TV Time: Castle 6.03


Title Need To Know

Two-Sentence Summary Castle rejoins the 12th precinct for a murder investigation involving the death of a TV actor who was famous for playing a nerd in a cheesy high school comedy. However, when the case becomes deeper than just a murder investigation, Beckett and Agent McCord show up in New York to take over the case, which leads to more than a little competition and a serious conflict for Beckett.

Favorite Line “Castle, your whole relationship is built on the foundation of your boundary pushing.” (Ryan)

My Thoughts With the conclusion of this episode, the “Beckett in Washington” arc ended as abruptly as it began. Back when Beckett first got the job offer, I remember feeling confused as to why she would take it, knowing what we do about her desire to honor the victims over following any sort of directive from a superior. It’s nice to know that I was right in my initial assessment of Beckett’s chief conflict with this job, but I’m still left feeling like it was more of a “good for the show” decision than a “good for the character” decision. It didn’t reveal much that we didn’t know already about Katherine Houghton Beckett (and I wish we had more scenes between Beckett and McCord), but it was nice to see the show try something new even in its “middle age” and do so in a way that was true to what we know about Beckett.

The reason I think this arc didn’t reveal much about Beckett that we didn’t already know is because we already know that Beckett prioritizes getting justice for victims over bureaucracy and protocol. While this isn’t earthshattering information, it did provide for some strong moments of internal conflict for this character, and I liked seeing her ultimately stay true to who she is: the one who honors the victims. When Beckett gave Castle the USB drive and when she leaked the name to the press, I felt incredible pride for this woman who refused to give up on her principles.

While I felt proud of Beckett for staying true to herself and doing what she believed was the right thing to do, I was also pleased to see that her actions actually had consequences. I was surprised to see Beckett get fired rather than quit in a later episode, but, in the real world, doing what she did would have led to a firing. As much as I love Kate Beckett, she can be quite the loose canon when she thinks she’s in the right and her superiors are in the wrong, and that’s not a good fit for a job in Washington.

And with that, Beckett is back in New York where she belongs, fighting for justice and honoring the victims. It was interesting to see her on the outside looking in when she joined McCord at the 12th precinct. The place that was once Beckett’s home was suddenly foreign soil, including her old desk (what a fantastic running sight gag that was). This episode did a great job of showing rather than telling us that this was where Beckett belonged—from the way she went back to standing in front of the murder board to the way Gates so passionately defended her team’s belief in fighting for the victim—so when Beckett handed over that flash drive, it felt less like a fiancée doing something for her romantic partner and more like a detective doing something for the team she wishes she was still playing for.

That team was the reason this episode was so strong. How great was it to be back in New York with Ryan and Esposito again? (Answer: GREAT) I love when Castle and The Boys (that sounds like a band name) get to interact for more than just a token scene or two because Nathan Fillion, Seamus Dever, and Jon Huertas have such excellent chemistry. From the first moment when Esposito ignored Castle’s call as Castle watched on TV to the countless quips about Ryan’s love for 2 Cool for School, this episode proved to me that this show would be lacking something special without the presence of Huertas and Dever. It was just so great to have the boys back together, and their race to solve the case independent of Beckett and McCord felt like the excellent Season Two episode “The Double Down.”

Following the intense drama of last week’s episode, it was nice to have some fun this week, even as Beckett was wrestling with some real internal conflicts. This episode made me laugh more than any Castle episode has since sometime in the middle of Season Five. The entire 2 Cool for School plot was a fantastic wink to those of us who grew up watching Saved By the Bell, and I found it perfect that Ryan would be the one to adore the show despite its guilty-pleasure reputation. (Ryan wearing the show’s hat was the best sight gag of the entire episode.) The return of Perlmutter gave us one of my favorite lines of the episode: “Mr. Castle, you’re back, but not by popular demand.” I laughed (and applauded the continuity) when it was revealed that the big Nikki Heat movie was a direct-to-DVD release. And if you didn’t at least crack a smile when Esposito was getting paranoid about sharing his coffee with the feds, then you have no sense of humor (or at least the wrong sense of humor to be watching this show).

I always say Castle is unique because it can balance so many genres so well, and this episode was a great example of that. It had elements of a family comedy (with Alexis and Pi), workplace comedy, procedural drama, character-driven drama, and romance. That last genre was incorporated seamlessly into this episode in a way that made me smile. While the first two episodes of the season were very overtly about “Caskett,” this one showed that this relationship has woven itself into a natural part of the fabric of the show in a way that even last season’s best episodes couldn’t quite figure out.

