the diamond was in exchange for the blackmail video that Hagen had taken at an abandoned church and lured her to kiss him by pretending he didn't want the blackmail video. He handcuffed her to him and destroyed the thumb drive with the video. She tried to escape, but the FBI caught her.
All's well that ends well, right? Burke finalized his going to Washington, telling Caffrey and then his wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), who had been in D.C. in hiding after Burke found Lowe/Turner had a file on her. They toasted to new beginnings. Elsewhere, Caffrey and Mozzie (Willie Garson) were toasting to trying to find the diamond without Lowe/Turner. Caffrey then got a call from the woman herself where she promised she would see him again. Dun Dun Dun.
OK, that was an Elevator Recap where I was a jerk and pushed every button so we'd stop on every floor on the way.
Caffrey's Level of Secrecy
Fairly low, but he did decide that he was going to forge ahead in trying to find the diamond since Burke was moving to Washington. It's going to be interesting to see how he handles dealing with Agent Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) as his main handler. Jones, while showing some sympathy to what Caffrey was going through in finding out that he had been conned, isn't as trusting as Burke.
Silly Plot Devices
Lowe suddenly recognizing an FBI agent in the park by the way they stopped acting normal and blatantly standing there with a sign saying, "HI. I AM AN UNDERCOVER COP WATCHING YOU." Of course, it was to keep the plot going since it was halfway through the show, but it always irritates me.
Mozzie's Quirkiness Level
Medium. He was being supportive of Caffrey in the beginning as he was processing that he had been had by Lowe/Turner. "I even profiled her," he said. When Cafrey said he had reached out to the con lady, he said, "This may end with me reciting Proust over your grave." In the end, when he was trying to remember the equation that could lead to the location of the diamond, he did ask for complete silence and rosemary while he meditated. All in all, he was fairly muted this episode.
Caffrey's Relationship Status
What relationship status? He was just completely taken by a woman he had fallen for. Caffrey will probably be off the singles market for a minimum of three episodes into the next season. Right now, his status on Facebook would be "It's Complicated".
Burke Self-Torture Level
Low. He just closed the case on the dead Agent Siegel and he's moving to an even more challenging job in Washington fairly soon. He's happy now. Eventually something's going to get him back in Manhattan, but it'll probably be at some point next season.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
Follow Thomas Leupp on Twitter.
Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter.