White Collar Season Finale Review: A Long Con?!?

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White Collar was poised to deliver a nail-biting and unbelievable season finale in "Under the Radar," but it quickly turned into a rather disappointing cliffhanger, with storytelling that left much to be desired.

Even so, it was still a pretty solid episode with some moments that were worth noting.

Season Two Finale Pic

First, with the not-so-notable/praiseworthy content: I was all about pursuing Adler and finally getting the closure on the music box that fans so very much deserved, but not the way this episode went about it.

I found I was largely unimpressed by the reveal of the priceless art encased in the explosive-laced U-boat. While they added a rather interesting element of having Neal and Peter unlock the boat hatch, especially with the wire cutting attempt that tripped a timer, I was unimpressed by Alex’s last minute save.

Similarly, I thought Adler’s attempt to drown them was less dramatic than I was expecting, so I wondered why Alex and Neal, in a far from apparent life and death situation, thought it necessary to kiss? I understand that they needed to put the brakes on Sara and Neal just to keep the relationship development organic... but I was hoping the writers would be clever enough to do it some other way.

The most unbelievable part of this whole episode, though, was the cliffhanger that left viewers to believe that maybe Neal had been running a long con on Peter the whole time. It’s logistically impossible.

First of all, the minute they were retrieved from the docks, Neal, Peter and Alex were taken back to the FBI where they came up with a game plan. Alex left before anyone else; she’s obviously the one that did it. From there, Neal ended up at Peter’s for at least some part of the evening, and I simply have a hard time believing that he would have gone and wasted all of that trust building with Peter and all that internal self-reflection on Adler’s treasure.

He didn’t have enough time to even really covet the U-boat’s contents, nor could he have known where it was at the time. If anything, Alex was better poised to have been playing Adler, or at least I would think so. Second, Neal had to be given a key and an address to the storage facility. He didn’t even know where the stuff was.

Developmentally, I was not a fan of Peter and Neal’s little tiff at the end, where Neal walked off. It felt forced and too sudden. I get that Peter probably felt betrayed, but I thought they had developed more trust over this last half of the season. It just didn’t feel right.

Neal and Alex

Now the good stuff:

I have to say, as shallow as some of it was, I liked that they went ahead and addressed Sara and Neal’s moment at the end of “Power Play.” I think if they had waited to address it, that part of the plot might have taken away from what was happening on the Adler front, so I’m glad that Sara and Neal addressed it right away. They were cute, and I think it was fitting that there were a few moments where it was hinted at by Jones , Diana, Peter and Mozzie that they thought something was going on.

On that note, I also kind of liked that Peter invited them both to dinner with him and Elizabeth, but I think they were uncharacteristically overstating their relationship. It’s usually more subtle, but the writers kind of threw it out there awkwardly as if Sara and Neal would want a relationship where Sara affectionately patted Neal on the rear end. Don’t think it’s their style...

I did find it intriguing that Sara let Neal reveal he wasn’t completely over Alex, but still kissed him. It was like she took what Elizabeth said about loving Peter as he is to heart. As lame as it might sound, it gave me a little bit of hope for them; even though I’m hoping next season they don’t immediately have them making out like they did in “Power Play.”

If they could back it up with a little courting, I’d be into that. Similarly, I’m surprised Alex just up and left without really trying to put up any kind of fight for Neal, not that it was expected in this episode, but she just kind of disappeared to steal the U-boat treasure no doubt.

On another front, I loved Mozzie’s little moments. He was entertaining in his hesitance to get into the van and in his call for motion sickness medicine. I also liked his little speech to Sara about getting involved with con men.

Overall, this was not the kind of finale that will have me wondering a week from now what happened, nor do I have a distinct idea where the show will go now that the Kate's story is wrapped up. No doubt this show will continue to be impressive, as they have a great writing staff that’s awed and entertained us for two seasons. But this was finale I’ll probably forget about until the show comes back again.

What everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

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


Does anyone remember the scene when alex, Neil, peter, adler, and adler thugs were on the boat just before the dry-dock scene? If you watch carefully, Alex sees that the thug holding her hostage has keys dangling from his belt....then she elbows him in the gut. She def lifted the keys...which I'm guessing were to the warehouse. She had plenty of time to figure out where the warehouse was and make the swap while Neil and peter were at dinner. It was DEF alex.


Is it possible that Neal long conned everyone? Where he conned Peter and even Adler himself? Where he did know about the U-boat and it's contents, he just placed the note and key there to act as if it wasn't him, as if it was Alex or Sara? If he did, it would be the reason for that little devilish/knowing smile at the end. I know Alex eyed the keys, but is it realistically possible for her to grab the keys of a man whilst handcuffed, zipped locked and threatening to be drowned? Seriously, if it is Neal, then I say an ultimate Kudos to him for running the con of the millennia.


...oops. to continue: It is possible that the White Collar writers wanted to introduce another sort of find-the-culprit mystery here. It feels meaningless as a fan to spend the hiatus time pondering a question that then would have an impossible answer to think up based on previous episodes, but for example we didn't know Adler existed until they randomly decided to tell us and they could be doing the same thing to us with this. However, Neal's triumphant smile could be interpreted as many of you have as a knowing one, and so then you'd think that he might have an idea of who it is.... In conclusion, it's fun to speculate, but it seems as though every option I can think of has a kind of issue or plot hole. Hopefully the writers will surprise me.


