Title Time Will Tell
Two-Sentence Summary When a murder suspect reveals that he’s a time traveler sent to save billions of lives from destruction, Castle and Beckett find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy straight out of a sci-fi movie, and they’re given some interesting clues to their own futures, too. Castle’s present, however, isn’t looking quite as rosy as his future—Alexis is moving out of the loft and into an apartment with Pi.
Beckett: You’re trying to drive me crazy, aren’t you?
Castle: Well, apparently I already do if we end up with three kids.
Simon: Would you like to know their names?
My Thoughts Castle is in such a groove right now. For as much as I love the show and have always found things to love about each episode, it’s been a long time since there’s been a string of five consecutive episodes that I’ve enjoyed this much. The confidence this show has sparkled with all season was once again on full display in an episode penned by the show-running team affectionately known to Castle fans as “MilMar”—Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller.
Marlowe is the man responsible for creating the tone of this show, with its balancing act of comedy, character-driven drama, procedural elements, and romance. Therefore, it should have come as a surprise to no one that “Time Will Tell” was yet another example of just how good Castle can be at blending genres. The opening reveal of the murder victim was straight out of a thriller or even a horror movie. The plot itself was all sci-fi with a fair amount of comedy mixed in. The emotional beats came from family drama. And the whole episode crackled with the banter of the best romantic comedy duos.
I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: Castle does episodes steeped in “nerd lore” better than any other television show. So much of that success comes from the fact that the show always treats its subjects with respect, whether that subject is sci-fi conventions, soap operas, vampires, alien hunters, or time travel. These episodes are often so much fun because they get the details right, and they never really poke fun at fans of whatever genre or topic they’re highlighting. For example, in “Time Will Tell,” we learn that Esposito is a Doctor Who fan who even references the use of sonic screwdrivers. Every character on Castle is allowed to be a little bit (or more than a little bit) nerdy, and that’s something the show celebrates rather than belittles. As someone who runs as website explicitly founded on the belief that we’re all nerds about something, I love seeing that idea reflected on Castle.
The time travel plot of this episode was incredibly entertaining. So much of that came from the excellent casting of Joshua Gomez as Simon. I will admit that I am completely biased when it comes to Gomez, though; I am a huge fan of Chuck, and I will always have a spot in my heart for Morgan Grimes, half of one of my all-time favorite TV friendships. Gomez is such an energetic actor, and his comedic timing is perfect. I loved the way this episode made use of those skills, as well as his gift for playing panicked and frantic like no one else in the business. Gomez and Nathan Fillion worked so well together, too.
Castle has featured more than a few Chuck actors in the last few seasons, and I can only hope that someday Zachary Levi himself shows up at the 12th precinct. Just thinking about the hijinks he and Fillion could get into in an episode makes me smile.
My favorite scenes in “Time Will Tell” featured Simon nonchalantly describing Castle and Beckett’s future. I may not love the idea of Senator Beckett (Washington wasn’t a good fit for her, remember?), but I couldn’t help but adore the way Castle smiled with pride at the idea of his future wife’s political career. It’s small moments like that one that remind me just how much Fillion makes this character come alive in small but incredibly effective physical details. And who didn’t love the mental image of Castle and Beckett living in New York with their three children?
The best part about those statements from Simon was that we could take them however we wanted to. This episode had an ambiguity to its handling of supernatural elements that the show usually doesn’t have. I wonder if it’s because Beckett felt an ambiguity towards Simon that her rational nature often shuts down. When she spilled the coffee on the paper at the end, it could have just been a coincidence. But the usually-skeptical Beckett took a second to consider the possibility that Simon wasn’t crazy, and that was an interesting twist for her character—and a sign that perhaps Castle is rubbing off on her. I don’t think she’s going to be chasing Bigfoot anytime in the near future, but I did find it interesting that she would choose to consider the validity of this man, who was making some very nice statements about her future with Castle. If ever there was a time for Beckett to want to believe in the supernatural, it would have been then.
This was another episode where Castle and Beckett felt comfortable and confident in their relationship—and we as an audience reaped the benefits of it. I liked the way they casually talked about their future and their wedding vows in a very natural manner. The way this relationship has been integrated so smoothly into the show’s plot this season is wonderful; it makes their interactions feel more natural and honest than ever before. From Beckett’s face after Castle joked about their future baby-making habits to their sincere talk about Alexis, the interactions between Castle and Beckett in “Time Will Tell” balanced the humorous and the heartfelt in a way that really worked for me.
In fact, the only thing that didn’t work in this episode was Alexis’s storyline with Pi. I think I understand where this story is going, and I understand Alexis wanting to assert her independence, especially after her father got engaged. However, I don’t want this to become an “Alexis hates Beckett and the engagement” storyline. Alexis is an adult, and she sees how happy her father is with Beckett, a woman she has been shown to respect. I really wish we’d been given more scenes between Castle and Alexis about his relationship with Beckett (or even a scene with Beckett and Alexis), so I could properly make a guess about Alexis’s motivations.
All I seem to know about Alexis now is that she appears to always need a boyfriend, and she’s more than a little condescending towards the father who moved heaven and Earth to save her when she was kidnapped last season. Maybe some of my frustration over Alexis’s characterization is because I saw in the Alexis of earlier seasons a reflection of who I was in high school, and now I don’t relate to her at all. I never felt the need to have a rebellious phase, and I’ve never liked the stereotype that every girl goes through a period of dating losers and making bad decisions. I’m actually hoping this decision to move in with Pi gets treated down the line as the mistake it seems like right now. The one good thing it gave us in this episode was that heartbreakingly beautiful shot of Castle whispering “Too soon” as Alexis left without even a hug goodbye. Fillion is the master of those kinds of subtle dramatic moments, and the sympathy he made me feel for Castle as a father contributed in no small part to how frustrated Alexis made me in this episode.
While the episode ended on a depressing note, it worked because Fillion made it feel genuine and organic to the character. The episode as a whole really drew strength from its actors. It could have been pure ridiculousness, but it worked because the script was smart and, mainly, because the actors sold everything they were given. This was a love letter to the Terminator franchise, Back to the Future, and all the other greats of the time-travel genre, and I appreciated it for exactly what it was—campy, classic Castle fun.