TV Time: Castle 7.01

Welcome, fellow Castle fans, to my first episodic review of the season. I can’t wait to discuss every twist and turn along the way with all of you, because if this premiere was any indication of what’s in store for us, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster!

SEAMUS DEVER, JON HUERTAS, STANA KATIC

Title Driven

Two-Sentence Summary As Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito embark on a two-month investigation into Castle’s wedding-day disappearance, they come across some disturbing evidence that points to him faking his own abduction. Castle’s reappearance raises more questions than answers when he wakes up with no memory of the two months he was missing.

Favorite Line “We’ll get there. We’ll find our way home.” (Castle)

My Thoughts I was in the camp of Castle fans who did not like last season’s finale at all. In fact, I disliked it so much that it made me approach this premiere with extreme caution. However, I would like to go on the record and say that I loved this premiere. It wasn’t perfect, but it genuinely captivated me. As I’ve said so many times, as long as I care about the characters, I can handle unanswered questions and even plot holes. And one thing “Driven” did remarkably well was make me feel for these characters—especially Beckett.

I can see where some might be frustrated at the plot of this episode. Like I said, it wasn’t perfect. My biggest complaint was the way everyone was so willing to believe the only explanation for Castle dropping the money in the dumpster was that he was doing this of his own free will. Did no one think he could be coerced in any way to do this stuff? You don’t need to have a gun pointed directly at your head to be threatened enough to do the things Castle did in this episode. I would have thought a group of detectives and the FBI would know enough to at least consider that possibility.

Also, Castle is a show that often likes to put its overarching plots on the backburner and balance them with “fun” episodes, which is usually okay, but won’t work in this case. This is one of those things that needs a presence in every episode until the mystery is solved. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see lighter Castle episodes, too (although I do favor the heavier stuff), but even those lighter episodes need at least one reminder of this mystery. I have faith, though, that it’s going to happen.

If nothing else, “Driven” was something new. It genuinely left me guessing from beginning to end, and for a show to still be able to do that in its seventh season is no small feat. All of the uncertainty felt a little much at times, but in the light of day after the episode aired, I think it’s cool that the mystery writer is now part of his own mystery. And let’s just get this out of the way now—it has to be 3XK, right? Who else would mess with these characters on such a personal, emotional level? The twisted nature of everything that happened—not just to Castle but even more so to Beckett—points towards 3XK, at least in my opinion.

Although “Driven” felt like something new for Castle, as an Alias fan, the last act of the episode felt like a story I know all too well. Were any fellow Alias fans having “The Telling” flashbacks, or was it just me? From Beckett telling Castle he was missing for two months (in almost the exact tone Vaughn used when he said, “You’ve been missing for almost two years.”) to Castle’s lack of memory, I just wanted it to be revealed that his name while he was missing was “Julian Thorne.” I suppose I just need to thank my stars that Beckett didn’t get married while he was gone (forever bitter about that little Alias twist). Maybe that’s why I wasn’t so worried about all of the plot stuff in this episode: I’ve been down this road before; I’ve watched shows with more questions than answers so many times. And they’ve been some of my favorite shows ever because—like “Driven”—they made me feel things beyond just confusion about the plot.

Any discussion about “Driven” in terms of its emotional impact needs to include a mention of its score. Robert Duncan outdid himself in this episode, heightening every emotion so we felt exactly what Beckett was feeling. And the gorgeous direction is what we’ve all come to expect from a Rob Bowman episode. “Driven” was as beautifully shot as it was perfectly acted, and you know a lot of that had to do with the man behind the camera.

The whole cast brought their A-game to this episode, as they do every time this show gets serious. Although she only had one moment, Penny Johnson Jerald made the most of it. I loved that Beckett was so terrified that she was going to be taken off the case, but Gates now knows her well enough to never try to do that again. Their relationship has become one of my favorites on the show. And speaking of the relationships between women in the precinct, it was so nice to see another genuine moment of female friendship in the hug between Beckett and Lanie. Rounding out that trio of incredible supporting ladies was Susan Sullivan, who absolutely broke my heart when she was trying to make Beckett believe that Castle had no doubts about marrying her. If I had one complain about the cast in this episode, it was that I wanted even more Susan Sullivan—but that’s basically something I want all the time.

