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Title Kill Switch
Two Sentence Summary A government worker tries to start a pandemic for monetary gain and manipulates an Occupy Wall Street activist to help her do so. The activist takes Esposito and a subway car full of people hostage, and the experience helps Esposito realize that Lanie is the person he wants to be with.
Favorite Line “Don’t trade what’s real for something that isn’t.” (Marisa)
My Thoughts This seems to be a Castle season of unusual plot turns that provide great character moments. Once again, I’m not sure this was a case that worked for me on its own. I was interested the whole way through and was surprised by the extent I felt for Jared at the end, but that was a lot of plot twists to pack into 45 minutes.
That being said, this wasn’t a bad episode by any means. I love Esposito, and I am always up for an episode that gives one of the supporting characters the focus. We got to see him express concern over what he wants for the future and what that means for his relationship with Lanie. We got to see him under pressure once again, and we got to see him reunite with the people who love him most. We didn’t necessarily learn anything new about him as a character (besides his pizza order), but we got to see his personality and history showcased in a way we don’t often get to see.
We’ve seen it before, but Esposito is fantastic under pressure. Jon Huertas did an excellent job portraying Esposito as someone who is able to stay calm and together in the most trying of circumstances. Even early on, I had every confidence that Esposito had a handle on the situation. I don’t know whether this is a skill he learned in the military or one he already had before then, but it was exactly what the situation required. He thinks well on his feet and projects a sense of calm that must have been reassuring to the other passengers. I also loved his banter with Marisa. He was able to trust in her abilities and make a friend at the same time, and I wouldn’t be at all opposed to seeing her again in the future.
Huertas also got a chance to express Esposito’s vulnerabilities in this episode, which he doesn’t often get to do. I liked that look into his mind to see the very real fears that he wouldn’t be a good father because he never had an example of one growing up. It felt very organic and real for Esposito as a character and echoed previous concerns about his and Lanie’s future.
One of the things I have enjoyed the most about Esposito and Lanie’s relationship is that it doesn’t fit standard gendered expectations. It’s always been Lanie who is happy with their relationship the way it is. She cares for him deeply but doesn’t need their relationship to progress along the dating-marriage-babies path. It’s always been Esposito wanting that greater commitment and family. While I would hate for that to suddenly go out the window because of this scare for both of them, I do hope it leads to a discussion about what they both want and need in order for this relationship to be fulfilling to them both. Esposito shouldn’t have to sacrifice his desire for a family because Lanie doesn’t want children, nor should Lanie have children just because he wants them. The best relationships are partnerships, and as much as I would hate to see these two break up, if their life goals don’t match up on this very important issue, then I would rather see them apart than missing out on something by staying together.
Along the theme of partnership, this episode was a fantastic showcase for the friendship between Ryan and Esposito. I loved their discussion on children and families in the car. Esposito may not be the best with expressing his emotions and he may joke when things start getting a little too uncomfortable, but he trusts Ryan enough to open up to him. He wants to hear about Ryan’s experiences as a father and he can voice his concerns and know he’ll get an honest answer. These two are partners, but more than that, they are brothers. They have been through a lot together, but they’ve done it all by each other’s side, which made their separation during a dangerous situation this episode even more emotional.
I tend to get emotional over the fictional characters I love with little provocation, but Ryan’s apology to Beckett after Esposito was taken hostage made me teary. In Ryan’s mind, he let his partner and closest friend down. If something was going to happen to Esposito, there was no place Ryan would rather have been than by his side and working through it with him.
There is no one who understands the bond that Esposito and Ryan share better than Beckett. If they are brothers, she is their sister. She’s protective of them not just because they are her team, but because they are her family. She knows what they need, and they know they can count on her to have their best interests at heart—which is why Ryan let go of his desire to stay close to the subway station to search Jared Stone’s apartment. That conversation wasn’t just about doing the best thing to help free their coworker. It wasn’t just Beckett giving orders as their lead detective. It was Kate reassuring her friend Kevin that he doesn’t need to feel guilty and telling him there is something productive he can do to help Javi. The use of their first names doesn’t happen very often, and it gives it a moment that much more impact when they’re used.
“Kill Switch” also gave us two great Esposito and Beckett moments. The first was her knowing his pizza order without even thinking about it. I’m sure these two have spent many nights at the precinct with pizza working on a case, and I can only imagine the looks Esposito got from both Beckett and Ryan the first time he ordered his unusual combination of toppings. The second was their hug at the end of the episode. I like that his reunion with the precinct team happened after they had time to process that he was going to be okay. These hugs weren’t the desperate, I’m-so-happy-you-aren’t-dead, highly emotional hugs that we ordinarily would have gotten after a situation like this. They were more quietly intimate hugs that spoke to their history and affection for each other.
Finally, I can’t pass up the opportunity to talk about another demonstration of Lanie and Beckett’s friendship. I haven’t hid the fact that I would love to see much more of these two together than we historically have seen, and this episode delivered (as has this season in general, if I’m being honest). We got to see Beckett comforting Lanie while Esposito was held hostage and supporting her through that stressful time. We also got what might be my favorite Beckett and Lanie-related moment with Beckett’s giddy smile at Esposito and Lanie’s reunion. She loves both of them so much, and I love that she’s such a fan of them together and happy. Your friends should be happy when you’re in a relationship with someone you love and who makes you happy, and I loved seeing her joy for them.