For over a season now, White Collar‘s Neal Caffrey has been trying to figure out who he is by uncovering his dad’s mysterious past.
On Tuesday’s season finale, he got his answer — but it wasn’t the one he’d hoped.
After securing Ellen’s evidence box from the Empire State Building — “It’s no 18th century music box, but what is?” remarks Mozzie — Neal’s pop James confronts Senator Pratt. Little does he know, Moz didn’t trust him at all and swapped the contents of the box, giving the real evidence to Neal. (Don’t ask us to explain how Neal makes a mini-blimp out of a champagne bottle to fly the evidence to safety — we’re simply not as smart as the con man.) When Pratt corners James in order to get his hands on the goods, all he finds in the container is postcards.
The two get into a heated argument and Pratt pulls out his gun while James grabs Peter’s gun off the table. (The FBI agent’s badge and firearm were taken away after the duplicitous new head of the department, Amanda Callaway, found out he was sneaking around with Neal.)
Peter walks in and urges James to put down the gun, but he takes the shot anyway and kills Pratt. And he’s determined not to go to jail for it, so he points another gun at Peter and backs out of the room. Left behind with gunshot residue on his hands and a bullet from his own gun in the senator’s body, things aren’t looking good for Peter, who is taken into custody as a clueless Elizabeth prepares for their dinner date back home.
Even after Neal begs his dad to turn himself in and clear Peter’s name, James doesn’t relent. Neal may be a con man, but he’s nowhere near as bad as his father. For one, James actually did murder his supervising officer, according to Ellen’s evidence. On top of that, he’s not willing to go to jail for his actions and save the one man in Neal’s life who’s truly been a father to him.
“You show me you’re better than this. You show me you’re a decent man. … Dad, please do this for me,” Neal pleads, reaching out for him.
“Don’t! Don’t make me do something I’ll regret!” James yells so sharply, it startles Neal. “Let me give you some advice. In this life, somebody always takes a fall. Don’t let it be you.”
To sum up: Oh, damn.
Elsewhere in the finale, Neal and Sara say their “goodbyes” to each other as she prepares to move to London. Part of the plan for getting the evidence box involves Neal fake-proposing to Sara at the Empire State Building so they can get onto the exclusive 103rd floor.
“First time we met, you were chasing me,” he says after getting down on one knee. “First time we spoke, you called me a sociopath. The first time we had dinner, you asked me what I wanted from you. And the first time we kissed, I realized I don’t want anything…except you. And now I’m asking if you’ll go on one more adventure with me.”
She accepts and then privately whispers to him, “You bastard. That was a little too real. And it was damn good.” Neal reveals that he had a different speech planned, but he “meant that one.” But alas, this romance isn’t meant to be except in “another time, another place,” says Sara wistfully, imagining a future where they have two kids — Conrad and Connie!
White Collar fans, what did you think of the finale’s twists? Did James scare you in that last scene? And why did Sara choose her romantic fake proposal, of all times, to wear a black dress? Is she in mourning for her relationship? Sound off below!
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