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White Collar Review: "Forging Bonds"

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During the aptly named "Forging Bonds," White Collar explored the relationships that have come to shape the show and its characters.

The episode was an interesting look into how Neal came to know Mozzie, Kate, Peter and Neal’s mentor, Vincent Adler. It was a more emotionally driven hour than what we’re used to on this show, but it gave us something to ponder and enjoy.

With a Mustache!

First, it seems my wish for more emotionally probative episodes and some more answers about Neal’s past came true. Not only did we get to see Neal before the suits, we also got to see Mozzie with a goatee and a toupee. I must say, though, that I much prefer Mozzie bald and without the facial hair, which we can all attribute to Kate’s flattery. Same goes for Peter, who sported a mustache in the early days.

I loved Neal’ s brazen introduction to Peter outside of First Unity Bank. It seems like such an insignificant thing until you realize the relationship it created, and the unfinished business it became for Peter, which he pursued until the day he caught Neal. I almost wasn’t surprised when Neal thanked Peter for finding Kate, even though it resulted in Neal’s arrest.

Also, I'm loving that we got the origin of Neal’s most used alias, Nicholas Halden - who would have guessed that he got it from spam?

What about when Neal met Kate? That look on his face was priceless. Seeing them interact was much appreciated, and who knew that when they met, Kate already had a boyfriend who she left for Neal?

This show essentially started because of Neal’s love for Kate, who had seemingly abandoned him after coming to prison to break their relationship off. It lacked context at the time, which quickly changed with Neal’s time at the FBI, revealing that Kate didn’t abandon him, but was kidnapped, and, as we now know, murdered.

This early look into their rather intense relationship, and the realization that Neal’s more elaborate cons, which eventually got him caught by Peter the first time, were in response to the volatile nature of his and Kate’s relationship.

This line of thought makes me wonder about Neal’s need to be in control. Is it his hubris that allows him to be so successful in his cons? Perhaps the well-maintained detachment? That begs the question: what happens when Neal isn’t in control? Was the near murder of Fowler in "Point Blank" the answer?

It’s important to question, considering that the closer to Adler that Neal and Peter come, the more directly Neal is going to have to face his emotional connections to the people around him and the consequences of his actions as a result.

Forging Bonds Scene

Another question I always had was whether, as an audience, we would like this mysterious Kate character as a person and as Neal’s romantic interest.

As much as I wanted to pair him up with Alex immediately upon realizing the possibility of Kate coming back was minimal, upon watching this episode, I realized that Kate was really much more than the ethereal character I seemed to picture her as. Plus, that completely enraptured look on Neal’s face when he looked at Kate almost makes you feel guilty for even minimally entertaining the thought of him with anyone else.

He really was - is? - in love with her. Even when Neal finally told her the truth about his name, she stuck with him. She loved him as much as he loved her, and I personally don’t believe that my conscious can be eased until I have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Kate is actually dead.

I also find it very interesting that Neal’s pursuit of the music box with Alex was what caused the riff in his relationship with Kate, especially since it’s the music box that Kate eventually needs from Neal in order to be released from Fowler’s custody. It creates an interesting circle that leaves us wondering even more why in the world this music box is such a big deal.

Now we know that the fractal pattern Mozzie derived from the contents of the music box could lead them to a plane or boat from the 1940’s. We can thank Alex for this little piece of info also, who is apparently back from Europe, and we can hopefully look forward to her physical return to the show very soon.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
  • 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (68 Votes)

C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Ahhhhhh forging bonds, just watched it. All I have to say is bring Kate back. Also Keller needs to break out of prison. He's the only wayward character, so he makes it exciting. Kate is drop dead gorgeous and exciting. All the interesting characters are only special guest stars. Boo!
More Kate pretty please. I only like Kate and Elizabeth.

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@ N I really think Forging Bonds was just the beginning I would find it hard to say I found it 'cheesy' I thought it was very well scripted. Particularly the necklace scene and the one where she wants pizza. Seeing them together made me understand their relationship. After this episode, I don't see Alex as Neal's true love, he hooked up with her because he was jealous and upset about Kate. He wanted to get the music box for him and Kate's future. His relationship with Alex has never been about just her it's either been about - money, a con, or Kate. But Neal and Kate's relationship is purely about the two of them. I don't like the fact they killed her because it fizzled out a huge part of the drama for me. I try to see why viewers would like Alex but I find her very predictable and not as breathtaking as Kate. The only scene I would have improved was when he was caught, I know Neal loves Kate so much that he risked getting caught but it should have been like a 2 minute chase, him and Kate trying to get away, her wanting to protect him from being taken in, a few tears maybe a 'Nooo!' But I love drama, probably why I love Neal and Kate because of the way he loves her it makes them so special. Whereas Alex again was in the past flashback and in Season 1 a tool to find Kate. Now for future episodes, possible flashbacks I would love to see their cons with Neal, Kate and Keller, to see some tension them being rivals for Kate's affection. The writers built the relationship of Neal and Kate up they have to see it through it in my opinion. The explosion should have a cover up or something, anything to ensure Kate is alive because she would the perfect addition to the cast since she is really different from all the other characters. Chandel thank-you for the awesome review! I'll be here again next week for you review on 'What happens in Burma'

Ccharles

@N---As you've probably seen in the other comments of this episode that Neal and Kate together is a contentious and debatable concept. I might argue that she's a little more exciting than maybe we're giving her credit for given that she did end up working cons with Neal, at least one that we've seen---but there seems to be a growing list of eligible ladies with which Neal could end up...only time will really tell....

