TV Time: Castle 6.04

Number One Fan

Title Number One Fan

Two-Sentence Summary When a woman with a dark past appears to have mudered her boyfriend, she takes a group of people hostage until her favorite mystery author—Richard Castle—can prove her innocence. Castle and Beckett team up with Ryan, Esposito, and Captain Gates to uncover a tangled web of people willing to do anything to expose the truth and others willing to anything to keep it hidden.

Favorite Lines
Beckett: Listen, I’m kind of looking forward to spending the rest of my life with you, so don’t do anything stupid in there, okay?
Castle: Hey, don’t worry. I think I already hit my “stupid quota” for the day.

My Thoughts Most of my favorite Castle episodes include some combination of these factors: a case that’s different than your standard procedural fare; guest actors who make you truly feel the weight of the case; at least one moment with Castle’s family; a real sense of love and trust between Castle and Beckett; some quality time with the entire 12th precinct family; and a strong balance between all of the genres that make this show a very unique success. In most cases, even the strongest Castle episodes can only fulfill some of those requirements. Imagine my surprise, then, to see that six seasons after Castle first premiered, it was able to produce an episode that so effectively incorporated all of those factors. “Number One Fan” was the best episode of this young season, and it proved to me that the new, confident tone I was so impressed with in “Valkyrie” is here to stay.

The episode began on a high note and never looked back. The tone of the first scene was perfect. I feel like this season’s writers have shown a really strong grasp of how to integrate Castle and Beckett’s relationship into the rest of the show. The opening scene with the two of them in bed talking about her lost job was filled with the easy domesticity and natural feeling that should come from the interactions of an engaged couple. It allowed Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion’s unforced chemistry to take a simple scene of exposition and wrap it in the kind of warmth that feels right for where these characters are in their relationship.

Of course, the tone of the scene shifts from sweet to silly the second other characters begin parading in and out of their bedroom, but that’s what I love about Castle. The tone can turn on a dime, but that’s the way real life works. I still don’t understand Pi’s purpose (and I feel like he’s taking away from Alexis as a character right now), but I did have to laugh at the way his presence brings out the snarky side of Castle like nobody else. And I couldn’t stop laughing at Martha in her stage combat outfit. The way this scene’s comedic tone escalated reminded me of the opening of last season’s “After the Storm,” and I mean that in the best possible way.

It was a good thing this episode began with such a silly moment of comedy because, once the action really started, it was one twist, turn, and emotional moment after another. This episode had one of the strongest cases in a long time, and so much of it came from the emotional connection we were able to build with Emma and the way it utilized so many things we’ve come to learn about Richard Castle as a character. I love when the show reminds us of Castle’s work and his fame, and this episode took that a step further. It wasn’t just a reference; it was what the plot of the entire episode was based around. I loved the way it was hinted that much had been written about Castle and Beckett’s working relationship outside of just his books—because that would be true of a bestselling author who has such an interesting relationship with his muse. And I liked that Emma’s knowledge of Castle’s experience with the NYPD was what motivated her to ask for his help clearing her name. Castle is the kind of person who follows his gut and looks for the story even when the facts all point in another direction, and it makes sense for Emma to hope that he of all people would be able to solve this case.

Castle is also someone who puts family and love above all other things in his life, so from the moment we found out that a little girl was being held hostage, I knew he would trade himself for her. I love when a character’s decisions are completely true to who we know them to be. Castle’s presence in the middle of the hostage situation reminded me of Season Four’s fantastic “Cops and Robbers,” and it was nice to see how much his relationship with Beckett has grown since then. The scene where Beckett is helping Castle put on his bulletproof vest was so tender and vulnerable. I like getting to see these characters be unafraid to say what they really feel when it comes to their relationship. It’s a nice change from so many seasons of walls, secrets, and uncertainty. The small, physical moments in that scene were spot-on in making it all feel very real and emotionally honest: Beckett’s repetitive smoothing of his vest; the way she adjusts his collar; and the way she worriedly plays with her engagement ring as he enters the building. I’m a very detail-oriented person, so it makes me thrilled beyond belief when a show I’m watching makes sure to add as many realistic touches as possible to a scene—and Castle has always been so good at that.

The case progressed the way all the best Castle cases do: with more twists than even the most thrilling rollercoasters. With each phone call between Castle and Beckett, the tension escalated, and I loved that there was a brief moment when I really did wonder if Emma was guilty. When Beckett called Castle to tell her about Emma’s prior murder conviction, I found myself holding my breath—not just because I was surprised but because I really didn’t want Emma to be the killer. Alicia Lagano did an excellent job of making me care about Emma, and when the story of what happened with her foster brother was revealed, I found myself more invested in a Castle suspect’s guilt or innocence than I had been in quite some time.

