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.


@ChandelCharles cos she's smarter than all the mfer's put togehter. She knew Alder would try and kill them so she escaped last minute, faked her death, just to finish the long con Neal started when he met her. I hope this theory is true otherwise I think another show bites the dust for me. His smile seemed like he knew who is was... so I was thinking Kate cos it would make it a great finale. But if she's still dead, sucks a** cos it makes it more intersting. Otherwise what else is there?


I'm starting to think that I should have entitled this review "Who's con is it anyway" because all these ideas are pretty awesome. I actually just read somewhere that they were thinking about bringing Kate back in one more season three episode. I don't know if that means she'll be alive or its another flashback, but given this evidence and that Adler revealed that the explosion was Kate's idea, it might be plausible. I would caution, however, that the plane didn't explode over the Atlantic like it was supposed to, so how could she have possibly escaped?


I was wondering if this whole thing was set up by Kate herself. I don't know how she managed to sneak off the plane despite it blowing up. I was also trynna find out any similarities to the place where Neal fount Kate after she dissappeared ( in episode 11) , the place where Peter arrests Neal. If anyone of you can find even the slightest of similarities to the warehouse Kate lived kindly put up a picture. :)


oooohhh it must be Kate. They had the long history with Alder, he conned them both before and now Kate got their own back. She deffos was responsible for this very crafty. I like before I thought the finale was bland now....so interesting, no wonder Neal was all breathless then smiled because maybe he caught on; Kate.


@Sam, SurfWflt, Tyler U guys are so right! It couldn't have been Alex because what reason would she have to give him all of it. It wasn't Neal because why would he leave himself a note. It would epic if it were Kate. That would be the best plot.
1) She knew in S1 Neal would fo the job for Fowler leading to the plane (her con)
2) She knew she couldn't trust Fowler or Alder knowing they would most likely kill them. (hence a long con)
3) She knew Burke would catch up with Neal allowing her to make the phone call to Alder
4) It was necessary Neal thought she was dead to trick Alder into the stuff that has happened in S2
5) Alder believing Neal wasn't competition used him with the sub stuff etc. and thought he was in the clear because Neal's with the FBI, etc.
6) What Alder didn't count on was Kate being alive. She used an explosion just like he did, bringing Alder to his knees, shot killed, dead
7) And the goods in the storage unit.
FOR HER AND NEAL! This would be such an epic storyline. All revealing itself in due time. I did think it was lame for them to just kill her that way, when I watched it I thought, 'bad writing' but if this is why the did it. Amazing! I get it.


I think you and I are the only creative genuises with a mind for White Collar, lol. I really was thinking. It's Kate who was behind all this. Overall I was disappointed with the episode their life or death situations weren't really life or death, they were 'meh' but this view could be because I've been watching so much Nikita and it's recent preview clip that everything else pales in comparision.
I'm hoping Kate is behind it and is alive. Otherwise I don't have much incentive to watch, I was already bored mid-season the only interest that sparked me is con man Neal when he's solo and Kate because she's an enigma (and crazy beautiful).
Till the summer. I hope the writers are legendary and make Kate behind this we need another blue eyed beauty con artist besides Neal. Because Neal can't actually do cons because he's all fed, but doesn't mean Kate can't and drag him to the dark side. Come on it's interesting. I hate this bland Neal/Sara/Peter/El thing. Spice it up!


Love the show, but alittle disappointed with last night's episode.
For one, I feel like they wrapped up the whole Kate storyline too quickly - plus I agree with other commenters that she is likely still arrive. I think there is more to the music box. Also bummed that they killed Adler, as I liked Andrew McCarthy in that role. My biggest complaint, however trivial it might seem, is how the hell did all this priceless artwork survive being submerged in the East River, of all places(!!), for over 70 years?! I'm a big fan of sunken treasure and salvage operations, but this one was beyond implausible for me. Love Moz; he gets the best dialogue. Hope they'll expand his role, moving forward. Bored with the Alex/Sara/Neal scenario.


I think you're wrong at Kate's story being wrapped up. I think it was HER, who sent Neal the note, everything in the warehouse. IT WAS KATE. That would be some seriously top notch writing if it were. She was pulling a long con for/with Neal unbeknownst to him. Am I the only one who got that? The cryptic note, Neal's shock as he enters the warehouse, his smile.
Wasn't anyone thinking? They are the slickest Bonnie and Clyde if this is true....


Well consider he found it in Mexico last time I check they were not a part of New York


Anybody know how Adler managed to salvage a submarine from the harbor waters of New York and store it in a New York warehouse, with nobody noticing? The writing falls apart in many places in this season finale. Adler's plan obviously included obtaining the apartment and moving the treasures immediately from the submarine into it. But how come the feds, having found these treasures in the sub, do not bother to guard it overnight? Again, the major project of moving the treasures from the sub to the apartment overnight is accomplished with no one noticing. Having moved the treasures, why are Adler and his men still hanging around the warehouse the next day, rather than disappearing, other than to get caught and set up the final and fatal shoot out scene? No, I do not think that these questions will be answered in next season's episodes. Not that I will be watching, as the writing is just too implausible, and I really don't care about Neal's love life choices between the two fashionable hotties.

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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?