Guest contributor Jessie Kanev gives us her take on USA Network’s “White Collar”
I’m always sad when a good television season comes to an end. The only only silver lining is the possibility of a great finale- preferably a great cliffhanger. You know what a cliffhanger is; it’s that shocking ending that leaves you begging for more. Of course we all think of the classic “Dallas” cliffhanger of “who shot JR,” but there have been many others over the years. Ross saying Rachel’s name at his wedding, who shot Mr. Burns, did Felicity choose Ben or Noel and Buffy dying to save her sister… just to name a few. They are the kind of endings that make you scream at your TV and pick your jaw off the floor in an attempt to collect your thoughts. At the season finale of “White Collar,” we had one of those moments.
I’m going to attempt to handle my shock at the ending and write my review of the episode without giving away any further spoilers. Yes, there is a twist. Yes, there is an amazing and shocking cliffhanger. But that’s all I will say about the ending. If you don’t run out and watch for yourself, it will be your loss.
Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer) is our white collar criminal/hero. For the past season we have seen FBI agent Peter Burke (played by Tim Dekay) work with this former felon and mold him into a great consultant in his plight against white collar criminals. Sure, Neal has moments where he falls into old habits, but he seems to be a decent guy and people are easily charmed by him. He’s quick to make friends (he even worked his way into living in one of the sweetest apartments in New York) and females especially have no problem ignoring his criminal past. In fact, Peter Burke may be the last person in the world that is still suspicious of Neal. And that’s his partner.
However difficult Neal and Peter’s relationship is, the real problem in our grand finale is that Neal is still plagued by the thought that his girlfriend, Kate (Alexandra Daddario,) is in danger and is missing. Neal will stop at nothing to find her. Even if it means the ones he loves, like Peter Burke and his wife Elizabeth (played by the lovely Tiffani Thiessen,) have to suffer.
Neal Caffrey is one of the best protagonists on television, and my main love affair with him stems from the fact that… I’m not sure if he is a protagonist. After all of Peter’s hard work trying to make him into a good person, Neal doesn’t blink at the thought of removing his ankle tracker or replicating a classical piece of art or selling his soul to the devil (in this case, FBI Agent Fowler played by Noah Emmerich.) However, there are moments of a decent guy in this con artist. Isn’t his ultimate goal, to find and save his girlfriend, an act of heroism? When he has his last conversation with Elizabeth Burke, doesn’t he seem genuinely apologetic? And when him and Peter meet in front of the plane, isn’t there a certain bond between them? Perhaps, after all the struggling to figure out this business partnership, it is actually friendship after all?
But the questions that I cannot answer about Neal make for great character development. The complicated character draws you in and you can’t look away. You are as easily charmed by him as everyone around him. And although you hear Peter’s constant skepticism, you can’t help but ignore it. You root for Neal when you know he is wrong and you see his point when you know his argument isn’t valid. He has that effect on the other characters of the show and on the viewers. I dare you to just try and look away from him once you start watching.
The finale was filled with suspense, drama, heartache (I swear I saw tears at one point, but then again, I don’t have HD so it could have been dust) and a shocking ending that nobody saw coming. “White Collar” is set to return in the summer and if there was ever a cliffhanger that made me want a season to return as quick as possible, it was this one. Add it to the list of great television cliffhangers.