White Collar Review: What Happens in Burma...

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White Collar went international on "What Happens in Burma," as Neal and Peter aimed to liberate the son of an American diplomat who was accused of smuggling a Burmese ruby out of the country.

While the smuggling of a ruby served as an instigator of the plot, a more important development, one we will no doubt continue to see, was developing in the background: “If I’m not my father’s son, who am I?”

Happening in Burma

That’s the question Neal Caffrey will probably be trying to answer leading to this season finale and, perhaps, beyond.

No matter who you are, you want to identify with the world around you. Most of us do that in terms of our relationships with our parents. I don’t think Neal’s question should be, “Who am I?” but rather the more compelling question: “Who am I becoming?”

It’s understandable that Neal would want to withhold his father’s true identity as a dirty cop, but what I enjoyed about this episode was that even though he wouldn’t reveal this piece of information to Peter, his partner kept trying to pry it from him anyway. That’s the exact accusation that Neal leveled with the diplomat: that he didn’t try hard enough to get through to his son.

Neal has, in more ways than one I think, become Peter’s son.

Think about it: How many times has Peter stepped in just as Neal was about to make a grave mistake? How many times has Peter tracked Neal’s anklet and done whatever he could to find and help him? Peter cares so much for Neal that he went to Mozzie, with whom he often has trouble communicating, in order to mount some sort of effort to help Neal mourn Kate’s death.

In a lot of ways, Neal wants what Peter has: the wife and the house and Satchmo; and the more time Neal spends with Peter, the more he learns how he can acquire it. They share a dual relationship as colleagues and, dare I say, family. It’s become a stable relationship, as Neal told Peter he no longer wants to run, just prior to that scene in which the plane he was about to board burst into flames.

Perhaps the most important feature of these episodes is that the caper, no matter how big or small, often reflects some question the characters themselves are struggling to answer. I look forward to watching Neal answer this question and develop his identity as a result of the man he is learning to become, rather than who he is at present. Personal growth doesn’t stop, and I am sure these writers will make sure that their characters continue to reflect that.

On a lighter note, Mozzie had a few good moments, most notably in the rubber gloves and lab gear while making their synthetic Burmese Mandalay ruby.  It’s not often that we get to see Mozzie so excited about something. It’s always fun to see what gets Mozzie excited or incensed, depending on the situation. You never really know what to expect from him in that regard, and he served as a well-placed comedic relief here.

I also enjoyed watching Diana do the runway walk. That’s something we don’t often see and probably won’t see again. It’s a little bit of a change of pace in that regard, but it was fun while it lasted.

Overall, pretty solid episode, and we can look forward to Billy Dee Williams and Diahn Carroll guest –starring in next week’s episode, the former acting as a former con artist that helps the FBI by becoming an inside man.

Will Neal realize he’s not his father’s son? Will his inner turmoil compromise his judgment somewhere down the road?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (50 Votes)

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


Does anyone know the name of the rap song playing in the background during the fashion show?


This review was all about a big psychological moment in the episode. Last week y'all were so taken over by Neal in a tshirt. UM HELLOOOO did anyone see what he was wearing when him and Mozzie were making the jewel? It was a sweaty white tank top. Delicious!!!!! I did love this episode tho. It was very clever.


A point: Diana says Peter let Neal go to the embassy to get the drive instead of constraining him. Later, Peter goes to help Neal. One could interpret this as a father-son interaction.


I don't believe they are trying to say that at all, I think there's an element to their relationship that is father/son like, but not that they're blood related :)


This was an awesome episode, but I've never been disapointed. Mozzie and Neal's conversation about "real parents" got me thinking and speculating about Neal and Peter - in spite of Neal's comment at the end that his "Dad was a crooked cop." There is much more to this sub-plot and I sure hope we hear a lot more about this in episodes to come. Are they saying that Peter Burke is Neal's real father?


I agree with your assessments about Neal and Peter. At first, the change of pace from the last couple episodes caught me off guard. But when I watched the episode a second time, it was perfect.


VERY good review. I wasn't as crazy about this episode as I was the last couple.


I love your article! I completely agree with your views on last night's episode. I've seen Peter and Neal as father/son since the very beginning, just about, and when Mozzie solidified my speculations by announcing the "patriarchal" interpretation, I have to admit I gave a little yip of joy in front of the TV. And now that I read your article, I find not so many think it's all that subtle anymore. Indeed, Neal has become Peter's son. I just hope they admit to it sometime in not-too-distant episodes. Thank you for this perceptive and feel-good review!


Since the first episode of White Collar I've been a fan. I'm excited about Neil revealing more about himself...we are all curious. And he's definitely leaning more and more to Peter for advice...although he'd never admit it. Mozzie is the most intriguing character I've seen in a long time. The actor is doing an excellent job of crafting an interesting person...a bad guy who somehow doesn't come off as bad...too many good atributes. I'll be watching! Keep up the good work, guys...

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White Collar Season 2 Episode 12 Quotes

Suit, your supplies are much appreciated.

Mozzie [to Peter]

No pigeons were harmed in the making of this Ruby.

Neal [to Clinton Jones]