Watch White Collar – In The Wind Online S04E16

White Collar - In The Wind
For weeks, plenty of White Collar faithful have asserted two likelihoods: That James is up to something, and that season four, like those before it, would end on a cliffhanger. Those viewers look damn intuitive after “In The Wind.” Then again, White Collar has become increasingly self-referential of late, and tonight’s finale in particular leaves a trail of intimations that history might repeat itself.

There’s Mozzie’s cheeky condition of “no base jumping” while securing the evidence box (a callback to season three’s “Countdown”), not to mention Neal reminding Peter that casing the Empire State Building necessitates “no U-boats” followed by Peter’s reassurance that, “from Kate to the evidence room, it’s all about justice.” Hell, even good ol’ Caffrey alias Nick Holden makes his dashing return for a diversionary faux-proposal to Sara.

In actuality, that was all misdirection, lulling us into a sense of eminent closure more befitting of a series-ender. But, of course, White Collar will be back for round five, meaning that while one journey-Neal coming into his own under Peter’s mentorship and severing ties with his criminal legacy-is wrapping up, an entirely new imperative will drive future episodes. Now, the onus is on Neal to embody and pursue justice. It’s a symbolically super-heroic transition, not that far-fetched when one recalls the show’s admiration of comic books in season one’s “Hard Sell” or how closely the themes of paternal betrayal and wrongful blame figure into so much Marvel and DC lore.

It was only a matter of time until Peter’s Harvey Dent-esque crusade to thwart corrupt Agent Calloway (a returning, still underwhelming Emily Procter) and murderous Senator Pratt (the certainly not-coming-back Titus Welliver) landed him in hot water. Which, at least, is better than acid in the face. Plus, Collar’s unlikely to approach The Dark Knight’s bleaker characterizations, so it’s safe to assume Peter won’t become a hardened villain after his false imprisonment for allegedly killing Pratt.

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Watch White Collar – Empire City Online S04E13

White Collar - Empire City
Tim DeKay directed us a smooth episode. It’s not nearly the equal of last season’s Stealing Home, but it gives us some charming scenes, and-better yet-some classic Diahann Carroll.

But let’s get the worst over with: be prepared to suspend your disbelief! Mozzie has been semi-legally driving a cab for the last four months? A retro jazz nightclub navigated New York’s labyrinth-like cigar laws and secured a license? Neal’s radius suddenly includes Queens???

Of these, Neal’s radius seems the most egregious. The show has established that he has a special corridor to Peter’s house-now suddenly he can go to other parts of Brooklyn and even Queens? Come on, writers. That requires an explanation. (Did I miss an explanation? Did Neal beg Peter to extend his radius for a few days?)

Ok, now for the good stuff: this is a largely mythology-free episode, so for the most part we see Peter and Neal working together suspicion-free. Mozzie, Diana, Jones, El and June are all in on the case of the week, and they each take a turn in the spotlight. All of them, in one way or another, pay their respects to jazz and the Cotton Club-but it looks like Diana and El are the biggest fans. (Well, not counting June, who gets to live the music.) I believe the original script for the Pilot episode delved into Elizabeth’s love for jazz , but most of that was changed, except for the dog named Sachmo. That abandoned thread is picked up beautifully here.

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Watch White Collar – Gloves Off Online S04E09

Gloves Off

White Collar - Gloves Off Online S04E09 Last week’s episode of White Collar ended with a cliffhanger and tonight’s episode, “Gloves Off,” brought viewers right back to the Burkes’ living room where Neal sat with Peter and Mozzie, prepared to watch the tape Ellen had made for him when he’d been a little kid. The tape brought out Neal’s emotional side and Peter’s protective side. But we all knew from the episode promos that the two were heading for the boxing ring. The only question was how much of that fight was going to be real?

Honestly, this childish dynamic makes tons of sense in the world of White Collar: Much like the FBI, friendships often entail several levels of security clearance depending on your place on the totem pole. Like, if your second-best friend tells you a secret, you can only share that secret with your first-best friend, as your first-best friend has the highest level of security clearance possible. But major conflicts arise when the second-best friend believes that he or she is actually your first-best friend: THEN what are the proper clearance levels of secrets disclosure? This conflict is bound to happen when you weight relationships like this, but often your two best friends will TEST their security clearances by forbidding you to disclose information to the other, which is always the first step toward a huge friendship meltdown. That’s basically what “Gloves Off” was all about: Neal found himself caught between TWO parties who each demanded best-friend status, and it did NOT end well for anybody.