The heart of this episode, as usual, was the trio of Esposito, Ryan, and Beckett. For as uncertain as the plot of this episode felt, it was grounded by the consistency of its characterizations for these three detectives. Ryan’s initial belief that there had to be another answer made his crisis of faith later on all the more emotional because we know it takes a lot for him to believe the worst. And Esposito’s steadfast support of Beckett was beautiful to see. There’s something so solid and strong about the chemistry between Jon Huertas and Stana Katic; they’ve always made me believe that Esposito and Beckett have a friendship that runs incredibly deep. And friendships between men and women without sexual tension are rare in the media, so I cherish this one immensely.

While Ryan and Esposito’s struggle was an important part of this episode, let’s not kid ourselves here: This was about Beckett—her strength, her doubts, and her pain. And guided by the hand of Bowman, Stana Katic once again turned in one of her best performances exactly when she needed to. All of my qualms about last season’s finale in terms of its handling of Beckett’s characterization disappeared as soon as this episode began with her diving into the wreckage of the burning car in her wedding dress. That’s the Beckett I know and love: a woman who waits for no one when it comes to the people she loves, a fighter, and a woman who soothes her broken soul by attacking a case head-on.

Katic carried this episode on her capable shoulders. Every emotion came from such a visceral, real place. I believed her when she was threatening to break the fingers of the guy brought in for questioning. I believed her when she started to doubt herself, silently wondering if maybe Castle did disappear to get out of their wedding. I believed her when she smiled with relief when she saw Castle again. And I believed her when she cried because, even with Castle back, her happy ending still feels so far away.

There were several specific moments where Katic’s performance left me so emotionally destroyed that I’m still reeling over 12 hours later. The first was when Esposito brought her the coffee. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been more disappointed in my life to see Jon Huertas. I have to congratulate both Robs—Duncan and Bowman—for getting me to genuinely believe Castle was back with the way that moment was shot and scored. It perfectly put us in Beckett’s shoes, and my heart broke when her hopeful face fell when she saw that it wasn’t Castle who was giving her that coffee. It was a wonderful way to use the show’s mythology to create a genuinely heartbreaking moment.

Another moment that used what we know about these characters to break our hearts was that shot of Beckett making a new murder board in her house for Castle, just like she did for her mom. This was the moment I absolutely lost it. Beckett had finally put her mother’s case to rest; she was finally able to have closure and no longer hear the siren song of the rabbit hole calling her to lose herself in that case again. Of course, she can never be happy for long, so she was pushed towards a new rabbit hole. Beckett has lost so much, and Katic played Beckett’s inability to give up hope as the kind of desperation a woman who knows the grief Beckett has known would feel if faced with that kind of grief again.

Seeing Beckett at that murder board and knowing what it meant for her mental state made me completely understand why she was angry with Castle when he woke up. Logically, she knows there’s a good chance he had no part in what happened, but emotionally, his disappearance put her through hell. And she’ll never be the same because of it. It’s another scar to add to her long list, and having him back doesn’t take away the two months she suffered and struggled—and did all of that without him by her side.

Adding to that was the very important conversation Beckett had with the doctor about Castle’s memory loss. (What was up with his no-serious-injuries coma, by the way? That was weird.) I thought the suggestion that he could be faking his memory loss to avoid confronting what happened was a very smart nod to Beckett’s own situation throughout Season Four. That wasn’t a ridiculous idea to Beckett, and it definitely informed how she acted with him at first. However, it was nice to have the episode conclude with the 12th precinct crew discovering that Henry Jenkins was a fake. It helped prove that sinister forces are afoot, and I needed that for my sanity—for Beckett to have the reassurance that Castle was mixed up in something more than just a fake abduction.

