White Collar Episode Review – Out of the Box

  • Series Title:  White Collar
  • Season:  1
  • Cast:  Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen
  • Original Network:  USA Network
  • DVD Production Network:  20th Century FOX
  • Originally published on my Live Journal (now hosted on Dreamwidth): 03/09/2010

LOTS of SPOILERS – be warned

This review is my original reaction to the last episode of Season 1 of White Collar, “Out of the Box”. This is originally posted as it was to my Live Journal, although I am fixing a few typos and formatting issues.

Man, oh man – the further along the episode went the more of a disaster I was expecting. It just felt like Neal was a doomed man – walking to his death.

Things I really didn’t expect – Fowler going after Elizabeth. That completely surprised me. It probably shouldn’t have, but it did.

However, the scene between Neal and Peter on Peter’s deck (or porch or whatever), was one of my favorites from the entire season. I especially liked the way Neal reminded Peter he had said that ‘Kate was his weak point’ and then pointed out that Elizabeth was Peter’s weak point. It wasn’t mean spirited or vicious on Neal’s part but more of a way to get Peter to understand.

I also really loved the scene of June saying goodbye to Neal. I almost cried. And the scene where Neal said goodbye to Moz also made me almost cry, though I figured they’d be in contact with each other again.

The last scene though man oh man – the forums are going to go NUTS! There was so much angst in Peter’s face. And everything he said made sense, but all Neal could think of was Kate. It just HURT to watch. And when Neal handed over his FBI credentials and actually thanked Peter for them, oh man.

And THEN Kate’s plane blows up. Jeeezzz!

The emotions and yelling from both Neal and Peter, and the way Peter holds Neal back was just exquisite angst. And the way Neal kept struggling in Peter’s arms, trying to get to the plane – and Peter held him back, oh man. Wow! They weren’t kidding about it being a shocking finale. I can NOT wait to see the fall out from this.

I did notice a couple of things.

First, I think Neal was meant to be on that plane. I think next season we will see Peter telling Neal this, and maybe even having Neal playing dead.

Second, you can see Kate or someone in the plane just until Neal turns around to head back to the plane. I hate to say it but she might have sneaked out the back door, or it might not have been her.

I think Fowler set it up as a self-cleaning operation. Fowler had the explosion set on a timer. Neal should have been there – if Peter hadn’t shown up… if he and Neal hadn’t talked… if Neal hadn’t taken a moment to actually think about maybe staying with Peter and in New York… Neal would have been a goner. That should be the first thing Season 2 will deal with.

Things we STILL don’t know.

1. Was Kate loyal to Neal or not? We never, ever really saw her. It might not have been her on the plane. Heck, she could have actually set the explosion and slipped out (her silhouette mysteriously disappears) though I think it was on a timer (otherwise they would have waited until Neal was on the plane).

2. What exactly was Mentor? Was Neal really working for Fowler that whole time?

3. Who was Fowler reporting to? Somebody was pulling his strings too.

4. WHAT’s the deal with the music box? The thing has turned into a MacGuffin, and I want to know what it means!!! Especially, since as part of illegal spoils of war – it can’t be traded, sold, or even transported across borders.

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White Collar Season 6

  • Title:  White Collar
  • Season: 6 (Final)
  • Episodes: 6
  • Discs: 2
  • Cast:  Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins, Marsha Thomason
  • Network:  USA Network
  • DVD Format:  Widescreen, color, DVD, R1, NTSC

Season 5 of White Collar was short, only 13 episodes, and this, the final season, is only 6 – not the 16 I’d normally expect from the show, and USA Network. So I found myself wondering what happened. The season opens where the previous season ended, with Neal kidnapped. Peter rescues him – but not before Neal’s made a deal with the devil so to speak, to get into the mysterious gang of thieves known only as the Pink Panthers. Also, already newly accepted into the Panthers is Neal’s old nemesis, Matthew Keller. Neal works with Peter to take down the Panthers, and avoid trouble with Keller. Meanwhile, Keller has a deal of his own, working with Interpol to take down the Panthers himself – he says.

Amid a few surprises – finding out Peter’s wife Elizabeth is pregnant, meeting Mozzie’s legal wife, we see Neal struggle again with the choice between remaining a conman or gaining his freedom. The story develops quickly with the entire White Collar team not only out to capture the Panthers, but out to first figure out the heist and later to stop it with the thieves red handed. Keller’s Interpol handler even has a French accent.

In the single episode finale, we see Neal say goodbye to June and Mozzie, the heist go down, Peter and the FBI catching everyone, but Keller catching up to Neal and shooting him – dead. Peter catches Keller after the deed, kills him, then finds a dying Neal in an ambulance. Peter in shock, takes Mozzie to the hospital morgue to look at Neal’s “dead” body. Because, you guessed it, the last scene has Peter figuring out that Neal had faked his death – and we see Neal walking the streets of Paris.

OK, so Neal pulls a Sherlock Holmes – or a White Collar twist on the ultimate caper film of all time – The Sting. In the end, I felt the “happy” ending was unsatisfying – and in a real way, I would have preferred it if Neal had actually died – since that would have been very sad, yet appropriate ending. Though, knowing Neal’s out there, so to speak, means the show could be picked up again. At first, I though Neal faking his death meant he had listened to Mozzie, and even Keller, and he wasn’t trusting Peter – so he let Peter think he was dead. But, even though the Pink Panthers (what a name!) were caught – if they were an international syndicate of thieves – well then. Neal would never be safe. People Neal cares about would never be safe. Neal had to “die” to not simply get his freedom but to guarantee everyone’s safety, including Peter’s. So, Neal was protecting Peter, like Sherlock Holmes protected Watson by pretending to die at Reichenbach Falls.

White Collar Season 5 DVD Review (Spoilers)

  • Series Title:  White Collar
  • Season:  5
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  4 (4 episodes per disc, last disc includes 1 episode and special features)
  • Cast:  Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins, Marsha Thomason
  • Original Network:  USA Network
  • DVD Production Network:  20th Century FOX 

I actually was somewhat disappointed by Season 5 of White Collar. The season felt flat, and the end of the season felt rushed. Early in the season, the episodes just seemed very average – almost like they were recycling and updating left-over unproduced scripts from previous seasons. The Codex Treasure Hunt was reminiscent of the music box from the first season, and even Neal’s doomed relationship with Rebecca was like his relationship with Kate or Alex. That Rebecca turned out to be almost the female Neal Caffrey, with training by MI5 was a nice twist, though. I did like the brief appearance of Warren Kole as Special Agent David Siegel, though it almost felt like USA Network was finishing out his contract after the quick cancellation of his series, Common Law.

Also, I thought this was the season that I had missed most of because I had no satellite TV for part of last Winter. It turns out that because the season was cut back from 16 episodes to 13, I’d only missed about three and a half episodes. Still, it was worth getting the season set (I received it as a gift) and I’m planning on buying Season 6, which is the series final season.

White Collar is a fun, adventure/drama series on USA Network. The series premise is that Neal Caffrey is a forger and conman, who is caught, after a ten-year chase by FBI Agent Peter Burke, and escapes prison in the pilot. Caught again, by Burke, Neal bargains to stay free by becoming a CI – criminal informant. Caffrey and Burke quickly obtain the highest case closure rate for a CI and handler. The series dramatic tension usually comes from Neal’s struggle between doing what’s right and following the law. Or Neal having to choose between his friend’s Mozzie’s desire to have him return to “the Life” and Peter’s desire to have Neal leave behind his conman ways and become a law-abiding citizen.