White Collar – Recap & Review – Family Business

photo: usa

photo: usa

White Collar
Family Business

Original Air Date: Jan 22, 2013

Jules – News Editor

After a few months away, we’re finally back with new Collar episode! This show’s always focused on family, one way or other, and this season we’re getting to learn more about Neal’s family history.

Last we saw, Neal discovered Sam is really his dad. Will hearts be broken now that the truth is out? So much to get to in tonight’s episode.

We pick up right where we left off. Neal grills James about not telling him who he really was. James nonchalantly replies he didn’t think Neal wanted his dad to walk through the door after all these years. Yeah, but still… James also says he didn’t kill the cop even though he confessed. He did; however, do something else.

In voiceover flashbacks, we learn James was caught stealing money at a bust, but instead of turning him in, the supervising officer has James do favors for the Flynns where it went from bad to worse and Ellen didn’t know a thing. Speaking of Ellen, she and real Sam had the makings of a good case for who framed James, who was in WITSEC, got out, but only Sam would talk to him. Sam’s only connection with Ellen was a PO Box. He told James and one day a postcard with Ellen’s email showed up in the box. Ellen never knew James’ true identity before she died, but he wanted to tell her the truth, he just never got the chance. Awww.

Meanwhile, James’ attacker, Flynn Jr, has been spending the last 10 years rebuilding his family’s business – getting things back to where they were – by making bootleg whiskey, a Flynn family tradition. Nice, except the stuff the guys get is horrible. In steps Neal, who says he can make a better tasting whiskey (of course!) for a low price and wants to infiltrate the Flynns. Only thing is, they’ll only be able to get Flynn on booze counterfeiting, not murder since there’s no evidence…yet.

Neal’s not happy, more so when Peter says he’s too close and doesn’t want him on it. But this is Neal and he’s determined to show Peter he can do it, so of course he gets to, plus Neal’s already got a plan. First up, making a great fake whiskey. With some help from Mozzie and June, Neal goes about faking a very expensive bottle. Love seeing the boys drunk! You have to taste it to fake it. Neal lets Moz in on this real plan, for Ellen. So drunk Moz and Neal drink to making sure Flynn goes down for murder.

To get into Flynn’s radar, Elizabeth secures Neal a booth at an exclusive micro distillery tasting where he nails his fake Shackleton, but Flynn isn’t interested right away. It’s not until Elizabeth (who always seems to be the savior when she’s pulled in) makes up something about faking a license that catches Flynn eye.

Peter wants a follow-up confrontation with James, this time over dinner. At first, Neal decides against it, but with some convincing from Moz, decides to go and we get the rest of the James’ story.

James first encountered the Flynns when he wanted out, but was threatened with an old gun Flynn used to murder a cop with that’s stashed in an old whiskey box. Eventually Flynn relented as long as James did once last job. He said James’ supervising officer would have it, but when James gets there, he’s shot with James’ spare firearm. Timed it perfectly for Ellen to see.

At dinner Neal gets a call from Flynn and he’s “back in the family business.” Flynn doesn’t cop to selling, (says it’s illegal) and whiskey faking is just a hobby and wants Neal to help fake 55 more bottles of the whiskey his family used to make. When Flynn shows Neal the bottle he’ll make, he notices the whiskey box James mentioned earlier, or is it?

Flynn wants to start in a few weeks since he still needs a glass blower. Disappointed, Neal says he can do it too, but with help from a friend, so in comes Moz! Love when they work together! Going off plan, Neal sneaks off to see the box, inside the same type gun that killed Ellen. Neal almost gets caught, but he’s Neal, so he talks his way out of it. When Neal tells Peter about the box and the gun, he really just wants to prove his dad is telling the truth.

Neal tells James about the gun and wanting to take it, but James says they should stick with the plan. In the last part of James’ story, we learn Ellen’s digging showed James was indeed framed and also revealed a big cover up. The Flynns were actually working FOR the cops. Intrigue! Some very high ups on the force are controlling things. Instead of turning evidence in, a mystery man called threatening to kill everyone James cared about unless Ellen stopped investigating immediately. To protect everyone, they turned state’s evidence on the Flynns and went into WITSEC. Unfortunately, James’ wife thought he was a wife killer and he was separated from Neal. So James gave up everything to get them safe. Don’t know who the phone call was, but maybe Flynn knows.

To get Flynn for good, the final step is for Peter to go undercover from a member of the Flynn’s old heyday whiskey distributor family. James helps solidify Peter’s identity. Peter meets with Flynn, who says he filmed Neal and Moz’s process and plans to train his own guys. Plus, Flynn says they’ve seen too much and tells a guy to take care of them while Peter’s trying not to freak out too much. He does step in to say he’d love to meet the two while also saying the signal “then looks like we have a deal.” It confuses Flynn and Peter takes the opportunity to pull his gun on him.

When questioned, Flynn claims he’s never seen that gun before, but ballistic matches it as Ellen’s murder weapon. They got him! But it’s short lived because someone got to him first. Ahh! Flynn’s been stabbed to death by a prisoner. Now they lost him and whatever he knows. Who is Flynn working with? Because they and the FBI are after one thing – Ellen’s evidence box. Making James not safe here.

Luckily, Neal is Ellen’s next of kin, so when the case is wrapped, hopefully he’ll get the key. Neal asks James to leave, but temporarily to on of Moz’s many safe houses. Neal does still want him to be a part of his life, though. Awwwwwww! James thought he’d never see Neal again and he gives Neal a hug and they both well up and so do I…

Favorite Moments and Quotes

Favorite Mozzie moment: Learning Mozzie lost a bet (and a $200k bottle of wine) to June by playing Highstakes Candyland. Ha!

Lines of the week: Diana: Of course your resume includes whiskey counterfeiting.
Mozzie: We have a lot of work to drink.

What an episode! Wasn’t sure where this episode would end, but I didn’t expect that ending. I’m happy we learned a lot more about James and the Flynns and I knew getting the whole truth wasn’t going to come that easily. Will James learn who set him up? Who is the higher up? Who was the mystery man caller? There’s my TwoCents, share your thoughts and comments below.

Next week: Brass Tacks

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2 Responses to White Collar – Recap & Review – Family Business

  1. raybelle says:

    I loved this episode– it’s a great demonstration of the surrogate family Peter has created for Neal, and how Mozzie and June (yea for June!) are vital within it. And you just got to love any plot that includes El– the strong marriage between her and Peter is my favorite part of the show (it really is so unique to have a screen-present, stable marriage in a show)

    Sad though– did anyone else get the giant “foreshadowing” feeling when Neal admitted he wanted his dad in his life? crud

    • jules says:

      I totally got that feeling too when Neal was hoping for his dad to be in his life. But I’m optimistic; I am enjoying seeing Treat Williams on TV again.

      And who can’t love El when she’s in the case? She and Peter are one of the strongest couples on TV.

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