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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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

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


Ok if Kate is still alive then Team Sara and Team Alex can stop the catfight, because Neal's real Queen will be coming back to take what's hers!


How can kate possibly escape that explosion?How is that even possible that kate would still be alive, this is not LOSt and kate is not Jin. was there a way to escape that explosion, without anybody noticing anything?


"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." Actually it's not that intriguing, remember she told him "i had a life too, but if there's something between us, don't lie to me", to which he wanted to reply with "i would never..." and she cut him and said "yes you would" and then he gave a straight answer to the "alex question", the answer sincere at the time;-) For me that conversation was just a follow-up to the first, she have an idea of who he is and if they have anything between us, she wants the truth, the truth with him will always be complicated and i think the conversation with with Elizabeth has helped find the right aproach. So he is not really over Alex, he is cleary interested by Sara, we have triangle, because i am sure Alex hasn't really given up on Neal. For now Sara has an edge/advantage specially because she understands that Kate will always be part of Neal and that to move on he needs closure and she helped and i think she got her way in into Neal's universe with this. allso she was invited at the Burkes who are defacto Neal's family and that i am sure counts for something...


*If it's not Kate who did the con (if it is I'd love it)...


It's not Kate, I don't really have much reason to watch. Not that I don't LOVE Neal/Burke partnership but Kate really brought the excitement, the thrill of their con life and the old Neal Caffrey. But with her story being wrapped up like that - death. Boring. It makes it a very linear storyline, no entrelacement. Just Alder - finished. Kate - finished.
Sara - bla, Alex - bla both are suckers for Neal. But Kate is a different story she stands on her own with all the mystery she provides.
I know she will come back again, if it's a flashback I'll be so disappointed but I'll watch that episode, then not bother this Season really bored me. I thought I didn't like Kate but she was really the major reason I enjoyed Season 1. Is she betraying Neal? Is she gonna pop up in the episode?
Then they do so stupid explosion and it's all over. I really hope the writers aren't stupid.


You know at comic con he ask people if they would like Kate alive and everyone said No


I agree that the smile at the end was devilish...like he knew who it was or may be he did it himself. It is logistically impossible that he pulled it of himself. I think it could be possible/ would be an amazing twist, if Neal knew Kate was alive and they had planned the con together, but Kate had executed it hence he didn't know where it was and got the note from Kate. Maybe Kate knew about the treasure from Adler. Just one of the many theories.


I like the theory, that it’s all Kate’s doing but while I think there is a chance it might be true, I rather doubt it. First – because of all the things I’ve read in interviews. It was repeated that her storyline would be closed with season 2 finale.
I bet it was Alex (maybe with Mozzie’s help).
Of all the significant characters she definitely had the biggest chances to do it – as someone pointed out the whole team right after the rescue part headed to the office and then Neal, Peter and Sara went to Burkes. None of them would have enough time, while Alex was free after the office meeting. She was certainly capable of doing it. She was most likely to give Neal the key to the room, because it must be the same key we had seen earlier when they were all on the sub , the one she apparently had stolen from one of Adler’s men along with the knife.
Maybe I’m romantic, but I think it was even implied on the show. Remember the story she told Neal before goodbye kiss, how she used to think that the box and the whole treasure was some beautiful fantasy out of reach only to find later that the fantasy was true ? And then she compares Neal to this fantasy. I don’t think it was just meaningless sweet bla bla talking that writers decided to put in the script. Because in the end she believed in the story her grandpa told her (after she’s got a little proof – the key to the music box) and she tried to find that music box and she finally did it. Neal was the real unreachable fantasy for her , only now she ‘s got her little “key to the box� in the form of that hot impulsive kiss - so maybe he’s not so out of reach. And despite of all she said I think she has sth just opposite in mind and she’s going to fight to make this fantasy true. For now everything (beside the kiss and the fact that Kate is not anymore) seems to be against her – Neal is bound stronger and stronger to Peter and by this (and his anklet) to the “Law side� and she can never really have him if he goes there entirely. Now Sara happened too and this complicates things even more, not only because she is an attractive women Neal is involved with, but Sara represents this “legal� life too. Alex represents the wild, the instincts ( the “id�) in Neal and she can’t have him if he will continue convert himself, to tame his temptations, to change. She is smart and she knows that she has to get him back to the “dark side� first, to bring the old Neal to life. The whole treasure offered to Neal is not so much a gift of heart as it is allurement. It’ s meant to give him the old thrill, to push him in the other direction. And if he makes the choice to go there, she will be waiting. Not to mention it’s very convenient that she is a fence. We know that with pieces of art like that it will be hard choice for Neal.


@ChandelCharles She got off the plane the moment after she got in, IMO she planned to con Adler with a "let's blow the plane midair to make everyone think we're dead", he's not the most trustworthy guy in the world so it would be plausible she would lie to him too When she saw the feds coming she legged and left Neal behind knowing that he would be safe with them, leaving everyone to think her dead while she waited to steal the treasure or at least i hope, else i'll be disappointed with the writers


@ChandelCharles "Who's con is it anyway?" Yeah I agree.
Cough..cough I think and hope it's Kate's con.

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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?