White Collar “Checkmate” Advance Review

White Collar Season 3

In tonight’s winter return of White Collar, we start off right where the summer finale ended off. We find ourselves right there in Peter’s kitchen with him and Neal, wondering what’s going to happen next, and boy howdy, does stuff happen.

This episode is called “Checkmate” and as I’m not a chess player myself, I actually had to look up the term to see what it meant. Funny, I’d heard that word a thousand times but never knew exactly what it looked like on a board. But once I did understand it, the title made perfect sense. Having no moves left is precisely where everyone starts out in this episode.

Things quickly change though as all the pieces on the board begin moving. Everyone makes their separate moves and all are working to save the queen, aka Elizabeth. And when I say working together, I mean it. In fact, a whole new team develops in this episode and I’m guessing you probably won’t guess who ends up on it. Turns out the only way to save Elizabeth is to run a heist and while I knew all of it was happening for a bad reason, I couldn’t help but to get excited for the caper. In my mind, there’s nothing like seeing Neal, Mozzie, Peter do a job together and the high stakes of this one made it even more thrilling.

Of course I can’t really say exactly how the job goes down or how it all ends, but I can say that it takes a lot of twists and turns and should keep you guessing throughout. When it was all over, I was stuck wondering the same question I’ve had ever since the finale aired later summer. Really it’s a question I’ve wondered about all this season. What are Neal’s actions going to do to his relationship with Peter? After Elizabeth was kidnapped, I was even more worried about them and I can say that by the end of this episode, I definitely got my answer.

But it was the final few seconds that really got me. When it comes to an episode centered around a kidnapping, there are inevitable scenarios that go through my head. A rescue I can see coming. The bad guys dying or going to jail; these are all possibilities I had thought of, but I cannot say that I ever thought of one interesting consequence for Neal. There is one startling thing that will come from this entire mess, and it all plays out at the very end. All I can really say about it is that it’s got me not only excited for the rest of this season, but also upcoming seasons as well.

My favorite (non-spoilery) bits…

Peter showing anger like I’ve never seen before. Wow.

Satchmo once again saving the day, with a little help from Elle.

Neal’s knowledge of carrier pigeons coming in very handy.

Elizabeth being anything but a damsel in distress.

The moment when words actually fail Mozzie.

“Is there anyone in this room you HAVEN’T tried to kill?”

Peter and Mozzie both looking pretty good in uniform.

“He’s crazy. I respect that.”

A wedding ring coming in extremely handy.

Neal and Keller playing Gladiator.

Watching Peter get into a knock, drag out, dirty fist fight.

Neal proving again that he is an amazing shot.

“You want a happy ending, it depends on where you stop the story.”

Don’t forget, this episode of White Collar premieres tonight at 10pm on USA Network. Once you’ve seen the premiere, come back up and let us know what you thought. I love hearing from you guys!

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