Title Last Action Hero
Two-Sentence Summary The death of a 1980s action-movie star brings out Castle’s fanboy side once again. As Beckett works to solve the case, she also comes to terms with saying goodbye to her old apartment now that she’s a married woman.
Favorite Line “To him, this is just an apartment with creaky floors, but to you—this is where you rebuilt your life, where you solved your mother’s murder, where you fell in love.” (Lanie)
My Thoughts This was one of those “pleasant surprise” episodes that come around a few times every Castle season—episodes that seem like filler from the plot description, episodes with a case that isn’t super memorable, but episodes that have at least one moment that you’ll never forget. “Last Action Hero” had a few unforgettable moments—some of the comedic variety and some that packed an unexpected emotional punch.
The case in “Last Action Hero” was a lot of fun, even if it had a very convoluted conclusion. It was one of those fun Castle cases that brought the nerdy side out of one of the main characters—in this case, it was Castle. Nerdy Castle is the best. Nobody plays childlike enthusiasm like Nathan Fillion, and I love when Castle gets to geek out like he did in this episode. We all have those movies that meant a lot to us in our formative years, and it was incredibly entertaining to get a good dose of secondhand glee from watching Castle get to live his boyhood dream. (It also filled me with glee to hear Castle adorably call Beckett his boyhood dream. Those two have gotten even cuter since they’ve gotten married, if that was even possible.)
It was also incredibly entertaining to watch Castle learn that even boyhood heroes can sometimes be less than what we built them up to be in our heads. When he discovered his idol had been a goat herder, I could not get enough of the way Fillion played his reaction. While nerdy Castle is a particular favorite of mine, pouty Castle is challenging for the top spot in my heart. I could listen to Fillion dejectedly say “goat herder” all day.
Overall, “Last Action Hero” was a very funny episode. Whether it was the winks and nods towards The Expendables or Beckett telling Castle he doesn’t have to always keep talking, there were plenty of laugh-worthy moments. None, however, were as good as Ryan trying to come up with catchphrases. Personal favorites of mine included “Time for prison time,” “You’ve got trouble—Ryan trouble,” and “Time to pay the bill for doing the kill.” Something about Seamus Dever’s delivery made each one better than the last, and it was a running joke I was happy to see throughout the hour.
For as funny as “Last Action Hero” was, it also had incredible depth. Who would have thought that a B-plot that started with Castle wearing a beret and scarf would have ended up making me cry? Beckett moving out of her apartment was something I just thought the show would leave unaddressed, but it turned out to be a lovely centerpiece for some beautiful reflection on her growth. Beckett doesn’t need her apartment anymore; she’s grown beyond a loft for one. She’s a married woman now who clearly loves the life and family she’s found in Castle’s loft. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to leave behind a place that sheltered you during some of your life’s defining moments. There’s beauty in walking out of the place you used to live and walking into a new life, but there’s sadness too. That bittersweet feeling was captured so well in this episode.
There was something so simple and yet so wonderful about Beckett and Lanie talking about all of the experiences that apartment saw in the time she lived there. I could watch Tamala Jones and Stana Katic share scenes like this in every episode and never have enough of it; although thankfully we’ve been getting so much more of their friendship this season. Between the lighter makeup on both of them, the comfy-looking clothes, and the coffee mugs full of wine, there was a sense of grounded reality to that moment that added to the intimacy of their conversation. It truly felt like a conversation between best friends, and I loved that.
It was wonderful to see Lanie be the one to articulate just how important Beckett’s years spent in that apartment were to her growth. Lanie shoots straight, and in this case, she shot for the heart and hit it perfectly. That little monologue was a lovely way for us as viewers to look back on all of the moments that took place in that apartment and, in doing so, to look back on how far Beckett has come from the guarded woman haunted by her mother’s murder who first moved into that apartment. That apartment was where we watched Castle tell Beckett for the first time he was her partner. It was where they first fought about her being too afraid to be happy. It was where we watched her struggle through her PTSD. It was where we watched Castle open his heart and tell her how much he loves her. And it was where Beckett finally discovered who killed her mother. That apartment was a place tied to both loss and love for Beckett; it was a place where she truly began to live her life, choose happiness, and be her best self. And because of what she began while living there, she didn’t need it anymore.
That’s the thing about a lot of the places that mean the most to us; we outgrow them. Schools, dorms, childhood homes, first apartments, bachelor/bachelorette pads—they’re meant to hold us for a little while until we don’t need them anymore, until we find a new home. But that doesn’t mean we love those formational places any less. That last moment of Beckett turning off the lights was filled with such love and respect for those places—like Beckett’s apartment—that shape who we are. Katic, the writers, and the directors treated that moment with the reverence it deserved. It was a moment to think about how far Beckett has come that honored every step along the way. And it was the most unexpectedly touching thing I’ve seen on Castle in quite some time.