That emotional connection we as an audience were able to build with Emma paid off at the conclusion of the episode. Yes, it was another smart twist to have the smarmy lawyer be the actual killer, but that wasn’t the conclusion to the case that really mattered. No, what mattered is what happened on an emotional level for this woman who had been looking for a family for her entire life and had it taken away when her boyfriend was killed. Watching her reunite with the father who gave her up for adoption was beautiful; I will proudly admit that it made me cry. Giving the “case of the week” real emotional resonance was something Castle excelled at in its early days, and it was nice to see that happen again.

Another happy return was Beckett’s return to the 12th precinct. I think we all knew the “hiring freeze” wouldn’t last past this episode, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t emotionally satisfying to see the way she earned her place back among her little family at the 12th. I loved her interactions with Gates; Penny Johnson Jerald has done such a wonderful job bringing depth, life, and strength to a character I was sure I would never warm up to. Now she’s one of my favorite things about the show, and watching her work with Beckett is always a highlight—the respect both women have for one another is a beautiful thing to behold.

Like I said, we all knew Beckett was going to get back to work at the 12th, but I had no idea her return would be so warm and joyful. The scene where Esposito and Ryan finally admitted how much they miss her was adorable, but it got even better when Beckett revealed with the biggest smile possible that she was coming back. The applause that followed was touching in a way that felt earned and genuine. And the kiss between Castle and Beckett—their first in the precinct—was a great way to end the episode with the kind of warmth that was present from its first scene to its last.


22 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 6.04

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more! A top notch episode . Great acting, writing and a really interesting case.It must be really difficult to put out a new episode every week for now going into it’s 6th year and still be so strong and entertaining without going the way of so many series. But of course with the likes of Katic and Fillion as well as the other truly remarkable members of the cast it can be done. A great team all round.

    • Thanks for the comment! And I agree wholeheartedly—the entire Castle team deserves credit for keeping the show interesting and compelling at a point when so many shows seem to lose steam and emotional impact.

  2. Yea!! such a great show last night! I agree with you on everything you said (brilliantly as usual)…I loved this episode and the direction the season is heading. The guest actress was amazing, as was the actor playing her father….I kind of wish we could see them again! I want to know what happens to them!! I really loved how confident and competent Castle was….a nice switch back from the end of last season when he was almost too goofy IMO. I also thought that Espo and Ryan had some great scenes loaded with opportunity to shine and that THEY too seemed to be at their most sharp and savvy (and boy, they both looked really attractive in that last interrogation scene!) maybe having Sully around to be the comic relief doofus means the boys get to be on their A game. I like it. Happy Beckett just makes my whole day, so that megawatt smile at the end was terrific. Last, I think I have nailed down my reaction to Pi…i actually don’t mind the character or even the intrusion of his freeloading…I think my aversion is bc the actor’s scruffy, hippie appearance is just a little too cliched to me and also that he (I am sad to say) just doesn’t seem to be a very good actor. Kind of unfair when he hasn’t had many lines, but he is just soooo cheesy in his delivery that it feels like a very obvious put on. I cant help but think in the hands of a better actor I might be laughing more at his scenes. But all in all, I love this new season!!

    • Thank you for the thoughtful comment! I like what you said about Castle getting to show how competent he is—he is such an intelligent character, and I love when that intelligence is allowed to shine. I also echo your feelings about Ryan and Esposito looking especially attractive in that interrogation scene. 😉

  3. Great review as usual. Such an incredibly wonderful show and this week it was stellar. I also loved the guest star, Alicia Lagano, who did a great job. Our family is finally back together!

  4. Totally agree, definitely my favorite of the season so far. One thing I’ve noticed about this batch of episodes is that each episode just seems to gel really well. Like you said, the writers have done an excellent job of devoting just the right amount of time to all of the elements that we love about the show. And it also seems like they have a better sense of what the audience is looking for than they did last season. Only 4 eps in, and they’ve already a ton of the types of scenes that I was hoping for when they first got together.

    I also love the little details that this show does, as well as the parallels. Almost every episode so far this season has had some moment or line that was a call back to a previous episode and that’s really fun for long time viewers. I love moments where the writers and directors reward fans with stuff like that.

