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White Collar: I feel like I'm the one getting conned here

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Jun. 27th, 2011 | 07:59 pm

White Collar is without a doubt one of my favorite TV shows. I generally enjoy shows on USA (with the exception of Fairly Legal), but White Collar has a special place in my heart, and is one of the very few shows that I own on DVD. The underlying plot throughout the first two seasons was about Neal tracking down his ex-girlfriend, Kate, and then finding out who killed her after her plane blew up in the first season finale.
Everything came to a head in the season two finale, with Neal finally tracking down Kate's killer, a man that he used to work for. The man behind it all, Vincent Adler, had been messing with Neal's and Kate's lives for the past two years in hopes of getting his hands on a lost Nazi treasure that was on a u-boat somewhere off the coast.

The first two seasons spent a long time establishing Neal and Peter's utmost trust and respect for each other, and the fact that Neal never lies to Peter. In the season one episode "Vital Signs", Neal (while drugged), tells Peter that he's the only one that he ever trusted, out of Mozzie, Kate, and everyone else in his life. I thought that this was a pretty big moment, and establishes that Neal really is a good guy at his core.

In the second season, Neal and Peter became ever closer, as they combined their resources to find the man behind Kate's death. There was no more doubting each other (Neal thinking Peter was withholding information, Peter thinking that Neal was behind a crime that they were investigating) beyond the first couple episodes of the second seasons. The show really hit its stride, and the mismatched partners had become great friends.

And then the second season finale happened. Everything had built up to this moment, to Neal confronting Adler, and then the whole fiasco with the treasure. I was glad that the Kate storyline was more or less wrapped up and excited to see where they would go next, but I'm kind of not crazy about where things are now. Peter automatically thought that Neal stole all the art.  Yes, there was that piece of the painting of the empire state building...but isn't it kind of distrusting of Peter to point the finger at Neal? As we discovered in the season three premiere, there were actually many paintings of the empire state building in that style.

Peter even felt the need to do a lie detector test on Neal (why didn't he ask Neal if he knew where the art was?), and Neal complied. I'm surprised that Neal wasn't more insulted at Peter's distrust, especially since Neal didn't actually steal the art. Now, Neal and Peter are keeping secrets from each other all the time. Neal obviously hasn't told Peter that Mozzie stole the art, and that he knows where it is. Peter didn't tell Neal that he and Diana recovered the list of paintings that were part of the collection. Neal managed to find out about the list by conning Peter's agent friend that was visiting, and it seemed like Neal had the upper hand. Now Peter has the upper hand again, since that list left with her on a plane to some far away land (Germany I think?). Seriously, enough of this. This isn't who Neal and Peter are. At least not who I thought they were

Neal was ready to leave his life behind and go on some new adventure with Mozzie and the treasure. I just don't buy it. Neal certainly has his flaws, but he cares about people. He wasn't even going to say goodbye to anyone? Not Sarah? Peter? June? Even Elizabeth? (Who he did say goodbye to in the first season finale, when he was about to hop on a plane with Kate and disappear). It was just so out of character. I really can't see the Neal that I've come to know and love over the past two seasons doing that. The Neal I know doesn't care about money more than people.

"You can be a con or a man, you can't be both...", Peter said to Neal, some time during season two. Evidently season two proved that Neal actually could be both a con and a man, and now season three is undoing the great relationship that they spent so long building up. I don't know where they're going with the stolen treasure storyline, and with Neal and Peter's distrust for each other, and I'll certainly keep watching, but I really hope that they're headed to a better place than I think they are.

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