Despite having that reassurance, I loved that all wasn’t well at the end of the episode. Nothing was magically fixed with an “I’m sorry” or a kiss. Instead, this show did what it does best—it allowed these characters to act like people really would in an impossible situation. And there was something so beautifully bittersweet about that. Those two months didn’t diminish how much these characters love each other, but sometimes love isn’t enough—and love can’t erase the past; both characters know that all too well.

That last scene hearkened back perfectly to the moment Castle and Beckett shared on the bench in last season’s finale, when Castle told her, “We want the happy ending, we can’t give up.” Although Beckett had her moments of doubt, she never gave up. She looked at his picture and stared at his chair, and she never stopped hoping they would find him. And that tenacious hope—that fighting spirit—is what’s going to see them through this uncertain time. They may not be at a place where they can even talk about marriage anymore, but they’re not giving up. They’ve come too far for that. Although their happy ending hasn’t seemed this far away in a long time, both Katic and Nathan Fillion made me believe these characters aren’t ever giving up on each other.

That moment—with Castle holding a crying Beckett and saying that someday they’ll find their way back home—was incredibly moving. Castle and Beckett might not have gotten married, but this was its own kind of vow. For better or worse, these characters love each other, and that moment was a promise to start the healing process together. They’re not who they were two months before, but Beckett could still lean on him when she fell apart, and Castle could still reassure her with his words.

Castle and Beckett aren’t the same people anymore—they’re broken and scared and unsure of everything. But one thing they’re still sure of is the fact that they love each other. It may not be enough to erase the pain they’re going through, but it’s enough to give them the strength to try to fight for their happy ending once again. It was a sad moment for two characters who’d come so far together, but it was also a moment of new hope. And it’s that hope I’m clinging to today because—like Castle and Beckett—I want the happy ending. And I’m ready to watch them work for it and start the healing process together.

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29 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 7.01

  1. Literally the best recap/review I’ve read, and I agree 100%-also love that it wasn’t filled with negativity…amen to everything you said. Perfection.

    • Thank you so much! And if you ever need a place to escape fandom negativity, NGN is for you—I always try to focus on the positives in whatever I’m writing about. 🙂

  2. I feel the same way about this episode as I did about OUaT. It wasn’t my favorite episode individually because it’s obviously setting up the next major arc on the show but I love what I think that arc will bring. And there were so many great character moments in this episode.

    Stana Katic kept breaking my heart during this episode. She does so much with her face and it was especially evident in this episode (as it usually is during the heavier episodes). I somehow always manage to forget how protective I am of Beckett’s happiness until something threatens it and after Bracken, I just wanted her to have a break.

    Those two months must have been so hard on her. She had just closed her mother’s case and she was about to marry the man she loves then suddenly that’s all taken away and she’s left alone again. She had lots of people around her who love her but that couldn’t make up for the fact that Castle was gone, seemingly through his own desire. She wanted to believe in him but for someone who has been through so much, that’s not easy. There would always have been the part of her that wondered if he just didn’t want to be with her, no matter what Martha said. Seeing that hopeful expression when Esposito brought her the coffee only to have it quickly fall was just devastating (though excellently done).

    Then we got that ending. She was so tentative and unsure of everything. Her face and body language were a mix of relief that Castle was sitting right in front of her and uncertainty. Then she just sank into him and let the tears come and now I’m tearing up again. No matter what, he’s still her home. In spite of the two months of hurt and the questions that lie ahead for both of them, he’s still the person she feels safest with. He’s still the one she can fall apart with and be vulnerable with. Neither Castle nor Beckett is the same person they were before all this happened but their desire to be together and work through life together is still there, as strong as ever.