I agree with Saska. The most interesting plot would be if it was Kate, but that's not quite plausible. We saw the plane blow up, and she was looking out the window. I think she had about twenty to thirty seconds to get out, if she actually did. However, a more realistic theory is Alex. She does not have the strongest motivation in the world, but of all the major characters she is the only one who really has the possibility or reason to do so. It is clearly not Neal, Peter, Sara (not con enough), or any of the FBI agents. There is a slight chance that it's Mozzie, but he is not a vengeful character so although he was shot that is not reason enough for him to do it. But he's a con man, and perhaps the prospect of the money is enough. Mozzie does enjoy secretive communication though, such as the card. However I think he is a little too close to Neal throughout this to pull it off. I would like to suggest a last option which is not as likeable, but definitely plausible,


@Jamie I see what you mean. The moment they introduced her I had some serious Alexandra Daddario love because of the mystery of her character + her beauty. Then BOOOM, I was like, goodbye WC then. I watched her returning episode, very cool, wish we could see more of the past con days. I watched under the radar, meh? It was fine. Clearly they created a monster in me when they started the Kate storyline because I am not satisfied with it's ending ergo I tune out. Between Sara and Alex, I can't really choose they have merged into one. Previously Sara was hardcore and not interested in Neal's bull, then she went all girly and suddenly couldn't control herself. I'm never been a Alex fan so not much to say there. From the romantic stance of the show - shipping wise, it's disappointing and I sadly am a shipper jumkie. So not much prospects. But I am glad I watched Alexandra Daddario on the show. The next show she's in I will be sure to watch that.


I would so much prefer it Kate came back, because the petty little thing between Neal/Sara/Alex was lame. @Lexter Ikan Kate's the queen and those b***** wouldn't stand a chance. I think that's why I like her she challenged Neal, with her cryptic messages and disappering the way he wanted to find her. Without her Sara and Alex are just gagging for it. It's dry. Burke and El well as much as I love them, there won't be any trickery, elaborate schemes etc. Neal and Kate have that...had that. I really wanted to see Neal/Kate/Kellermen that would have been so epic. The more I talk about it the more I can't believe they killed her. It's hit and miss for me with Season 3, I might watch it, for Kate's returning episode I definetly will, I will not miss it. But else I'll catch it when and if I feel like it. Season 2 hasn't rubbed me the right way, lol. Not the way Season 1 did. The finale was nothing special, I too am a J.J Abrams fan so when things aren't outlandish, imaginative and downright freaky amazing. I'm outty.


Alex will be back next season I understand, so there is a chance she did it. Some have suggested she worked with Mozzie, who would be able to find the loot with the help of the gadget he produced and still has. There was no need for anything to move the loot except the ability to drive a large truck since it was already packed. This dedication to a character we didn't know very much about and who is now dead is really strange to me. I don't believe Kate was ever meant to be a real part of the story. Just an excuse for Neal to start his new life. Some have suggested Neal's father did the treasure switch, but he's also supposed to be dead,but I don't believe that since they brought him up so much in ...Burma. There has also been talk from Jeff that casting Neal's parents. They are now looking for a Neal look alike, so what is that going to be? I really enjoyed this epi, much more than Power Play, and look forward to finding out who really stole the treasure since I do not see an evil smile on Neal's face or one that knows who did it.


Seriously, KATE'S dead. It's Alex who's behind the long con. Did you all miss the scene where Alex spots the keys on one of Adler's men and creates that whole distraction to swipe them, I know Neal noticed. Throughout the second half of the season, we kept hearing "You can either be a con or a man, but you can't be both", well Alex is luring Neal to be the con he once was. I mean if Kate's dead, what's the point of being a good man. Think about it, Adler told Neal, "There' s nothing sadder, then a conman conning himself." Neal wasn't playing Peter, it's just that now he is at a crossroads. Neal has to decide whether he's changed or if the lure of being a conman is stronger.


@Chandel Charles
indeed that plane exploded on the tarmac of the airport, a few seconds or minutes after Kate boarded that plane, seriously gien the configuration of that location, how did she escape without anybody noticin her? This is not LOST and she is notJIn, she cannot possibly escape that explosion. I would love to hear that theory but i need at least a realistic "How did she escape" that make sense in that location. The real benefit of the Kate Theory, is that it would actually put the fight between Team Alex and Team Sara to a stop! If Kate is back none of those two ladies stand a chance, certainly not Alex she already failed against Kate before...


@Chandel Charles
indeed that plane exploded on the tarmac of the airport, a few seconds or minutes after Kate boarded that plane, seriously gien the configuration of that location, how did she escape without anybody noticin her? This is not LOST and she is notJIn, she cannot possibly escape that explosion. I would love to hear that theory but i need at least a realistic "How did she escape" that make sense in that location. The real benefit of the Kate Theory, is that it would actually put the fight between Team Alexe a

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White Collar Season 2 Episode 16 Quotes

Peter: Ah, Chrysler Building---Painting it for your girlfriend?
Neal: Are you nine?

Sara: So, you and Alex?
Neal: Over.
Sara: See, was that so hard?