White Collar Series Finale Reaction Post

After six beautiful seasons full of thrills, capers, cases, relationships – and the most epic bromance that television has ever known – the time has come for us to say ‘Au Revoir’ to White Collar. As hard as it is to come to terms with the fact that we won’t see any more new adventures from this outstanding ensemble cast again, I can’t help but feel profoundly grateful for the years that we had with these characters and this show.

And now, for the last time (for White Collar, anyway), this is the reaction post for the series finale, appropriately titled ‘Au Revoir.’ There will be spoilers – so if you haven’t seen the finale yet and don’t want to be spoiled, you should definitely avoid reading the comments on this post until you’ve watched it.

(As always, you do NOT need to register for an account to leave a comment, and your email address is for comment approval/anti-spam purposes only – it won’t be published or shared!)

Au Revoir still

37 Comments on “White Collar Series Finale Reaction Post”

    1. Jatg~ I’m so confused!! You’re saying it was awesome, but I just made the mistake of looking at WC’s twitter page, and the screencaps looked like my BIGGEST fear was confirmed. Which I honestly can’t handle. So now I’m going through a kleenex box simply because of what the screencaps showed. Would it be a good idea for me to find out what REALLY happens..or not? I’m trying to figure out if I should watch the episode or spoilers…or avoid them forever. lol.

      1. You have to watch the entire show–do not look away for a second. Trust me. There are some beautiful moments, and the wait will be worth it.

        1. OK, thank you!! I still can’t watch it until it comes out on DVD (bummer), but I’m just relieved to know that I SHOULD~ that it’s safe. lol…And now I’ll go read the spoilers. 🙂

  1. OMG!!!! I am crying!!! Mozzie just broke my heart. I am glad Peter found out the truth at the end. I am going to go sleep on this. (((((((((((((SHOW)))))))))))

  2. 1. Peter barely containing himself for Mozzie’s sake at the morgue and then breaking down in sobs on that bench alone.
    2. The pure heart-stopping joy on his face when the realization dawned it was all a con.

    Good job, Man of a Thousand Expressions! You were right, we’re pleased. And very, very grateful.

  3. Okay, someone please tell me I’m wrong and that I’m interpreting this incorrectly, but to me that was the worst ending we could possibly have. The only thing I ever wanted was for Peter and Neal to end up together. We don’t get that. But worse than that, Neal has learnt less than nothing from his time with Peter. He’s ditched everyone he cares about – not just Peter, but Mozzie as well – to return to a life of crime. People now mean nothing to him.
    Seriously, I’m in tears. Please tell me I’m interpreting this the wrong way and there is some alternate explanation.

    1. We don’t know if he returned to his life of crime. He disappeared to protect his family. But at the same time, he gave Peter (and I’m assuming Mozzie too, since he went to that container) a clue to the truth. It’s a call. Neal wanted to be found. And I doubt he would just call Peter so that he could get caught in a criminal act…

      In my mind, he just waited for it to be safe to reappear (probably under a new ID). Or maybe he didn’t intend to, but he missed his two BFF too much….

        1. That’s what I’d like to believe too. Just don’t read Jeff Eastin’s interview about it – that’s where I got the really negative interpretation which seems so foreign to Neal’s character.

  4. The morning after and I’m still incoherent – was way above and beyond anything I could’ve hoped for. I cried like an idiot.

    I’m of the mindset Neal wants to be found (think of the fan fic!) but that year was necessary in making sure the PP believed he was good and dead. Believing anything else is too depressing. Not that it will ever happen but they could honestly come back from this and make some sort of movie.

    I like to believe El was the one who suggested they name the baby after Neal.

    Really believe that whole ep was award worthy – they were all stellar – Tim stood out for me though, as usual. Really want big things for him/from him going forward.

