It's all about family on this week's episode of White Collar: "Return To Sender"! Peter wants to step up with his ability to help around the house, and the opening scene shows him fixing, or rather, trying to fix, the garbage disposal in his kitchen. It is made pretty clear that Peter may have a little too much confidence in himself and Elizabeth does her best to bring him back to reality, but they are interrupted by a knock at the door.
Neal is thrilled to see Elizabeth, and she explains that she is back in NY to stay. She also tells Neal that Peter has gone all "Home Depot" around the house.
Peter and Neal confirm the deal about the Pink Panthers and Neal shows Peter the official contract that Mozzie helped him draft for the FBI. Neal makes it very clear that if the FBI doesn't sign the contract, he won't help catch the Panthers.
Peter tries to warn him that there is a large risk involved with him infiltrating, but Neal seems to think that he has everything planned out just fine.
Neal arrives at the meeting place, which seems to be another old building frame, and is patted down by a guard almost immediately. Viewers were shocked to see (as was Neal) that Keller is back! Keller acknowledges him, calling Caffrey the "catch of the day." Neal and Keller have some playful banter to try and each keep control of the conversation, but Neal soon learns that he has another test: to steal a collector's stamp from an art auction. He's told that if he doesn't get the stamp from Bianca, he's out of the Panthers.
Meanwhile, Peter does his best to persuade the FBI to sign Neal's contract and to convince them that the Panthers trust Caffrey. Peter ends the conversation with a bold remark: "You want to bring down the Pink Panthers? The contract's on your desk."
Peter meets up with Neal and learns about Keller's presence at the meet. They are convinced that he's still supposed to be in a Russian prison and Peter wants to put an end to the operation. Neal tries to save the mission, explaining that Keller must want something from him, which is why he didn't rat Neal out at the meet. Peter is furious and reminds Neal of what Keller did to his wife. In an attempt to calm him down, Neal promises Peter that he will bring Keller to him "on a silver platter," warning him that if the FBI takes Keller, the Panthers will scatter and Neal won't be able to get his freedom.
In a short meeting between Keller and Neal, Keller admits his need for Caffrey's skill and asks him to join their team so that the two of them can work together. For now, it seems as though Keller believes that Neal isn't connected to the FBI.
After confirming that his wife is being protected, Peter and Neal joke playfully about the "exhilaration" of stealing a singular stamp. Peter expresses his love for the collectors' items and Neal shakes his head, questioning how Peter was ever able to "have kissed a human female."
It is explained that the stamp has a printing error on it, which is why it's so valuable. The agents soon realize that Bianca's auction attendees are specifically invited and that they all must pass a screening test. They come across one man, Nathaniel (who doesn't have any public photos of himself), who is supposed to meet with Bianca for a screening that same day. Peter quickly arranges the meet so that Neal can take on a cover as Nathaniel.
Mozzie is staying with Elizabeth back at the house, and he comes to the conclusion that she's pregnant after she doesn't touch her glass of red wine. Elizabeth doesn't seem to upset by his realization, but she warns him not to tell Peter that he knows.
At the meet with Bianca, Neal learns that it wasn't Nathaniel who was supposed to do the meet, but his father, Elias. Peter overhears Bianca's comments from the surveillance truck and reluctantly walks into the scene to act as Neal's father. Even though Peter's comments are all improv, his statements about being a father in Nathaniel's (Neal's) life ring true to their actual relationship on the show.
He plays the part well and manages to get Neal to wait for him around the corner so that he can get an invite to the art auction of the two of them that night without Neal's help. There is some quirky father-son bickering involved, and when Peter meets up with Neal after his meet with Bianca, they joke about who the master is of the two of them.
Neal admits that Peter "isn't too shabby at improv" but they also now know that they won't have a location for the auction until an hour before the event.
As he's getting dressed for the auction, Neal tells Mozzie about Keller and Mozzie is doubtful that Keller is being completely truthful, wondering why Keller hasn't given Neal up. Neal makes a comment about Keller being so desperate that he doesn't notice "the ground shifting beneath his feet." Mozzie foreshadows that Neal is being deceived in that very same way.
