White Collar

Thursdays 10:00 PM on USA
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White Collar Review: "Where There's a Will"

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First, have to say I loved the new intro. The art gallery was a nice touch, and who could forget the addition of Hilarie Burton to the opener, signifying her upgrade to series regular.

But I also have to say that her upgrade has seemingly yielded an ironic effect: we didn’t see her at all on "Where There's a Will," much to my disappointment. It didn’t have to be a romantic encounter, but if they could use Mozzie, Elizabeth and even Satchmo in the course of the case, it seems they could have squeezed Sara into the script somewhere.

Neal Caffrey Photograph

On another note, I loved the use of the Tycho Brahe mythology that drove the episode. It was unique and fun without being taking over the storytelling. The dissolving manuscript was pretty intense and clever, and when Mozzie quickly turned to blame Satchmo, I couldn’t help but laugh.

The use of the planetarium, the Gemini constellation in particular, also made for an interesting addition. The likelihood of that ever happening again is minimal, and rightly so. The random appearance of the sexton and mirror trick on the sundial was so nerdy I have to give the writers props for weaving it in.

I was surprised how quickly the brotherly feud became secondary to the bigger plot about the kidnapping and the little girl, who even Peter seemed to bond with, if only briefly. It added all these elements to the episode that made it compelling throughout.

However, I would have liked to know what was in the will. I couldn't help but think - given the line "nothing left between you" - that perhaps Nathaniel Rowland had actually left all his assets to Savannah so that neither brother would have the fortune, but both would have an interest, for Savannah's sake, in making sure it stayed in the family. I did appreciate, though, that the Brahe manuscripts in the planetarium weren't the only surviving set.

With regard to the ongoing investigation into the U-boat treasure, it seems that Peter has called in some experts to look into it. I continue to be bothered by Neal's willingness to exploit her in order to find out what Peter is up to. He now knows there's a manifest and that at least 22 paintings are tagged if their fenced, which would lead Peter straight to him. The temptation has been heightened now that Neal can keep a virtual eye on the stash from his laptop 24/7. Do you think Neal got Mozzie in time to keep him from fencing the Degas?

Anyone else  have the itch to complete a treasure hunt? I know I do!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (217 Votes)

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

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When I started watching this episode I was like, I think that guest actor is Danny Masterson's brother and then Danny Masterson walked into the frame. It was such a nice touch to use
real life brothers in the episode.

Fortyseven

Great episode. I also thought the last line of the will concerned Savannah. I liked the Brahe stuff too. Who doesn't enjoy a treasure hunt? Peter: "You made my dog an accessory to a crime"! Ha!

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Season 3 sets up a whole new level of complexity between Neal and Peter. While I was definitely a fan of the bromance in Season 2, shaking things up a little might be good in the long run. Unlike a couple of posters here, I see all sorts of signs that Neal is hesitating about plans to run. I think he got caught up in the moment when Mozzie started talking about disappearing, but consider how he carefully put his tools away in the first episode after forging the painting scrap - he hasn't come to grips with not coming back. He wanted to say something to June. And the hesitation when leaves his consultant ID on the table tells me it's not an easy decision. And I agree with Troy - Bomer has infused the character with all sorts of little nuances that say he's conflicted. With things getting back to normal with Peter, at least on a work level, I think it's going to be even harder for Neal to decide to leave. No matter what else happens, he enjoys the chase and the hunt as much as Peter as they work on cases. And really, the show revolves around the relationship between the two leads - Season 4 can't be about Neal on the run and Peter chasing him. That wouldn't be White Collar. And just to say... I HATE the new opening. The music is jarring. The portraits theme might be all right - if they hadn't opted for the cheesy "props." Apparently Neal is nothing more than a disembodied foot with a tracking anklet? That's really insulting to the character.

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viewers can tell he wants something different even based on his facial expressions and reactions to little things. @Troy - That right there is my problem... I'm horrible at reading facial expressions so I can only go by actions and his actions are telling me he does not want to change one bit.....

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It's obvious in this episode that Neal is trying to put the brakes on Mozzie and rethinking the run. Bomer brilliantly portrays his character to the point that while Neal has a criminal past, viewers can tell he wants something different even based on his facial expressions and reactions to little things. White Collar, while not perfect, is such a breath of fresh air compared to the network fare and even fluff like Covert Affairs or Royal Pains. I doubt there is a lot of debate going on about the latest episode of CA.

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I love that Hilarie Burton is now a series regular. More Sarah!

