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Moment of Goodness

Moment of Goodness: Peter and Neal Get Back on Track, White Collar “Upper West Side Story” 

Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/USA Network

Peter and Neal have gone through a lot together. They started out adversaries but once Neal was forced to strap on that anklet and start working for Peter solving white collar crimes, their relationship transitioned from coworkers to friends who learned to trust each other. Season 3 has been one of turmoil when it comes to Peter and Neal. First, there were the secrets they were both keeping from each other. Things between them jumped to a whole new level when Peter found out Neal was in possession of the U-Boat treasure. Talk about awkward. On top of that, Neal was thisclose to hightailing it out of town with the goods. Fortunately, he realized what he truly wanted was right there in New York City. Unfortunately, by the time he came to this realization, Elizabeth had been kidnapped. In the mid-season premiere called “Checkmate,” Peter, Neal and Mozzie worked together in conjunction with Diana and Jones to find Elizabeth and put Keller in prison. So what happens next? Will Peter and Neal be able to fix things between them?Right off the bat in “Upper West Side Story,” Neal’s trying to make that happen. He buys Peter coffee and slips a couple of prime Yankees tickets in with it for good measure. But the federal agent can’t forget Neal’s misdeeds — he reels them off while they walk to work. It’s a key time because Burke has to go on record with the whole Keller and the treasure situation and he knows Keller taking the blame for everything is a total lie. So it’s either come clean about it all and implicate Neal or keep the ex-thief’s name out of it completely and thereby ensure Neal’s case for commutation of his sentence.

The case-of-the-week was a good one that took both Peter and Neal going undercover at a upper crust New York high school called Manhattan Prep — Peter as a dad looking for a school for his son; Neal inadvertently takes on the job of substitute teacher. Can you imagine walking into your class and seeing Matt Bomer/Neal as your teacher? Needless to say, the girls absolutely fell in instant crush with the guy. And why not? He was wearing glasses and reciting poetry with just the right emotion. It was part Dead Poets Society (which the show made reference to) and it was part Indiana Jones. You know the part I’m talking about right? When Harrison Ford’s teaching a class at the beginning of the movie and the girls are all staring at him in total lust and awe. One of Dr. Jones’ students even wrote “Love You” on her eye lids. I half expected something like that to happen in this White Collar episode.

Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/USA Network

Anyway, Peter and Neal worked brilliantly together and, ultimately, Neal had to save Peter from the bad guy. There was no sexy gladiator moment like the action that went down in “Checkmate,” but in “Upper West Side Story,” it was nice to see them get the job done and get it done well. Even with that little hiccup of Peter stubbornly confronting Neal in front of his students after the fed learned the felon turned sudden substitute teacher. As far as Peter was concerned, Neal had no business doing this.

So, after all that, the Moment of Goodness came at the end of the episode. Peter had already given his statement to the powers that be regarding the Keller case — and he didn’t rat his partner out. Instead, what he said brought a bit of a tear to my eye. Here’s the exchange:

Neal: “I know I complicated your life.”
Peter: “Stop. Don’t say anything else.”
Neal:  “Can I say thank you?”
Peter: “I told them the truth.”
Neal: “But you didn’t tell them everything.”
Peter: “What you did on this case. How you carried yourself…makes me believe this partnership can work.”
Neal: “I know what this opportunity means. Trust me.”
Peter: (Peter gives back the Yankees tickets) “They’re nice. But they’re not what matter to me.”

It feels — to me anyway — that Peter and Neal are back on track. I hope this is true. Because working together isn’t just enough. I want them to trust each other too. “Upper West Side Story” is one of my favorite White Collar episodes of the season, especially for this Moment of Goodness. We’ve been waiting for the two to get back on the same page. And I think we got it.

White Collar airs Tuesdays on USA Network at 10/9c.

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