    Now that I have my Beckett feelings out of the way, I can move on to the other characters I particularly loved last night. First up is always Martha. She is exactly the mother-in-law that Beckett needs. The way she called her Katherine and told her in no uncertain terms that Castle wouldn’t have run away from her because he was having doubts was just what she needed to hear, even if she couldn’t believe it 100%. Martha knows her son and knows how much he loves Beckett and that trust and conviction is so perfectly in character.

    Then is the very protective Esposito. Jon Huertas was fantastic. Everything from his words to his body language and anger at Castle just screamed protective big brother to me. He loves Castle to death but not if he’s making Beckett unhappy. That relationship will always be first to him and I love it. I love that he brought her coffee (even if it gave her a moment of false hope) and that he is always looking out for her.

    And finally, we have Lanie. I accept that I’ll never get enough of Lanie and Beckett’s friendship as I’d like (seriously, we couldn’t have squeezed in a couple seconds for a on-screen hug while Castle was missing?) but the hug at the hospital was sweet as was Beckett trusting Lanie to figure out what happened.

    • No matter what he’s still her home. That is why that scene is so powerful. Beckett isn’t a true believer. She isn’t the person who lets her guard down. And she’s torn the woman who needs her home and the one who is afraid of losing it. I loved all of what you said. And yes I would like a Lanie Kate crusade.

    • Before I move on to all of my residual Beckett feelings that this comment brought up, I have to say that you are 100% right to connect this and the OUAT premieres: Both were very plot-heavy and full of setup, but the character moments they gave us had me not as worried as I could have been about all of that plot taking away from the character beats that make these shows work.

      Also, let’s just take another moment to celebrate how much Esposito cares about Beckett. He’s such a protective big brother, and it’s something Beckett desperately needed as she worked through what was going on. To know that someone was putting her emotions first even with Castle gone made me so happy, and it couldn’t have been anyone but Esposito.

      And now for the Beckett feels…I also forget sometimes how fiercely protective I get of Beckett and her happiness. (Side note: I just wrote “Emma” instead of “Beckett” at first, so I think we know which two characters on TV I’m most protective of right now.) There’s so much painful irony in the fact that Beckett thought she couldn’t be happy until she got justice for her mother; then she finally moved beyond believing that; only to have her major source of happiness ripped away right after she got the justice for Johanna she’d once believed would open her world to happiness again. It’s just so heartbreaking and now I want to cry again.

      But you are also right when you talked about Castle always being Beckett’s home. And that was such a lovely source of hope in that final scene. No matter what, these characters have come too far to walk away from the love they share. Beckett may still be confused and upset, but even after two months apart, Castle is still the one she instinctively allows herself to break down in front of. He still feels like safety and home, and that’s enough to make both of these characters (and the audience) feel hopeful again.

  3. Like with the Marian thing, I’m left with a feeling of “What was the point of this? Can’t they all just be happy for once?”. At the end of season 6 it did seem like something they threw in just to create more drama… Andrew Marlowe hasn’t failed us yet so hopefully everything will make sense soon.

    It all sounded like a bad fanfiction at first – he disappears for an unknown period of time for some reason (usually the reason is bad), never calls her, she’s beside herself with grief, then he reappears and expects things to go back to the way they were before. This situation has been used so many times in fanfictions that I’ve come to hate it. It’s totally out of character (because in all the pairings I like, the guy would NEVER do such a thing).

    Although in this case, Castle didn’t leave because he wanted to, and he really has no recollection of what happened… so I guess it’s not as bad as it could have been.

    That coffee scene broke my heart. She finally started to be happy again, only to have it snatched away from her. Like everyone else I’m pretty sure it was 3XK, so I hope they hunt him down and finally toss his creepy (that episode last season was freaky) behind in jail where it belongs.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us! I totally understand the “bad fan fiction” take on this plot, but I also agree with you that the fact that Castle obviously didn’t disappear of his own free will and has no memories of what happened helped it take a turn for the more original and not feel so out of character.

      And I’m with you—3XK freaks me out so much (especially after “Disciple”). He’s a compelling villain, but he needs to find his way to a jail cell ASAP.

