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White Collar “Forging Bonds” 

Photo Credit: Will Hart/USA Network

After a season-and-a-half, we finally discovered the foundation upon which White Collar is built. Peter and Neal both figured out who was behind Mozzie’s shooting and Kate’s murder: the morally bankrupt businessman Vincent Adler, the guy who Neal claims “made him who he is.” Over cheap wine and beer and Peter’s promise of full immunity for any crimes Neal might confess over the course of the night, the two friends/colleagues compared notes on what happened eight years ago. This resulted in the show going all flashback-y on us. The audience was the better for it, because it filled in so many blanks. This episode came at the right time.

-One major complaint about White Collar “Forging Bonds”: It was only an hour long. I seriously think it should have been a two-hour episode or a two-parter it was so good.

-I’m a sucker for origin stories so seeing the way things began for Neal the con artist; Peter’s task force; and how Neal ended up on Peter’s radar was just so cool.

-How great was it that Peter dubbed Neal “James Bonds?” Elizabeth referring to her husband as “Magnum” was great too. James Bond and Magnum PI? Perfect.

-One other complaint: I have never been able to see that Neal-Kate connection the show has been asking us to buy. I have never felt that this spectacularly pretty couple were soulmates. The love of each other’s lives. I will say after watching “Forging Bonds,” I definitely get the connection more. But I’m still not completely sold.

-Seeing Neal discover his style was wonderful; as was seeing Mozzie go from a toupeed, goateed con artist/Suit-hater to a bald Suit lover. OK, well maybe he doesn’t love The Suit, but he works alongside him these days. So I think there’s a mutual admiration there. And if not mutual admiration, then mutual tolerance.

-USA Network has been very, very good to Andrew McCarthy. He’s occasionally appeared on Royal Pains and now he’s the big bad of White Collar. He was a welcome presence; appropriately classy but with an undercurrent of evil. McCarthy’s a good addition to the White Collar canvas. He has a knack for playing wealthy jerks.

-I loved how Vincent Adler imparted his beliefs to Neal. He helped shape Neal’s style (including hats) and his business acumen. But, you also got the sense Neal wasn’t fooling him at all, and that’s exactly what we found out after Vincent made off with millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme.

-I think it’s fascinating how naive Neal was. After all, he had just gotten to town when he hooked up with Mozzie and the two hatched this plan to steal Adler’s offshore money.

-Neal also learned a lot about the art of the con from Mozzie. Know your enemy; read more and use a lot of aliases were all very helpful tips.

-I can’t wait for Neal and Peter to catch up with Adler again. I want to see the confrontation/conversation regarding Kate’s death. I really wonder where this fractal antennae/emergency beacon is going to lead them.

-It was good seeing how Clinton joined Peter’s task force. He may have been a newbie, but Peter immediately saw how much of an asset he would be to the team. And how about Diana? She was certainly all buttoned up, wasn’t she? I’m talking about her Fed suit and her hair (it was all pulled back tight). Love the Diana we have in the present.

-In a normal world, I would have told Kate to go to Chicago and have a stable life I assumed she would have with her then-boyfriend. But I totally agree with what she really did: abandon Chicago in favor of a relationship with Neal. The girl ain’t stupid.

-Alex Hunter was also present in the past. She was the one who turned Neal on to the music box . Of course, that was after he turned her into Adler for digging around in his private business. Even though Neal tricked her, that didn’t stop her from sleeping with him. Another girl that’s not stupid.

-I really liked how after Neal told Kate who he really was, she accepted it and joined Team Grifters (which consisted of Neal and Mozzie). However, the couple that cons together, doesn’t stay together. After Neal lied to her about his true intentions for suggesting they go to Copenhagen for a visit (to steal the elusive music box with Alex), she left him. It’s sad that their reunion was a trap Peter set. It lasted all of two seconds before the Feds busted in and arrested James Bonds.

So far we’re two for two in 2011. White Collar‘s on a roll…

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