The season finale of USA's White Collar this week was as frustrating as just about anything I've ever watched. USA is known for a certain type of show: procedurals that are a bit better on character development than the average network offering of the genre. I admit, I find about half of USA's shows unwatchable because of how strong the procedural elements are, but White Collar is one of the better ones. Or it usually is. The season finale left me confused and annoyed.
First, let's hit the strong points of the episode. Neal's (Matthew Bomer) growing relationship with Sara (Hilarie Burton, who will be a series regular next year) is sweet. The double date dinner party the two of them have with Peter (Tim DeKay) and Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) feels right, and appears to open up the possibility of a more domesticated Neal. I would say that's a great example of Peter rubbing off on Neal, except we have seen that Neal is no stranger to the love of one woman before. Elizabeth calming Sara's nerves about jumping into something with a former con man was a high point of the episode.
Neal and Peter's relationship, really the central linchpin of the show, has blossomed into wonderful understanding. While captured by baddie Adler (Andrew McCarthy), the two of them have great banter, and complete faith in each other. They break into an old German sub loaded with massive amounts of treasure. It's the ultimate find that the music box mystery of the past two seasons has been leading them to. Yet, all I can think about is how much I enjoy watching Neal and Peter work together. I could care less about the treasure. It is a mark of how well the characters are written.