  5. I’ve (tried to) sleep over it, rewatched it this morning, finally got to work (seriously late) and I’m still a mess. So many emotions. There was the thrill of the heist, of a great fast pacing episode. There was the heart-wrenching callbacks to previous seasons, from the pilot. There was all the lovely scenes between the characters. And then there was Neal dead. And Mozzie and Peter crying. And then mourning. And some adorableness with baby Burke. And everyone moving on (or staying right where they belonged).
    And phew, a happy ending. Of course that was all a con.

    I’m still a little uncomfortable with the fact that Neal let his two best friends believe that he was dead for an entire year, but I supposed it had to be. At least we know that Peter (and Mozzie) is now going to run to Paris. 🙂

    Adios, show, it’s been real.

    1. Sarah, when I first started considering that Neal might indeed fake his death (again), I shared your concerns. On the surface, for Neal to fake his own death seemed callous and cowardly, and too much like the pre-Peter Neal. I wrongly assumed that Neal’s “death” would be the unanswered cliffhanger, with neither the audience nor Neal’s loved ones learning his ultimate fate, thus leaving Peter, Mozzie, and us feeling betrayed and out in the cold.

      However, Neal’s story was told with elegance and sensitivity (and now I feel foolish for ever doubting the intent of the writers). Whatever Neal’s reasoning, the evidence left in the storage unit was a crystal clear indication that he wanted Peter to not only learn of his survival but also be able to find him in the future. I love how the audience discovered Neal’s true fate through Peter’s eyes, or rather, his heart. We didn’t even need to see Neal in the living, breathing flesh to know it was true–just watching Peter light up like a firefly as the reality struck him was assurance enough. (Though, I must admit, I love that final shot of Neal, the perfect ending to this series.)

      But even before Neal “died”, he wasn’t insensitive to the pain he was causing. He last words to Peter–“You were the only one who saw the good in me. You’re my best friend” (words which, if we weren’t crying already, pretty much broke whatever remaining resolve we possessed)–conveyed much more than that. The weight of those words must have carried Peter through that entire year of grieving. But they also meant that Neal understood and cherished what Peter had given him in the five years leading up to this point. This wasn’t a brash or cavalier act.

      I also really loved Peter’s scenes with Mozzie after Neal’s “death”. Their shared experience of losing Neal seems to have cemented their own unique bond. (Peter “seeing” Neal at the FBI offices broke my heart; sometimes the sting of grief is sharpest when it comes unexpectedly, after time has passed–of this I know only too well.)

      I thoroughly enjoyed the heist, especially the enjoyment Peter and Neal were taking in each other as they took down the Panthers. In another universe, they might really be Butch and Sundance.

      I freely admit to having loved to hate Matthew Keller, played so well by Ross McCall. Don’t get me wrong, I was ready for Keller to die and Peter’s bullet to the head was probably more mercy than he deserved, but his part of the journey made for some pretty damn good storytelling and WC wouldn’t have been the same without him.

      I enjoyed the callbacks to the pilot–from Mozzie’s Queen of Hearts to Peter’s “cappuccino in the clouds” toast to Keller’s reference of Kate, and a few more, it really felt like a chapter was closing. Not the story–just the chapter.

      It’s raining money on Mozzie–a hysterically lighthearted moment in an otherwise emotionally dramatic episode.

      Baby Neal! I was not expecting the time jump, so seeing Peter and Elizabeth’s son was just an added bonus. And it also adds a tinge of melancholy to the story, because Neal may or may not ever meet his namesake (I choose to believe that he will). We’re reminded that, although the story has a happy ending, Neal’s life is changed. At least for now, he can’t share his life with the people he loves.

      Regardless of whether Neal returns to a life of crime, he is a better man for having known, worked closely with, and loved Peter Burke. For all we know, he’s reforming the Pink Panthers into the gang of gentlemen thieves they once were (the Pink Panthers were a real gang of thieves) and I’d be okay with that, even as I will forever want and hope that he and Peter eventually reunite as a team. There is simply no more watchable, charismatic, compelling, interesting, lovable duo on television. There just isn’t, bromantic, romantic, or platonic, Peter and Neal (and Tim and Matt) are simply the best there is.