  4. Sadly, I didn’t care for this episode at all. I too disliked the finale but this episode made me like it better. I just thought the entire episode was poorly written. One thing I felt was missing was more emotional impact. I’m tired of Castle’s family sent to go wait offscreen and only come out when Kate needs to speak to someone other than police.

    But I really feel this lack of faith in Castle ruined it for me. Okay, by the end when he was found I could see how that would wear down Ryan and Kate. But Esposito was the biggest jerk in this. At least give his lines to Gates! He took all of 5 seconds (not 5 minutes, seconds) to think the worst of Castle. And choose to show his distrust at every opportunity.

    I think it really ridiculous to think Castle would have ran away from his life in such a ridiculous way. But even if I could buy the absurd notion that he wanted out of the wedding so badly he staged his own kidnapping (I can hardly type that out without making a face), no way in hell would Castle leave Alexis without word or anything. And allowing her and his mother to think he was hurt or dead? NOOOOO. And while I could see Kate having doubts here and there (sometimes you can’t help it), she too should have always come back to that.

    I also think Castle’s lack of emotion of any kind bugged me. I’m praying he was in shock. I get that Castle is a positive person but after being kidnapped before his big wedding to Beckett, then losing months of his life, letting his family believe he was hurt or dead and that person still out on the loose should make him furious. The champagne drinking at the end my mouth fell open and I was pissed. “All’s well that ends well” is not the ending I wanted to see.

    I have a bad feeling this is going to play out for several episodes but I’m rather dreading it. If it gets better, I will say so but right now I am very disappointed.

    One thing I did like was Kate’s reaction to the coffee.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your take on this episode, and I’m sorry it left such a bad taste in your mouth. I hope it gets better and you find yourself enjoying it again.

      I understand where the lack of faith in Castle—especially believing he would leave Alexis—would be a deal-breaker for you. I did think Esposito was a little harsh, but I also think he was playing his usual role of cynic opposite Ryan’s optimist. Also, Esposito doesn’t always think rationally where Beckett is involved; he’s like a brother who doesn’t always think things through when his sister is hurting (like in “Always”). I think he saw how much pain Beckett was in and immediately wanted to place blame somewhere, and that blame landed on Castle, whether or not that was right. I’m not excusing his lack of faith in his friend, but it wasn’t completely out of character, either.

      More than anything, I’m annoyed at how blind everyone was to the idea of another choice beyond Castle doing this freely and someone looking like Castle doing it. Why was it so hard to believe he was being threatened or coerced in some way?

      I think you’re right when you say Castle is in shock. And I think the end scene in the bedroom was meant to contrast with the toast scene, showing us that clearly all was not well. Of course, these two characters still love each other, but they’re not in a solid, good place right now in terms of their relationship or even just their own mental states. I actually thought the ending worked because it wasn’t wrapped up nicely with a bow and a quick “everything’s back to normal.”

  5. I agreed everything you said with the episode. What got me the most was Stana Katic’s acting especially during the first 15 minutes of the episode where Beckett has a near emotional breakdown. And I also loved the end scene, it left the couple more broken, more questions but love kept them together, and it seems to me that they are willing to work this out as long as they are together.

    Some people have been complaining with Nathan Fillion’s acting in this end scene. What are your thoughts on Nathan’s acting?

    • I thought Fillion was great in the end scene. I think when Nathan does his quieter, less demonstrative stuff some people leap to think it is disinterest in the show, when it’s merely a different acting choice. I personally love those quieter choices, like with Alexis last year when he whispered ‘too soon’. In that final scene it was clear to me that Castle was a man confused about all that had transpired around him. I think his asking Beckett about how she kept faith spoke to his understanding that she is a person who follows the evidence and that while he is without his memory, the woman he loves has suffered deep loss that left her isolated. I think the quiet reality and gravity of the moment was played wonderfully by Fillion. That he captured the the optimism of who Castle is while understanding Beckett’s emotions and his own fear about what the mystery is surrounding his disappearance. For me it was nuanced, grounded in reality and melancholy while reinforcing the strength of this couple.