    And this is totally random, but Kate’s reaction to Martha’s coffee in the opener was hilarious! That scene was chock full of awesome moments 🙂

  5. OK, is it just me or is Castle experiencing a bit of resurgence? Here’s what I took away from last night and frankly the season thus far. I think the confidence in storytelling and our lead couple that we’ve been talking about over the last month is certainly tonally what has shifted for the show. As someone who vastly preferred season 5 to season 4, it did feel like they were pulling their punches sometimes when it came to the romance of Castle and Beckett’s relationship last season. It was as though they were wary of the relationship taking over the show and losing its focus on that lovely cocktail of entertainment that you so eloquently outlined at the top of your review. The stark difference this year is that they have clearly decided to fully and unapologetically lean into Caskett and as you said, write their relationship into the fabric of the broader context of the show in a manner that really feels effortless thus far. It really is a joy to watch and I agree that opening scene really does offer that in fine form.
    As usual, you and I are simpatico on the episode and its story this week. I wanted to just take a minute to talk about the Castle silences. Because for all the brilliant banter we get on this show, I marvel at how this cast seizes hold of their quiet moments. Last night was a parade of reaction shots that had me still laughing this morning.
    Beckett’s reaction to Martha’s coffee.
    Castle pulling back and checking himself after getting caught up in the tit for tat about proving he’s Richard Castle.
    Gate’s sympathetic desire to bridge Beckett’s awkward position of not being reinstated.
    Castle’s devilish realization at the end that the gang was back together and the struggle we saw in the season opener of not having the ‘us’ he’d grown so attached to had come full circle. – look at his life, his dreams come true.
    And my absolute favorite, Esposito and Ryan turning their chairs in unison in defiant response to Beckett’s defaulting to old habits was priceless.
    The writers do a great job crafting the episodes and we always talk about the brilliant attention to continuity on this show. What I so appreciate from this cast is their ability to bring such wonderful nuance to the moments when they are simply listening and responding. It’s a real credit to them after so much time to remain present and true to the characters we have watched evolve over the last five years. So those minor notes, like you mentioned about Beckett touching her ring on through just really define what makes this show special.
    Oh and on a final note, am I the only one who heard them use the voice track from an old episode last night during the gunshot scene? He cries out Beckett’s name and it is either from when she was shot in Knockout or the building explosion in Tick Tick Tick #TooManyRerunsonTNT 

    • I thought I heard that too!! But I thought it was taken from The Lives of Others when they break down the door to the surprise party, but now I think you are right and it was in Tick tick Tick/Boom. Maybe when he is looking for her in the bathroom after the explosion? And yes, I too watch far, far too many reruns on TNT. 🙂

    • oh and note to self – do not write comments while waiting for an elevator to go home. If my use of the word ‘really’ were a drinking game, I’d be drunk like it was 2AM on a Friday night.

    • I COMPLETELY agree about the show experiencing a resurgence. While I really liked last season, I do have to admit that there were times when I was disappointed with the way the Castle/Beckett relationship was being handled. Now, though, it really seems as if the writers are expressing their confidence in the relationship through the characters’ own confidence, and it makes the show come alive in new and beautiful ways. After four very solid episodes each striking a good balance between the many genres that make up this show, Castle appears to be on a very good track for this season. Nothing feels forced or absent so far, and that’s not an easy thing to do when you have so many elements to bring into the fabric of the show.

  6. Another great review – thank you! 🙂 I, too, love details! I actually have a ritual when it comes to watching Castle episodes. First watch is for the episode as a whole and I don’t always catch the finer things. Second watch is when I really pay attention to facial expressions, hand movements and key dialogue pieces. You’re SO right when you say Castle does an excellent job with the details. Beckett holding her ring as Castle enters the building is a prime example – and it was so beautiful in its subtlety. Another thing that I love about Castle is the attention to continuity. In “Cops and Robbers” the negotiator running point on the hostage situation takes a telephone call from someone he addresses as “Roman.” The negotiator in “Number One Fan” … Sgt. Roman. Given Terence Paul Winter wrote both episodes, I highly doubt this is a coincidence … and I love it!

    • I like your ritual—I may need to start doing that in order to catch even more of the little things this show liked to reward careful viewers with! And thanks for mentioning that Terence Paul Winter wrote this episode; now it makes perfect sense to see all of the parallels to “Cops and Robbers.” It also now makes perfect sense that I loved this episode as much as I did. 😉

  7. I don’t have much to really add other than to say that I completely agree with your review, and that this is probably my favorite episode of the season so far! Oh, and I agree with you about Pi – I don’t know where they’re going with him; sure, he’s a good comedic element and his scenes with Castle are hilarious, but I feel like I’ve barely seen Alexis so far and I miss her a bit. Hopefully there’ll be a larger arc with her and Pi’s relationship sometime in this first half of the season where we’ll get some good Alexis character development.

    I’m really enjoying the way the Castle/Beckett relationship is playing out as it’s refreshing to see them confident in their relationship with each other and not doing all sorts of second-guessing, etc. They truly feel like a real engaged couple to me, and that’s been wonderful to watch. It was also nice to see the Precinct back again as I’ve missed having our family working together and I’m happy that they’re all back together now! Beckett’s smile when she revealed that she was back was the cutest thing.

