Episode Title: "Veiled Threat"
Writer: Jim Campolongo
Director: Paul Holahan
Peter (Tim DeKay) briefs the team on Selena Ellis, a black widow who has recently arrived in New York, with a trail of dead husbands in her wake. Oddly, none of the four wealthy men she was married to left her any money. Peter tells the team that she'll be attending a millionaire bachelor's auction. He, Neal (Matt Bomer) and Jones (Sharif Atkins) will go undercover as well-to-do bait for the gold digger.
Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) helps Peter prepare for posing as a single millionaire while Neal gets a few tips from Sara (Hilarie Burton). At the auction, Diana (Marsha Thomason) talks to Selena to find out what kind of man she's into and gives the boys tips on what she's looking for. Neal makes a good impression on Selena and Peter follows up. When it's time to bid, no one goes for Neal, as he's made a point of turning off all the women except Selena, who tells Diana he's too young. Instead, she goes for Peter.
The next day, Selena calls to arrange their date but doesn't stay on the line long enough for the team to trace her call. She insists on meeting Peter at the restaurant, refusing to let him pick her up.
At the restaurant, Peter has dinner with Selena while Neal and Diana listen in from a surveillance van. After impressing her with his tango moves, Selena wants to go back to her place with Peter. There, he attempts to place a bug in the apartment. Meanwhile, Diana learns that Selena stabbed her last husband. Selena makes a drink for Peter while holding a knife. He spills his drink on purpose as Neal calls to get him out of there.
The next day, the team listen to a recording from the bug and learn that Selena is working with a partner. Back home, Elizabeth becomes concerned about Peter's ongoing undercover relationship with Selena.
Neal has Sara over for a surprise date. Meanwhile, Selena tells Peter she wants to go to his place. Neal and Sara hideout in his closet, which is also an observation room from when the place was a speakeasy. Selena asks Peter to draw her portrait. Peter writes "Help me!" on the paper for Neal to see. Neal quickly sketches the portrait as Mozzie (Willie Garson) busts in. Peter tells Selena that Moz is his assistant. Moz goes into the closet to get a jacket for Peter and sneaks the portrait to him. Selena notices the engagement ring on her finger in the portrait and quickly accepts Peter's proposal.
A concerned Elizabeth tells Peter she wants to be the couple's event planner. They meet with Elizabeth to go over their plans. Outside the building, Peter is nearly hit by a speeding car. Peter tells Neal that after the near accident, he and Selena had a chat about what would happen if he should die. She tells Peter she doesn't want any of his money, preferring he leave it to a charity of her choosing. The papers Selena gave Elizabeth lead Diana to Jameson (Jonathan Silverman), the organizer of the bachelor auction. Neal and Mozzie pay him a visit and arrange a bachelor party for Peter at the hall the auction was held in. Neal and Peter get Jameson so drunk at the party that he passes out.
The next day, Diana stops by Selena's to ask about Jameson, who she says is dead. Meanwhile, Jameson gets an alarming text from the bank about his account. Selena rushes to find Jameson but Neal and Peter corner the two and have them arrested. Peter uses the arrangements Elizabeth planned for Selena to surprise her with an intimate wedding vow renewal, officiated by Mozzie.
It's rare we get to see Peter excel at Neal's game and there's a reason for that – he's just not very good at it. However, seducing a black widow, something that should have been a sure-shot for Neal turned out to be all Peter, this time around.
Once again, "White Collar" was stocked with guest stars. This time we were treated to "Twin Peaks" star, Madchen Amick and '80s movie mainstay, Jonathan Silverman, along with a quick hit of "Real Housewives'" Jill Zarin. All three put in satisfactory performances, though it would have been fun to see a little more of Silverman, as Amick's partner-in-crime.
As for the case du jour, once again the focus was put on Peter and Elizabeth's relationship, one that many find a boring source of filler that lacks believability. And there was plenty of it, this week.
It's totally understandable that the wife of an FBI man would be concerned about her husband putting himself in the crosshairs of a black widow, but does anyone really care about Peter and Elizabeth's marriage? Or the fact that their wedding wasn't as intimate or romantic as Elizabeth would have liked? I don't know about you, but I'm in this to watch Neal and the team out con con artists, not Peter and Elizabeth's faux drama and cutesy antics.
The fact is "White Collar" is a light-hearted crime drama of the type USA has become known for. Thus, silly subplots and over-simplified capers are par for the course. But that doesn't mean they can't be funny and clever. "Veiled Threat" had its moments but not enough to sustain an entire episode. At least there wasn't a pointless callback to Neal and Mozzie's U-boat dilemma, though some movement on that end would be much more welcome than another peak at married life in the Burke home.
I'm not trying to hate on these characters or the actors who play them, but it's time to step it up with some clever writing if Peter and Elizabeth's personal life is going to remain a part of this show.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.