tinnuial: (Neal Approves)
[personal profile] tinnuial
My first episode reaction :)
Icon: [livejournal.com profile] e0wyn 

  

I really enjoyed this episode. It really let us explore the depth of Neal and Peter’s friendship that has developed over the previous year or so.  (I’m just guessing at the timeline here.)

Peter announcing his undercover assignment with the jacket tug and shrug. So cute! It’s great because Peter rarely puts himself forward for anything. It’s nice to see him get to show off!

Neal helping Peter get dressed. Adorable “old married couple” moment. Dreaming up other ways they could’ve met in another life. I wonder if Peter let Neal pick his outfit. Really shows how comfortable they are around each other. How many guys let their guy friends choose their tie knots or put on their cufflinks or help them into their jackets? Also, it’s nicely juxtaposed with Peter confronting Neal about the flight recording. Neal looks annoyed for a moment but obeys quickly. When Peter snaps “Go!” I was thinking... “aww Peter, he’s not Satchmo!” and yet again, I was also thinking, sometimes all Neal really does want to do is please Peter LOL! But anyway,  I don’t think Neal ever really thought he could get away with stealing the recording. I’m actually rather surprised Peter hadn’t confronted him about it yet.

“She’ll eat him alive.” “He’s not much of a meal.” Poor Moz. I think he more than held his own with Diana (with June’s help! Loved that!) June is so awesome. They really should use her character more. I’m hoping that in later episodes they’ll flesh out some of her backstory with Byron and maybe show us why she took to Neal so quickly. It’s evident that Neal reminds her of Byron. It’d be a great opportunity for character development.

 Neal trying to play mediator between Diana and Moz was hilarious. “Guys! Please! Adults!”

Peter preening in front of the mirror. Oooo YES Mr Burke! You do look good in that snazzy suit. And you should totally let Neal dress you more often. *swoon*

Not sure I am liking how they’re dragging out/rearranging episodes for this music box story arc. This show doesn’t really need the multi episode arcs to be enjoyable because the best part of it is the character interaction and the development of relationships. (Everything else should be a backdrop to the awesome (b)romance between Neal and Peter IMHO ;) The more I think about it, the less I like Kate and the less sympathy I have for her character though to be fair, we haven’t really seen very much of her or been shown why Neal is so infatuated with her, or (more probably in my mind) the idea of her. Four years in prison would be very good for blurring the fantasy and the actual experience with someone. Up till now, all she has been is a plot device. If I have one complaint about this show, it is that the writers haven’t done a very good job at humanizing Kate, or making Neal and Kate’s epic romance believable. This starts with miscasting for the character. Everyone else fits their character to a T but her. Alexandra Daddario is very pretty and doll-like but she’s just too young and lacks the presence for the role. If they have been together since Neal was just starting out in the “business” and if he has been in prison for 4 years and was chased by Peter for 3 years before that, then they’ve been together for at least 5-7 years. She looks like she’s barely out of high school. Maybe the “young and innocent” look is supposed to make us sympathize with her supposed vulnerability to Fowler’s machinations, but it just doesn’t jive with the character’s actions to date (manipulating Neal’s feelings to get his stash, pulling the gun on Peter, backroom deals with Fowler and god knows who else). No sweet innocent damsel-in-distress here. It could be just me, but Neal strikes me as the sort of guy who appreciates strong women with personality eg. Elizabeth, June, Diana, Alex, even Sarah (haven’t decided if I like her either). Kate just seems lacking in all the above and I am hoping the flashbacks we are supposed to get rectify some of these character defects...or show her for the true evil! manipulative! piece of work she was! (sorry, I guess I really don’t like her)

Peter meets with Kent. Geez. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad outfit on this show. Except that weird dress Sarah was wearing when she went to Neal’s apartment with the ...batwings... Did she drive there? How do you lean back on a chair seat with those ...things...sticking out the back of you?

I’m glad they’re using Jones a bit more in this episode. He knew what the quantum processor was, and was able to get around the firewalls to access the Novice database and dig up the access logs on Hayes’ computer. Looks like they’re shaping him into their go-to computer guy on the team. It’s good that they’re giving him a niche...he’s so criminally underused. And my brain is freezing up...he doesn’t know about the music box, does he? I love reading fanfic from his perspective. I’ve often wondered how he truly feels about having Neal on the team, and if he feels like Neal usurped his place. And yet, in Prisoner’s Dilemma, he played along when Neal told him to follow his lead when they were at the car dealership with Deckard, and was concerned in Hard Sell that Neal would only have 5 minutes of air in the vault. He seemed almost upset when they had to arrest Neal in Free Fall.

 Peter skyping with Elizabeth from his suite in the hotel....wow...the view from his window... and “look at us being a modern couple!” awwwww... my fiancé and I have been doing long distance for 5 years now and I can totally understand the novelty of webcam chat! (though we discovered it rather earlier than Peter and El did!)

Question. Why didn’t they use this instead of those terrible green-screens? Another question: Would it really have been so hard to adjust the lighting/camera angles/contrast/video quality to make those handful of scenes look more realistic?

