“What Happens in Burma” marked a return to the familiar case-of-the-week format for White Collar. There were no mentions of Vincent Adler, no discussions of fractals and their significance, and no sightings of the music box. It was about as standard and cookie-cutter as White Collar can get. But as much as I’ve harped on the show for mishandling its mythology and not paying enough attention to it, insisting that it should abandon the case-of-the-week format more often, I quite enjoyed “What Happens in Burma.” Even when forced to work within confines, whether self-imposed or decreed by the USA Network, White Collar can still put out a pretty good episode.

The case this week was somewhat of MacGuffin. Initially, we were led to believe that the case would centre around a gem theft, but when the perpetrator of the crime was caught midway through the episode, it became clear that the case was really about the imprisonment of a diplomat’s son. It was an easy way to bring Neal’s daddy issues to light, which felt a little ham-fisted, but the case laid a strong enough framework that everything didn’t fall apart around it. The case turned out to be pretty interesting. I especially enjoyed Neal’s perfectly legal smoke bomb caper.

There was also a lot of funny material here. Neal and Peter’s banter was in fine form, as it usually is. I had a laugh at Peter talking about Sweden and Vikings at the beginning of the episode. Mozzie also had me chuckling at his enthusiasm for using a kiln to make a fake ruby. Also, before I forget: Jones in a scarf! Screencapped for awesomeness:

Jones, being awesome.

Jones, being awesome.

I hope that the show dives back into its mythology soon, but for now, “What Happens in Burma” was a fun digression. I’m interested to see if the show addresses Neal’s daddy issues in upcoming episodes. Otherwise, why bring it up? I have a feeling that the show is foreshadowing that Neal’s father, as a dirty cop, was somehow involved in the whole music-box/fractal business. We’ll find out for sure in the coming weeks.

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