Between the hard rules of Peter Burke and the FBI, the wild mischief of Neal Caffrey, the hilarity of Mozzie, the warmth of Peter’s wife Elizabeth, and the danger of various criminals, White Collar is never lacking in drama, suspense, and laughter, as well as believable, intricate storylines. Not to mention the criminals and the feds are both very authentic in their methods.
When last we saw our White Collar crew, Neal had just been screwed over by the higher ups at the Bureau, just after delivering them a mega-huge diamond and one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. While Peter was turning down a promotion, out of sheer disgust for this ill treatment, Elizabeth had already made plans to move to Washington, and it breaks the heart to see our favorite married couple growing physically distant. Neal, frustrated by the FBI’s repeated betrayal of their deal, made plans with Mozzie to escape and go back on the run. Small detail: within moments of this decision, Neal was kidnapped.
White Collar does its cliffhangers pretty well, but this one was somewhat unusual. Season One ended with a tragedy which gave birth to a murder mystery. Season Two ended with both the mystery of who just handed Neal the loot of a lifetime and the tension of Peter’s suspicions against Neal. Season Three ended with Neal going on the run from a corrupt FBI agent, warned away from the danger by Peter. Season Four ended with Neal’s father leaving Peter to take the fall for a murder he did not commit. Season Five, then, is the only season which ends with a physical, immediate danger. It’s not a trope they use over and over. This is serious.
So I was very excited to see where the first episode of this final season would go, and I was not disappointed!
Burke and the FBI assume Neal ran, at first, resulting in the humorous “interrogation” of Mozzie. This forms what Mozzie later refers to as “walking in [Neal’s] foot steps,” as he is now the one leading the FBI in pursuit of Neal’s kidnapper. Meanwhile, said kidnapper may be an intimidating thug and a would-be killer, but he’s also way of his league. Not only does Neal talk his way out of trouble, he cons his captor, leading him by the nose to his arrest. Even more, he works his way towards a score so huge that he can use it as leverage to gain his permanent freedom from the feds, namely: a crew made up of “the greatest thieves of our time,” called the Pink Panthers.
Then again, it will surely be tempting for Neal to side with the Panthers, gaining his freedom anyway. That’s one of the things I love about Neal’s character, how he’s always struggling with temptation.
Also in this episode, we had a final appearance from Neal’s most recent, and most dangerous, ex-girlfriend, complete with just a little proof that she is not entirely soulless. There was an unexpected moment of bonding between Peter and Mozzie over dinner, as Peter begins to live life without his beloved Elle. But then, at the episode’s conclusion, she returns! Yay! And she has news! Very, very good news!
I’m betting if it’s a boy, they name it Neal. 😉
So, yes, White Collar is definitely keeping up with my expectations! The thrills of a heist, the character-driven plot, the intricate story, the dangers of criminals, and the warmth of true love and family! Unless they manage some sort of massive blunder at their series finale, I expect White Collar to remain one of my favorites for a long time!