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S06.E03: Uncontrollable Variables

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Fantastic, so instead of everyone being happy and the little White Collar family being together, Neal is going to fake his death.

 

That's not the ending I want, pull up writers, pull up.

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Dear writers, Neal is right, he is not a guy like Keller. Keller is a thug. I'm here for the charming con men and clever scams, not thugs and blatant threats against my OT3.

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Don't you think Neal and Amy are shoe-ins for prom king and queen?  How old is Neal?  It took Keller to clue him in on all the collateral damage a con artist leaves in his wake?  He should look back over his shoulder and see the long line of "little people" -- security guards, secretaries, clerks, bank tellers, etc. -- who've lost their jobs because of his cons, not to mention the people who've been hurt, incarcerated or killed.   Of course, they were probably middle-aged, ugly, flawed and in need of being fired or otherwise injured anyway.  But Amy, sweet innocent little Amy -- do you think the girl has a flaw?  Was there ever anyone more perfect, more angelic, more right out of a Mary Pickford movie?  She probably got off the bus in NYC, her little fists clenched, all starry-eyed, humming "New York, New York . . . if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere . . . "  And now she's back on that bus heading home to her "little town blues", all her hopes dashed.  Boo!  Hiss!   Bad Neal.  Guilty Neal.  

 

Amy, you need more grit than that to tackle New York.   And Neal -- why are you so surprised all over again?  Isn't this the same thing you did to Rebecca?   Of course, in the end it was okay because Rebecca hadn't just stepped off the bus from Sunnybrook Farm.   Neal the good, the innocent, the hopelessly in denial doesn't have to feel guilty about her.   But he can't get her off his mind -- especially how she died.   It appeals to his sense of the dramatic, the final, the grand gesture.

 

So now, in his woe-is-me, I'm-such-a-bad-boy funk, he's going to martyr himself to keep from hurting his friends, the Burke baby, and all the sweet Amys of the world?   A person who did that would become something he always wanted to be -- beloved.   But he's a con at heart, after all -- and I don't think he has a death-wish.  He'll fake his death and run away again which will enable him to feel noble and self-sacrificing and heroic.  

 

Does he leave Mozzie behind?   Mozzie's willingness to do the dirty work in their partnership has enabled Neal to live inside the illusion that he's only stealing from the rich who after all can afford it and that no one ever gets hurt.   No guns -- and if guns, only to wound, never to kill.   His prissy little rules are indicative of how deeply he needs this illusion and why he needs Mozzie -- and doesn't Neal know that Mozzie doesn't play by those rules?   Makes you wonder about Tonto and Pancho and  Little John and Gabby Hayes and all the other sidekicks -- how much cleaning up they had to do to make sure the white knight could be the beloved, the romantic, the dashing hero.   Maybe Mozzie needed to believe in that Neal, too.   And Keller -- didn't he do the same thing for Neal, in a way?   He reflects another aspect of Neal's dark side.  Keller has often reminded Neal of truths Neal does not like to think about.   Is Neal aware of any of this?   It scares him when he gets close to that kind of self-knowledge.   He runs away from it.   Typically, he turns his escape into something heroic, legendary, mysterious.   If he really "cuts ties" (of course he still has a drawer full of them), he'll have to face the world -- and himself -- alone.  No more "plausible deniability."   Too scary.  Maybe he does have a death-wish.  

Edited by nico
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Neal is just now realizing that he's hurting people even when it's not physically when he cons them? He really has been living in a fantasy. 

 

Also is everyone from Neal's past going to stop by and tell him that you either give up the life or die? Alex better come back for that too. I want to see her one last time and find out what's she's doing. She'd also be a better one to tell Neal that, being that Keller and Rebecca are/were also kidnappers and murderers so their stakes are tad higher than Neal's. Alex and Mozzie are the one's that are most similar to him. Maybe Gordon Taylor can come back too. They can have an intervention for him. "Neal, we love you but thinking about hurting the innocent now doesn't change the fact that you've done the same thing to countless others over the years. I hate to break it to you but you're the villain in the fairytale not Prince Charming."

 

Then we have Neal again thinking he wants the sweet innocent girl, but like Keller said that's because they are easy marks to con. He went for Rebecca when she looked like a librarian to con her, but he didn't fall for her until  he saw she was similar to him. It was the same with Kate, once she became part of his conning game he loved her. He wants them to look innocent but in the end he wants them to be just like him. Probably so he can keep living in his fantasy world.

Edited by Sakura12
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Didn't like Amy, too forced. And just a couple of weeks ago Neal was admitting he still had feelings for Rebecca. Anyway, what happened to Amy isn't his fault at all.  He's working for the FBI. It's not as  if he decided to use her. What difference is there between Amy and Sophie Covington? He didn't want to con Sophie either but he wasn't given a choice.

