First off, it's impossible to complain about an episode that opens with a close-up of Matt Bomer's face. That's just like a gift from USA to anyone watching.
Secondly, we couldn't gripe about last night's White Collar season finale even if it hadn't featured that Bomer moment, seeing how the rest of the hour was just as awesome. Written by creator Jeff Eastin, stunningly shot (some scenes were so artfully framed, they could make that stolen Raphael look like a preschooler's doodle), and juiced by great performances all around, the matter of Neal's commutation hearing played like a sparkling, fun-filled love letter to both fans and the con man we'd happily let crack our safe.
Back when the season began and Peter read that letter from the U.S. Probation Office, we knew things were building up to this hearing, so we watched carefully to make sure Neal didn't do anything to mess up his chance at being unshackled from his anklet. More than that, we watched to make sure he didn't do anything to mess up the "family" he'd built with the Burkes. Because A) everyone should have a Peter and Elizabeth in their corner, and B) Bomer and Tim DeKay are the most entertaining team on TV right now, the FBI edition of Clooney and Pitt.
But what ended up happening was way more than we had hoped for. Beyond the splashy Roosevelt Island tram-car stunt and the crafty cliffhanger, there was the terrific use of the entire ensemble as they sat down, one by one, in front of the probationary board to praise Neal's turnabout. Personal fave: Hilarie Burton's Sara, giddily testifying that she'd once been in the same seat trashing her target-turned-bedmate. There was an intriguing loose-end tease about the fabulous Judith Ivey's mystery woman, who seems to have known Neal — and his dad — for years. And, of course, there was a smartly designed twist that both assured us of more Caffrey cons to come and allowed Peter to work an angle just as smoothly as his criminal informant. Oh, and that final shot of Neal on the plane? Killer. It's gonna be a long wait 'til the summer season, kids, right?
So, did you love the White Collar winter finale?
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