Entertainment Magazine

Review #3644: White Collar 4.5: “Honor Among Thieves”

Posted on the 17 August 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Joe Henderson
Directed by Arlene Sanford

With the opening scene taking place at Ellen’s funeral, the only thing left for Neal now is to find this “Sam”, mentioned by Ellen in her dying breaths, and find out what he knows. Sam makes a covert visit to the funeral, but given that the person he’d come to meet in New York was killed for knowing too much, he can’t be blamed for running off when Neal call his name and make chase. From this point on, we learn nothing else about Sam or the people behind Ellen’s death. In that respect, it’s a bit satisfyingly, but I liked how the episode pitted Neal’s desire for more information over his loyalty to Peter.

Review #3644: White Collar 4.5: “Honor Among Thieves”

The case-of-the-week revolves around an art thief, brought to sultry life by “LOST” alum Rebecca Mader, who is in the process of casing out her next big score. Diana seems to hit it off with the red-headed Abigail (which nicely coincides with Diana’s relationship troubles at home), so the White Collar team decide to take advantage of this, hoping to set Abigail up and take her down during the theft. It all would have gone swimmingly, if not for Abigail recognizing Neal Caffrey as the legendary con man, forger, and art thief that he is.

It turns out that Abigail is a fan of Neal, and she’s perceptive enough to figure out exactly what Neal’s weak point is. But to have Neal simply betray Peter and go behind his back again would have been an irritating character regression. Instead, Neal turns Abigail down, in spite of the fact that it means giving up the thing he wants the most at the moment. When Abigail counters by blackmailing Neal, he and Mozzie have no choice but to help her steal the painting. It’s a rather clever way of allowing Neal and Mozzie to engage in some cool heist activities without backpedaling on Neal’s character development. I was particularly impressed by Mozzie’s clever idea of how to covertly obscure one’s head from the view of a security camera.

In the end, Abigail is arrested, Neal confesses to Peter, and he manages to come out of the whole experience relatively unscathed. His relationship with Peter and the rest of the gang remains intact. There is, however, something of a pseudo-twist in the episode’s final moments. Peter realizes that, now that it’s all over, Neal still got exactly what he’d wanted all along. He wonders aloud to Elizabeth, was this Neal’s plan all along? The twist isn’t especially necessary, but it does cap off the episode in an interesting way, leaving room for at least a tiny bit of doubt about Neal’s moral standing.

Once again, “White Collar” has managed to avoid settling for an average case-of-the-week by elegantly combining it with the larger character and story arcs. I had my worries at first, seeing as how the episode seemed to be trying a bit too hard to get things back to normal. And I had my worries again when it appeared that Neal would be once again going behind Peter’s back, to the other side of the law. But it all ties together surprisingly well, and even leaves us with a rather effective (albeit purposefully enigmatic) twist.

Score: 8/10

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