It has always been a widespread belief about White Collar that Neil and Peter’s relationship is what has really made the show successful. Though I have rather enjoyed the game of cat and mouse that Neil and Peter have been playing for the two plus seasons now, along with new dynamic they have this season, I like that the show is finally highlighting some of its other characters. We already focused on Diana and Mozzie previously this season, and tonight was a chance for Jones and Elizabeth to get in on the action.
First of all, how is Sharif Atkins not a main cast member yet? In tonight’s episode he was funny and charming, which is exactly how I would describe his character throughout the show’s run so far. I particularly enjoyed his valiant attempt to woo Selena, our black widow and resident criminal of the week. What more does the man have to do to get on the credits White Collar?
While Atkins was good, Lady Killer belonged to another secondary character. After two seasons, we finally got to see Tiffani Thiessen’s Elizabeth Burke be something besides supportive and concerned. We got to see her angry, and boy, was she good at it. If looks could kill, that glare right before Peter was almost run over would have done it. I loved watching Elizabeth going from her normal controlled and calm self, to a woman who was ready to beat somebody, anybody. And secretly, I was hoping she would get the chance, but sadly to no avail. That was not the only chance that Thiessen got to shine, as just the next scene your heart broke a little for Elizabeth when she had to let Peter be comforted by Selena or blow his cover. There was some great subtle acting in that moment, and I really believed Elizabeth was hurting. Of course, while I love seeing Elizabeth involved more in an episode, the character’s ultimate purpose is her relationship with Peter. I have always found their relationship to be very realistic, and really did enjoy the final scene where Peter remarried her just the way she wanted.
And speaking of relationships, I like the direction that White Collar is taking Neil and Sarah’s. Maybe I am biased because I love Hilarie Burton (I was all about the first seasons of One Tree Hill, sue me), but I really like her as a match for Neil. She fits with both his domestic and criminal instincts, without it seeming forced for her to go along with either one. Inevitably, I think how her relationship turns out with Neil will determine what path he follows with the stolen art. I just do not see Neil leaving behind a good relationship with her, as well as betraying Peter and everyone else.
Now for some quick hits:
-The one area I do think the show could improve on is its writing for quest roles. When you have a great actress like Jayne Atkinson, you can just write anything and watch her chew the scenery with precision and gusto. Not everyone can pull off such campy writing and direction, and it showed tonight with the actress playing Selena. I mean really, who crushes ice and stirs drink with a knife?
-Can we just take a moment to commend Tim DeKay for his tangoing? It was nothing out of this world technical, but he really brought it in the emotion and passion department, which is everything the tango is. Majors props Mr. DeKay.
-Neil’s southern accent still was the most swoon worthy moment of the night for me. I am sucker for it. I also enjoyed watching him fail at failing. It is nice to see his ego bruised every once and a while.
-Speaking of Neil, my favorite moment of the night was when he brought dinner for Diana and himself to share. I love seeing their relationship grow, and thought it was absolutely perfect and realistic. These kinds of things, however, are why I do not believe Neil will ultimately run. He is getting too close to everyone in his life, even if it is just a small circle of people. And if we have learned anything about Neil, once you are truly close with him, he will never let you go or abandon you.