WC - Neal with Icepack

White Collar: Unfinished Business

This week’s episode of White Collar, ‘Unfinished Business’, seems to be a wee bit divisive in the fandom. There are those who loved last night’s episode and those who hated it. I find myself somewhere in the middle. My initial reaction was ‘meh’, although there were scenes I really enjoyed. (And, on a personal note, I find it humorous that the episode to cause such an uproar is entitled, ‘Unfinished Business’. If you’re a Battlestar Galactica fan as well, you know what I’m talking about. ;)

Speaking of BSG, I have to admit I was very excited to see John Pyper-Ferguson guest starring on White Collar. Although I apparently have a thing for viper pilots who made brief appearances on the series (in addition to Stinger, see Narcho), I’ve been a fan of his since his hilarious turn as Pete Hutter on The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. But now he has had the privilege of appearing in scenes with my two TV boyfriends – Matt Bomer and Jamie Bamber! If he ever appeared at a convention I would probably spring for an autograph for that reason alone. :)



Let’s get my thoughts on Sara out of the way, who seems to have created quite the stir in fandom. I didn’t love her. I didn’t hate her. I’m curious to see what the plans are for the character. I thought Hilarie and Matt played off each other well, but I saw no romantic sparks between Sara and Neal. If Sara is brought back on occasion in a professional capacity and she and Neal develop a grudging admiration for each others talents then I’m fine with it. I really don’t feel she’s being written as a love interest for Neal. He’s still grieving for Kate, but the writers have dropped far too many hints as to Neal and Alex’s past and perhaps future that I don’t see that relationship being pushed aside.

Surprisingly, I saw more chemistry between Hilarie/Sara and Tim/Peter. I liked the conversation the two shared. Not because of what it revealed about Sara, but because Peter saw what his life would be like without Elizabeth. He may love his job. He may allow it to take up more of his time than he should. But it’s not what defines him and he wouldn’t want it to consume him.

I don’t watch White Collar for the plots, but I wish the writers spent more time thinking about what they are putting on screen when it comes to the case of the week. The concept was more problematic for me than usual. Neal and Sara are saved thanks to Mr. Black’s German chocolate addiction? Would such a highly sought after assassin really be dropped off for a hit, at the front door, in a limo? And as soon as the box was removed from the ground I thought, “There’s the real Edgar.”

While the scene at the airplane hanger I felt worked on an emotional level, and showed Neal is still very much dealing with his grief, I was left thinking there were other, less elaborate ways, for Neal to get the information from the black box recording. I chatted on Twitter last night with someone who has some knowledge in regards to flying and the FAA and she helped clarify some things for me. Perhaps because I feel the FAA is one of the less suspect government organizations, I believe Neal could get a report that hasn’t been altered without hearing the tape. But I suppose it’s possible someone not associated directly with the FAA could step in and alter the final report.

And I’m not buying the hanger was within Neal’s two mile radius. I’ve seen quite a bit of NYC and I can’t conceive of where a complex such as that would be located.

I was also perplexed at Neal being disgruntled at the thought of Sara profiting from recovering stolen merchandise. She’s getting a mere two percent of what she recovers. Neal, on the other hand, who we are led to believe has A LOT of stolen items stashed somewhere, is planning to profit from his life of crime once he is no longer indentured to the FBI. Glass house, Neal, glass house.

What did I like about the episode you may be asking? ;)

Neal being so excited at the thought of Peter taking him out for an expensive lunch at the Montabello, only to learn they were just meeting someone there. And I enjoyed Neal comparing the situation to taking Peter to a Yankee’s game and sitting in the parking lot.

I assumed Neal was only tried for the bond forgery, but we learn he was also charged with and put on trial for art theft - and possibly more. Sara testified about his (alleged ;) involvement in the stolen painting, a crime for which he was acquitted.

Peter, quickly, adapting and using Neal’s vernacular to refer to the bonds as “Samurai bonds”.

Peter: “I testified at your trial.” Neal: “That's different.” So, it’s OK for Peter to testify against him, but no one else can do it? Hee! Would Neal have said the same thing five years ago? He may have. It’s clear he’s always had a respect for Peter he doesn’t have for others who tried to apprehend him.