 

The fact that Neal has a code doesn't bother me at all, quite the opposite. I'm glad he has one. And I think it's a code Mozzie has respected too except when  he put a price on Keller's head. Neal  wouldn't be his best friend otherwise.

 

I don't see Neal faking his death as a bad ending. It'd be a smart move: criminals he's helped to send to prison wouldn't go after him  and the FBI wouldn't be interrogating him every time there's a robbery 50 km around him. June,  Peter and Elizabeth could be in the secret too. And if the Pink Panthers wanted to take revenge on Neal's loved ones... Well, they have no reason to think Neal loves the Burkes, Diana or Jones. Mozzie would be with  Neal. So we 'd only  have to be worried about June, there's no one else.  

 

There's something very shady about the French guy. Why would the Interpol deny he's working for them?  I'm really surprised Peter didn't take him to an Interrogation Room  right there. 

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Neal is just now realizing that he's hurting people even when it's not physically when he cons them? He really has been living in a fantasy. 

Except - does anyone running this show remember the time the bad guys forced Neal to con a travel agent and made sure he didn't back out by shining a laser target on her? He was already reluctant about conning innocent bystanders back then! But hey, that was more than 5 seconds ago, who has memories that last that long?

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Okay so those there the most anvilly anvils that ever anviled.... Neal will fake his death but leave Peter a clue so he knows he not really dead, Peter will leave the bureau or take a less risky job. And the last scen will be Mozzie on a plane going to meet Neal.  I guess when Matt suggested the ending he felt Neal didn't deserve a happy ending. I guess in truth it would be unrealistic

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The Neal plot aside, did anyone else think it was really insensitive of Elizabeth to go on and on about whether Peter's demanding job would allow him to pick up enough of the parenting slack TO someone who was doing that exact same demanding job and all the parenting without a partner? I mean, if Diana can do all that on her own, why couldn't Peter do it with Elizabeth? She may as well have asked Diana, "You work crazy hours. Do you find that makes you a terrible parent? I mean, how screwed up is your kid? Maybe when he starts talking enough that we can tell, you could get your Nanny to let me know."

 

It was, IMO, a really, truly egregious case of Diana being written into the scene PURELY as a sounding board for Elizabeth, without any consideration as to who she is as her own character living within her own circumstances. Lazy, lazy writing, and a total injustice to the amazing character of Diana.

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I said before that Neal would fake his own death at the end of the series. 

 

Neal's always kind of been hesitant to con people like that. And actually, if interpol didn't fuck it up, they would have pulled it off no problem and no one would have been the wiser. 

 

I'm surprised Mozzie actually took the disk. That was a bad call.

 

Cons are supposed to be *clever*. This was stupid overall. Allying with Keller is stupid. I think they could have come up with a better plan, or conned Keller into not participating. They already had Keller as a guard, which is stupid because the mark already saw his face. 

 

And, yeah, there is collateral damage, but the point is, the better con minimizes them. 

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I really have never been able to stomach the Peter character, nor have I been able to buy that he and Neal are friends, but I watch because I love the Neal / Mozzie friendship.  Please, Show, don't separate these two, or I won't have anything left to enjoy.

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Neal is just now realizing that he's hurting people even when it's not physically when he cons them? He really has been living in a fantasy.

I think Neal has always been aware of the damage he does; it seems to be something he's wrestled with throughout the series. But I don't think it's accurate to say that he's reluctant to hurt people. I think, specifically, his aversion is (and has always been) to seducing, manipulating and betraying women. I think there's a difference in his mind between collateral damage of the professional sort (like security guards losing jobs because they were conned, or the lasting effects of theft on a gallery or museum), and collateral damage of the personal sort, where women's emotions are toyed with and they are left heartbroken. Neal has always been reluctant to con women this way, and has almost always ONLY done it when he feels there is no other choice. Maybe because he tends to fall hard and fast in love himself, and has too much sympathy for his fellow romantics to hurt them that way. I don't know. I think the distinction was made by the WRITERS early on in order to establish that Neal isn't the sort of person who would use his charm to seduce and manipulate women like a creep, and therefore give us permission to root for him.

 

So, I'm not sure this episode showed Neal realizing that his cons hurt people, so much as it showed him realizing that maybe the personal damage he causes can't be separated so easily from the professional damage that he is usually able to compartmentalize and dismiss. After all, he wasn't able to separate out, in the end, the damage he did to Amy's job and that damage he did to her feelings. He'd thought he could repair (or at least mitigate) her emotional damage by saving (even improving) her job, but he couldn't, and because of that, he is beginning to process his understanding of his collateral damage in a new way.

