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S01.E03: Book of Hours

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Episode 3, "Book of Hours."


In the pilot Peter spent a lot of time telling Neal "no." In the second episode he went to bat for Neal by convincing Hughes to try things Neal's way (with the party) and even Peter stepped a little outside his own boundaries by using Tara and Neal as bait, sending them to the restaurant with Tara in the infamous dress in order to get Gavotte's attention. But I think this is the first episode where Peter actually nudges Neal to do something outside the FBI parameters.


Peter: I can't do much of anything. Ruiz is not willing to share the case file.

Neal: So where's that leave us?

Peter (significantly): Like I said, I can't do much of anything.

Neal: (thoughtful pause) Wow, you know getting a little chilly, by this water, aren’t you? Think I can I borrow your jacket? (Peter gives him a look) I swear to you Peter, under no circumstances will I impersonate the FBI.


Cut to Mozzie wearing the jacket. (Heh.)


Over the course of the series, the lines that Neal and Peter each cross or don't cross get blurred, so it's interesting to see where it all started.


I love Mozzie's humor in this episode, conning the cop into letting him into the mob guy's apartment, effortlessly shooting sarcasm right back at Neal when Neal teases him about his FBI "toilet-swabbing" timeframe, and sharing this hilarious little bon mot:


Neal: Now you look pretty comfortable in that FBI windbreaker. Maybe it's time to consider a new career path.

Mozzie: No, I prefer to keep my soul.


Nice symbolism in this episode. The stolen 'Book of Hours' is a religious artifact, and all through this episode Peter has to trust his instincts and hope that Neal won't screw him over. As Elizabeth tells him, he has to take a 'leap of faith.' So while Hughes is concerned that Neal will steal the book, and Agent Ruiz of Organized Crime doesn't care if Neal gets shot on the job (and even threatens Neal by saying he'd let the mob take him home), Peter reluctantly stands up for Neal and hopes he'll do the right thing when the moment calls for it.


I think it's the first time we see Peter really nervous about it, even seems visually uncomfortable about Ruiz's accusation that Neal might be conning him, showing he's not quite there yet when it comes to trusting Neal. They have a long way to go at this point in their partnership, but I like that because it's realistic and provides a stepping stone for their relationship to develop.


I like the episode. I think it's interesting, I like the tension throughout, the showdown where Neal is almost shot were it not for the thick book saving his life, and there are some funny moments that tickle. Like Neal mocking Mozzie's ability to test the wine bottle properly in his 'lab' aka the storage space, and Ruiz getting disgusted by Neal's 'thorough' pat-down of the suspect Maria (and Maria's close scan of Neal).


I also like the Elizabeth-Peter relationship in this episode. I like that she gets involved in the discussion of the case and ends up helping in a small way. She's also funny, showing a bit of a saucy intense side when she comes home bitching out one of her vendors on the phone, and again when Peter asks if Neal thinks Maria the suspect will take the bait and go out with Neal and Elizabeth immediately answers yes. The look Peter gives her, and the nonchalant "Well, what do you want? He's good-looking" sort of shrug she gives him in return is really funny.


And Neal's shell game example is entertaining too. Especially when Peter starts dictating which pieces should stand for which players in the case: "Make Maria the salt shaker." Neal, a little snappish: "She's the coffee mug, okay?" LOL.


And of course, the relationship between Peter and Neal takes another baby step forward when Neal is almost shot. I like that Peter yells out, "Man down! Man down!" as if Neal is a member of his FBI team. Good stuff!


Side question: does anyone know, is this the only time Ruiz appears in the show? I didn't like him, but I liked the tension he brought to the White Collar team, stirring up the waters around them, creating doubt in Hughes and Peter. He seems like a good character to use naturally as a troublemaker for Peter and Neal. And as I mentioned above, it's clear he has no care whatsoever for Neal's well-being, so it would have been an interesting move to have him have to work with Caffrey again. He's the polar opposite of Peter and has no interest in trusting or befriending a con.

Edited by sinkwriter
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