In my head, the ideal version of White Collar would involve some sort of balance between the mythology and the cases, with both receiving large amounts of screen time and attention to detail. But that would involve a compelling mythology, which is something that this season has lacked. I haven’t been enamoured with this season’s overarching storyline about the stolen Nazi loot, so this week’s standalone installment was in fact very refreshing.

It’s reasonable to dismiss this episode right off the bat because of its ludicrous premise. Why in the world would the FBI’s white collar crimes division be investigating a potential serial killer? But once I got past that improbability, I found this to be the most enjoyable White Collar episode of the season thus far. The show somehow seemed breezier and nimbler this week, not being weighed down by flashback sequences or Neal and Mozzie’s latest attempt to fence their stolen treasure. Fun banter abounded, and the dialogue was less clunky than it has been in recent weeks.

Contributing to the feeling of lightness was this week’s case. While the threat of murder loomed over Peter’s head, it wasn’t treated as a significant issue. Instead, “Veiled Threat” focused more on the fun aspects of the case. The bachelor auction in particular was a hoot. The perennially underrated Sharif Atkins did a great job playing a suave version of Jones, and I enjoyed seeing Neal purposely act like a jerk to get the women to reject him. The case also gave the opportunity for Peter to show his awkward side, not just at the auction, but also on his “dates” with Selena. I wouldn’t have expected White Collar to mine discomfort for humour, but the show is remarkably adept at doing so. I especially liked the scenes where Peter had to pretend that Neal’s apartment was his own, and Peter using Neal’s help to draw a sketch of Selena (while using Mozzie as his butler – tee hee) was one of the most fun bits of subterfuge that this show has ever done.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a few issues with this week’s episode. I thought it was a little silly that the FBI banked on Selena choosing one of the three FBI employees at the bachelor auction in order to further their investigation. But there was a far more egregious plot hole: how the FBI knew at which bank Selena was holding her funds was never explained. Also, I could have done without the saccharine-sweet “second wedding” for Peter and Elizabeth at the end of the episode. Don’t get me wrong – I like Peter and Elizabeth as a couple – but that scene was so cloying that it might have made me throw up in my mouth a little.

Those quibbles didn’t detract much from my overall enjoyment of the episode, though. On the whole, “Veiled Threat” was a pretty good standalone episode of White Collar, even if it was based on a totally nonsensical premise. Eventually, the show will once again have to deal with its problematic mythology, but I’m content to shove those concerns off to the side for now.