White Collar 2.15, "Power Play" Review

When you have two fantastic leads like White Collar does, that can get you through even the worst of episodes or any sort of gimmick. “Power Play” might use a gimmick device in its storytelling, but it is certainly not one of the series’ worst episodes. After last week’s middling and disappointing effort, “Power Play” is a tremendously strong and entertaining episode that sets up what should be an explosive finale. I was particularly impressed how this episode balanced the case of the week — with Peter and Neal switching roles/lives for a few days — and Sara’s return and the refocusing on the hunt for Vincent Adler. Usually, USA series wait until the end of a penultimate episode to set up what’s going to happen in the finale, but “Power Play” had a few scenes along the way that made the final pay-off feel earned enough.

Like I said, having Neal pretend to be Peter and Peter pretend to be Neal is a total gimmick, one that not all series could pull off with such grace and fun that White Collar does here. When well-executed, gimmicks can be fun and that’s most certainly the case here. As I watched this episode and totally enjoyed all the scenes with Diana and Jones hazing Peter for the various things he has to do while posing as Neal, I began thinking about the cast’s chemistry and how it compares to other television series. And honestly, I’m not really sure what other series features a group of people who get along so clearly and easily like White Collar does. When Diana and Jones are clowning Peter or when he gives some of it back to Neal when he talks about how “Peter” has “married up” with Elizabeth, we can totally tell that the cast is having a good time playing those scenes out and it completely adds to the believability of the bits. The identity swap could have been played as an awkward fish-out-of-water kind of tale, but the episode went for gags and laughs from the very beginning and it was never not funny. The plot itself worked really well, but it was so much more enjoyable because of those throwaway lines and bits about the swap. Read More...


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