Whether you deduced it on your own, or you heard it first here at BuzzFocus last week, White Collar dropped the bomb of Sam’s (Treat Williams) true identity on the Season 4 midseason finale, “Vested Interest,” and by the end of it, we could only react and figure out how this news will affect the rest of the season if at all, and how it’s going to shape Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer).
Peter (Tim DeKay) and Neal left viewers feeling like kids witnessing their parents at war with each other, arguing over whether Peter did the right thing in starting an identity check on Sam, or if he did the wrong thing and scared off Neal’s best lead to Ellen’s killer and link to his family’s true past. Yeah… awkward…
Neal blamed Peter’s inquisition into his private life as the cause for Ellen’s death and the Sam situation going south. We were given the impression that the two would be like rams butting into each other for the rest of the season. The trust between them was violated–forever changed! And as expected, Peter found a way to force a solution by having the two of the speak before the FBI as guest speakers, to showcase how their partnership has resulted in a high clearance rate of cases and to show how well an agent and a fugitive can work together towards a common goal. Neal didn’t cooperate so easily and jabbed a fork at Peter’s gut every chance he could get. And in the front half of “Vested Interest”, they were no better off, still hiding secret meetings and further background checks, especially when Peter found out that Sam, or the real Sam Phelps dies years ago in Florida.
Jeff Eastin was able to fit in a case in this episode, one where someone posing as an FBI Agent had infiltrated the FBI conference that Peter and Neal were speaking before. An anecdote about hugs, pick-pocketing an agent, a parking lot shootout, a bullet-proof vest and a ruined tie later, Peter and Neal had found their bromance once again. The center of our show had been restored.
Agent Furlong: There must be an immense amount of trust between you.
Peter: Even when there isn’t trust, there’s faith.
That theme of trust just never leaves, does it?
The case of the undercover agent and the FBI convention gave us a situation where all of the matters could be resolved or at least helped along. Some believed that Sam was actually one of the corrupt policemen that Ellen and Neal’s father had been trying to get evidence on, Peter for one, and White Collar put enough of those clues to lead you to that place.
But it’s been the clever dialogue exchanged by all the characters and the careful cinematography this season that clued me in. What we didn’t get to see, what conversations were never made on camera made me suspicious of Sam in a way where I felt it was more plausible that Sam was actually Neal’s father, giving viewers six final episodes to resolve this matter between Neal and his father and Ellen’s box of evidence before a fifth season to start anew.
For six episodes we’ll have an opportunity to find out Neal’s past and he’ll get the closure he’s been seeking for most of his life. It’s sure to open fresh wounds and ones hidden long ago. And hopefully, we can all move forward again soon and make some progress from what the first three seasons laid down because while this chapter will help fill the void in Neal’s heart, his father’s legacies didn’t shape Neal into who he is today.
His father should see that even though he’s done wrong, he’s doing more good with Peter than without him, but he’s not a crook because of his upbringing or DNA. He’s in the arrangement he’s in because of the choices he’s made, and someone felt he could offer his skills and help people. Now Neal has to fulfill that, because while they could joke about a criminal and a lawman working side-by-side to 500 agents, any real relationship, in whatever capacity and whoever the parties are, must have good faith on either side that the other person will have their back, and each side must honor that.
Just take a look at all of the relationships that have been explored on White Collar so far: Peter and Neal, Peter and Elizabeth and Satchmo, Neal and Mozzie, Mozzie and his foster parents, June and Byron, Neal and Sara, Neal and Kate, Diana and Christie, even all of the work relationships within White Collar Division, and finally Jones and… well, the surveillance van. That’s what’s at the heart of White Collar, above all the style and valuables, the heists and illusions and the orchestrated (and improvised) cons. Will he be able to one day have a relationship as good as those listed above? Well, as we’ve see with Peter and Neal, it doesn’t happen overnight. No matter how good it looks on the outside.
Some other terrific moments in last night’s episode:
• Peter trying to find peace with Neal and his love for coffee came up when the office coffee maker was on the fritz. Showing that he knows a thing or two about relic machines, Peter fixed the coffee maker but Neal still gave him the cold shoulder.
• Neal and Mozzie’s rat trick got one FBI Agent to flip his tie. We never thought it’d be Jones.
• I’m not surprised that Peter would change the color of his pen with one of those old Bic Color-Changing pens.
• Before Peter caught Neal, one of the ways Neal tried to keep Peter off his trail, was to fake his death and did so on a few occasions. One of the causes of death he used was by shark. “Who doesn’t look a good shark mauling?”
• For $500 a coroner will fake a death.
• Oh and in case you forgot, “Diana doesn’t like bulges.”
What did you think of the White Collar MidSeason 4 Summer Finale? Do you like who Sam was revealed to be? What do you think is in store for the remainder of the season? A trailer for White Collar creator Jeff Eastin’s new show, Graceland aired during the show, what do you all think? And will you tune in? Share your thoughts below.