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.


We all knew it was Sam too, but it was so much fun watching the story unfold, and finally a season episode with an uplifting ending!! Please, please Jeff Eastin, don't go kill Sam off......we want to explore Neal's background, journey with him as he discovers more of himself, and see the genuine father/son and Peter and Mozzie relationships evolve. Maybe there should be a Thanksgiving special with the family dinner at Peter and El's home.


An ok episode. I think "Sam" will leave soon. I don't buy that Neal and Peter's relationship has to swing back and forth between mostly trusting and mostly distrusting. It's lazy and annoying and poor storytelling. There are many alternative sources of conflict.


I also called "Sam" being Neal's father quite early on in the season, but that didn't make the episode any less awesome!!
I loved how Neal's and Peter's hostilities resolved over the episode culminating in that FBI conference.
Matt Bomer is an incredible actor, he and Tim DeKay work brilliantly together. Peter's trust in Neal is growing and he admitted that he did the deal with Neal because he liked him. So, having Neal's dad around should be interesting.
Loved Diana and Jones in this episode and loved loved loved Peter's "Diana doesn't like bulges comment."


@Suzanne Because Ellen and "Sam" never got together. She first tried to contact Sam again after Neal started asking questions about his past and they only contacted each other through e-mail. She had no way of knowing that James was impersonating Sam and that Sam had been dead for 3 years already. James only got to town just before Ellen was murdered.


Tyler: Given that Ellen was Neal's Dad's partner, how could she not know he was Neal's father?


Matt Bomer acting skills showed themselves even more than usual last night. I swear he could do the whole show with just facial expressions, no words needed. The entire cast along with the good writing make this one of the best shows on tv. Yes, I knew "Sam" was Neil's father too but who cares, it was fun watching it unfold.
I've mentioned this before.... I wish we could "like" the comments posted here, and sometimes "dislike". Is it a difficult option to offer?


After so many here calling that Sam would turn out to be Neal's father, I joined in that call. Does anyone else think that was a bit too predictable? I liked that by the end of the hour Neal and Peter had seemed to overcome their quarrel, at least for now. Jones and Diana were superb in this episode. Now to wait until January.........


My outburst off happiness when they revealed Sam was Neals father had more to do with the fact that i called it too. God i love it when i'm right. The episode was fun to watch, starting with Peter fixing the coffee machine on that song, priceless. Can't wait when WC returns!


@Ninja: Peter as Neal's father figure came from that episode when Peter was trying to enroll his "son" to that private high school and Peter describing his son, but basically refering to Neal.


The *rat* probably nailed "Sam" as Neal's dad, with that much foreshadowing involved. I would wonder how no one suspected earlier, except that USA show = suspension of disbelief the size of Kansas. I still can't see Peter as Neal's father figure, given their age difference can't be more than a decade or so. Not too many nine-year old baby daddies running around. Brothers, best friends, or even HoYay! thrown in to mess with the shipper crowd (tell me fans will not remember sweaty, shirtless Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay going at each other as a highlight of the entire show, I dare you). Someone posted elsewhere that the scene in the park, with Peter giving Neal the new intel o Sam, was also significant because Peter just walked away- he had faith Neal wouldn't do anything illegal or crazy.

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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.