Saturday, 6 March 2010

White Collar: Frontman

The penultimate episode of the current season of White Collar sees Peter & Neal involved in a kidnapping case were the prime suspect is an old colleague of Neal's from the criminal fraternity. In the process Neal is placed in a great deal of danger as he becomes central to the survival of the kidnapped girl as well as his own personal well being. 

  • The alteration from the usual white collar crimes was an interesting change up. One of the issues for the show has been that the crimes involved are not easy to care about. So in this episode where not only is one life at risk but at least two ratchets up the tension. However while it worked well in this episode I don't think it has to follow that path on a continued basis. Because the reason White Collar works so well is the dynamics of the characters & not necessarily the drama of the situations. After all there are plenty of crime procedurals out there. Thus what distinguishes White Collar is that it is fun, smart & well written show.
  • Where the heightened tension worked was in displaying Neal's composure under pressure. In the past he's rarely had to deal with life or death situation but in the travel agency he has to work quickly & under a great deal of stress. And for someone who doesn't like guns he handled himself pretty well throughout the episode.
  • Neal has managed to run into two old adversary's in consecutive episodes. Wilkes like Keller from last week is a pretty nasty piece of work. Wilkes demonstrates a darker side of the criminal world which differentiates Neal and his past criminal activity from Wilkes & the like. Something Stuart Glass commented on when he noted that "it would be so much easier if he (Neal) acted more like a criminal". And in his new role he is making amends for old sins.
  • Neal stint as 'consultant' doesn't seem to have generated much good will from anyone in the Bureau other than Peter's team. He's placed in obvious danger by going to a club frequented by Wilkes. And the later revelation that he was the ransom just exemplifies the regard in which he's held. However given his success in solving crimes you would have thought the FBI would class him as something of a prized asset.
  • Agent Kimberly Rice's ice queen act was dropped too soon for my liking. Her antagonistic attitude to Neal & Peter could have been utilised in future episodes. Loved Peter's line about being "deep down inside petrified" of her.
  • Peter and Neal have developed a real affinity for each other. Peter couldn't sit around while Neal worked on the kidnapping case. While Neal clearly missed working with Peter after spending a little time in the company of Agent Rice. And Peter's anger was palpable after finding out that Neal had been set up by Rice.
  • So given the bond that's developed between the two the danger presented by the music box & by extension Neal's continued desire to search for Kate is real. Peter will not hesitate to bring down Neal if he strays from the track. The point Peter made at the end was not a threat but advice from someone who cares about Neal.
  • As much as Neal is the star of the show & gets to demonstrate his brilliant mind Peter's quick analysis of what Neal was up to just reinforces that he's his equal. 
Next week sees the series finale of what has been an excellent debut season. I'm sure were in for a dramatic climax.

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