Title Law and Boarder
Two-Sentence Summary The murder of an extreme sports athlete leads Castle and Beckett to a cold case and a cover-up concerning the death of a young boy. As the investigation goes on, Ryan and Esposito fight over who should be Castle’s best man, and Castle and Beckett squabble over her beating him in Scrabble.
Beckett: I think catching killers is pretty extreme. And then there’s marrying you.
Castle: Ah yes, I admit I am extreme—extremely handsome.
Beckett: With a high degree of difficulty.
My Thoughts This was another fun, relatively light episode of Castle, following a pattern this show seems to have of calms before the storm that occurs around each season’s finale. While this episode’s case wasn’t terribly interesting, it continued some important thematic trends leading to what looks like another showdown with Bracken next week. And for the first time in a while, I found myself thoroughly entertained by this episode’s wedding subplot, mainly because it incorporated more characters than just Castle and Beckett.
Let’s start with this episode’s case to get the most boring part out of the way. Sometimes Castle hits unique cases like this one out of the park, but this one fell flat for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t care about extreme sports, or maybe it’s because I called who the killer would be the first time we saw him. (He just seemed too smug, and the killer is usually introduced early on—but never as the first suspect.) There seemed to be too many twists for me to wrap my head around: jealous competitors, the Albanian mob, and the brutal death of a child. Part of me is relieved that the end of the season is upon us because that means the cases will actually carry meaning again. This case seemed like one that’s reached for when you’re running out of ideas, but maybe I’m just not that into skateboards and motocross.
The good thing about the case, however, was the way it built on the parallels that have been accumulating this season and even further back about Beckett and Bracken. This was another case that ultimately ended up being about an old murder and a desire for justice. I still feel like this showdown between Beckett and Bracken will be their last (No spoilers in the comments if you know any other details, please!), and the way this murder was ultimately unraveled did nothing to deter me from that line of thinking.
In a much less subtle way, this season has also been building to another big moment: Castle and Beckett’s wedding. I was thrilled that this episode finally brought Ryan, Esposito, and Lanie into the wedding planning. It had started to feel too separate from the rest of the show, so this was a nice way to include the rest of the cast in the subplot, too. I was smiling like crazy when Beckett revealed that Lanie is going to be her maid of honor. I have always felt that this friendship has so much potential, but it’s often pushed aside in favor of Beckett and the men in her life. The warmth between those two women as they hugged and discussed dresses was palpable. It was the most real their friendship has felt all season, and I’m so happy Lanie will be the one by Beckett’s side on her big day.
The other half of this wedding party plot belonged to the comedic performances turned in by Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever. Watching those two snipe at each other is always enjoyable, and their actions in this episode were no exception. I found Dever especially hilarious, with Ryan’s awkward coffee time with Castle a true episode highlight. I’m not sure characters get more endearing than Kevin Ryan, and so much of that comes from Dever’s performance.
In the end, all of Esposito and Ryan’s efforts were for naught. My sister predicted Alexis being the best (wo)man, and I was so happy she was right. As Castle said, she is the most important person in his life, along with Beckett. For as much as I would have felt Castle choosing both detectives as co-best men was earned, his decision to bestow that honor on his daughter was even more earned. Alexis’s acceptance of Castle and Beckett’s relationship has been a huge part of her character development this season (which is why her fist bump with Beckett was extra adorable in this episode), so for Castle not only to ask her but for her to accept means a lot for their father-daughter relationship after a rocky start to this season. Plus, Alexis was literally there at the very beginning of Castle and Beckett’s journey together, and she’s the only character who can say that.
As their wedding gets closer and closer (I really hope it’s actually going to happen in the finale because that would be cruel to make us wait), I loved that this episode gave us some really fun moments between Castle and Beckett. The Scrabble story was funny and fluffy, and it led to some nice moments of banter. I totally related to Castle in his frustration. I also get irrationally mad when someone is better than me at something that’s supposed to be my thing, my territory.
I did like that the show had Castle and Beckett teasing each other about the connection between the murder and their own bickering. I was worried it was going to turn into some heavy-handed lesson about competitiveness, but all it did was give them more things to banter about. After six seasons, I love that this show can still zig when I think it’s going to zag.
If Castle could have gotten past his competitiveness, I think he would have found Beckett’s Scrabble victories more of a turn-on than a turn-off. I was kind of disappointed that the man who was so aroused by her use of “veritable” back in the day didn’t find it equally alluring when she used “quixotic,” but being a sore loser seems to fit with everything we know about the man-child side of Rick Castle. All was forgiven, though, in the small moment when we were treated to Castle watching Beckett in interrogation. This was a great episode for the fierce detective side of Kate Beckett (complete with the greatest high ponytail on Earth and a bevy of beautiful coats—I’ll just forget about the tie/blazer/severe bun combination). And it was lovely to watch Castle appear to fall in love with her all over again the way he did the first time, as a strong detective who never backs down—as someone who is the very definition of extraordinary. Nathan Fillion did such a subtly beautiful job of showing that Castle is as in awe of Beckett now as he was when she walked away from him after their first time working together all those years ago.
The episode concluded with a fun nod to the show’s past poker games, a tradition that has been sorely missed in recent seasons. It was a nice way to showcase both the heat and the playfulness in this relationship. I love that Castle and Beckett clearly have fun together; they make each other happy. And we all know how I feel about television shows not being afraid to feature happy, successful, long-term relationships. (If you don’t know, I feel very positively about that.) These characters worked hard to get to a place of unguarded, genuine happiness with each other. For those of us who’ve been with them every step of the way, this little final scene was like a lovely pre-wedding gift.