But.....I just love how Tim DeKay and Tiffani Thiessen have portrayed Peter and Elizabeth’s marriage. It is just so darn rare to see a beautiful, loving, working, understanding, REAL marriage on TV that doesn’t require sex in your face to demonstrate a living romance between two people. Great acting and great chemistry. Something to be savoured! I got my (very protestant and proper) mother hooked on the series and she just adores Peter and Elizabeth. She (not so secretly) adores Neal too and when my Dad walked in on our WC marathon the other day, saw what was on TV, he huffed out, “OBSESSIVE!” at the both of us and walked straight out. I might’ve died laughing.

The dinner. Haaaa I was spitefully happy that Neal made that puffed up ass pay for their $2000 dinner.

Peter in the robe...squee!...and talking to El’s picture. {{{huggles}}} And SILK SHEETS LOL! Too cute for words! Peter is soooooooo in love with his wife. And yet... even I don’t need the slash goggles to see that he cares for Neal too. I’m sure there will be much fic appearing very soon about the undisclosed night in the suite. Dear, darling Neal. He was so huffily put out that Peter wouldn’t let him raid the minibar whereas Peter ordered Kobe beef from the room service menu without even knowing what it was. There, there now.

Back at the FBI office, after they interview Jessica. Peter keeps tasting the FBI coffee and wincing and Neal tells him he’s been spoiled. *grin* Yeah, Peter. You shoulda let Neal get that espresso machine.

And they both translate the Latin. Ooooh that’s hot. (sorry, sound the geek alert here) It’s also quite insightful. I can totally see Peter taking the classics as electives alongside his accounting degree in college, or being the quiet but solid academic overachiever who did Latin in high school. But the more interesting question would be where did Neal learn his Latin? Personally, I don’t think Neal came from a moneyed background and yet, he is intimately familiar with the trappings of high society and is innately genteel. He is also unused to and fascinated by bourgeois picket fence domesticity so I don’t think he had a stable family upbringing either. Something tells me he has abandonment issues from the way he deals with his relationships. He has experienced love, but it is only in the memory of a very young child, unformed and idealized. In my head, I think he was very young when the only people who truly loved him were taken from him, and after that he got bounced from caretaker to strict, neglectful caretaker (think wealthy, eccentric relative who looked down on him), and maybe ended up as a ward of the state at some point. He craves attention because he was never given any, and he nurtured his innate talents, knowledge and moral compass on his own. I think eventually someone did take him in, but they used his artistic abilities for their own criminal gain and in so doing, gave him the attention he craved. I don’t think this was Mozzie. The dynamic between them does not have that element of unequal power balance.

Tim DeKay’s performance as he works Kent for the Latin password was so amusing to watch. Peter is so smugly pleased with himself and has every right to be! Peter needs more moments to shine J

Peter says to Neal: “You have empathy for that woman.” Of course he does! Neal’s expression when Jessica asks him “if someone took away the one you loved...” was heartbreaking.

When Mozzie breaks the news to Neal about Peter and the music box, the warring of betrayal and the desire to trust Peter is so written all over his face and posture, and yet split seconds later when Neal realizes Peter is in danger, his fear for Peter’s life takes all precedence. His desperation is palpable as he drags Peter to the elevator, as is his helplessness as the paramedics stick the epinephrine into Peter’s heart. I really have to say Matt Bomer is an amazingly good actor. He conveys so much so subtly, without overplaying the moment. It would be so easy to turn Neal Caffrey into a sappy, annoying, arrogant clown but Matt plays him with just the right amount of cocky self assurance that you can believe his exploits and intelligence, combined with a depth of feeling and moments of vulnerability that make you so invested in the character. I can’t imagine anyone else playing Neal Caffrey.

I see how they foreshadowed the choice that Neal is going to have to make between justice and revenge in the very near future. It’s like a wake-up call for Neal, as he watched Jessica be led away for attempted murder and he’s well aware he’s going to be faced with the same decision. Peter’s been trying so hard to persuade Neal to make the “right” choice (to Peter’s way of thinking) but sometimes I think the only thing that has prevented Neal from just taking off and doing things is own impulsive way is his desire to gain Peter’s trust, approval and respect, and the more he discovers Peter’s lack of trust in him, the more likely he is to give in to his desire for revenge.

Peter is so sweet as he talks about his contentment with his life and the people in it. I choose to believe that he includes Neal in that small number of people. And of course Neal times his confrontation about the music box so perfectly, contrasting with Peter’s dig about the flight recordings at the beginning of the episode.

That said, I am very glad they have FINALLY brought their secrets into the open and the box and key are now reunited, “no more secrets” (really??) and we can just GET ON WITH IT. 8 episodes! There’s a reason why I gave up on “Lost.” Gahhh I can’t say I wasn’t expecting the cliffie but that makes it no less frustrating to have to wait another week. I suddenly remember why I stopped watching TV shows until the whole season is available on DVD and why I am allowed only one obsession at a time because this show IS TAKING OVER MY LIFE.

So. Good grief. I have written over 3 pages for my first episode reaction. I guess I officially have a new obsession for the foreseeable future. Uh oh.

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tinnuial

July 2011

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