    • Thank you for the comment! As far as Nathan Fillion in the last scene, I really liked the subdued tone he gave to the moment. Without his memories, he isn’t going to be as haunted as Beckett, but he’s still got a lot to process, which I think came across in that last scene. I also think he knows that Beckett went through absolute hell, and he’s always been someone who wants to make people feel happy and comforted—so he’s going to push aside everything else to focus on giving her hope, no matter how tentative that hope may be. It was quiet, restrained moment compared to a lot of the stuff Katic was given in this episode, but that was exactly why it had such an impact on me.

  6. Thank you so much for this review! I was in the camp that disliked the finale last season as well and I wasn’t sure how to feel about the premiere. I was intrigued by the mystery and riveted by Katic’s incredible performance, but I still feel cheated from the loss of the wedding. Your review put such a positive spin on it that I’m once again hopeful for this arc. Thank you!

  7. So as you know, I was in the camp of people not mad about last seasons finale because while flawed I thought it would open up a line of story telling that could offer rich fodder for where we finally see a role reversal of Kate and Rick that pivots us again into a world and space that opens up these characters we love from a new vantage point. So in that vein I adored this opener because it provided just that a new mystery, a new set of questions and our central characters solidified. I remember season 6 opener we were so thrilled with the confidence the couple had come into through the engagement. I appreciated here that through the confusion, ambiguity, fear and resolution to Castle’s physical homecoming there was sober understanding that life was not simple and while love couldn’t solve all that transpired it is what gave them the strength and power to find there way home, together.

    OK before I get into conspiracy theories and the central crux of the show, lets do kudos starting with the incomparable Susan Sullivan, Susan Sullivan, Susan Sullivan. She didn’t have to say a word. Her face change from stunned to comforting Kate was priceless and a Master Class. It told us everything we need to know about Martha. No one knows her son better than her and Katherine is her family now. It was a terrific moment and yes, Sullivan brings so much to every scene she’s in. What I love about how she plays Martha is that she sees people for who they are and accepts them. When she meets Kate at the hospital after Rick has woken up she is supportive, joyous and deliberate in telegraphing to Kate that her instinct to understand what happened can’t be the way she walks into that hospital room and that what Castle needs in that moment is Kate, not Detective Beckett.

    The Robs – Bowman. What can we say about Bowman? He’s the Hitchcock of Castle episodes. And as a fan, I think we should start a campaign for ‘director’s cut’ versions of his episodes when the show finally ends. Because he makes movies when he directs and I can’t get enough of his style. And Duncan. Rob Duncan’s sense of emotion and story telling is so astute you could watch some of these episodes without dialogue and understand every emotional shift that was important to the show and these characters. As you so astutely pointed out the moment when Javi hands Kate the coffee the music is so in sync with her emotional roller coaster ride in that moment that it is like a dance. I want a CD or at least the ability to purchase his scoring and this episode is at the top of the list.

    I have nothing to say about Espo and Ryan because you said it all perfectly. These guys are what makes this show special. These guys are the beauty of the depth of the acting bench that is Castle.

    For me this episode did a solid job of establishing this new avenue of mystery. It creates the interesting dynamic that he is central to what is happening behind the two months and what from his past is driving it. We’ve spent six years watching Beckett’s mythology unfold through his perspective. I am very interested at the idea of them unfolding his own mystery. I agree that end game must be 3XK. I have a hard time believing we are going to get two mysteries without them being connected. Because Tyson’s revenge on Castle is deeply personal and beyond his merely profiling him and figuring out the mystery. It’s deeper than the cat and mouse game. So I too think it will eventually unfold to bring us back to that epic battle. You mentioned the doctor and how Kate would believe her because of her own actions in season 4. I hadn’t considered it, but it is a great point. I went a different direction. I thought the doctor was a plant and connected to what happened to Castle. Mostly because Castle would not do what Kate did, it’s not who he fundamentally is as a character. And if for no other reason, he wouldn’t leave Alexis unless he was under duress.