Neal and Peter's one word conversational shorthand. They are spending way too much time together. ;)

After Sara copped an attitude about her superior recovery rate compared to the Bureau’s, Peter pointed out it’s the Bureau’s rate, not his. Neal seemed pleased by the dig as well.

I thought it was ridiculous Sara went to the FBI office sans pants, especially given she had time to pack a bag and collect her files. However, I loved Neal’s line, “You’re really redefining business casual.”

There were moments I felt Matt channeled Bryce Larkin for his portrayal of Mr. Black.

Neal removing the gun from his pants and flashing a bit of skin? GUH.

I was both amused and peeved to see the FBI evidence tags on the wine bottle and glasses during Neal and Sara’s rooftop dinner. On the one hand, it’s so Neal to help himself to the FBI’s stash (and finding away to do it); on the other hand, it’s evidence and presumably would be needed at some point.

However, I do have to side with Neal in the two days vs four years debate. Not because he has to wear the anklet for four years (his punishment could be far, far worse) , but because he spent four years (deservedly, but, still) in a tiny prison cell and she’s been stuck in an office building for a couple days. Really, no comparison.

Neal is good at making soups? First, I want to know how he acquired that talent. Second, I want to see a finished product!
  • Current Mood: drained drained
Is there talk of Sarah as a potential love interest for Neal? I didn't see that from either of them. Neal was so obviously angling for a favour the entire time, and Sarah doesn't really seem his type, from what little we know. (Or vice versa, for that matter.) I presume that, as with the start of season 1, they're making sure Neal flirts with and charms women on a regular basis, to remind the audience that yes, he is Mr. Charming Con Artist. Just in case we're in danger of forgetting. ;-)

And yeah, I enjoyed this episode by focusing on the fluff (especially Peter's casually territorial attitude about Neal to Sarah \o/) and glossing right over the many many MANY things that made no sense.

I have to admit I was very excited to see John Pyper-Ferguson guest starring on White Collar.

Ha! I totally didn't recognise him, and I really should have: he was in Hard Core Logo, which is one of the staples of Canada fandom. Fannish fail! Doh! ;-)
John was in Hard Core Logo? I did not know that! He's one of those guys you don't always recognize at first, but it eventually comes to you. Have you seen Brisco County? It's a very different performance for him.

There's talk amongst fans of Sara being set up as a love interest for Neal. I think it's a result of Hilarie's appearance being fairly highly publicized (I guess starring on One Tree Hill for six years makes her a big deal?) and she's attractive and female, so people assume the writers must intend her to be a love interest for Neal. She could be, but I just didn't get that vibe. I think Neal did (somewhat) sympathize with her feelings of being cooped up and he enjoys doing nice things for people (in general), but he did also have an ulterior motive. And she invited herself to try out his soup, he wasn't looking for a date.
Have you seen Brisco County?

No, I think I've only seen him in HCL and as a guest star on Flashpoint (I didn't recognise him then, either).

I'm also unfamiliar with One Tree Hill, so I didn't recognise Hilarie, but yeah. They each want something from the other, but I think it's business, not love. We shall see.

(Besides, by killing off Kate, they've already erased a lot of the tension in the show; if they give Neal a law-abiding girlfriend, we might as well declare him fully rehabilitated, and where's the fun in that?)
You already know how I feel about Sara's character, but I will mention a few other things since you brought them up: ;-)

I thought Hilarie and Matt played off each other well, but I saw no romantic sparks between Sara and Neal. ....He’s still grieving for Kate, but the writers have dropped far too many hints as to Neal and Alex’s past and perhaps future that I don’t see that relationship being pushed aside.

I tend to agree with you BUT...it's possible there was concern they wouldn't be able to get Gloria back to do filming so they pondered the idea of Sara as a love interest early on.

It's also possible we'll have a (gag me) battle for Neal's heart with the two gals. If that happens, one will certainly be tied in with what happened to Kate while the other one "wins Neal's heart". (I have no info on this, but I think this is a likely scenario)

Surprisingly, I saw more chemistry between Hilarie/Sara and Tim/Peter. I liked the conversation the two shared. Not because of what it revealed about Sara, but because Peter saw what his life would be like without Elizabeth. ...

