White Collar Review: Knockdown

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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.

Neal Punches Peter

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.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (782 Votes)

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


Knew peter was a scumbag for the last few episodes. Absolutely an amazing show.


I don't think Sam is Neil's father (despite the DNA test being run from the bloody handkerchief in the last episode of season). He's too emotionally abusive in stringing Neil along, and he seems like a very nefarious character, probably one of the dirty cops about whom Ellen spoke. I don't like his character and don't trust him. I think Neal has so many 'trust' issues because of no father, an absent (and probably mentally abusive) mother (is she still alive?), both of whom really messed with his head, as did years of working for Adler, plus three+ years in prison (I wonder what being locked up in a supermax prison did to Neal's emotional state, also). Hope the writers will give us some insight in upcoming season.


I thought so too that Sam might be Neal's father...but it may come with a twist..the Sam before their eyes is an impostor... gut feeling says, Kramer might be one of Neal's father's enemy..yes Kramer of DC art crimes, after all Neal's dad is a DC cop...


I don't support Peter's actions at all. Peter automatically jumps to the conclusion that Neal broke their pact.I fully understand Neal's POV in 'Gloves Off'.


Most emotional episode of the series. I was exhausted after. My favorite scene was Peter and Neal in the garden and the pact. Neal needs to remember that he is in Peter's custody instead of prison so Peter has the right to be involved in every aspect of his life whether he likes it or not. I also agree with other guesses that Sam will turn out to be Neal's father.


Mrs. M. I totally agree. For some reason it was the first thing that came to mind when Sam showed up..I see both sides of the matter and feel for them both and feel that each is to blame


A Contrived and mediocre mess.


Sam is Neal's father! For sure! Peter really seems like a father with a teenage son on his rebellion stage.


It's interesting to me to see the majority of commenters on here taking sides. I actually think this episode was trying to prove that BOTH men have things they still need to work through. Yes, Peter needs to stop controlling and learn to trust Neal; HOWEVER, Neal has to actually EARN Peter's trust. At this point, they have both done noble AND stupid things in the midst of their friendship, and now I can't wait to see what happens to their relationship next.


I think Sam is Neal's father.

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White Collar Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

Call the Harvard crew! we need to make it look like a hedgefund.


I get to have a private life!