“Need To Know” proved that the Castle/Beckett relationship doesn’t require a lot of heavy-handed material to show its strength; all it needs is little moments for Fillion and Stana Katic to show off their chemistry. After six seasons, their comedic timing is better than ever, and it showed in moments like Castle trying to bribe her with a fancy latte and trying to read her nods as code. But what impressed me the most was the easy warmth that existed between them in every one of their scenes together. The “face-time” scene in bed somehow managed to be incredibly adorable without being obnoxiously adorable, mainly because it felt like these characters have more than earned a few moments of kissing phone screens and smiling like smitten teenagers.

The final scene between Castle and Beckett in the loft was everything I had been hoping for last season. It was a moment of simple intimacy, a moment that felt natural for two engaged people who had just had a long day of solving a murder case. It’s a nice visual reminder of just how intertwined these two have become, and Fillion and Katic excel at the little nonverbal details that make this relationship feel real. And when Castle showed Beckett the key to their apartment in Washington, I was as ecstatic as she was. (Seriously, Katic’s radiant smile was contagious.) This was a logical step for their relationship, but just because it was logical, that doesn’t make it any less romantic (which Beckett proved to Castle with one heck of a kiss).

While the warmth of that last scene was quickly destroyed by McCord’s revelation, it made me more excited than ever to watch these characters interact every week. Relationship stability looks great on them, and it’s a great look for the show as well. It’ll be interesting to see how Beckett handles her firing because she may have already been thinking the job wasn’t right for her, but she was let go before she had the chance to leave—and that makes a huge difference. And while this arc may be over, there are still plenty of stories to be told, and I’m ready for the whole 12th Precinct Family to get back together.


16 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 6.03

  1. Pingback: Leonieke Net | TV Time: Castle 6.03 | Link

  2. Great recap. I liked this episode but wouldn’t say it was great, just good. I watched it for the second time this morning and then immediately watched “Home is where the Heart Stops” from season 1 (IMO a fabulous ensemble piece with no end of witty dialogue). The juxtaposition between the two just highlighted how much I missed having the whole crew present the last couple of episodes, and I really hope that we get more madcap capers with the whole gang this season. LOVED the scenes with Beckett and castle, ESP the ” are you bribing me with a latte?!”…. Her delivery of the line was hilarious. All in all, I am fine with the DC arc, it wasn’t as painful as I had thought it would be, I liked McCord, I agree with the firing, but at the end if the day, I am still disappointed that Kate didn’t choose to come back on her own. I get that it isn’t true to her character, but I would have loved her to actively decide and take initiative to come back…..THAT would have felt like growth to me and justified the DC arc in my mind.

    • I agree that this wasn’t a great episode, but Castle has set the bar pretty high for itself in terms of great episodes. I also completely agree with your assessment of Beckett quitting versus being fired. I thought the realization that she belonged back in the trenches, fighting for the victims, was going to be a huge moment of self-awareness for her character. The bravery needed to walk away from something great because it’s not something right for you is a character trait I believe Beckett has, but I wish it was a trait we were able to see directly in this arc.

  3. Great outline of the episode. I agree it had me smiling a lot and I am always amazed at the great chemistry the entire cast has. Especially of course Katic and Fillion. They are in the mold of Tracy and Heburn or William Powel and Myrna Loy in the classic films of the 40’s. And I am glad you picked up on the fact that so much happened in such a small time frame, (kate sees the cia trapping the niece, she leaks a story to the press, goes home to Castle and up turns McCord) asll in a few hours at best. So she didn’t have time to finally decide to quite. All of a sudden she is fired, wow ! Great writing. I can’t wait to see how this will affect her. But we all know she would have quite. !!

    • Thank you so much for the comment! And I had to smile at your mention of Tracy and Hepburn because they are one of my favorite onscreen pairings of all time. They had such a great spark, and it’s one that I definitely see whenever Castle and Beckett banter or get playful with one another. Chemistry like that is rare, but this show has it—and I love it when they run with it. 😀

  4. “I’m still left feeling like it was more of a “good for the show” decision than a “good for the character” decision.”

    I don’t think this is entirely true. I think in life, you take jobs, make career moves that on paper seem like the right next step or a natural progression. And maybe at one point they would have been. Sometimes it isn’t until you are in it that you discover it is a horrible mistake. Stepping back and looking at Beckett’s origin story this 3 episode arc I think was the right trajectory to get us to what comes next. Beckett became a cop because of her mother; she developed her core values of being the person who gets justice for the victims in part on the fundamental fact that her family did not receive that justice. When we first encountered Beckett 6 years ago, she was by the book, hard-nosed, fact based determined detective. But as she stated last week – it was Castle who taught her that there is always a story. Her relationship and partnership with Castle is what has shifted her perspective and expanded her methods of achieving justice. I think the Beckett from Season 1 & 2 would have made the transition to federal agent smoother. Though she retains the ambition from that time, her perspective on life has changed – she has something to live for, not merely something to honor. As such this arc gives us her true realization that she is more than what she does. I think her actions; particularly the anonymous tip offers real insight to how much she has changed especially, because her reaction to the tip was so self-assured.

