It's official: It's "Gloves Off" for Peter and Neal on White Collar.
From the mutual distrust they can't seem to shake to Sam apparently going to ground, these two just can't seem to get on the same page. Nowhere was that more evident than in the boxing ring.
The episode began with perhaps my most favorite heartfelt moment so far, the playing of Ellen's tape to a young Neal in the event they were never to see each other again. What surprised me about this big reveal is how little, if any, new information was gleaned from this much-anticipated film.
We did learn that Neal's father was a cop in D.C. That was something we didn't already know. Similarly, we discovered that the DCPD is clearly wrought with the corrupt officials, who apparently had it out for Neal's dad. Why did his father admit to a crime he didn't commit? Only time will tell.
Back to the emotional side of this moment: To see Neal tear up as he heard Ellen leave him a message really got to me. We don't get to see Neal emotional very often, but it seems to be something that's come up a lot this season.
No case more obvious than when Neal went after Peter in the ring over Sam being compromised as well. Neal was angry, and rightly so. It does seem that Peter can never just trust Neal.
I know that, for the most part, Peter wants nothing but to protect Neal in whatever way he can, but that desire to protect is bordering on a desire to micro-manage even that which he shouldn't have the authority to control.
Yes, Neal has made some questionable choices in the past. But unless Peter stops trying to pull on the reins, the horse is going to continue to struggle against his master.
According to Neal, he's already reached a point of no return in his relationship with Peter, and it seems like these two will have to overcome a few more obstacles in order to solve their next case.
Props to the writers for timing it such that Neal was able to release this anger immediately on Peter. What a fight! I would have put all my money on Neal had he not yielded to the greater cause of outing the illegal boxing ring.
Other highlights from the episode:
- Elizabeth bringing delicious desserts to Neal's place.
- Neal banging around awkwardly to try and drown out any and all mentions of the tape.
- Mrs. Suit spying, giving a play-by-play to Mr. Suit over the phone.
- Mozzie and Jones helping choreograph the fight between Neal and Peter.
- Shirtless Matt Bomer for an extended period of time.
- Neal and Peter in sweats. Surprisingly good look for both. Though I still prefer them in Brooks Brothers.
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.