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I have to disagree about Neal and Kate. I didn't like them together at all. Maybe it's because I was expecting a more exciting relationship, the two of them being criminals and all. Kate was kind of boring to me and perhaps a bit too perfect. I found their relationship cheesy. I've liked Alex from the start. She's such an interesting character and I really like the dyanamic between her and Neal. I hope they explore it more in the future.

Ccharles

@Whitney---First, thank you, I appreciate that.
Second, I like this idea of your anger being shifted to Peter a little bit. You know, though, I almost want to give Peter a little bit of credit, because I feel like he truly wants what's best for Neal and though he doesn't know Kate, he can see what's happening from only one perspective, which is Neal's. I think he just didn't want to see Neal hurt and thought that confronting Kate was the best way to convey that. I just don't think that Peter had the perspective that he has now, having heard the story of how Neal and Kate met and what their relationship was like, and maybe he will have a different way of dealing with her if she does come back from the dead.

Ccharles

@Izzie---first, gotta say that I love that you pulled direct quotes and I appreciate that you though this was a great review, but it truly takes a great episode to make a great write up! Love the possible plot points you suggested, those would be some interesting storyline to explore and do think it would add a very interesting and compelling dynamic to the show. It might be wise of them to wait considering all the pieces the show seems to have in play right now, but I can see season three being pretty exciting, maybe even exploring some of your possibilities

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@ Chandel Charles Love your review. I want Peter to see he's wrong because waiting for your boyfriend who's in prison, missing him then being kidnapped sucks and Peter really seemed to be Anti-Kate which made the audience question her because of loving the Peter/Neal friendship. I blamed her too. So my anger has shifted to Peter... still love him though but really love Kate's character now. I'm always for couples and Neal/Kate are my White Collar couple.

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“Upon watching this episode, I realized that Kate was really much more than the ethereal character I seemed to picture her as. Plus, that completely enraptured look on Neal’s face when he looked at Kate almost makes you feel guilty for even minimally entertaining the thought of him with anyone else.� Yes I completely agree. I love Neal and Kate, did from the beginning. I knew their relationship must have been really complex, particularly because of the way he loved her and wouldn’t let go. I was frustrated they kept making it look like she was the bad guy, all the comments Burke and Mozzie made about her possibly betraying him. If that were true why would she have waited 4 years and saw him weekly. Her actually allowing Fowler to take her just proved her love more. “Even when Neal finally told her the truth about his name, she stuck with him.� I know. Even though he had lied to her and hid under a false identity. She truly loved him, to forgive and forget, so they could be together. She became a con artist for him, to be with him. When they were dressed as cops it was adorable. “She loved him as much as he loved her� Don’t even need to comment on this. From the episode it was evident. She did. She was hurt when he tried to con her. � I personally don’t believe that my conscious can be eased until I have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Kate is actually dead.� I, too am holding onto hope that she is alive. I think the show would be better if she was alive, more excitement and romance (because Kate isn’t got an anklet like Neal. she could continue to be a con if she wanted, possibly lead Neal astray. Just interesting storylines. Or a love triangle, Neal starts dating Sara but then he discovers Kate is alive and of course wants to be with her.) Great review. Greatest episode.

Ccharles

@Whitney---I appreciate your comment and I do wonder what the conflict between Peter and Kate is all about and really hope that the explosion was a misdirect and that if we keep asking "What about Kate?" that the writers will have to come to a decision about whether or not Kate is actually dead and what the consequences of that might be.

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After watching the ep, I'm so annoyed at Peter. Everything he said about Kate was false. In this episode it showed that, she was loving and forgiving toward Neal. He was actually deceitful to her not the other way round. When Peter said to Kate in the hotel room, I'm tired of you dragging him down. Watching Forging Bonds it's like what was he talking about? If anything it's the other way round...but it's not cause they loved eachother. She became a con to be WITH HIM. When he was talking about going away together that's all she wanted not to do another job with Alex. Then when she was hiding from him it was because he left her to go get the music box. I ship Neal and Kate even though she might/sorta/kinda/isn't exactly/possibly has died. I think there is so much more to them to end it in a lame explosion. By doing that they mask the character of Kate. Alexandra Daddario please make a return to White Collar cos your pretty and awesome, pretty awesome :D