    However what I think your assessment does feed into in my belief about who these two characters fundamentally are. Even when he was a cocky ass, Castle was someone who looks for the best in life. He’s an optimist, he’s a believer. Kate is not. She’s a cynic and is often quick to believe the worst case scenario. I think that is the piece Katic played well. She is changed by her relationship and love for Castle, but she is not a different person. That person who looks for proof and evidence. The sheer fact that she questions what is right in front of her looking for another answer, even through her doubts speaks to that change. It struck me as honest because Kate has never had anyone to fall back on. When her mom died, her dad turned to alcoholism. Kate saves lives, she isn’t someone who needs to be saved. But what she’s grown to discover through Rick is that she does need somewhere to fall down and be vulnerable. She does need him. And through all the reality and misdirects with her mother’s case Castle has been that person. That is where she was able to fall apart. It offers a nice juxtaposition to Martha and Alexis, who are unwavering because there is nothing Rick wouldn’t do for them. They are what grounds him and enable him to see the best in the world.

    Then there was the final scene. I love the toast in the couch because Kate is there. So often we’ve watched these heavier episodes end with Castle in the loft with some combination of Martha and Alexis, to have Kate there changed the game. It once again solidified this is a family and Kate is a full part of that. And that final scene in the bedroom was for me Castle at its very best. It is the maturity the show has achieved as it enters its 7th season. Castle coming to the realization that simply returning home is not enough. Much like the way Martha counseled him that he sometimes has to accept life for what it is, not for what he wants or imagines it to be. That whole moment watching Kate frozen wanting to go to him but scared from what had happened only to chose the vulnerability and go to him. He accepts that reality, and as she cries it’s easy to miss Fillion’s subtle realization that he’s scared and confused too. But that Kate needs him in that moment and who he is, is the guy who believes. And he gives her that in that moment when he tells they will get there. It reminded me of the breathless moment when Alexis moved out last season and he muttered too soon. Rick Castle loves openly and with everything he has so when it needs to be protected you feel the gravity of it. That’s what that final moment gave me. In an episode that left many questions and offered a couple of great little turns, hello Henry Jenkins. The strength, love and resolve of this couple wasn’t one of them.

    Random Thoughts:
    – Am I alone in thinking Manchurian Candidate when Castle woke up with a lost 2 months and a random key sewn into his pants.
    – Can I get a WOOT WOOT to the writer’s room and whomever on that staff has obvious Long Island ties. First Ronkonkoma and now Medford (the town adjacent to the one I grew up in and shared a school district with. Patchogue-Medford in the house!)
    – Here’s to Kate wearing her ring faithfully in and outside the precinct.
    – A nod to Alfred Sole and balancing the artwork on the wall that replaces Linus but restores balance to the large scale artwork in Castle’s bedroom.
    – All the nods to the mythology – my favorite being a new way to bringing the importance and weight that both Kate and Rick put into their chairs at the precinct. Rick staring at her chair when she was missing in Belly of the Beast and finding comfort in being near it. Kate being protective of his chair as though it was a private vigil.

    • It’s good to be back talking Castle with you, friend. 🙂

      I thought of you the whole time I was watching this premiere because you knew that finale was going to lead us to something good, and you were right. I’m with you in the camp that believes they simply can’t add another big mystery in addition to 3XK, so it all has to come back to him. Adding on to that belief, is, like you said, the deeply personal way he wants to get to Castle. Also, we all found it interesting after “Disciple” that Beckett had yet to be targeted by 3XK when everyone else was directly. Was this setup—having it look like Castle abandoned her—his way of finally targeting her on a deeply personal level? We all had a feeling he would strike again close to their wedding after the creepy song to end “Disciple,” so this all makes too much sense for it to be anyone but him.