  6. So I’ve been scouring the internet for awhile…Holy…cow! I’m still crying, and I haven’t seen it yet! lol. Never thought I’d say this, but I’m kind of glad that I’ll have to wait. I wouldn’t be able to handle Mozzie and Peter crying, and the morgue scene right now. No WAY!…I have so many emotions:

    (1) I’m sooooo relieved that Neal didn’t actually die. Until I knew it didn’t happen, I was a total wreck last night.
    (2) I’m equally relieved that Neal is free!! That’s the most important thing that I wanted for him. Anything else…wouldn’t be right.
    (3) I’m already mourning the loss of such a great show. I don’t understand why the network did this. And if there’s anything that fans can do to help bring it back…I’ll be there.
    (4) I’m mourning the loss of all of the friendships. I can’t believe that Neal is no longer a part of Peter & Mozzie’s lives…and he’s all alone. That is just so heartbreaking, and what I didn’t want to see. It’s hard for me to believe that he’d be OK with it, and smiling at the end.
    (5) I’m mourning the loss of who I thought Neal really was. After EVERYTHING- all the talks Peter’s given him; all the friendships & bonds he’d finally made; the many times he’s said he didn’t want to run anymore, and wanted to stay in NYC and settle down; the times he KNEW he could go legit; all of the amazing progress he had made- he CHOSE to go back to a life of crime?? I guess we don’t know if he really did, but that’s the connotation…and I’m a bit angry at Jeff for that. The Neal I know was a changed person, & wouldn’t have just gone back to his old ways.
    (6) I, too, have a problem w/ Neal letting his “family” go through all of that for a year. I understand that it might’ve been because of the PP, but come on! These are the people he cares about most. He’s resourceful. He would’ve figured out how to contact them WAY before then.
    (7) I’m also not crazy about Peter’s first thought being “the chase is on again” after seeing what Neal left in the warehouse. Seriously?? He just found out that his buddy’s ALIVE! Wouldn’t he be scraping himself off the floor? Wouldn’t his FRIEND be his first concern? Again, Jeff, I’m not real happy about that.

    But I am VERY grateful that we got this last season, that everyone worked so hard to dedicate this to the fans, and that Neal is finally free. Amen.

    1. I don’t think “the chase” is on again, at least not in the same sense it was five years ago. Peter’s life has changed too, the most important change being that he’s now a father. His priorities have shifted (the most clear indicator of which is his turning down a promotion to a job in DC). If you’re referring to Eastin’s Entertainment Weekly interview, he indicated Peter would not pursue Neal in a legal sense, but that he still might hop a plane to Paris to try and locate him. I have no doubt Peter wants to find Neal (and Neal wants Peter to find him, apparently).

      Neal will always be part of Peter and Mozzie’s lives, and vice versa. They can’t not be, even if on opposite ends of the universe. And, somehow, their ongoing metaphorical poker game is part of how they relate, part of how they love one another. That’s what makes their relationship so unique, that they can constantly try to outplay the other’s hand yet still manage to always be there for the other when it matters most.

      1. jatg~ Hi. Yes, I was referring to J’s interview. I guess I didn’t see where he said Peter wouldn’t pursue Neal in a legal sense. Maybe I should re-read the article, lol. If Peter was just going to Paris to find him, I’d be all for that. I do think J said that Neal was born bad, though, & I’ll have to disagree w/him on that – even though he created the character, lol. Neal was very redeemable..very.

        Thanks for pointing out how they can still be part of each other’s lives..although it’s not quite the same as being there in person. ITA that “there is no more watchable, charismatic, compelling, interesting, lovable duo on television.” That’s what I’m going to miss the most- P&N together. I think therapy’s already in order, lol.

        And I couldn’t be happier that Keller is dead.

    2. Don’t listen to Jeff’s crap. He just doesn’t know his own show. It just wouldn’t make sense to me that Neal would just go back to the life. He wouldn’t do that to Peter. And as I said before, it just wouldn’t make sense to go back to the life AND give Peter clues to find him.