Back at the house, Peter is very pleased to show Elizabeth that he fixed the disposal. He learns that the auction is at a private residence. Peter and Neal set out as father and son to the location.
At first, Neal comments that the "Panthers picked a man to do a boy's job," thinking that the theft will be very simple when he sees that there aren't any cameras and that there are plenty of escape routes. They assume the stamp will be in an inconspicuous case, but are proven wrong when they see that the stamp is in the main living room, protected in a large glass case with a laser perimeter.
Neal racks his brain for a plan and confidently decides that they are going to walk out of the apartment with the stamp by setting off the alarm and removing it from the case while the auction is happening. Peter seems nervous about the plan, but Neal causally responds by saying, "Take it easy, dad."
Once the auction begins, Neal plays into his cocky character and starts outbidding the others by breaking auction etiquette. Another bidder argues with Neal, stating that he doesn't have any class. Neal quietly mentions to Peter that his "dad" is going to need to stand up for his "son". Neal gets Peter to start a fight, and in the commotion, the alarm is set off. Bianca tells them to shut off the alarm and comes to a halt when she sees that the stamp has been taken from its case, yelling that no one can leave the apartment until she finds it.
The guards search Neal, still pretending to be Elias' son, Nathaniel, but they don't find anything. Neal suggests that they check Bianca, seeing as how she was auctioning off for a third party. The guards find the stamp's case in her purse and assume that she has in fact planned the fake theft.
Neal quickly shows Peter that he has the stamp, and the two of them leave the apartment without suspicion.
Because taking the stamp was just too easy, Neal is confronted with another problem, the FBI won't allow the use of the stamp in the meet with the Panthers because of its international ownership. The two of them also discuss Keller's paperwork and try to figure out why someone would want to break Keller out of prison and still make it look like he was there. Peter tries to convince Neal not to go through with the plan because and that he will still find a way for Neal to get his freedom, but Neal has other plans and says that he'll "get his own freedom when he takes down the Panthers."
Neal makes a fake stamp that he hopes will impress the Panthers, but Mozzie tries to talk him out of it, thinking that Keller will see the forgery and use it as evidence against Neal. They talk about Keller's prison paperwork and Neal realizes that he has been scratching his forearm -- suggesting that Keller his some kind of tracking device under his skin.
Keller examines the stamp and declares to the others that it is real and that Neal was successful. They are impressed that he could break through the impenetrable alarm. Neal realizes that he was being watched the whole time and that they set him up to fail.
The Panthers tell Neal that they know he was working with another man, but Neal brushes it off, explaining that the man was a "discreet trusted collaborator." The Panthers seem to buy it and let Neal go.
In a private conversation, Neal confronts Keller and tells him that he knows Keller is working for Interpol. Keller comes right back at Neal, telling him that he knows Peter Burke was the man working with him at the auction. Neal asks Keller what his angle is, and the men learn that they are after the same thing: freedom in exchange for the Panthers.
When Neal reports back to Peter, playing up the father-son role once more, Peter admits that he's impressed with Neal's actions, even though he doesn't agree with his decisions. Peter shows Neal that the contact was signed by the FBI and that if he brings down the Pink Panthers, he will be "home free." He wants to celebrate with two cigars, but Neal is unsure.
Walking out onto the porch, Peter jokes about installing a laser fence and continues to make comments about their father-son relationship. Neal suggests that Peter is taking his role play a little too far, but Peter confesses that he is actually expecting his first child. Neal is thrilled for him, saying, "Based on the 24 hours you were my dad, I'm pretty sure that kid just won the parent lottery." The episode concludes with the two men toasting to there future and smoking cigars together on the deck.
Personally, I thought that the father-son theme recurring throughout the episode helped tie the various characters and story lines together quite well. If you want to see the episode for yourself, you will be able to watch it in its entirety on the USA Network website.
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