White Collar delivered a solid finale lead-in via "Power Play," providing an entertaining identity switch of the show's two leads. It was definitely an episode I would watch again, perhaps even several times, simply due to the major Neal and Sara development we witnessed.
Plot-wise, in order to stop an energy monopoly from manipulating the city's power grid in the midst of a massive heat wave, Neal and Peter were unwittingly forced to switch identities to avoid spooking an anxious informant.
The switch provided an interesting perspective for Neal that seemed to have him delving even further into his self-reflection. It became obvious to me at several different junctures during the episode that Neal was contemplating Peter’s relationship with Elizabeth and you could tell he wanted that for himself.
Let’s be honest, that kiss between Sara and Neal was quite the sight. I couldn’t have been more excited. I had been shipping that since “Unfinished Business.” I think this smooch was a good indication that he was ready to finally transition out of grieving and into something like a relationship with Sara.Her confession of having a sister that ran away, that lack of closure she felt, and her desire to help Neal get over Kate, was something Neal needed to hear from Sara.
That was probably the moment that Neal really saw Sara as not much different from himself, and I think it’s great the show decided to throw that element into the mix heading into the season finale. Thank you, writers, for bringing her back from Argentina and for delving a little bit more into her personal development as well.
It would be wrong if I didn’t take a moment to reflect on the excellent job Peter did posing as Neal. It was entertaining and added a new element. I appreciate that Jones and Barrigan seemed to really be getting a kick out of the whole thing. You never really see them get a chance to tease Peter, but the circumstances were ripe for jokes.
I was particularly proud when he used the two-finger lift to reclaim the twenty that Mozzie essentially took from him. It proved his mastered this newly acquired skill. I would like to see him use it again... and only for good, of course. Similarly, I think Neal rather enjoyed the power position he was playing. He took the lead in many situations, including in the van, which seemed to step on Jones’ toes a little bit, something Jones let Neal know.
On the Adler/music box front, we got some new intel that surprisingly led us straight back to Alex and her connection to the whole thing. If you remember from “Forging Bonds,” it was revealed that Alex was the one who turned Neal on to the music box in the first place. Funny how things come full circle like that. Every action, every moment, every little detail has a purpose on this show, and it’s exciting to see how all these details are woven together; not just from episode to episode, but throughout the season as a whole.
Looks like the finale is going to bring us face to face with Alder, and possibly with the conclusion to the secret of the music box saga. Are you looking forward to Neal coming face to face with Adler again, or do you fear White Collar withdrawal in the face of this conclusion?
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.