      Peter’s smile at the end is obviously because Neal is alive. And Mozzie has been called too.

      1. You’re right. Over the years, I’ve been able to tell. It’s like the actors and viewers knew the characters better than the creator did (S5 is the perfect example). I’ll bet Tim & Matt pulled their hair out a couple of times: “You want to Peter & Neal to do WHAT? That’s not really what they would do. How are we supposed to justify THAT?” lol.

  7. Oh. And one more thing…Thank God Jeff listened to Tim & Matt’s idea for the very last segment. I wouldn’t have liked the coin toss scenario; that would’ve been TOO open-ended. I needed to have SOME idea of Neal & Peter’s direction…And I wouldn’t have liked complete closure, either (e.g. a real death). I needed to know that there’s still hope for the characters to continue on with their lives and relationships. Maybe Matt should be writing scripts..that was pretty insightful of him to understand that viewers’ DO need to be able to use their imaginations..

  8. Oh yeah, I really didn’t care for the idea behind the coin flip either, even if tha result had been revealed. A coin flip would have trivialized some serious life choices. But, that’s the nature of the creative process, always ebbing and flowing.

    Neal was “born bad”, the idiom referring to the dark family life into which he was born. His father was a dirty cop, his mother emotionally absent, and his childhood marked by upheaval and alter-identities. Ellen appears to have been the only stable influence of his childhood, and even she didn’t give Neal boundaries. So, in that sense Eastin is right. Neal is a product of his circumstances to a measurable degree. What’s more debatable is whether he can change who he thinks he is, being apart from Peter, the only person in his life who ever inspired him to be a better man. That’s the next part of the story.

    Another question arising out of this episode is, why would Neal go to all this trouble? Neal always has a good reason for doing what he does, but I don’t think we’re supposed to know the full answer to that question. Obviously, the danger posed by his work for (against) the PP and Neal’s desire to protect his family is part of it, but that doesn’t explain why now to make a move (send the bottle of wine) that will lead to clues being uncovered). But, again, that’s supposed to be part of the mystery that’s up to viewers to solve.

    At least until the movie is made.

    1. jatg~ Even if that is what “born bad” means, we are all a product of our circumstances to a degree. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t mature & grow. And Neal did. That’s what makes it so tragic to me, I guess. After 5 yrs of Peter seeing the good in him (minus S5), and ALL of the viewers being able to do the same, was Neal never able to see it in himself? As smart as he is, he couldn’t recognize that he was becoming a better person? I’d like to think that after having a positive influence, he’s developed enough of a conscience to be able to say “This isn’t right. And I know what the consequences will be if I do it.”

      In all honesty, I’m probably angry at Jeff for the show’s demise. lol. S5 changed everything. Up until then, Peter DID see the good in Neal, and believed very much that he could change. Then with no explanation, Peter lost all faith in him, & Jones followed suit. Mozzie kept saying, “We are who we are”. And the psychiatrist beat it into his head: “You’ll never be anything more than a criminal.” If there was no hope that Neal could change, then there was nowhere left for the writers to go. IMO, that’s why it ended.

      What I don’t understand is why Neal never stood up to Peter, or Mozzie, or the psychiatrist. Why didn’t he say, “You’re wrong. I can change. I have changed. And whether you see it or not…I do.” *sigh*

      1. I don’t want to start an argument over S5 here, but Peter didn’t lose his faith in Neal with no explanation. Neal commited several crimes during S5 and as much as Peter loves him, he cannot accept it. That’s why it hurt so much. Neal did what he had to do to save his friend, but that was very much in his criminal ways. Neal did it for Peter, but in a way Peter cannot accept.

        This is what S5 was about. Their views of the world are opposite, and sometimes it crashes. But in the end, they’re here for each other. Peter stood by Neal against Rachel, he vouched for him so that he’d be free.

        1. Aragarna- I do understand what you’re saying. I’m thinking of Episodes 1 & 2, actually. Peter suspected Neal of stealing the gold coins, El asked Peter to distance himself, & Peter’s reaction was to call Neal a criminal to his face ..then try to completely detach himself emotionally. That’s the part I still can’t get over. Neal’s character didn’t change, but Peter’s character did a 180. The Peter I know never would have acted that way.