I didn't like the conversation between them because it was really OOC for Peter. We've been shown that Peter is uncomfortable with women. He's uncomfortable with emotions. He hasn't had a heart-to-heart with Neal about Kate but suddenly he's talking to some gal he doesn't know that well about pretending to be dead?

NO. See, this is what a Sue does. :/ Although you do make a lovely point about what the conversation says about Peter. And he was hot in that scene so yummmmm.

I was also perplexed at Neal being disgruntled at the thought of Sara profiting from recovering stolen merchandise. She’s getting a mere two percent of what she recovers. ...Glass house, Neal, glass house.

I didn't get Neal's obsession with how much she makes either. Maybe it's because he's disgruntled at how little money he gets to earn at the FBI? I should ask the writers and see if Neal gets any extra money for being a consultant or if everything he earns is the $700. It wouldn't really make sense if he was but...

The only other thing I can think of is it was the writers not so clever way of letting us know how wealthy Sara is, and therefore, how awesome she is. It's not enough she handles weapons, has nice clothes, jewelry, boobs, hair, a pretty face or a spunky attitude. :/ Let's point out how successful she is!

Blech blech blech.

I feel bad for the actress, because honestly, it was only her performance that prevented me from saying I totally hate the character. I don't like the character but I'm willing to see what the next episode with her brings.

While the scene at the airplane hanger I felt worked on an emotional level, and showed Neal is still very much dealing with his grief, I was left thinking there were other, less elaborate ways, for Neal to get the information from the black box recording. I chatted on Twitter last night with someone who has some knowledge in regards to flying and the FAA and she helped clarify some things for me. Perhaps because I feel the FAA is one of the less suspect government organizations, I believe Neal could get a report that hasn’t been altered without hearing the tape. But I suppose it’s possible someone not associated directly with the FAA could step in and alter the final report.

I liked the scene at the hangar. I think this overly complicated plan can be chalked up to (poor writing) Neal's obvious distress and pain distracting him from formulating a better plan when they got caught.

I wish we had been able to see more aftermath from the hangar. Seeing the spot, the seat where Kate had been must have been extremely traumatic for Neal. I would like to see more grief.

Hopefully the writers will have a bit where Neal can finally break down a little. I don't care who he's with (except for Sara OMG ), but I think there needs to be a point where Neal finally says, "I'm not ok. I'm not dealing with it" and then he needs to break something and let out a few tears.

I'm not asking for a lot of melodramatic wailing and gnashing of the teeth. I just want to seem him physically release what he must be holding inside.

Oh yes, and the whole plot sucked last night. That was just embarrassing. :/
. He hasn't had a heart-to-heart with Neal about Kate but suddenly he's talking to some gal he doesn't know that well about pretending to be dead?

Um... okay this I gotta say... I thought it was pretty obvious that Peter DOES know Sara well from previous work with her - and not just from Neal's case. He was treating her almost like he treats Diana - as someone he likes and works well with, someone he respects.
I never heard them say "It's great to work with you again" from either party. They didn't mention past cases they've worked on. There was nothing that said they knew anything about each other except for maybe by passing.

I'm still not happy that Jones got relegated to being an errand boy and we got very little Diana. I'd rather we focus on the characters we have then bring in such a contrived one. And yes, I would be this angry if it were a male character.

Uh, can we say Jessie or Jesse or whatever from Burn Notice? Marty Stu. Gag me. I can't bear to watch him.
I have asked the writers so many questions not sure asking them if Peter and Neal will ever really sit down and have a heart to heart talk about what happend at the hanger. would be a good one to ask; I think sometimes hard for PEter cause he is not sure how well neal is holding up; I would like to see that talk. I am just curious also peter made coffee; when did peter learn to make coffee???
(Besides, by killing off Kate, they've already erased a lot of the tension in the show; if they give Neal a law-abiding girlfriend, we might as well declare him fully rehabilitated, and where's the fun in that?)

