WHITE COLLAR: “Checkmate” Mid-Season Premiere Advance Review

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Rejoice, White Collar fans! We finally made it! There’s only one week left before our favorite cop-and-robber duo returns, with an action-packed premiere full of drama and unexpected twists.

Can you guys believe it’s already been five whole months since the mid-season finale? Just in case you haven’t been obsessively rewatching White Collar episodes to escape the painful withdrawal (the entire series is on Netflix, just fyi), USA Network has helpfully put together a recap of the season so far…

The mid-season finale left us with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. Fortunately, we find out what happens to Elizabeth almost immediately. I know there were some fans (including myself) that were a bit concerned that El might become the stereotypical damsel in distress. But this episode put those fears to rest, and proved yet again why I love this show. I shall say no more to avoid spoilers, but needless to say, Elizabeth Burke is a total badass.

The last episode also forced Neal to confront the ultimatum he had been avoiding ever since he discovered the treasure. Either he runs away with Mozzie, or he stays with Peter. “Choose a side.” And, in the eleventh hour, Neal decided to stay.

Neal has to face the consequences of his choice from the minute he steps back into the Burke’s house. Elizabeth is in danger, and Peter’s trust in Neal is greatly shaken. They soon put aside their differences, however, and work together with Mozzie to thwart Keller.

Like every great episode of White Collar, this one has a con. Actually, make that two cons. A con within a con — conception? — with higher stakes than ever before and a dangerous wild card on the table. Things don’t exactly go according to plan, but then again, when do they ever? The episode takes an unexpected turn towards the end, concluding with a twist that I don’t think anyone could have predicted. It sets up the rest of the season perfectly and introduces a whole new dynamic into the show. I can’t wait to see how this plays out, especially since Matt Bomer has repeatedly said in interviews that this season’s finale is going to be the biggest cliffhanger yet. (Dun dun dun…)


ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:

→ We finally get to meet Estelle, after numerous mentions on the show.
→ “Is there anyone in this room you haven’t tried to kill?”
→ There are some great glimpses into Keller and Neal’s shared history.
→ Peter Burke undercover! In uniform! What more can you ask for?
→ An epic battle oddly reminiscent of gladiators…?

DO NOT miss the return of White Collar! “Checkmate” airs on Tuesday, January 17th at 10/9c on USA.

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