          I do understand why Peter was upset & disappointed, & why he felt the need to distance himself. I just think the way he handled it was very out-of-character for him, & if I was Neal, I would’ve felt very hurt by my friend.

          1. In episode 1, Peter just discovered that Neal cracked his anklet. In past seasons, he had put Neal back in prison for less, or at least yell at him. There he just comes to see him as a friend, changes his anklet and leaves. Ok, he called Neal a criminal, but again, because he realized that Neal tampered his anklet. His reaction seemed more of a disappointed friend more than anything. And he had reasons to be. Precisely, because Neal didn’t change. He was doing some business on the side and hiding things from Peter while Peter had barely been out of jail…

            More in character would have been Peter yelling at Neal. But he was past that. And probably tired of that.

            In episode 2, he was perfectly friendly, concerned that Neal would get along with the new handler… A perfectly good friend.

            And just to be clear, Neal has never taken offense before of being called a criminal. He used to be quite proud of it actually…

    2. According to Peter all the thieves in the Pink Panthers are in jail and serving life sentences so the main danger is over

  9. I loved the finale. It was great. Neal was shown to the master he was reputed to be. He used his cons skills to get into the airport. I am sure that plan with the coffin was his. Shades of the death he enacted later. He ran the entire operation. It would have work except he also planned it for the FBI.

    Neal anticipate every move from what Peter had to say to get accepted in to trhe PP to the finale where he manipulated Keller into firing that shot to enact his death scene.

    He even set it up that Luc will photograph him at the containers so Peter would know and then he left the key to be given to Peter.

    Neal waited a year and then activated Mozzie to deliver the wine so Peter could finally figure it out. Shame it took Peter so long.

    Neal was never suited to be a 9-5 person and he never was or could be normal. He is exceptional. With Neal Caffrey dead , Neal finally has his second chance His criminal past no longer will hinder him. He can reinvent himself and be anybody he wants. I don’t think being a criminal is required. Neal will not be alone . He makes enemies into friends. See Sara Peter , Jones and Diana. The entire FBI was converted. He will make new friends and find love again.

    His time with Peter was more fun then a prison sentence could have been. The unspoken was that it was still a prison ,just 2 miles square. Neal had not been free for over 8 years. Now he is finally.

    Peter’s expression when he realized that Neal was alive and pulled the con on him was joy and admiration I expected Peter would salute with the Lady. Peter always admired Neal’s exploits. Peter is not going to chase after Neal That phase is over. He has to settle down to be a father with Elizabeth and accept that Neal is free to do whatever Neal wants.

    Though in later years they may take a visit to Europe and meet up with Neal.
    Peter has his own Neal to fuss over and he can accept his namesake being free. That acceptance probably would take a year.

  10. It was quite obvious that Neal wasn’t dead. Thanks God. I couldn’t have stand watching further if I’d believed for a minute he died.
    But Peter mourning was killing me. Neal said, you’re my best friend. But I think, Peter could have said the same thing to Neal.
    But I have to agree with Jeff, Peter loves chasing Neal. He won’t chase him to put him behind bars. But he loves the hunt. A baby is fine and exactly what El and he has dreamt of. But Peter needs the challenge just as Neal does.
    Neal.. I’m afraid the straight and narrow isn’t his. I still have to figure out what he’s doing in Paris, art crimes just for the fun, Robin Hood like heist, working as security consultant? I don’t know. I will need lots of fanfic to sort that out.

  11. Yes, that was the ambiguity. Neal could be doing a legit contract providing security or Painting originals or pulling new heists. That is the beauty of the ending.
    I still think Peter will not chase Neal .Those days are over. He may visit as a friend. But it is no longer FBI and and prisoner.

    I loved that smile of Peter’s when he realized he was conned by Neal. So much joy and admiration. That was the Peter I loved.