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@Rose - I have a feeling if they'd been smart and had the music box issue resolved in season 1 (because really - it DID NOT need to take two seasons to do all of that) and THEN had something like this happen - without the friendship building that was season 2 - I wouldn't be this upset.... it's the drastic change from what I was expecting that has caught me off guard. I didn't expect this and I'm not sure what to do with it. It doesn't help that Neal was never my favorite character so I've always had trouble trusting/respecting him. The abrupt change has set me back in how I feel about Neal. Whereas a more realistic tone from the start would have been easier to accept - if Peter never trusted Neal/ never allowed Neal to get away with all the BS he gets away with. If Neal was always one step away from running or committing a major crime - I would have accepted it as due course when working with a criminal who can't be trusted. Problem is they told us Neal could be trusted (if I was reading season 2 correctly) and then destroyed that trust for the sake of tension and drama....

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I've come into the whole White Collar thing at season 3 but I DID go back and watch all of season 1 plus most of season 2 online. I agree in essence with Anna. They went out of their way in season 2 to make them buddies and I think Anna reading how well the two stars get on well together that it was a laziness on their part. Basically it was much easier to have them ad libing and being improv then actually doing some proper writing. You see I loved season 1 but haven't warmed up to season 2 and LOVE season 3. For me I don't know why they made them suddenly become buddies. That isn't realistic and made it boring. Was it supposed to be some kind of buddy tv series with a happy ending? Boring, that's not what it said in the box. It said on the box this is a 'catch me if you can style' like program about a con and an agent on his tail. It didn't say it was peter and Neal eating Chinese sitting by a log fire nabbing like old house wives whilst elizabeth is putting the dog out for a walk. You expect action. Deceit. Mistrust. Basically what goes into an at least realistic portrayal of a character like Neals in the real world, not Disney! I empathize with people like Anna who want this Disney boring like friendship....oh what robbery will the two buddies solve next because that was what you put in for a good season with season 2 but for some if us who want what this program is supposed to be at least as realistic as 'happy ever USA' can do, season 3 feels like the excitement I felt watching season 1, so it's all good in my eyes. I also think that its also important to push the acting of the characters and actually get under their skin because it still isn't a real portrayal of what these people will be. I'm also glad Mozzie will have a dark side and a sex life instead of being the witty asexual side kick. I'm glad they will also bring in some of Neals past comrades-I mean come on, you live in NY but you haven't bumped into any ex femme fetale flames or crooked partners in crime? The one thing that just grates me about White Collar-and I think they are changing this-is that I never believed with the way they made Neal behave that he was really a con man. There was no edge or no darkness and he was far too quick in starting a buddy relationship with an FBI, like please in what universe? Anyhow, I'll still watch because I think they are stepping it up with the what this is meant to be, Matt Bomer always looks great, the soundtrack rocks-again went weak in season 2- and there is just so much potential that I see to make this into an adult sexy drama tinged with witty banter.

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We must have been really stupid last nite! But where had the kidnapper appeared on the show? Had a name but WHO was he? Peter said the little girl knew the kidnapper ?

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I've been left frustrated and uneasy about the way the series has gone. I get needing to keep things interesting and they can't really have Neal completely give up a life of crime yet - because then the show would be over - but it feels like they're going about it all wrong. I mean they spent all of seasons 1 and 2 building on the idea that Neal might actually want a different life and might actually be listening to what Peter has been trying to teach him. They also built up a friendship between Neal and Peter that now seems to have been completely destroyed. My feeling is that if they wanted to keep the tension between Peter and Neal realistic they never should have made them be friends. Why bother going to all that effort in the previous seasons if it meant nothing to Neal? Okay, maybe it didn't mean nothing to him but I'm having a hard time believing anything else due to his actions in the season 3 premiere. I can accept that he felt backed into a corner by Peter's attack at the end of season 2 and then finding out it was Mozzie who stole the treasure. I can accept that he felt he was caught between a rock and a hard place without much of a choice but to run with Mozzie. However it all felt too easy for him to just decide to run. The writers have posted on twitter that Neal was hesitating but I didn't see that in the the episode. They also said that Neal was "looking for a reason to stay" but again I didn't see that. He saved Jones because he doesn't want someone's death on his hands but if Jones hadn't gotten caught I believe he would have still left and gone right back to a life of crime. The second episode may have had more banter between the characters but the undercurrent of lies and betrayal made it difficult to enjoy. It feels like Neal won't give up the treasure because he realizes he was wrong but only because he has no choice - he realizes he's going to get caught so he'll do something to get rid of the treasure before Peter can catch him. Honestly, at this point it feels like any trust and sympathy I might have had for Neal is destroyed. I don't understand why Peter thinks Neal is worth saving anymore or worth putting up with his BS. I don't know if we were ever supposed to trust Neal - I don't know what the writers want us to believe. And now I think that as soon as the anklet comes off Neal will run right back to a life of crime and end up back in jail or dead. Which was probably always true, but I thought we were supposed to have hope of something better? Was I wrong?

White Collar Season 3 Episode 2 Quotes

Choose well. Very soon we are going to be on an airplane to a different life.

Mozzie [to Neal about his new alias]

Peter [about Neal's anklet]: It's so I don't lose him.
Savannah: Are you his grandpa?
Peter: Aren't you supposed to go to your room?

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