The episode also makes it somewhat obvious that Neal’s promises made to Sam are more important than those made to Peter. Even though he barely knows Sam. Suspecting, whether stubbornly or too easily, Neal believes Sam is the key to finding out who murdered Ellen. (And secondarily, where his father is.)

The serendipity of how they overlapped just in time to send a furious Neal hurtling wildly toward an unsuspecting Peter, thereby bringing their issues of mistrust to a head in dramatically entertaining and visceral fashion? Well, it’s a lot to conspire without undoing every thread, and enough to make one’s eyes roll incredulously. Fortunately, the action is shot with a manic, fishbowl realism. The punches themselves land frequently and bluntly, preventing the entire climax from careening into self-parody.

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Watch White Collar – Ancient History Online S04E08

White Collar - Ancient History Online S04E08 When Neal is involved in a heist stealing Greek antiques, sent in of course undercover for the FBI, things go slightly astray when he’s arrested, on tonight’s episode of White Collar. Back at home base the team discusses the possibility of Alex being involved since she’s recently been released from prison and is now here in the city. For Neal this explains the clue he found in the back of the police car; an oragami note in the shape of a flower.

It was a particularly fine episode for Mozzie, who redeemed himself after leading Neal so far astray last season. When Neal received an old Betamax tape bequeathed by Ellen, he’s determined to watch it with Sam and only Sam. Mozzie, who trusts Sam even less than he trusts the FBI, chose an “unholy union” with the Suit rather than see Neal duped by someone who might mean him harm.

Speaking of Neal’s past, he gets a package marked “To: Neal Bennett, From: Kathryn Hill (AKA Ellen before she became Ellen).” Ellen wanted Neal to have this tape if she never saw Neal again. The tape is old – a beta max – that Neal wants to watch with Sam. Mozzie’s not happy too about it, to the point that he ends up telling Peter about Sam and the tape.

NYPD keeps interfering with the case, and it is a great source of humor. Hopefully this won’t be the last time Neal and Peter run into NYPD. Another great aspect of this case is Alex. She outsmarts everyone, and ends up with the treasure. It’s always nice to show that Neal, Peter and the FBI are not necessarily the smartest out there. Alex plays them all, and they don’t suspect it until the end. Does anyone else love that Alex won, and did you love the NYPD?

Willie Garson was on fire tonight, turning Peter into a veritable bumbling Clouseau by fouling up his stakeout. Except instead of the Pink Panther, all Peter got was a lacy bra and red-herring manila envelope. (Sort of. Mozz’s maligned sticky enclosure did lead to at least one arrest.) You had to love it, and in retrospect get the prickly undercurrent, when Mozz quipped to Neal, “You’re the only one who gets to live in luxury?” and just plain chuckle at his chicken-shit cowering from Alex and concerns about “supplemental hiding” of his U-boat haul.

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Watch White Collar – Compromising Positions Online S04E07

Compromising Positions

White Collar - Compromising Positions Online S04E07 After last week’s less than stellar episode, White Collar was back to its true, fantastic form with tonight’s episode, “Compromising Positions.” Neal, Peter and the FBI were going up against a talented fixer with a little help from Sara and Mozzie and Neal finally made contact with the mysterious Sam. But can the former cop be trusted?

This episode needed to include a warning: Do Not Drink While Viewing. In the four years White Collar’s been entertaining us, I don’t believe there has been a funnier scene than the one in tonight’s episode, superbly written by Matt Negrete. The entire episode is a perfect blend of serious and hilarious.

The episode started with Sam picking up Neal and asking him a bunch of questions. Neal explained his FBI consultant deal and he assured Sam that he could trust Peter. Sam felt the FBI was somehow responsible for what happened to Ellen since she’d been safe all these years until she landed on the FBI radar.

Sam basically kicked Neal out of the car, but Neal broke off his key in the door so he could use it to trace Sam’s whereabouts. He brought Mozzie in on the plan, but Mozzie warned Neal that Sam might not be trustworthy and he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to keep Peter out of it. But Neal was worried about Peter doing anything off book since he’s still on probation.

When he tells Mozzie, Neal receives interesting advice about keeping Peter informed on the case. Seems like a surprising turn from Mozzie to trust and include Peter, but if you think about it, Peter’s always had Neal’s best interest at heart (as does Moz) and has proved that loyalty over the past years.

