Lesson learned, White Collar: Don’t talk to strangers, especially if they’re tailing you.
The USA Network drama finished up its fifth season on Thursday night with a finale that found Neal kidnapped by a mysterious man and left us wondering if the con man – and the show – have reached their ends.
But first, a brief refresher of the action, which begins when Rebecca announces that she’s given Mozzie a deadly poison. In exchange for the antidote, she wants Neal to acquire the twin of the Hope Diamond for her. With the help of Mosconi’s clues, Peter and Neal set off on a scavenger hunt at a military installation, where they uncover the gem behind a brick wall.
But rather than handing it off to Rebecca, Neal slyly swaps it with a rock before she takes off, making her think the diamond is in her possession. He plans to give her a reason to stay to keep her from escaping via helicopter; the mental picture he paints of their life together is pretty, but Rebecca isn’t falling for it again. Still, Neal knows she won’t go without the diamond and instructs her to check her bag, where she discovers the rock.
“I love how good you are,” Rebecca says.
“I hate how good you are,” Neal replies. With no way out in sight, he continues, “You have to know when it’s over. Sometimes, you have to stop running.” She does… and gets put back behind bars.
Neal’s words just as easily apply to the con man himself, who actually takes them to heart. He confesses to Mozzie – who lives, thanks to Diana’s investigative skills and Elizabeth’s yelling – that he plans to give up the life and play by the rules. He’s not even going to go after the diamond, because it would just end up with him in jail again.
“My freedom is worth more than anything that diamond could buy,” he declares. But if he’s not a criminal, then who is he? asks Mozzie. “That’s what I want to find out,” Neal answers.
And it looks like he might get his chance when Peter gives him the good news that his release has been put into motion. But before he can even celebrate, Peter gets a call that the bureau doesn’t want to lose its best asset. Neal sees it all as a game that he can’t win and storms off, while Peter has a change of heart about his move to Washington. (Elizabeth still plans to take the job at the National Gallery of Art and come home on weekends! We get that it’s sometimes hard to fit El into the stories, but a long-distance marriage for the Burkes?!)
Meanwhile, an angry Neal notices that someone’s been following him and approaches the man to find out who he is.
“I’m about to become the last person on Earth who knows where you are,” he replies before another man puts a bag over Neal’s head and tosses his anklet. Uh oh!
What did you think of the finale cliffhanger? And does it feel like the show is nearing the end of its run? Season 6 is a safe bet, but perhaps it should be the final season. The strength of the show has always the terrific push-and-pull chemistry between Peter and Neal. But if trying to find ways to keep them together also keeps the characters from moving on and evolving, maybe it’s time to to take Neal’s advice and stop running from the truth: After all, everything good must come to an end.Follow @VladaGelman