TV Time: Castle 6.19

The Greater Good

Title The Greater Good

Two-Sentence Summary The team from the 12th precinct investigates the murder of a Wall Street tycoon, and when the U.S. Attorney’s Office gets involved, Captain Gates comes face-to-face with her estranged sister, Elizabeth. When they’re not working the case, Castle and Beckett try to trim their extensive wedding guest list.

Favorite Lines
Beckett: Ryan, you guys kept your wedding small. What was it, like 100 people?
Ryan: Yeah, that’s all we could afford.
Castle: How did you contain the list?
Ryan: I have a lot of relatives who hate me now.

My Thoughts I’m running low on inspiration today, which kind of feels appropriate for writing about a Castle episode that was far from the show’s most inspired hour. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination; it just wasn’t particularly memorable. Therefore, I’m not bursting with analysis or commentary (which could also be a side-effect of my brain still trying to process what happened on Sunday’s episode of The Good Wife).

I’m hopeful that some of you have thoughts to share so we can get a solid discussion going about “The Greater Good,” and to start you off, here are my five biggest takeaways from this episode.

1.) Sometimes a filler episode is just a filler episode.
“The Greater Good” was the very definition of a Castle filler episode: It was case-heavy, focused on the development of a character besides Castle or Beckett, and had cute but not transformative Castle/Beckett moments. Recently, I’ve been impressed with the way this season’s middle group of episodes have still managed to show character growth and keep me thoroughly entertained, but this one didn’t grab and hold my attention the way other midseason episodes have this year. I’m not a big fan of case-heavy episodes if the case isn’t one with a sense of humor or at least something to make it stand out from traditional procedurals. This was a strange episode to use as the last one before a month-long hiatus (which I know is beyond the show’s control) because it didn’t really leave me clamoring for more.

 

2.) I can’t believe I used to dislike Victoria Gates.
The months after Captain Montgomery’s death were dark times for all Castle fans, so naturally it was going to be difficult for any of us to immediately embrace his replacement. But now I look back on those first few episodes of Season Four and mentally chastise myself for being so hard on the character of Victoria Gates. This episode reminded me what this character can be at her best, which is a force to be reckoned with. Penny Johnson Jerald was long overdue for an episode that fleshed out Gates’s character. I enjoyed learning more about Gates and her relationship with her sister. It was fun to watch two powerful women of color in positions of authority, and I liked that their interactions didn’t conform to the trope that one sister has to be an overachiever and one an underachiever. They were both ambitious women, and their conflict stemmed from that. Also, Gates’s inability to put the “greater good” ahead of a murder investigation reminded me a lot of Beckett and her priorities. It’s no wonder those two women have become such a good match in the 12th precinct.

3.) The best actors use silence to their advantage.
I had a good laugh at first about Gates keeping a framed photo of her and her sister in a desk drawer (because who would really do that?), but that moment was actually my favorite in the whole episode. Jerald conveyed so much about Gates’s complicated relationship with her sister without having to say anything. On a show where the quiet moments are often the most compelling, Jerald proved that she has the acting chops to command a moment without any dialogue.

4.) Continuity is fun!
While Castle and Beckett were planning their guest list for their wedding, there were several fun references to the show’s past. (Before I get started on those, another bit of continuity I liked was seeing Beckett’s engagement ring again in the loft scenes.) It made me smile to see the references to Castle’s poker buddies, and it made me want to see another poker game someday. Also, I was happy to see that Beckett wanted to invite her high school friend Maddie (“Little Castle babies!” Maddie in case you’ve forgotten her), and I appreciated the nod to Beckett’s Aunt Theresa and her Facebook post about Castle getting back together with his ex-wife. With six seasons of material to reference, it’s always fun to spot little things like these, and it’s a great way for writers to remind fans that they care about the show’s mythology as much as (or hopefully even more than) we do.

5.) All this wedding planning is totally a red herring, right?
I appreciate feeling like we as fans have been a part of every step of Castle and Beckett’s wedding planning, but this episode’s focus on a detail as minute as the guest list made a theory I’ve been holding on to all season seem more plausible than ever: This grandiose wedding they’re planning isn’t going to happen. Something is going to happen to facilitate a much smaller, more intimate ceremony (in the loft or at the park with the swing set they love so much). I thought the planning was cute in this episode, but it felt like it was following a formula from past episodes this season: Start the episode with planning, mention it during the case, and talk about it again over wine before it’s sealed with a kiss. However, I’m not complaining about that last part. Seeing both of them reveal that they just needed each other at the ceremony was adorable (if not totally predictable), and I loved that Castle went in for the kiss first this time. And one final note: Any kiss that highlights Nathan Fillion’s hands is a winner in my book, in case any Castle directors are reading this.

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12 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 6.19

  1. Thanks for the recap. I’ll have to watch the episode again to remember more details, because like you it did not stick like the other ones have.

    “2.) I can’t believe I used to dislike Victoria Gates.” → How very, very true!

    • Thanks for the comment! 🙂 I’m also going to have to re-watch this one sometime and see if I catch more fun things the second time around.