    I liked the DC arc because I think while Beckett believed the crossroads was going to be about choosing a life with Castle vs. career ambition, the crossroads is actually what Castle called her out on in Season 3’s Knockout – the fact she was afraid to find out who she is without her mother’s murder professionally. She’s found light personally in her relationship with Rick, but professionally she needs new purpose. I also liked that the DC storyline gave the viewers an opportunity to see a very strong, confidant Caskett couple. The show did a really good job over the 3 episodes of removing the inter couple angst that plagued the end of last season. There may be problems and challenges for Caskett but what the DC scenes and especially Castle’s gesture with the new apartment established is there isn’t an ounce of doubt in their relationship, they are holding true to the proposal.

    For me, I think the way they handled this also offers an interesting opportunity to shift the relationship with Gates. Over the last 2 seasons we’ve watched them earn each other’s respect and trust. I like the idea of Gates serving as a potential mentor to Beckett as she looks to redefine herself post agent and quest for her mother’s killer. With Beckett at a professional crossroads Gates could really serve that role the way Montgomery helped her when she was looking for answers.

    Other than that I completely agree with how reminiscent this episode was of The Double Down. I said it after Valkyrie and I will say it again. Season 6 has all the things I loved about Season 3 working for it with the added benefit of character growth. So many terrific moments along the way, Esposito refusing to share coffee was hilarious and I just about fell off the chair when he bats down the police tape smacking Castle backwards in the face. The physical comedy Huertas, Dever and Fillion concoct when they are given the screen time is a simply a joy to watch. It’s a strong start to the season and I am eager to see the fall out of Beckett’s firing, Alexis and Rick’s relationship and if we are ever going to see the top of Beckett’s old desk again.

    • Once again you’re making me think, and I love it! Your thoughts on Beckett’s character arc are excellent and very interesting. I especially liked what you said about Beckett’s choice coming down to what Castle said in Knockout. My only wish was that a little more time had been devoted to exploring these developments in a little more depth on the show. I have no doubt that your feelings on this arc are what we’re supposed to see; sometimes I just want things to be a little more explicit when they’re such important beats for the character. One more Washington episode would have done that for me, I think. It all felt over before it even started. (Wow, way to be cliche, Katie.)

      My favorite part of your whole comment was what you said about Beckett and Gates. Their relationship has always intrigued me, and I love seeing strong female mentor relationships in the media.

      • I don’t disagree with the one extra episode of DC – if for not other reason it would have given us an extra episode with Edelstein and the ability to see what Alfred Sole would have done with this Castle apartment purchase. That said, I think the restraints of the 43 minutes really limits what we get to see. All the more reason in my mind to have McCord and Shaw show up in the back seven this season. I also think a segment of the fandom might have self destructed if they had to go another week without seeing Lanie. 😉

        • If McCord and Shaw do show up in the second half of this season, as soon as I finish doing a happy dance I’m going straight to Twitter to congratulate you on your psychic abilities! 😉

  5. You know what I loved most about last night? The number of times I laughed out loud! Seriously, it was a loooong summer that had been bookended by a relatively somber finale and premier, so the laughs were a welcome and refreshing gift. I agree that they handle multiple genres well (oftentimes within the confines of a single episode), and their comedy chops were definitely on display last night. The Castle/Espo/Ryan bromance, for me, is only rivaled by Ross/Joey/Chandler. They’re such a hoot when they’re working together.

    I’ll be honest, I have no objections to how the DC arc was handled and resolved. To an extent, the showrunners HAD to let Beckett spread her wings and give it a shot. Had they not, we would have had an entire faction of the fandom screaming that she gave up her career dreams for what, a man? Ugh, the horror! But seriously, she wanted it all, and she got it all; in the end, she got the job AND the man (how awesome is that!) and guess what? The job turned out to be not all it was cracked up to be. This is not an uncommon occurrence in real life; I myself left a ho-hum job thinking my new job was going to be all that and the proverbial bag of chips, and it turned out to be awful, truly AWFUL. The choice to stay with the AG job was ultimately taken out of her hands, and while she may be shocked by the turn of events, I don’t think we’ll ever hear Beckett regretting the decisions she made, whether it was providing her boys with the intel they needed to solve the murder, or calling in as the anonymous source. She followed her gut, something she wasn’t allowed to do within the constraints of the AG job, and that’s not an urge she can ignore. The AG job was about shutting up and following orders; being a homicide detective requires intuition and heart. Now which one sounds like a better fit for Kate Beckett to you?

