tinnuial: (BAMF)
[personal profile] tinnuial
***Spoiler Alert***

So I saw the White Collar season 3 premiere last night. Initially, I really enjoyed it. Great storytelling, and it sets up the season for one long twisty ride back to bromance. I hope. I know, I know. They've said it over and over, that trust is always going to be tenous between Neal and Peter. Matt Bomer called it a poker game in a recent interview. But I'm a squealing fangirl and I like it when everybody loves everybody and all is right with the world, though that would make for a rather boring TV series. After thinking about the episode, I have a few issues.

Off the top of my head:


- Pretty purple scarf! and pretty mancandy wearing it.
- Surprised and not surprised that it was Moz who Did It.
- FENCING. OMG this made me all warm inside because I'm a fencer, or I was, and now watching this makes me want to go back to the piste. Also makes me wonder what Neal's backstory is. Fencing isn't a common sport, and takes a long time to get good at. I was a bit confused why Neal says he's a fan of the French grip when they were using (unblunted) sabres. He usually fences epee? Also pretty sure they weren't following the rules for sabre fencing (wasn't that a fleche, Neal?) In any case, the man sings, paints, sculpts, (breaks into bank vaults), fences, (forges bonds) speaks many languages etc etc... Does he still have that bakery? I would just die if he played the piano or mmmm the cello.
- Snarky Peter "Souvenir of Neal Caffrey's imperfect moment"
- Neal's tie drawer and Diana helping him pick colours (Squee!)
- Cindy's back. Gosh she's so pretty. Phoebe Cates lol. Eyebrow raise at June allowing her granddaughter to risk public indecency to help Neal and Moz break into a place. Though, she might be the kind to just find that sort of thing....funny.
- MOAR JONES YES! Also poor baby got roughed up. Is also much better than Peter at lockpicking, but needs to work on surveillance skills.
- The Oceans 11 Hat and Umbrella scene "Did I win?" haaa so cute.
- Neal gives up his escape to freedom to save Jones. Goes a ways to redeeming himself and his actions this episode.
- "No suits on the island!" Moz, you get all the best lines. There were more. And I can't remember them now.
- Pretty new kitchen for the Burkes. Fabulous remodelling.

Not Like:

- Neal lying to everyone. I know, poker game. The writers want to remind us that Neal really is a criminal, has done bad things and is still capable of doing bad things. Don't mean I like it.
- Neal being so easily bamboozled by Moz into just leaving. But to be fair, he did look conflicted, several times, and wanted to "take it slow"
- Neal forged that scrap of art in what, minutes? He's good, but that good? These things gotta dry first right? Even my acrylics go overnight to dry.
- Still am of the thought that it is waaaaay too much of a coincidence that the scrap of Neal's Chrysler Building lands just by Peter and he recognises it. I know I sure wouldn't. But I'm not nearly so BAMF like our Agent Burke. Also Moz is too paranoid to consider putting Neal's paintings into the warehouse as decoys. Explosions are never perfect. There will always be trace. This doesn't seem in character.
- Money coming out of the vents makes for a fancy scene, but well....kinda silly? I thought these people were on a time crunch.
- I am uncomfortable with Neal and Moz being so at ease with fencing (different kind) the looted art for quick cash. From the few episode reactions I've seen, and the twitter storm I heard about, some people are really really upset about it all. I'm uncomfortable, because well, fencing looted art is Not The Right Thing, Neal. Also, could get him and Moz into trouble. The part of me that wants the sweet happy ending says that returning the art to the rightful owners could have been like a moment of redemption for Neal. Maybe they'll save that for the resolving of the storyline. Because I can't believe that they'll let this hang, or that they'll damage Neal and Peter's relationship irreparably.
But from what I'm reading on various places, people are mostly upset because the treasure is Nazi loot.

Hey don't get me wrong. What the Nazis did in the Holocaust was terrifyingly horrific. But WWII was more than just the Holocaust, and the Germans looted from every country they went through. To people like Neal and Moz, stolen art is stolen art. The history of the piece probably only adds to the allure of it. They're profiteering off someone else's suffering, though maybe Neal hasn't thought that far. I would like Neal to have a conscience and to be able to draw that line. But we already know that north on his moral compass is not always what *we* may consider true, and that he's not all that good at understanding that there are consequences to his actions. Like, he's in the *business* of stealing things and forging them. Don't remember where, but someone commented on another episode reaction that Neal and Moz may even think they are doing the world a favour by releasing the art back into the world where it can be seen again. I may not like the reminder, but there you have it. He's actually a criminal and he commits and has committed real crimes that probably hurt a lot of people, even though there is a romantic part of me that imagines he only ever stole stuff from museums and people who could afford to lose a painting or two. Doesn't mean they didn't suffer from its loss.

I realize it's probably a really sensitive topic if you're Jewish, or German, or even Russian, since according to Jim Campolongo, ****Spoilers ahead!!!**** the art is from the same stash that the music box came from ie, not individual families, but a royal museum collection. ****Spoiler Ends****
But all "plundered treasure" from down the ages was stolen by someone, from someone else, often accompanied by copious bloodshed and incivility, enslavement, torture and the like. Would the uproar be just as great if the treasure was Viking loot? English loot? Spanish loot? Japanese loot?  All those groups at one point or another conquered, raped, murdered and stole from the peoples they defeated, in a sustained and systematic fashion. What if it had been a Spanish galleon bedecked with Inca gold and silver, or a Viking ship with bejewelled treasures from Irish monasteries? Or a Japanese cargo plane carrying spoils from the Rape of Nanking? How is it different? There will always be someone who thinks you're abusing their past for the sake of telling a tale on TV. Whether it's appropriate as a plot device for blue-skies TV? That's another discussion. I will say this: they've portrayed this show as an upbeat buddy cop dramedy, but the subject matter (theft, fraud, murder, revenge, prison) is hardly lighthearted in the slightest. It has occured to me before, that sometimes I feel like *I* have been conned into believing that it *can* be.

I'm pretty certain the writers never intended to offend anyone. The Nazi loot was just a plot device and a useful one connecting the characters, in the grand scheme of things. I'm beginning to wonder if  people are maybe more upset than expected because the writers have portrayed a beloved character as someone who could do something so morally reprehensible, or maybe because they've highlighted that White Collar crime very often has a much seedier underbelly. Maybe because I'm neither Jewish, nor German, I don't feel the offense as acutely. Still, it's just the first episode. I will wait and see where else this plot takes us through season 3 before passing judgement. There. I said it.


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