Season 6, Episode 1
Air Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014, 9/8c on USA
When we last saw Neal (Matt Bomer) in “Diamond Exchange,” the season five finale, a mysterious man (Leonard Moore) had kidnapped him. As the van disappeared from sight, Neal’s ankle monitor was tossed out of the window. Will Peter (Tim Dekay) figure out what happened or will he assume Neal is on the run?
For months following that finale, fans languished, wondering not only about Neal’s fate, but the future of the show. When USA Network finally announced it was renewing White Collar for a short, final season of only six episodes, I started to have some apprehension.
My concern was with Neal missing in action, the first, maybe even second, episode of the new season would focus on finding him, leaving only four or five episodes to close out the series. Given the shortened season, I worried any plans for additional story lines would be scrapped for a faster resolution. It’s hard enough accepting my favorite show is coming to an end; the last thing I wanted was to feel like the show was being pushed to its finish.
Thankfully, my concerns were unnecessary as the White Collar writers have taken the time to set up “Borrowed Time” perfectly. It’s a great episode that most likely will make many fans’ top five list for their favorite episode of the series. The way “Borrowed Time” plays out works in a way that doesn’t feel rushed and fits the natural evolution of the characters. As much as I hate to see White Collar end, “Borrowed Time” makes you realize now is the right time to go.
Figuring out what happened to Neal may be the focus of the episode for Peter, Jones (Sharif Atkins), and Diana (Marsha Thomason), but Mozzie (Willie Garson) steals the show. Garson is even more hilarious than usual, especially in a scene that puts him in a compromising situation. The humor in the episode is something I wasn’t expecting, given the critical nature of the season five finale that leads into this season’s premiere. That’s not to say there aren’t serious moments in “Borrowed Time,” but the writers do a good job of finding a fitting balance between humor and drama.
As much as I enjoy White Collar, it has never been the type of show that elicited deep emotions from either its actors or audience. Shows like Law & Order, which has a gritty realism to it, and Resurrection, which plays on emotions, are known for doing that. Sure, there have been scenes where Neal was sad or Peter was worried, but they never had to dig deep to convey a raw feeling of emotion. I’ve never thought, “Wow, what a moving episode.”
Those thoughts go out the window in “Borrowed Time” and while I can’t quite put my finger on it, something has changed. I’m not sure whether it’s the director, the quality of acting, or a combination of both. Maybe it’s because the actors sense things are winding down after years together and real feelings are spilling over to their characters. Dekay and Bomer, in particular, each have scenes where their emotions rise to a level I haven’t seen previously. I’m not talking about watching them break down in tears but rather a conveyance of emotions that made me think, ”Dang, that just got real.”
There’s no denying the aura of things coming to an end resonates throughout the entire episode. At times, I had the impression the writers were marking things off a checklist, making sure certain obvious things happen before White Collar says goodbye. “Borrowed Time” has a familiar vibe, which isn’t surprising given this isn’t the first time the show has dealt with a kidnapping. What sets “Borrowed Time” apart is that the writers take a page from a real life crime story that’s not only entertaining but will have you humming a familiar tune by the end.
As the final season premiere approaches, it’s hard not to feel sad that the end is near, especially since there are only six episodes left to watch. I choose to celebrate the upcoming episodes. Having seen the first two, I am excited at the direction things appear to be heading and can’t wait to see what happens next. “Borrowed Time” isn’t the episode I expected; it’s even better. Before it’s over, you’ll have laughed and maybe even shed a few tears.
Tune in to the series premiere of White Collar on Thursday, November 6 at 9/8c on USA.
Let me know what you think of “Borrowed Time” after you watch the episode. Are you sad to see White Collar end, or are you excited for the final six episodes? Leave your comments below or tweet me @StaffaRoadTrip.
For more on the show, visit the official website at http://www.usanetwork.com/series/whitecollar/.
Follow the show on Twitter @WhiteCollarUSA.
LIKE White Collar on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/whitecollar.
All photos © 2014 USA Network, a division of NBC Universal, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2014, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.
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