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Neal is just now realizing that he's hurting people even when it's not physically when he cons them? He really has been living in a fantasy.

 

Was just coming here to comment on this, but Slovenly Muse said it better. :) I don't think Neal is just now realizing this... he's always known it (and we've seen him struggle with it before... particularly when it comes to women, but even occasionally others. I remember one episode in an early season where he was forced to recognize what he'd done to a man and his daughter and ultimately help them out...?).  I just think he's really good at compartmentalizing, and ... to a certain degree... conning himself into believing that what he's doing isn't really hurting people because he's not physically hurting them. He seems to have a strict line that he (unlike Keller) doesn't cross when it comes to violence, and he seems to have convinced himself (if no one else) that what he's doing doesn't really "count" as bad since he isn't inflicting physical harm. He really is a good con man. 

 

As for Amy, I kind of liked her.  I have really been ok with most of the "love interests" they have brought in for Neal (even the ones that only lasted an episode. Sophie was one of my absolute favorites and I wish we'd see her again. I thought Bomer and that actress had fantastic chemistry).  Ironically, the only one I had a problem with was the one that stuck around the longest... Sara.  And I blame the actress as much as the character.  For some reason, I just thought Hilary Burton wasn't the right person for the role and inexplicably unable to generate real chemistry with Bomer (seriously... HOW is that possible?). There was just a way that the character was portrayed that had the "rough and tough" abrasive aspect of the character but none of the softness or relatabililty to counterbalance that.   Yes, Amy was a bit of a stereotype, but sometimes I can see why Neal might be drawn to that as well. 

 

One thing that surprised me (and I think it's because of the length of time between seasons) was how little Diana's baby still is.  I guess there really hasn't been that much time that passed between early Season 5 and now, but it took me out of the scene to think her baby was still THAT young. 

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The Neal plot aside, did anyone else think it was really insensitive of Elizabeth to go on and on about whether Peter's demanding job would allow him to pick up enough of the parenting slack TO someone who was doing that exact same demanding job and all the parenting without a partner? I mean, if Diana can do all that on her own, why couldn't Peter do it with Elizabeth?

I thought the exact same thing. Lazy writing indeed. It was like they just wanted to give Elizabeth a scene to talk about the future and being a mother, so they threw new mom Diana in there without thinking it through.

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They already had Keller as a guard, which is stupid because the mark already saw his face. 

 

I'll admit I wasn't paying attention - but I thought that was necessary for the con. It was to simultaneously distract and con Amy into opening the vault which Mozzie then stepped through. 

 

ETA: Also that was the most unappetising lunch ever. Not only was it just leaves - there wasn't enough of it to feed a baby, IMO. Do people just eat that? Am I going to have to do that if I want Amy's svelte figure? Eek. 

Edited by romantic idiot

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One thing that surprised me (and I think it's because of the length of time between seasons) was how little Diana's baby still is.  I guess there really hasn't been that much time that passed between early Season 5 and now, but it took me out of the scene to think her baby was still THAT young. 

Thank you! I came here specifically to ask how old he is. He'd have to be at least 8-9 months, right??

Edited by betsyboo

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I'll admit I wasn't paying attention - but I thought that was necessary for the con. It was to simultaneously distract and con Amy into opening the vault which Mozzie then stepped through.

 

I still think it was sloppy because it relied on her being naive. Someone with mild sense might have been pinged something was wrong.

 

If you're going with the social conditioning con; i.e., security guard, cop, etc., that's usually enough to get the job done. 

 

Neal said he didn't even need Keller in the first place. 

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Okay so those there the most anvilly anvils that ever anviled.... Neal will fake his death but leave Peter a clue so he knows he not really dead, Peter will leave the bureau or take a less risky job. And the last scen will be Mozzie on a plane going to meet Neal.  I guess when Matt suggested the ending he felt Neal didn't deserve a happy ending. I guess in truth it would be unrealistic

 

I don't understand how Neal faking his own death precludes a happy ending.  In fact, it may be the only way he is able to have one.  It's a fairly long standing plot line in both TV and movies; "The Sting" comes readily to mind.  I think what you've described could be written all kinds of ways: bittersweet, fun, ironic, or even exhilarating.  But I don't see it as having to be sad or tragic.