    Here’s to hoping that the show continues to get better every week! 🙂

    • I miss Alexis too! I’m really hoping we get a good scene between father and daughter sometime in the near future because they have a lot to discuss (especially her feelings about the engagement and his feelings about Pi still staying in the loft).

      • TVLine had a great sneak peak regarding Alexis/Pi/Castle that is coming at the end of this month, so I suspect Marlowe has a long range plan about how he is going to play that dynamic out. It seems at least that there will be some very keen focus coming up sooner rather than later. I always try to remind myself when I am missing characters like Lanie, Alexis, et al. that they’ve got so much to do in 43 minutes it’s hard to touch on all the loose ends and competing parts. That said I did read something very interesting where someone compared Pi to a young Rick Castle pushing boundaries and convention to the point of annoyance. He likened it to that conversation Kate and Rick had about girls rebeling with boys the ultimately remind them of their father. So perhaps our annoying Pi is just filling the goofy, “who’s gonna play with me” gap that newly engaged and more serious Rick has become. Food for thought.

  8. I discovered your blog the other day and spent the best part of 12 hours reading through the recaps of season 5 and the first few episodes of season 6. it’s refreshing to find a site that provides a critical review without descending into name calling and churlish behaviour between posters. Yes not everyone agrees and that is the nature of been human. Yet there is no justification for attacking people on a personal level just because they have a different view.

    As an Aspe social rules and the subtlety of human interaction often eludes me. How to behave in a situation is something that I have to learn. One area though that I do pick up on is tension, and that often has a disturbing effect on me. Reading your synopsis of each episode often found me nodding my head going right, that’s what that was all about.

    Towards the end of season 5 I was frustrated with Esposito and the content attacks on Castle, the disdain for his theories, the attack on the character names he uses in his books. I couldn’t understand this change until your comment about jealously. Esposito is Kates big brother, the one who from the beginning understands what makes Kate tick. He’s known from the start that Castle wants Kate and that she’s been pushing him away.

    One of the themes I discerned from your writings is the value placed on continuity. It is something that will often turn me off a show, when there is a dramatic shift in a characters values, almost a betrayal of the investment I have in the character and I feel cheated. Maintaining continuity must be hard especially when a show has notched up over 100 episodes, but they missed an opportunity here. When Castle is suiting up and the hostage negotiator mentions a safe word I immediately thought Apples. We’ve heard this in at least 2 episodes not least the Pilot episode. Where did Cheeseburgers come from. Apples would have reinforced how much Kate really knows about Castle.

    On a final note compare two scenes from Little Girl Lost (Season 1) and Number One Fan (Season 6). The scene from Little Girl Lost is when Castle is been prepared to make the money drop, Beckett says ‘This is usually the part where I ask if you’ve thought this through then I remembered you don’t think things through’, and then in Number One Fan when Castle agrees to meet with the hostage Beckett says “Castle what the hell were you thinking?” Anyway I’ve lost the thought, but I felt there are similarities between the two scenes. In Season 1 Beckett is obviously concerned for Castle’s safety but deflects the issue when challenged by stating if he screws this up she’ll kill him. In Season 6 Beckett is the one suiting up Castle (wonder why he didn’t quibble over her cold hands) rearranging everything showing actual concern for his well being.

    Favourite scene and one that has me in stitches every time I watch is from The Human Factor when Beckett totally has Castle convinced that the machines are rising. The best practical jokes are the ones where the victim totally believes the events that are unfolding. Beckett’s sheer joy that she has pulled one over Castle to me shows a softer and mischievous side. As a teenager Beckett must have been a handful.

    Thank you for providing a wonderful site.

    • Oh my goodness—thank you so much for the thoughtful and incredibly kind comment! It means the world to me that you enjoy the positive tone I always strive to maintain on both the site as a whole and in the comments. I’m incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful commenters who are much more interested in actually discussing a show’s content (and supporting their fellow fans) than participating in any petty fandom dramatics. Like you said, I understand that disagreements are a part of being human, but I always think there’s a way to go about them that shows respect and civility—and I’m so happy you see that happening on this site.

      I hope you continue to read and comment here because this comment absolutely made my day!

    • Mark. I had a similar experience when I discovered this site. It’s a great place to rationally and thoughtfully discuss favorite shows in a way that is interesting and fun. I liked your comparisons to ” Little Girl Lost”. I did want to share something I read regarding why they didn’t use “apples” as the trigger word for the hostage situations. Terri Miller mentioned they deliberately didn’t use it because that is Castle’s safe word for bondage situations as he reminds Beckett when they go to the bondage club in “The Mistress Always Spanks Twice”.

  9. Just one thing: my favourite episode EVER. Seen it almost 10 times and it’s a beautiful evolution from “Cops and Robbers”, you can connect the “love stare” of Kate after the explosion with the warm hug after the gunshot and see their relationship in those two single actions.

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