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