Entertainment Magazine

Review #2353: White Collar 3.10: “Countdown”

Posted on the 11 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

In general, procedurals have a tendency to become predictable. And though “White Collar” has fought this tendency better than most, it’s not completely immune. I had every reason to be worried about where things were going this season, which is why the unexpected nature of the mid-season finale was such a pleasant surprise to me. I should have remembered that “White Collar’s” season/mid-season finales tend to end on a high note, even if the follow-up is often disappointing.

Review #2353: White Collar 3.10: “Countdown”

The biggest surprise, for me, was the return of Matthew Keller. I wrongfully assumed, since Keller was obviously not returning until the following season, that last week’s examination of Peter’s fear of Elizabeth being worried/endangered by Keller’s return was set-up that would lead to nothing this season. Thankfully, this was not the case. Keller still wants the treasure, and he’s willing to use both Neal and Peter to get it.

I’ve frequently lamented this season’s lack of emphasis on the supposed rift that’s been developing between Neal and Peter since the events of last season’s finale. Their relationship has been key to “White Collar’s” appeal for me since the beginning. It’s a bit late, but the mid-season finale finally returned some of the focus to that relationship, and how the loss of trust has effected it. As things get worse and worse, one begins to wonder how their friendship can be salvaged from all of this. The re-appearance of Keller and his subsequent kidnapping of Elizabeth is exactly what is needed to push Neal and Peter back together again. And it may be enough to prove Mozzie’s loyalty to Neal.

Another important issue that the mid-season finale addressed was the general lack of suspense in this season’s conflict between Neal and Peter. This is one of the biggest reasons for my lack of interest in this season’s myth-arc. Peter did continue investigating the art, but the threat his investigation posed to Neal and Mozzie was downplayed far too much for my tastes, resulting in a tepid conflict; until now, that is. This episode’s focus on character and slick cat-and-mouse games is exactly what the season should have been doing all along. They shouldn’t have attempted to pit Neal and Peter against each other if there weren’t willing to follow through. This episode reminds us of the stakes resting on Neal’s decisions.

“White Collar’s” season 3 mid-season finale ranks up there with the show’s past cliffhangers (“Peter is evil?”, “Kate’s death”, “Mozzie is shot”, “Neal has the treasure”). But as stated, “White Collar” does tend to disappoint in the follow-up to these cliffhangers. And I suppose that’s one of the inevitabilities of procedural television. They just can’t escape that status quo that has to be restored so they can have more cases-of-the-week. Still, I can’t help but look forward to how this one will turn out, if only because it could mean seeing the Neal and Peter partnership restored to its former greatness.

Rating: 8/10

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