'White Collar' - 'Out of the Box' Recap (season finale)
by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 10th 2010 9:05AM
(S01E14) "I think there's a difference between loving the idea of someone and actually loving them." - Elizabeth
I'm going to say that this was the best episode of 'White Collar' since the pilot. Maybe it's because it was a season finale and the stakes are higher and a lot of things come to a head, but that's not always the case with last episodes of a season for a TV show. But this one had everything you could possibly want in a season finale: an intricate caper, witty dialogue, heartfelt moments, Peter being suspended, double crosses, Diahann Carroll with an important role in the plot, and even a surprising explosion (though I saw it coming -- not sure why). This was a really nice way to end the season.
It also had the return of an old character from the show ... and it's not just a one-time thing.
I'm glad that Elizabeth said the above quote to Neal. I've been thinking about Neal's relationship with Kate. Sure, we haven't seen the connection and history that Neal and Kate share, just the looks they give each other and the way that Neal talks about her. But I've been wondering if maybe -- just maybe -- Kate isn't the one for him. I've been waiting for Neal to figure this out himself, or with Peter's help, and it looked like he was going to listen to Peter in the airport hangar when the plane exploded.
But is Kate really dead? Maybe she slipped off the plane while Neal and Peter were talking (they did show her slinking back into the plane when Peter appeared). Maybe next season will have Neal mourning Kate's death and her getting on with her new life and then they'll be clues that she's still alive.
So Neal and Alex and Moz stole the magical music box for Fowler and we sorta have that part of the story behind us and we can now get to this "Mentor" business (didn't understand why Neal trusted Alex so much -- I thought he switched bags and the music box wasn't in it but no, he was just dumb for a moment).
Fowler was talking to the big bad guy on the phone (he called the person on the other end "sir") and if we're to believe that this mysterious person is someone we've seen (so it will be more shocking next season) and not just some stranger whose reveal as the head baddie wouldn't have any effect, then I'm still going with Hughes (James Rebhorn). He seems like the most logical suspect, but we'll have to see what happens in future episodes. I also liked how Fowler wasn't killed (that would have been too predictable).
I'm not sure how things will progress in those future episodes. Fowler said that Neal worked for him now in the "Mentor" program and even had official papers so he could go free. Is that deal still in place, so next year Neal will go on cases without the ankle jewelry? Or will things go back to the way they were because of the secrecy and the fact he was going to leave on the plane?
Looking back at the half-season finale, it seems a little stale now, since nothing ever came of that "is Peter bad?" thing. I think this season finale was done a bit better and leaves us with a cliffhanger(s) that could have several different resolutions.
It was also great to see Marsha Thomason (Agent Diana Lancing) again (and with a great line, about Neal: "Is he still wearing the hat?"). I never understood why she left the show so early in its run, but she has been hired again and will be a full-time cast member again in season two. Speaking of ...
More thoughts ("Things I'd Like To See Next Season" edition):
-- More actresses with blonde hair. Seriously, it's hard to tell all of these good-looking brunettes apart.
-- If Kate is still alive, how about some real concrete reasons why Neal loves her so much?
-- A new theme song.