If the goal for a mid-season finale is to shock the viewers and leave them itching for the show to return, then mission accomplished.
I expect big things in finales, and 'White Collar' delivered with the Season 4 mid-season conclusion.
Finally, we got an answer (sorta) on who Sam is. And boy, maybe I should have seen that as a possibility, but that completely blindsided me. It was one of those TV moments where you hear it, and you're speechless for a few seconds and all you can say afterwards is "WOW", "DAMN" or "SHIT!"
I love those types of moments. They don't happen often and they leave you surprised and excited for what's to come. That's what a good finale is all about.
This whole storyline had me confused from the beginning. During 'Vested Interest', all I could think about was Ellen telling Neal: "Trust Sam." Why would she tell Neal to trust a dude that was dead? Despite being in witness protection, how could she NOT know that Sam wasn't alive? And if she knew that Neal's father was going to pretend to be Sam, why not just tell Neal about all this in the first place? I suppose maybe she was about to before she was killed. We went from trusting Sam, to not trusting Sam, to thinking he was alive, to thinking he was dead, to thinking he was a crooked cop to knowing he's Neal's father.
But bigger questions remain, like: What is he up to? ... What does he want? ... What is his end-game? ... Was he really crooked? ... Why didn't he just tell Neal? ... Did he have anything to do with Ellen's death? ... Wasn't he supposed to be in witness protection? Is he in danger? And so many other questions that we'll have to wait until at least January to have answered.
As for the case-of-the-week, it wasn't bad and it did include Neal being shady and sneaking around, so that's always cool with me. And there were some nice moments of banter between Peter and Neal as an added bonus.
BUT. Neal and Peter are back to being buddy-buddy again, just one episode after Neal tells Peter (twice, mind you): "We're DONE!" Considering the circumstances of this episode, I kind of get how they got back to that point. But that doesn't change the fact that this show constantly pulls this sort of crap. As solid as this episode was, you can't deny that this is getting to be a bit annoying.
QUOTES OF NOTE:
--NEAL (to Peter): "Are you sure? Cause I have a great joke that starts with you and a priest walking into a bar."
--NEAL (to Peter): "I'd still be in jail and your arrest rate would still be in the high-70s."
--PETER (to Neal): "Low-80s."
--"Well, Diana doesn't like bulges." CREEPIEST line of dialogue in history.
--It took Peter all of two seconds to deduce the rat was a distraction for Neal to slip in the document.
--That shooting scene was embarrassing. First off, those bad guys would have eventually just left and given up. It was clear they were either going to get arrested or killed. Second, wow, they were terrible shots. For every 200 shots that hit a car or a wall, one actually hit a person. That was like an 'Archer' shooting scene where everyone misses despite being so close. In that show, those scenes are hilarious in a good way, in this one, it was hilarious in a bad way.
--This week's installment of 'Eli is a Creep': There were no hot chicks in this episode, so I'm taking one point off of the final score.
THE SCORE: 86 out of 100