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Review: White Collar - Free Fall

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 5th 2009 11:46AM
White Collar
(S01E07) "You can check my University of Phoenix online degree. Go Cardinals." - lawyer Moz

The previews for this fall finale promised there would be an ending that we'd never see coming. That's usually a huge help in actually figuring out what the "surprise" ending is to a TV show. If we don't expect it, we know what to not expect and we can often figure out what happens. I didn't see this ending coming at all. I mean, I knew that the guy we thought was the bad guy wasn't really part of the solution. That was just a red herring. But I didn't expect who was at the door and who was in the chair in the final scene.

Thank God this show is coming back next month and not in March like so many other shows seem to be doing.

I'm still not quite sure what to make of that ending. I think we are supposed to think one thing, but this is a fall finale and the show could easily explain what happened in a very logical, "oh, that makes sense" sort of way when it comes back, where we don't see Burke in a different way and everything pretty much stays the same.

Either that or this show isn't what we thought it was and it's going to go in a completely different direction in the second half of the first season (and maybe the second season too). I'm curious to see what readers think of that image at the end. What exactly are we suppose to believe is happening in the hotel room? Is Burke behind things? Or did he simply catch on to something and go to the hotel room to confront her?

I don't know if this is the type of show that plants a clue in a scene, like a look, a line of dialogue, a prop. But I'm going to have to watch that last scene again to see exactly how things transpired. Kate came into that room not like she was being held there, but like she was just coming back to her hotel room and was surprised Burke was sitting there.

And what about the ring? The guy in the photo was wearing it and Burke is wearing it at the end of this episode. That's a neat reveal, though I'm not sure why "mystery Burke" would wear the ring and "FBI Burke" wouldn't (except as a plot device for the show and for viewers). Has he worn the ring before? He's involved somehow, I just haven't figured out how. As a bad guy?

No, no, this is my guess: Burke figured out what was going on (whatever that might be and whoever it might involve) and that's why he's in the hotel room. No way he's a bad guy pulling a long con. There's still somebody behind all of this for some reason. Though I have to admit that Tim DeKay had a great look on his face in that last scene, all serious and evil-ish.

More thoughts:

- Kate and Elizabeth look a lot alike. I had to watch the last scene again to see exactly who it was at the door. I wonder if there's any reason why they look so similar?

- Really great to see Murray Barlett again. He played jewel thief Cyrus Foley on Guiding Light the last few years of the show and...well, he played a jewel thief here too. Though I'm not sure why a crook that even Caffrey is impressed with would be so stupid as to not see a security camera when he came out of the vault with the diamond.

- One thing I don't enjoy is doing jigsaw puzzles, and the giant puzzle the woman was doing was all white? Yeah, that looks like "fun." Foreshadowed Caffrey putting together the document in his cell though.

- The show returns January 19 on its new night, Tuesday at 10PM.

[Watch clips and episodes of White Collar and other shows at SlashControl.]

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Brandon Switzer

I found the University of Phoenix comment funny and a great example of Hollywood writers playing on the impressionable minds of viewers. I say that because I am an entrance counselor at University of Phoenix and I work within the online department. Although having a degree in law helps most people obtain a strong career path, a degree does not allow you to practice law in most states; you still have to pass what's known as "The Bar" and state exams.

Touché . . . Hollywood!

If anyone wants to know what it really takes, and believe me it isn't a weak way to earn a degree, then email me at brandon.switzer@phoenix.edu .

January 07 2010 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with two things that I've read and am looking forward to seeing which one is the revealed plot line when the show returns.
1) I think the guy with the ring is a "Fake Burke". If you remember the first time that Neal saw the picture of the hand with the ring on Kate's shoulder....he said "He found her." I'm not saying that this is someone he knows exactly, but it must be someone that Neal's heard of and heard enough of to know that Kate is in danger. Another reason for the Fake Burke, of course OPR would be investigating someone who might be an international thief who LOOKS LIKE the REAL BURKE. They obviously think that it's actually him. But I'm sure they are coming up empty in terms of real evidence.

2) I think it's entirely possible that Kate is working with the FBI. I don't think she's Burke's daughter but I think there is a distinct possibility that she was put undercover to get to Neal. But Neal still was always a little guarded- not telling Kate or Moz where he REALLY hide things. And when I say Kate is FBI, maybe not full fledge but reg citizen that they had something on so they used her/blackmailed her. Also the loot that Neal stole....it's totally somewhere in plain sight in NYC. Guaranteed.

December 07 2009 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There's no way it's really Burke.

And yeah, what's up with Kate looking like Tiffany Thiessen's daughter? My gut says that's on purpose.

December 07 2009 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think theres a reason kate has a striking resemblence to peter's wife. My theory is that kate is peter's daughter. she isnt allowed to date neal when peter finds out shes dating a con man, so she persuades peter to work with neal to see that neal isnt a bad guy. and when she talks to neal on the phone and says "give him what he wants" she means that neal has to earn peter's trust so that they could be together again. if you notice kate's clothing and face, she looked like she was dressed nice and with make up on. she doesnt seem to be in any harm. since she walked in herself, she must be free to do what she wants. i think peter really is kate's father. while tiffani amber theissen might not be old enough to be kate's mother, she must be playing a women in her mid 40s because peter looks like he's in his late 40s, since hes in a senior position in the fbi and has such a nice house, he must have been working at the fbi for a while now. i believe this whole show is about the relationship between neal and peter. this would make neal and peter's relationship even more dynamic.