Maybe Diana finally forced him to learn how to do it. ;)

You could ask the writers, but I suspect that's the type of question they'll avoid answering or be really vague about. I'm sure there will be a talk about Kate at some point, though I don't know how deep it will be.
I don't foresee a love triangle happening. If anything, we might find out there was one in his past, with Kate winning his heart instead of Alex. Neal seems to feel some regret about whatever happened between him and Alex. And if there was a love triangle, I don't see Neal (or the writers) hurting Alex again.

We've been shown that Peter is uncomfortable with women. He's uncomfortable with emotions. He hasn't had a heart-to-heart with Neal about Kate but suddenly he's talking to some gal he doesn't know that well about pretending to be dead?

I think the key to him reaching out to Sara/being able to talk to her was the work. The conversation happened right after he spoke with El, who a) encouraged him to talk with her and b) made he see that being alone in a conference room all night could have been his life if not for El.

As for not talking to Neal about Kate, my feeling is Neal isn't ready for that conversation. He won't even open up to Moz who knew both of them. When he had a moment in the hanger of letting the grief overwhelm him, as soon as Moz reached out to him, the Neal Caffrey facade was back.

I could see Neal possibly sharing his pain with Elizabeth. Or perhaps if he's able to confront someone directly involved with her death he'll let lose on them. I am a little concerned we've seen Neal handling guns quite a bit lately. I don't believe he would actually pull the trigger and kill someone, but Kate's death is one of the few things I could see pushing him to consider it.

And if there was a love triangle, I don't see Neal (or the writers) hurting Alex again.

Unless Alex is evil all along. I don't think so. If they do make a love triangle (and I hope that's a distant, distant fear), they would make Sara the bad one.

I think the key to him reaching out to Sara/being able to talk to her was the work. The conversation happened right after he spoke with El, who a) encouraged him to talk with her and b) made he see that being alone in a conference room all night could have been his life if not for El.

Yes and no. Peter is not good at emotional stuff. Even if this is work related, I don't get where his sudden ability to not flounder with words of wisdom suddenly came from. Even at his best, Peter is flaily and awkward. The only woman we've seen him be comfortable around is Elizabeth.

So I can't buy that a minute long conversation about Sara is enough to boost him up to being Mr. Therapist.

And I still find it appalling that Peter let Sara be so extremely rude to Neal. It was unprofessional of her.

The Pants thing is what I think enraged me the most. When does she get to boss Jones around? She's not even FBI; she's some gal who works for an insurance company. And why would she not get dressed? No. Just no on every level.

But you're right, Neal's line was very funny.

And the Peter/Neal shorthand exchange, as you call it. BEST PART of the show. Neal in leather was delicious but I don't know if we needed the ab shot. :/
This is the kind of episode where I take all the good things and concentrate on them, and ignore the rest. There were lots of good things - I knew you'd like the scene where Neal showed his abs ;)
I really like the episode, and I think I shall not argue about its flaws, because some fandom comments are making me want to cry in a corner, but I just want to see that one word conversational shorthand was FTW! and I really like Neal being pleased with Peter's dig too, the bromance!
I wish I could say I was surprised by some of the comments I've seen, but it's typical of what happens in any fandom. My main problem is people criticizing what they think is going to happen rather than what is on screen. Or attacking the writers on Twitter because they aren't writing the show as they should be. Not that the writers are perfect. They make mistakes (like the hanger being within Neal's radius ;) and they *might* go in a direction they shouldn't. But mixing things up a bit can lead to highs as well as lows. I need to see consistently bad writing (which is subjective as I learned in BSG fandom) and mythologies that no longer make any sense (X-Files, Alias) before I'll throw in the towel and quit the show.
Heh, i'm one of those who liked the ep. I don't watch the show for a plot so some holes didn't bother me. But i liked the acting there and also i have simuilar feeling about Sara. I don't admire her but i don't hate her either and i'd watch her more to decide if i like what they added her for.
I don't see her as any LI for Neal and i was touched by the scene when Neal was clearly jealous of Peter concentrated on her (instead of him). She can be a good add to change a tone a little and add some tension/friendly banter.