White Collar Review: The Challenge

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Fellow Collars, you know I totally had a "Vested Interest" in this week's episode. After all, I made a rather bold claim last week that I thought Sam was Neal's father.

Now that White Collar confirmed it, I can proudly proclaim the following: I CALLED IT!

Okay, granted, so did many of you. Pats on the back all around.

White Collar Finale Scene

I'd be lying if I said that some of my own suspicions weren't actually based on the fact that Sam and Neal have striking similar heads of hair, although the additional intrigue provided by Sam's desire to not be tracked and his sudden change in attitude toward Neal in this episode only reaffirmed it.

If anything actually gave Sam away, at least for me, it would had to have been his less gruff and stand-offish demeanor this time around. It felt like a complete 180 for his character.

Regardless, the only questions is this: are we happy with that outcome?

Personally, I think the twist of fate will give fans some well-deserved reveals to our most burning questions, even as the revelation will cause us to have even more. Instead of grappling with internal demons that would have likely hounded Neal throughout the course of a more drawn out investigative process, we can get some answers and possibly see some growth.

What interests me is how this might alter Neal and Peter's relationship to have Neal's father in the picture, given that Peter has, for all intents and purposes, fulfilled that role in a lot of ways. Of course Peter and Neal are partners, but I'd also like to think that, in some ways, they view each other as family, even in their most uncertain moments.

Similarly, will Neal's father remain in the picture, or simply provide answers and leave as quickly as he came?

There was also another very fun aspect to this episode in the form of the FBI conference.

While the angst that permeated the opening portions of the episode was expected, I enjoyed how it was eventually resolved, but not without Neal taking aim at Peter in front of a room filled with his peers and other agents.

Other highlights from the episode:

  • Neal bringing a pet rat into the FBI.
  • Jones' reaction to the rat in the FBI.
  • Neal bringing up that Peter "misled" a priest.
  • Peter fixing the coffee machine.
  • Jones and Diana teaming up as boss and underling. That sequence was pretty entertaining. They work so well together.
  • Neal having enough forethought to strap on that vest.
  • Neal's look when he found out that the man parading around as Sam was actually his father.
  • Neal not freaking out when Peter presented the possibility that Sam might be one of the bad cops. Very grown up of him.

How did you react to the shocking news? Sound off with your reactions!


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (682 Votes)

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


What if the blood on his face was just rubbed on his face to be sampled by Neal? and the man beating him up was a just a ruse to get closer to Neal? What if Sam isn't Neal's father? That would be an awesome twist!


LOVED the episode.. Treat Williams is an excellent actor. Enjoyed the Diana and Jones con on the criminal. Glad to see them involved more. Since they limited the Sara character,(GLAD FOR THAT) this season, they have more screen time for Elizabeth, Diana and Jones as it should be. In this ep. Matt B. and Tim D. had a few touching moments.I liked when Peter told Neal he just really liked him, when contemplating taking his deal. I was glad to learn more of their "catch me as you can" type history. I very much like how this season they are tying in season 1. Comments in "Ancient History" about Alex and Neal's relationship, scoping out the globe for 8 years together and new info. South Africa job etc.. In this ep. "Vested Interest", loved that they reminisced about the Dutchmen and Avery cases. Liked how Peter has come along way from not being able to make the coffee. I think even if we knew Sam was Neal's dad it was a good midseason ending.


Finally got to my dvr playlist tonight and watched the finale. As it has been mentioned by others, this was a tad predictable and also a tad boring for a finale. I agree that the lead characters are excellent actors....the fact that Treat Williams ISN'T a great actor is IMO,the problem.


The review discusses all aspects of the episode, even the ending. This happens every time, so please don't complain about your own stupidity.


I don't think anyone was surprised to learn that Sam is Neal's father. I would agree that Peter and Neal seem more like brothers than father and son. I don't really care where the plot goes as long as it keeps going. White Collar is the most fun on TV and you can't take it too seriously. Just enjoy the wit and eye candy and acting. Several folks have mentioned how well Matt pulled off all the emotions in the last 2 episodes. I agree 100% and it was fun to see him being other than just cool and slick. I'd like to mention what a good job Tim Dekay did in these last 2 episodes as well. Many great nuances. The 2 of them together are unbeatable. My favorite show. It will be a long time until January for me.


WOW. I guess you've never heard of putting SPOILER ALERT before a post? I was trying to follow along with this episode as I watched it. TOTALLY SPOILED! >:(((


I liked the episode for everything besides the big reveal. "Bromance" is the word often used to describe the Peter-Neal relationship. But, it's more clear now that they are like brothers more than anything. They're family; big brother/little brother. They get on each other's nerves, fight, reconcile, look out for each other, don't give up, and know each other very, very well. Even when they think the other is lying, they have that element of faith in each other that defines family relationships. If it were just a friendship or work relationship, those ties would be more easily broken. Family puts up with a LOT of crap. As for Neal's dad, it all feels like BONES, where Ryan O'Neal is Brennan's ex-convict, forever-under-the-radar father. I guess the real hook will be to still figure out who killed Ellen, and is trying to "allegedly" kill Sam (because Peter's instincts are pretty good).


Man, am I the only one who didnt call it? I mean, I was a but suspicious with the hairline and eyes but..
Anyway, this episode was a disappointment to me. No where near the epicness that was last season's finale.
And I don't expect next seasons first episode to be as great as this one's either :/ but Matt Bomer makes up for all of it. That gorgeous man!


I seem to be in the minority: I found this episode to be, for the most part, boring. Sam is Neal's father? Check! Resolved bromance between Peter and Neal? Check! Peter never apologizing for his actions, their consequences, or their effect on Neal? Check! Neal being angry for a little while, but ultimately giving in because 'insert cookie-cutter reason here'? Check! Diana and Jones getting their 7 minutes of awesome? Check! Boring. There was no conflict, no surprise, no twist. I don't need 'Momento' by any stretch, but a little less predictability wouldn't kill anyone and might actually result in happier (and possibly more) viewers.


Of course we all knew he was the dad, but am so glad someone else got the "Diana doesn't like bulges" line! Love the writing on this show!
Thank you, and please hurry back.

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White Collar Season 4 Episode 10 Quotes

There has to be immense truth between you two...


Usually. But when there isn't, there's always faith... Faith that whatever the other is doing, it's for a good reason.