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Watch White Collar – Identity Crisis Online S04E06

Identity Crisis

White Collar - Identity Crisis Online S04E06

I love White Collar. I think each season gets better and better. Season 4 has been practically flawless…until now. Tonight’s episode, “Identity Crisis” was clearly a filler episode, a standalone that did nothing to further the story other than to say that Neal might have found a way to communicate with Ellen’s friend Sam through some mysterious email address.

There is so much to love about this episode. Yes, it plays fast and loose with the historical Culper spy network, Washington, and the battle flags of the Revolution. (I blame that famous but crazily inaccurate picture of Washington crossing the Delaware, which we see in the background at one point.) But who cares? All is forgiven, thanks to the brilliant dialogue, the unbroken bromance, and a puppet show that will leave you teary-eyed.

Before we get to main storyline, Neal tells Peter that he didn’t find much about Ellen’s murderer or Sam on the thumb drive, but did find someone tracking/checking an email account. Is it Sam? We’ll have to wait and see until next week.

After some initial digging, it’s discovered that Robert Townsend was part of the Culper Spy ring which was created by George Washington. Neal gathers information out of a book written by a professor who wound up losing a lot over his theories including his tenure. They figure out that the flag in question is priceless, it is the very one that Washington carried across the Delaware and gave to the Culpers; it is definitely worth killing over.

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Watch White Collar – Honor Among Thieves Online S04E05

Honor Among Thieves

White Collar - Honor Among Thieves Online S04E05 Welcome back Collar fans! Doesn’t two weeks seem like a long time to leave Ellen in jeopardy? I definitely think so. But for once, we get the answer to our question immediately. Of course, if you’ve seen any of the previews, you probably know the answer already.

Now I want to be clear from the upfront, I have applauded the show’s evolution this season as it has stopped relying on the Neal runs, Peter chases theme. While it played out well for the first three seasons, the trope had become somewhat tired. Tonight, however, when Peter was sitting at home with Elle and speculating about Neal’s ultimate motives, I could not help but smile. At his core, Neal is always going to be somebody that lives in a very grey area, even when he is doing the right thing. When the showed signaled that Neal was going to reform his actions and follow the straight and narrow, however, I was worried that the writers would take the change too far. In other words, no matter what kind of life-altering decisions Neal goes through, he will be and should be a person that always skirts the line.

The episode began with Ellen’s funeral. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think the show would have put a little more time into whether or not Ellen died at the scene or in between lying on a stretcher and ending up in a casket. It seemed cut a little short, skipping over the most important part: her actual death.

Once again, we’ll just have to accept Mozzie and Ellen’s delightful 10 minutes together gardening on the sidewalk as reason enough why Neal’s right-hand man would abandon his criminal principles and drop everything to aid “the suits.” One way or the other, he’s up for some high-concept dirty work, having concocted a means of blurring out his face for security cameras so he can be an effective decoy as Neal jacks the Pascal under Peter’s nose. He’s a generous con man, but also essential, balancing comic relief (e.g. his shrinking from Abigail after she threatens to “break your little fingers”), especially in an episode that occasionally strikes an uneven tone.

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Watch White Collar – Diminishing Returns Online S04E03

Diminishing Returns

White Collar - Diminishing Returns Online S04E03

Tonight’s episode of White Collar, called “Diminishing Returns” would be high on the list because boy did they pull off a doozy in the last few minutes. But let’s start with the beginning of the episode, shall we?

It’s clear that this season will be about discovery of Neal’s past and we begin to get that in this episode. But the highlight was really Peter undercover and disobeying orders (for the most part). It takes three episodes in, but Neal is finally back at his old desk, clean shaven and in a suit again. It’s nice to have you back. Too bad Peter is not there as well, but Peter takes it all in stride even if it kind of sucks.

Luckily we have some sneak peeks of tonight’s episode “Diminishing Returns” and these show that even when Peter isn’t officially working with Neal, he can be coerced into helping with a case, especially when that case is an old one of Peter’s. They are tracking David Cook (Michael Weston); a brilliant thief who has eluded the FBI for years and this might be the one chance they have to catch him. As this was Peter’s case, he is the expert and he can play an essential role, but will he get caught disobeying orders again? Before the season started Matt Bomer explained that there are moments where Peter “swings further to Neal’s side than he’s ever swung before” and this could be one of them.

Not only was Neal a fresh pair of gorgeous eyes with which to see the case, but he was determined to solve it on Peter’s behalf because it was important to him. The gesture only solidifies their relationship as one of mutual respect and genuine manly affection—almost father/son.

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