Neal's Big 'White Collar' Confession Changed Everything And Burke Can't Deal With It

The cat's officially out of the bag on USA's White Collar and things are going to be very different from now on. Matt Bomer's Neal Caffrey delivered a huge — and we mean HUGE — confession on Thursday night's episode (aptly titled "No Good Deed") to his friend, boss, and handler Tim DeKay's Peter Burke. And now we know for sure that one of our favorite friendships will be on an indefinite hiatus until Peter can figure out how to deal with the implications of that confession. So what does that mean for White Collar when it returns in three weeks? Some seriously sad and hurting ex-BFFs trying to figure out how mend their friendship.

We learned early on this season that Neal had pulled out all of the stops to keep Burke from losing his job and doing significant jail time. And, since that revelation, we've held our breath every week, waiting for Burke to catch onto the criminal activities Neal got into to try to help his friend. On Thursday night, he finally caught on, and Neal confessed. We were simultaneously understanding and confused at Burke's reaction. The short and sweet version of the confession is this: Neal made a deal with criminal mastermind Hagan and stole some gold coins that were later used to bribe Burke's federal prosecutor to validate a "confession" from Neal's dad (really, the confession came from Neal mimicking his father's voice), resulting in Peter's release from jail and his big promotion at the FBI. So, yes, there were lots of good things and bad things in that confession, but, overall, Burke stayed out of jail and Neal went to great lengths to make sure his life wasn't ruined on account of Neal's father. The good intentions were definitely there.

Which brings us to why we both understood and felt really confused about Burke's reaction to this big reveal. We can understand that he would be shocked and upset that Neal kept such a big secret from him while he ran around in circles trying to locate those coins — but he did it because they're best friends! We can also understand that under Burke's moral code, this entire operation was just wrong (he is an FBI agent, after all), even if it saved his career, his marriage, and his life. But, following the confession, Burke gave Neal a cold shoulder. As much as he tries to set a line between his professional and personal relationship with his colleague, Neal's become his best friend and he's not fooling anyone by pretending he doesn't love him anymore.

Now that it's out in the open, Neal's confession puts Burke in a seriously awkward position. If he had arrested Neal and did his job, he'd have been sent back to jail, and would hurt Elle, lose his job, and be considered a disgrace to the bureau. By choosing not to arrest Neal, he keeps his life but has to live with the guilt that'll force him to call it quits on their friendship. (Sob.)

At the end of Thursday night's episode, Burke, who looked hurt and angry, told Neal that things are going to change, to which Neal grudgingly replied that it's about time. (We know he didn't really mean that.) He also took a stinging blow (proving that he just can't deal with this situation at all) at Neal by trying to pretend that he didn't do it to help him, but because Neal's a criminal and couldn't help himself. Ouch.

All we can do is hope Burke will reconsider. Neal actually only did this to help him. It'll be a very different White Collar if Neal and Burke's BFF break-up is permanent. We definitely do not want to live in a world without that friendship.

Image: USA