Let the "Countdown" begin.
The clock ticked on the White Collar summer finale, as Neal and Mozzie scrambled to regain possession of a painting, and, as a result, maintain their quickly unraveling covers. Making matters worse? A visit from Peter's mentor.
The case? Recover a Degas recently sold on the blackmarket, not surprisingly the same one Mozzie fenced to finance the hit on Keller.
It was hard not to be on the edge of your seat for the entire hour. With Peter suspicious, and Neal giving it his all to remain collected - even as he planned an elaborate con to correct Mozzie's rash actions - who was a White Collar fan to root for?
I was proud of Neal for finally verbalizing to Mozzie that he once he "walked out the door" he "couldn't walk back in." That's one of the most obvious, yet easily missed, explanations for Neal's reservations about leaving. Forget that it would be wrong of him to depart in the first place. If Neal ran now, he would be on the run forever, a challenge that Mozzie never has to face.
It surprises me that Mozzie, being the careful and calculated person that he is, wouldn't have considered the weight or consequences of his best friend's decision. Forcing Neal to choose a side was uncalled for.
Granted, we all knew that "Choose a Side" was the tagline for this season, so Neal would eventually have to come to grips with making his best and final score... or remaining an FBI asset, yet I never thought it would be at the cost of his relationship with Mozzie.
Why is it that Mozzie wants to leave so badly? It seems every episode leading up to this midseason finale gave us more and more reasons why Neal and Mozzie should stay. They both have people that care about them. They fit well into the White Collar crime unit both as assets and as individuals (and, in Mozzie's case, this occurs with or without his explicit consent or intention).
I think a real game-changer in this realm was no doubt Elizabeth's kidnapping. Not only did it send the shock factor through the roof for me, but I have a feeling it's just the thing to reel Mozzie back in.
Elizabeth has always been the one person to respect and appreciate him. Affectionately referred to as "Mrs. Suit," she's constantly demonstrated her care for Mozzie. She made him a specialty care package when he was recovering from the gunshot wound, she kept him company when he was in protective custody from the Detroit mob. I find it hard to fathom that Mozzie might not assume some level of responsibility for Keller's actions.
Keller did give Mozzie one last chance to let him in on the treasure. While it's understandable that Mozzie would refuse, the consequences of his refusal were unknown. Question is, when it comes right down to it, would Mozzie be willing to let go of the treasure if it was the one thing that could save Elizabeth's life?
That's the topic we'll have to ponder until the show returns in the winter.
I'd let it go. That treasure has been like poison for everyone involved. Look at all the relationships it's altered or broken for Neal and Mozzie. It's even damaged the relationship they have with one another.
The real treasures aren't holed up in a storage unit waiting to be fenced. They're the relationships Neal and Mozzie have stayed in one place long enough to forge. I think Neal recognized that, and Elizabeth's kidnapping has the potential to teach Mozzie.
But, as always, there were other, perhaps lighter highlights:
- Beau Bridges making a guest star appearance, one of the few since Stargate: SG1 ended. I missed him.
- Neal's skydive from the 43rd floor. Epic.
- Mozzie admiring himself in a Hawaiian shirt.
- Learning the legend of "The Archaeologist." It certainly sounds like a fitting nickname for Peter.
Why does winter have to be so far away? Thanks for an great first half of season three, White Collar!
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.