    1. The mutual respect which existed between the characters was evident even from the beginning, from before the pilot, despite their approach coming from seemingly opposite worldviews and life experience. In s4’s “Vested Interest”, Peter admits that he realized that it wasn’t about the money or the greed for Neal, but about the thrill of the chase, something they had in common. What I read in Peter’s face when he realized Neal wasn’t dead was 1)pure joy that Neal was simply alive; 2) hope that he would actually see Neal again; 3) happiness that Neal didn’t cut ties completely; and 4)excitement that their own little cat-and-mouse game wasn’t over. Their relationship has never been conventional, so we can’t judge it by conventional standards. They enjoy playing that poker game (an analogy TDK has often used) as much as they enjoy each other’s company.

      Peter won’t pursue Neal in the same way he did in the past, I don’t think. For starters, as I said earlier, his priorities have shifted, plus he needs to let Neal be his own man (especially as long as Neal operates outside his jurisdiction). But, I can easily imagine Peter flying to Paris in hopes of finding him for personal reasons.

      I’ve watched the finale at least 10 times, and it’s surprising what one notices for the first time after so many viewings. In the Neal/Keller/Mozzie scene when Neal and Keller return for the money, Neal admits to having not been booked and processed by the FBI, leaving open a tiny loophole for his cover to be blown should word leak among the jailed Panthers that one of their “own” didn’t actually get arrested. They might think he’s dead, but uncovering Neal’s duplicity is just a small jump to uncovering Peter’s as well.

      I also paid closer attention to the interpersonal dynamic between Keller and Neal. It’s easy enough to understand why they had a falling out at some point in the prequel era, but I think Keller also resents that Neal found a more compatible partner in Peter–Keller actually appeared jealous of their connection during the safe-cracking scene, and he attempted to undermine their relationship in subtle ways in subsequent scenes. I’m sure he thought telling Peter that Neal was dying would give him the upper hand. Wrong again, Keller.

  12. I saw you comment about Neal breaking cover by telling Mozzie they were not processed. Since Keller also decided and insisted on not being process, how was that breaking cover? Only Mozzie was told. Is Mozzie going to blab to the PP?

    I agree that Keller was jealous. He wanted Neal to side with him. That effortless connection that Peter and Neal had was jarring to Keller

  13. I just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s perspectives on the ending. It makes me feel better knowing that the ending really IS left up to our imaginations, and can be interpreted many ways. I think I’ve learned not to read what Jeff says, lol. Merry Christmas!

  14. Aragarna~ Re: your Dec. 24 post..It’s true that Neal used to be proud to be called a criminal, but Peter had always steered clear of saying it. He basically said at the S3 commutation (sp?) hearing, “If you treat him like a criminal, he’ll act like one.” So when the one person who didn’t treat him as a criminal started treating him like one, to me that was just reinforcement in his mind that he’s unable to be reformed.

    If I dig deep, maybe my real issue is with storyline discrepancies, & stories not flowing smoothly. Examples:.~ one day, Peter’s in prison for murder; the next day, he’s out and offered a big promotion. One day, P&N are best buds in the office; the next day, Peter’s tired of him and ready to throw him back in prison. One day, Peter doesn’t believe Neal can go straight; the next day, he says Neal deserves to be free & does all he can to make it happen. One day, Diana’s not pregnant; a few months later, she’s almost due. I guess we were supposed to look past the more unbelievable moments, lol.

    Which leads me to something you said earlier, that’s been eating at me. In spite of what JE said, you’re right..It really DOESN’T make sense that Neal would go through all of this trouble & pull the biggest con of his life for his freedom….only to become a career criminal again, knowing full well that he’d LOSE his freedom. So I’m with you on that.

    I do have one question (for anyone)..In one of the promo vids, Neal was heard said “I’m even better than I think I am.” Which episode and scene did he say that in? Tks.

    1. The “I’m even better than I think I am” line is from 6×05, ‘Whack-a-Mole,’ when Neal is meeting with Woodford’s men in the building where the tubes come out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *