When we left off last week, Neal was having serious doubts about following through with the heist that he and Mozzie were trying to pull. Sara had just told him that he couldn’t go off and live a fantasy, and when he left his apartment briefly, she took a look at his laptop and saw pictures of the vault where Mozzie had stashed the Nazi treasure. So naturally, this week, we got an episode all about…Jones?

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of things, let me just say that I think Clinton Jones is awesome, and Sharif Atkins is one of the most underused supporting actors on any show that I watch. A Jones-centric episode should have been right up my alley. In fact, the only reason that I enjoyed this episode at all is because it focused on Jones.

But that doesn’t mean that it was the right time to put out an episode like this. Sara appeared only at the beginning of episode to break up with Neal over the Nazi loot issue, and she didn’t even discuss the Nazi loot with him, instead just saying that she and Neal were too different. So now, we have no clue exactly what Sara is going to do with the knowledge of the stash. Heck, we barely know how Sara feels about the break-up. The only reason we know anything about her emotional state is because Hilarie Burton played the hell out of her single scene.

And then, contrary to narrative logic, it was onto The Jones Show, which was entertaining simply because of Atkins’ infinite charisma. But it could have been so, so much better if the case had made more sense or if it hadn’t involved every cliché ever. I don’t know how the FBI could be so certain that “Striker” would show at the gala, and I really don’t think that they involve a civilian (i.e. Isabelle) in the op directly in the field. Why not just set up video surveillance of the party entrance and ask Isabelle to identify “Striker?”

Then, something really, really stupid happened. Peter spotted Jimmy in the park near the gala, and instead of approaching him slowly and cautiously, he called out “Jimmy!” giving Jimmy the opportunity to escape. Peter didn’t even give chase. It’s as if he didn’t even want Jimmy to get caught.

The case was also filled with clichés, most of which seemed heavy-handed rather than natural. Isabelle was the typical “the one that got away.” It was too easy to tell what would happen with her. I guessed that she and Jones would kiss but then ultimately part ways the second her character was introduced. And about that scene where Jones roughed up Van Horne: hmm…where have I seen that scene before? Sorry, did you say, “every movie ever?” Correct!

In spite of all the (now typically) bad plotting and ham-fistedness, this episode probably would have been more entertaining if it had been solely a Jones-centric episode, but this one also aimed to move White Collar’s mythology forward a bit. I still don’t find Neal and Mozzie’s search for the ship’s manifest all that compelling, but what really bothers me is this episode made me dislike Mozzie! Mozzie of all characters! Watching Mozzie encourage Neal to uproot himself has become increasingly irritating, and since that’s pretty much all Mozzie did in this episode, I found him nearly insufferable.

Overall, “As You Were” was a mediocre episode, enjoyable only because of Jones’ increased screen presence. White Collar needs to tighten up its writing and craft more compelling cases.

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