By Sandra Gonzalez
January 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST
Will Hart/USA Network
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Could there be a major life-changing event on the horizon for Neal Caffrey?

That’s what it certainly looked like at the end of tonight’s episode of White Collar, which put to bed a number of cliffhangers, settled a lot of unfinished business from the show’s last new episode, and, as mentioned, put a huge possibility before us that I never saw coming. [Don’t read on if you don’t want details on the episode.]

First things first, Elizabeth is fine. Whew! (Not that she was ever in real danger, but let’s go with it… ) She was safely returned to Peter’s loving arms after escaping captivity and Keller was sent to prison for, among other things, kidnapping the wife of a Federal agent. The biggest of those “other things”? Well, once in custody, Keller took credit for stealing the treasure, claiming he’d stolen it to return to the people of Russia, who, he said, were the rightful owners. Now, Keller normally wouldn’t give a darn about Russia. But if the Russian mob wanted you dead, you’d learn to give a darn about their motherland, too.

So all was well. Elizabeth was home, Peter was happy, and Neal was able to wash his hands of the treasure. And it only got better for TV’s sexiest suit-adorned con man. He got word that because of his bravery in closing the treasure case and capturing Keller, the probation office was going to reassess his sentence. “It means no anklet. No nothing. In three months, you could be a free man,” Peter told him.

This comes as a shock for many reasons, but the biggest of which is the fact that White Collar creator Jeff Eastin has said before that he was not in a rush to have Neal as a free man. “I constantly get comments that we should just let Neal off his anklet already, and I say, that’s like having House without his limp or his addiction,” he told EW after last season’s finale. “Without that, it’s really just two guys solving crimes. So Neal will have his anklet on for a little bit longer.”

Has time run out on “a little bit longer,” readers? Would you like to see Neal as a free man? Would a free Neal Caffrey a boring Neal Caffrey? Sound off below on the twist and the episode!

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