Did anyone else stop breathing about halfway through tonight’s White Collar season finale? For a season that has had its ups and downs, “In the Wind” definitely pulled together all of the elements that make this show so good. One of my favorite things about the episode was the way that everyone on the team pulled together to run the con. The cast has such fantastic chemistry with one another that it’s always so much fun to see them banding together.
Of course the episode had its fair share of heartbreaking moments too. I’ve disliked this James storyline since its inception, but I was really hoping that he would do the right thing for his son instead of the selfish thing. Then there was poor Elizabeth waiting for Peter to come home and take her out to dinner with no idea that their lives have just been drastically changed.
So let’s take it from the top. The episode opened with James and Neal having a father-son moment. Neal admitted that he was hoping the box would tell him more about who James is and that would help him figure out who he was as well. Neal told James about how his mother used to say that his father was “the blue in his eyes.” Meanwhile, at FBI headquarters, Amanda went to Peter and told him that she’d been in touch with Senator Pratt and wanted to work together so the FBI could find the box first and determine who is telling the truth.
Peter agreed to put together a task force, but the next morning, Hughes (yay!) called him very early the next morning to meet and admitted that he’d tapped Amanda’s phone. Surprise, she’s the bad guy and she’s working with Pratt. Hughes advises Peter to use Neal’s methods of doing what you have to do and fight back. He reminds him that he is the law and it’s time to redraw the line (Did anyone else mentally get up and cheer at this point or was that just me?).
James shows up at Neal’s apartment and Neal isn’t sure why he’s there so early. Sara pops out of Neal’s bedroom and James awkwardly calls her Kate and Alex before getting to Sara. Mozzie shows up next and wants to know what Sara’s doing there. Peter follows and Sara and Neal are not amused when he asks what she’s doing there to. Since she’s moving to London, she gave up her apartment and Neal basically spells it out for the three clueless men (I loved this scene. It was so awkward and funny).
Peter warns them that it is time to come up with a plan so they can retrieve Ellen’s box before the FBI does. While Neal, James and Mozzie work on one, Peter and Amanda brief the FBI teams. Peter tells Diana and Jones to follow his lead and they instantly agree (aw, teamwork!). But some of Amanda’s agents are listening nearby. Then more of the plan goes awry when Senator Pratt suddenly shows up in the city and rents out the same floor of the Empire State Building that Mozzie was planning on using. But the men do come up with a plan and James insists that he wants to be the one to deliver the box to Neal (suspicious, right?).
Before they head in with their respective teams, Neal and Peter share a bromance moment and it’s super adorable as they talk about family (Seriously, I wanted to draw pink hearts all over this scene). Peter and Elizabeth also share a moment and that’s when they make the dinner plans I alluded to earlier. Neal and Sara are at his place going over the steps of their portion of the plan and also being really cute, but it’s bittersweet since Sara is planning on leaving for London soon.
While the FBI begins their search, Neal and James meet with Pratt in the park. James has to get close enough for Mozzie’s key-copying device to work so he picks a fight with the senator. Neal pretends he wants to make a deal, but James gets threatening and Pratt wants to arrest him for assault. When his bodyguard comes over, James actually does punch him, which puts both men on the FBI’s list and makes it a little more difficult to get into the building, but Neal is Neal and finds a way.
Once inside, Peter intercepts Neal while Mozzie and James put on the uniforms they need to wear for their part of the plan. Peter warns Neal that Amanda is tracking his ankle monitor. While we don’t get to hear exactly what the plan is, it’s pretty obvious that Peter takes Neal’s monitor and sends him off with the two men agreeing that the plan had better work because the consequences are too big to even mention (pretty sure this is where I stopped breathing for the rest of the episode).
Neal and Sara meet on the observation deck and Neal puts on a show and proposes to her. But instead of going with a made up spiel, he talks about their actual relationship and how they met and things progressed and it’s way more emotional than Sara (or I) expected it to be. Sara accepts and as everyone cheers for them, she whispers to Neal that he’s a bastard and that was a little too real (Okay, Neal and Sara fans…you’re all still swooning over this, right? It was beautiful).
Amanda is searching the building for Neal as Peter goes to see Pratt. Amanda finds him and realizes he has Neal’s ankle monitor on. She has Peter’s gun and badge removed and asks one of the agents to escort him out, warning him that he is in a lot of trouble. Neal and Sara head to the 103rd floor and Neal admits that he had another speech planned, but that was the one that came out. They play what if and Sara talks about how they’d have baton-wielding con children, Conrad and Connie in another life, in another place (this is probably my favorite Neal and Sara moment ever).
Meanwhile, Pratt insists on watching as the FBI agents find the spot where the box is located. But before they can remove it, Mozzie and James grab it from above and Pratt realizes Peter just wanted to get him out of his office. Peter escapes from his agent and runs back into the building and James takes the box and heads up the stairs to the 103rd floor. He gets intercepted by Pratt and when he opens the box, it’s filled with fliers. Mozzie takes the real box up to Neal, apologizes for not trusting James, but he’s doing what he has to. Neal and Sara say goodbye as Neal places the box on some kind of remote control blimp (what?) and it floats away toward Neal’s loft.
In Pratt’s office, Pratt and James argue about the contents of the box and the two men and up holding guns on each other. Peter shows up and tries to talk James down, but he shoots and kills Pratt. Peter promises that it was self-defense and he can help him, but James doesn’t want to stick around. Peter grabs the gun Pratt had been holding and fires a warning shot at James (ugh, not a good idea!), but he gets away. Amanda comes in and finds Peter kneeling beside Pratt’s dead body.
Back at Neal’s, James rushes in and starts to go through the evidence on the table. Neal comes into the room and tells him that he already saw it. Ellen had gathered evidence on him; James was the one who had killed the undercover cop. Neal’s cell phone rings and Diana tells him that James killed Pratt and Peter is being charged with it. He’s got gunshot residue on his hands and it was his gun. She begs him to find James and bring him in to clear Peter’s name.
Neal hangs up and tells his father that he has to tell the truth. James refuses and insists that he’s not going back to jail. Neal begs him to show him that he’s better than this; better than the man he’s always been. James harshly tells him not to make him do something he’ll regret (are you kidding me?!). James tells Neal, “Someone always has to take the fall. Don’t let it be you.” He leaves and Neal remains behind, looking absolutely gutted (bravo, Matt Bomer, bravo). As all this is happening, we see Elizabeth getting ready and Peter being led out of the building in handcuffs.
All I can say is ‘wow.’ This finale had a little bit of everything and every single person involved brought his or her ‘A’ game. I also love that the show finally went a different route than the usual Neal and Peter rift that seems to come with every finale. Of course everything is going to be different now. Obviously we know Peter isn’t a murderer, but who knows how much power Amanda has or how much Pratt’s people have. While I never want to see James again, the question lingers as to whether he’ll come to his senses and do the right thing or if Neal will have to hunt him down.
So…can we fast forward to fall and Season 5 now? Hit the comments below and let us know your thoughts on the finale and what you think is next for our favorite conman. I’ll see you back here in the fall…