    And I’m still giggling like a school girl over Castle and Beckett’s scenes; nothing too saccharine, nothing over the top. Rather, just an easy, sweet way about them that makes me want to scream “FINALLY!!!” I’ll restrain myself, though, and just revel in the wonderfulness that is them. As always, I look forward to your reviews Katie. See you next week!

    • Thanks so much for the comment, which was incredibly thoughtful and a great read! Your points about the D.C. arc were all excellent; I especially agree with you saying that there was no way Beckett could have turned down the job for Castle once it had been offered to her. It would never have fit with her character to do that. I think all I really wanted from this arc that we didn’t get was more time for it all to develop, but I also wanted to have Beckett back in NYC with the boys, too—I was being greedy. 😉

      I loved what you said about Beckett getting to have the job and the man because it’s one of the things I love most about this show. Beckett is a female character who is allowed to have both a fulfilling professional and personal life (and a romantic partner who was first drawn to her dedication to her professional life). That’s something I think we can never see too much of in the media.

      • You know Katie, It occurred to me after I had sent this comment to you that I hadn’t stated that I wish the DC arc had continued for at least another episode at least, maybe two even. I do get what you’re saying…the whole thing disappeared as soon as it appeared, and that was, indeed, a little disappointing. Personally, I enjoyed seeing Kate in a different professional environment if for no other reason than to see her expanding her horizons, taking on unfamiliar situations and conflicts.

        I’m the first to admit that I don’t know what the writers’ arc is for the season, so I won’t judge their motivations for ending that particular story thread so early on, but I would have loved to see her interact with McCord a little more. I guess I would pose the question, what would have been a more satisfying ending to that DC arc…Kate Beckett outright quitting that job, or being fired? I’m not sure there is an easy answer to that, but for me, being fired is not disappointing, especially since her dismissal happened in the wake of her “doing the right thing.” Like I said before, I don’t think her character would ever regret the choices she made. I believe she passed the intel along because it felt right to her. Kate is, at her very heart, an honorable woman (which is why I believe she is drawn to Richard Castle, in spite of his shenanigans; he is an honest, forthright man).

        Anyway, I won’t drone on about it here. I enjoy your write-ups if for no other reason than you do make me view the events of the episode in a different light, and I like that VERY much. We are watching people who are growing and evolving before our very eyes! What an unbelievably wonderful thing to witness. As an educated, discerning, jaded viewer myself, I appreciate the nuanced, complicated story we’re being told. Nothing is simple, much like real life.

  6. I really liked this episode. Definitely LOLed at some of the scenes with Castle, Ryan, and Espo and the Castle/Beckett stuff was predictably adorable 🙂 I totally agree with you about Nathan and Stana being awesome at the little moments between their characters. The end scene just felt very sweet and natural. I think the writers are getting better and better at writing these two in a relationship, something that will probably become even more apparent when Beckett is back in NY full time.

    I’m kind of torn about the D.C. arc. On the one hand, I think some really great things came out of it. It was awesome that Castle and Beckett living apart only solidified their relationship and led to some very sweet moments. I don’t know if there will be an episode before Beckett goes back to the NYPD, but a temporarily unemployed Beckett could definitely give us some fun moments. And even she does go back to the precinct right away, it’ll be interesting to see how this (kind of) failure in D.C. affects her.

    On the other hand, I don’t think they devoted enough time for this arc to really have an impact. I’m crazy excited to see the gang back together again, but even I felt like “Woah, so I guess it’s over now” at the end of the episode. I think even one last episode with Beckett back in D.C. with her co-workers that we met in the premiere could have closed out this arc a little more naturally. And I agree that this arc seemed to serve the plot more than Beckett as a character.

    Next week’s episode look awesome! I was getting kind of a Cops and Robbers vibe watching the promo, one of my favorite eps!

    • I’m so happy to see someone echoing my thoughts on the DC arc! I feel just as torn as you do about it: It gave us some great moments and definitely strengthened the Castle/Beckett relationship, but it was over before I feel like it really had the chance to develop in the way I was hoping it would. We got some great moments of internal conflict with Beckett, but I wanted to go even deeper into that, which I think just one more episode could have done.

      Also, I am also a huge fan of Cops and Robbers, so I’m definitely sharing your excitement for next week’s episode!

  7. I, too, was hoping to see more dialogue between Beckett and McCord. Kate, hearing from her some regrets about the job preventing her (McCord) from having a lasting relationship and kids. The firing really surprised me, but Beckett had to know this might happen and maybe subconsciously, she wanted it to. Enjoyed the review.

    • Thanks so much! I would have loved to have more of McCord and Beckett’s interactions—if for no other reason than to have the fantastic Lisa Edelstein on my TV more often.

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