      I absolutely adored your breakdown of Beckett’s skeptical tendencies in relation to this mystery and in relation to Castle’s optimism. She’s still very much a woman driven by a love for facts and a need for things to make sense. Love may have helped her grow, but it hasn’t changed her essence. That growth allowed her to believe in Castle despite evidence to the contrary, but I love that she had crises of faith. It made it real and true to who we know her to be. And Katic did such a marvelous job of balancing Beckett’s tendency to believe the facts with her need to believe in Castle.

      You are also spot-on in highlighting the maturity of that final scene. To end on such an open-ended, bittersweet note was brave. It didn’t give closure or wrap everything up neatly. Instead, it showed that sometimes there is no quick fix to a terrible situation. There was an ambiguity there that most shows would have avoided in favor of outright angst or a kiss to make it all better—or some kind of jaw-dropping cliffhanger. However, this show is confident enough in its (relative) old age to play in this gray area, which made for very compelling television.

  8. Not much to add to your comments and the majority of the posts here!. Terrific episode, fine writing and a bang on performance from Ms. Katic. In fact cudos all round. One thing, is it just me or does anyone else think Martha knows more then she is letting on. Some of her actions/reactions left me thinking she might be more aware of what is going on then she is saying. And as for those who keep saying Castle would not leave Alexis, if Martha is in on the thing with her son, then he wouldn’t worry as much about leaving Alexis alone if he had to.

    • You are definitely not alone in wondering about Martha. There were a couple of moments where my mother, sister, and I all thought she was acting suspiciously. She seemed strangely calm and like she knew more than she was letting on. Time will tell!

  9. I really am not even sure what to think about this episode as I felt like I was watching an episode so LOST plot wise. A key with 38 on it, Dengue fever, I mean what the heck is going on here?! But truthfully, I watch this shows for the characters and they did not disappoint which made the episode fly by for me. When it was over I couldn’t believe 42 minutes had gone by.

    My immediate tweet after watching was “Anyone not watching Castle is missing out – Stana Katic is the most underrated actress on TV and her work in this premiere proves it.” Talk about showing range as an actress from happy to sad to confused to pissed. I felt every single emotion Beckett was feeling with simple but powerful choices by Katic.

    The scene at the site of the tent between her and Castle was awesome as she basically was like just tell me so I can know and move on. I loved that Castle chased her and was explaining how this is not him and deep down she knows that. I liked it even better than the end scene but that was also great. Beckett finally breaking down after two months was a natural reaction and I loved knowing that she would only allow herself to do that in front of Castle. It speaks volumes as to who they are to each other and how much that relationship has grown despite this obstacle.

    Last thing I want to comment on is the fact that some people felt that Fillion was acting detached the whole episode. This felt deliberate to me because if his character truly doesn’t remember then he thinks the wedding was yesterday so of course he isn’t going to be as emotional. His apologies to Beckett at the end and his fighting for her to believe him felt very real and honest and I think he just feels a little helpless knowing what she went through. Should make for an interesting season and I am intrigued.

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt like she was watching LOST with how many weird clues we were given to this big mystery!

      Your entire last paragraph is exactly how I feel about Fillion’s work in this episode. His detachment felt like a deliberate choice to show that his primary emotion is confusion because for him everything was fine only a day ago—even though it’s been two months. I have a feeling the frustration and emotion is going to come soon enough for poor Castle.

  10. I’ve watched the episode twice and I agree with Katie and everyone else that while I was dissapointed about no wedding last season, I am excited about the new plot twists of Castle! I was enthralled while I watched it. Stana Katic’s performance and range of emotions was stunning. I loved the scene at the hospital when she sees Castle in the room and despite the fact she is angry and confused, she smiles at the sight of her love.
    Also, I love this site for commenting and analyzing our shows! Intelligent writing AND kindness make this a great place to share thoughts!

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