  2. Hi Katie
    I enjoyed this episode, not so much because it was the best ever, but for the insight it gave into Gates and why she is the way she is. You don’t get a nickname like Iron Gates because your a nice person. What we knew about Gates before this episode is she is a woman of principle. We were led to believe these principles had made her successful in her career. This episode showed that Gates had paid a personal price for those principles.

    The reveal of the reason behind the estrangement between the sisters provides greater insight into Gates’ actions since joining the precinct. Gates not hesitating in providing a glowing reference for Beckett to the Feds, a job she professed to have secretly coveted and would have given anything to have an opportunity to persue. Was it the fact that she did not consider the greater good a reason why Gates was never given an opportunity?

    When Kate was fired from the Feds, for not considering the greater good, Gates welcomed her back with no question, even calling in a favour for the former disgraced FBI Agent. There is a parallel here between the careers of the two women, both are principled who will not compromise for the Greater Good. As much as Castle would cringe, Gates and Beckett are more alike than he realises. Gates is so invited to the wedding.

    • Hi Mark! Thank you so much for the comment and for sharing your insights about Gates and her relationship with Beckett. I think you are spot-on in saying that this episode gave us a much clearer picture of Gates’s reactions and motivations during Beckett’s D.C. arc. And I agree, she is definitely on the wedding guest list. 😉

  3. I completely loved this episode because it really had a lot of great things: learning more about Gates, her having a loving moment with her sister, Martha the Great, Lanie, Ryan and Espo with some great lines, Castle actually initiating a kiss(yea, more of that please). Beckett with some awesome looks that made me laugh out loud. Just an overall great hour of entertainment. I see the whole big 500 person wedding turning into 30 too. Boo hoo on that, but I think the writing is on the wall. I will not complain. A Caskett wedding, any place, anytime, is good enough for me..

    • Thank for the comment! I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence, and I think it’s what the writers are banking on: It doesn’t matter what the wedding looks like; what matters is getting to see that wedding in whatever form it takes, especially a form that feels right for these characters and their journey. I have faith that I’m going to love it no matter how it ends up happening.

  4. I definitely agree with you about it not being as good as the past few have been. It was lacking the zip that the really good episodes have. PJJ was really great, and I liked her scene with Beckett a lot. The wedding stuff was cute, but I’m getting a little tired of it to, which is something I never thought I’d say 🙂 Also, I feel like the supporting characters have really suffered this season as a result of all the wedding subplots. I’m just ready for it to happen already, though I think you’re right in saying that the wedding they’re planning won’t be the one we see.

    • Thanks for the comment, Becca, and I’m so happy you understand that no matter how much I adore Castle and Beckett, I’m not sure I need to see every aspect of their wedding planning at this point. It was fun for a while, but I think there are other stories to tell and scenes to share with these two characters besides just wedding stuff. I’d love a scene with Castle talking to Ryan and Esposito about standing up in the wedding (because you know they’re going to be groomsmen) because it would be a way to continue the wedding planning stuff but add some variety to it as well.

  5. OK, so like you I am still too emotionally traumatized from The Good Wife to focus this early in the week. I have not recovered and gluttonously watched it a second time. But I digress.

    The last two weeks have been filler episodes for sure. But I have a theory on why it is so pronounced now. It’s character development. TNT is currently running season 2 and It made me realize that I loved a lot of the heavy case episodes. And the reason is because there was much more to learn 3 years ago. We were just getting to know these characters, see the interactive dynamics between each of them as a collective. It was also mid-season 2 that the focus came off of Beckett-Castle and began to explore Ryan Esposito and Lanie.

    As viewers we had a lot to learn and therefore enjoy in the plots as well as the character growth. Now these are characters we care about and are invested in and like family we know them really well – quirks, tendencies and patterns. But that love and intimate knowledge comes at a price. It means as we wear on in seasons the filler episodes are going to be VERY obvious because they won’t have character development to fill in the void. We know who these folks are and can find joy in the little things, but it isn’t going to make a lasting impression as some of the long running arcs do. The other issue is that Castle is never going to be The Good Wife. And by that I mean, when 3XK rolls into town or the fire that put Espo/Ryan in danger is never going to have the same weight because it doesn’t take the same types of risk that create major character shifts. I am ultimately fine with it because Castle provides a simple joy and entertainment that is witty, often sharp and engaging around our core characters. But the fact is there isn’t a lot of new places for them to go and under the rigors of a 24 episode order it’s even harder to stay fresh and original within the plot devices while pacing your story arcs.

    So yes you are right about the filler, but the reason I think it is so prominent is because we are in season 6. But I also look at it this way, Castle has had more hits than misses this season and after Sunday night, I will take it!

    • I’m so happy that, despite both of our brains not being able to focus on much besides The Good Wife, we can still at least attempt a Castle conversation. 😉

      You are completely right about filler episodes being more pronounced as the seasons have gone on—because there is less to learn about these characters and fewer original stories to tell at this point. Six seasons is a huge accomplishment for any TV show, and, like you said, the fact that Castle still has hits more often than misses and still manages to entertain consistently is no small feat. And while the character development might not be present in these filler episodes the way it was at the beginning, there are still so many episodes that do offer fresh insight into these characters.

      It was also nice to watch a show this week and not have to worry about it being completely emotionally damaging. 😉

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