Hey, 'White Collar': More Kate And Fowler, Less Goofy Diversions
USA's formidable smash-hit took a misguided detour last night
By Kenny Herzog Feb 3, 2010 10:15AM
It goes without saying that the only thing on TV I love more than "White Collar" is Travel Channel's "Chowdown Countdown," and the latter has unfortunately expired its finite run. And while I lamented the fairly blatant product placement in last week's "Collar" installment, it was still a ferociously fun, edge-of-your-seat 60 minutes (or 44 in DVR time).
But during last night's "Vital Signs," our favorite suit-and-tie FBI duo veered into a confusing and at time bizarre one-ep arc involving fraudulent charities, menacing medical clinicians and elaborately staged mockups of third-world emergency rooms. Yet Neal only even uttered the word "Kate" (in reference of course to his elusive girlfriend) on a single occasion, during a drugged-up confessional between he and Peter that further reinforced their "we get it" rapport. And as for nefarious government agent Fowler, as played the always-terrific Noah Emmerich, his presence wasn't even felt calcuating in the wings.
Now, Emmerich is most likely contracted as a special guest star for a limited number if episodes (truly to "Collar" what Heather Locklear was to "Melrose Place"), and thus they've had to carefully script the season to weave in and around the relating subplot. And presumably, neither Emmerich nor the show's creators counted on this kind of immediate, rapt attention. You could also make the case that "Vital Signs" was a valuable bit of character development, further integrating Willie Garson and Tiffani Thiessen into the the show's nuclear crime-fighting family.
That being said, there's no denying that the emerging narrative thread surrounding Fowler, Kate, Neal and a mysterious music box has done more for the breakthrough action-drama's continued watchability than the many satellite charms that initially lured us in.
I still love you, Matthew Bomer and friends, but let's have more internal-affairs intrigue and less loopy, tangential storylines going forward, eh?