 

 

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I can't believe there's only 3 episodes left. At this point I have no idea how they're going to wrap this up, but I have a gut feeling I'm not going to like it. I'll reserve judgment until I've seen the final seconds, of course, but... I still have that bad feeling. They're really leaning heavily on Neal having nowhere to go and how it's impossible for him to have a good and happy (and non-criminal) life. Which is horrible, because I liked how in this episode he talked about the positives of working for the FBI, how the cons for them are not for people like Amy who are decent, but instead used for bad or corrupt people who deserve to be conned into confessing their guilt for their crimes. I saw Neal as finally realizing deep down that he enjoys doing good for the FBI. Peter once told him that Neal should remember what it feels like to save the daughter of the man he once conned, how good it is to do good, and in this episode I saw Neal verbalizing it as something real and tangible in his life to a much more certain degree. So... for them to kill him off, or have him betray his friends, or make him fake his death and never see his friends again, that just makes me really sad. I hope that's not the route they're planning to take. But we'll see.  *heavy sigh*

Edited by sinkwriter
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I don't think they'll actually kill off Neal. USA network shows just don't typically do that. 

 

I can't imagine that the government would actually let an asset like Neal go. It would be nice if his sentence was commuted/dissolved/whatever and he was hired as a legit consultant. Life Goes On is kind of a common theme with these shows. 

 

Otherwise if Neal fakes his death, I'd think he would take Mozzie with him and either Peter would facilitate it or know what was going on. I don't quite know what Neal would do if he was "dead" though. I think he's mostly over the straight up "con life." 

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The Neal plot aside, did anyone else think it was really insensitive of Elizabeth to go on and on about whether Peter's demanding job would allow him to pick up enough of the parenting slack TO someone who was doing that exact same demanding job and all the parenting without a partner? I mean, if Diana can do all that on her own, why couldn't Peter do it with Elizabeth? She may as well have asked Diana, "You work crazy hours. Do you find that makes you a terrible parent? I mean, how screwed up is your kid? Maybe when he starts talking enough that we can tell, you could get your Nanny to let me know."

 

It was, IMO, a really, truly egregious case of Diana being written into the scene PURELY as a sounding board for Elizabeth, without any consideration as to who she is as her own character living within her own circumstances. Lazy, lazy writing, and a total injustice to the amazing character of Diana.

 

I like Diana a lot but I don't see her being marginalized here. Diana made the choice to be a single parent. Diana is a completely different person than Elizabeth. Diana is a butt-kicking FBI field agent. Elizabeth's work life is a little more... relaxed, to say the least.

 

Personally, I am in awe of my friends who make single-parenting work. Given my circumstances, I'm not sure I would cope well with a baby, even though I'm married. I have absolutely no idea how I would cope as a single mother. I just don't have the emotional and physical resources for it, even though it feels a little weird to admit that.

 

If anything, Diana being a mother who makes single parenting work could share her experience with Elizabeth - that she juggles her work and being there for her child, and that she is confident that Elizabeth can cope as well, etc.

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I think the point was that this was Diana's only real scene and she was merely a sounding board for New Mom Issues. It was a tropey scene.

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fivestone, I totally agree that Diana would be a great person for Elizabeth to talk to, and it was a good idea to have them in that scene together. The PROBLEM is that the writers did not acknowledge that Diana was a kick-ass single parent, and instead took the bizarre and insensitive track of having Elizabeth unload her concerns that being an FBI agent might negatively impact Peter's ability to be a parent TO DIANA! Who's juggling being an FBI agent AND a single parent, and therefore probably has quite a lot of personal anxiety around being present enough in her child's life. If they had had Elizabeth ask her, "How do you do it?" or had Diana talk about her own work/life balance, then it would have made sense. But as it was, Elizabeth came across as really oblivious to the fact that she was probably hitting a sore spot for Diana, and gushed about her own concerns without seeming to acknowledge that Diana might actually be able to offer her some advice, because she was in a similar situation. I blame the writers, who obviously wanted Elizabeth to have a sounding board, and didn't think about the fact that Diana could (and should) actually contribute something to the scene besides nodding sympathetically while Elizabeth speculates that FBI agents might by necessity be lousy or inattentive parents.

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I don't think they'll actually kill off Neal. USA network shows just don't typically do that. 

 

I can't imagine that the government would actually let an asset like Neal go. It would be nice if his sentence was commuted/dissolved/whatever and he was hired as a legit consultant. Life Goes On is kind of a common theme with these shows. 

 

Otherwise if Neal fakes his death, I'd think he would take Mozzie with him and either Peter would facilitate it or know what was going on. I don't quite know what Neal would do if he was "dead" though. I think he's mostly over the straight up "con life." 

Except Burn Notice--still pretending they didn't kill off Maddie in the finale...  *shakes fist at those responsible*

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That's the exception that proves the rule, and the 3 main characters still lived. Out of all the USA shows I've watched, I think that's the only time there was a major death in the finale. 

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