December 06 2009 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love the show, and the only thing I can say about the ending of the fall finale is...

Wouldn't it be just too simple if it was Burke? No matter what they've shown us in the show so far to push our thinking in one direction or another... Think of how they've twisted the story lines in movies like Saw (1 through 6)...

There may be explanations in "flashbacks" coming in the next season changing the way we've viewed that last scene in the fall finale.

Either way I'm so excited to find out how this story unravels!

December 06 2009 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two words; Fake Burke.

December 06 2009 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We know that Caffery asked Moz to get everyone's file-Jones, Lauren, Hughes and Fowler but not Peter Burke; why is that? Maybe Neal really does trust Burke.

And when you look at the guest cast and cast list you will see that it is two different women playing the characters of Elizabeth and Kate. Not the same actress playing both of them, but I do notice that they look alike, maybe it's just a coincidence or maybe the producers did that on purpose.

I was surprise, but not too surprise to see it was Burke who was the "mystery guy" , when Fowler was introduced I dismissed my thoughts as Burke being the guy who has Kate and thought it was Fowler, now it's Burke who seems to be the guy. And why can't Kate just tell Neal what the mystery person wants-maybe all the stuff Neal stole, what, what does he wants?!

And what is meant when Fowler says to Neal, "I didn't bug 'your' phone". I think the mystery guy is FBI, so that Neal could admit that he did steal all the stuff and where he is hiding the stuffs, he (mystery guy) could be using Kate to get Neal to admit and confess, I doubt Kate is bad in anyway and hope not, Neal is going through alot to "rescue" her. And I was hoping that it was not Burke in that chair cause Neal and him are friends and besides Mozzie, Burke seems to be his only other friend.

December 06 2009 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's my take, Kate is and has always been an FBI agent working undercover her assignment was to meet and get involved with neal. But she actually fell in love with him , so she was going to leave him , so he would never know and be hurt byher betrayal, but Burke wouldnt let her till she helps him to do something.But it will be something that helps Neal not hurts him.

December 06 2009 at 3:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why not have Burke actually be Bizarro-Burke, the name fit, but look at it this way where to stick and run the biggest con from? Inside the unit looking into cons and write the whole show from the opposite view then open it up as was done with this episode. Why have it just be another gman and reformed con show thats' been done to death? Instead it's con-gman and con. The back story might flesh it out at some point that Burke decided instead of going after them to just get them, use their knowledge to get ahead. Then from that point he has been running it while setting others up to take the fall of his various involvements.

December 06 2009 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I read the first paragraph of the review before watching the show. When I watched I was trying to look for what I was not expecting not to expect. The first thing I expected when I heard it was not going to be something that was obvious to not expect was that Burke was the man behind Kate. I am surprised that you didn't see that coming. It was the first thing I thought of when told it would be something to not expect. I was surprised however because you said it was not the thing least expected when you are told you won't expect it.
Anyways I do not think they are going to weasel out of making Burke not the guy he seemed to be in that last scene. I do think it is a bit of a betrayal by the writers because it does not fit with who Burke is, however I can see the whole thing being a huge long con from Burke against Neal. Burke is trying to get Neil on everything he has ever done. The whole thing is a set up to try to get Neil to reveal it all. Burke got Neil on his side and built his trust then threw in a suspicious character (who Burke is working with) who crashes everything Neil believed about his new buddy/partner. My best guess is that Burke is trying to throw Neil off his game to try to get him to reveal where he hid everything and all the crimes he committed. Either way it will take something amazing to pull off a plot that will be able to carry this show after that stunt.

December 05 2009 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chrissthomas's comment

This the most likely scenario. Burke turned Kate by appealing to her conscience. The two are playing Neil by getting him to reveal his loot. The end game is to return money to Neil's victims.

Maybe this is a spoiler, sorry.

But at the beginning of the season, I heard an interview with the show's creator who said he wanted to show what happened to the victims. We haven't seen any yet so I'm thinking that's the second half of the season.

Of course I know I'm just guessing. That last scene floored me. I had to review many times to make sure Kate isn't Elizabeth or vice versa. Maybe they're the evil masterminds behind all this.

December 06 2009 at 6:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only thing I don't get, and I don't know how it fits with any scenario of Burke sitting in that chair at the end wearing that ring, is how the show started. The whole thing started with Neil breaking out because of what Kate did during her last visit. With the way the show finished Friday that means it was Burke's plan all along, however the whole thing was Neil's idea because he say the security fiber on Burke's jacket. That fiber was only there as a fluke because of the failed security box cracking shown earlier that episode. Did Burke just go with it when Neil pointed it out but it wasn't his original plan on how to get him on his side? Seems like a huge plot hole to me and I feel the same way as someone else who commented that it is a lazy "twist" because there was no foreshadowing in it. The pieces of the pie should at least add up to something close to what we're shown the sum total to be.
Also no matter what the reason for that last scene is how will the show go on? It is kind of like Prison Break, they just painted themselves into a plot corner and I don't know how they will get out of it and keep the show formula of light and fun.

December 06 2009 at 7:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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