Title I, Witness
Two-Sentence Summary After an old friend of Castle’s hires him to do P.I. work on her cheating husband, she ends up dead, with Castle believing he saw her husband kill her. However, things aren’t as simple as Castle believes them to be, as a tangled web of deception is revealed when the team at the 12th precinct begins to look into the case, with Castle helping them as a witness.
Favorite Line “…Caught him red-handed and bare-bottomed.” (Castle)
My Thoughts Castle has found a really great groove recently. Every episode since the winter hiatus has been entertaining and has felt fresher than the show has felt in quite some time. The combination of personal (marriage) and professional (Castle’s P.I. job) changes in Castle and Beckett’s dynamic has actually done Castle a world of good, breathing new life into a show in its seventh season—no small feat.
“I, Witness” was another fun and compelling episode to add as evidence that many (myself included) were wrong to initially predict that the “Richard Castle, P.I.” experiment would be a weak point for the show. Instead, it’s been incredibly enjoyable to watch. This episode in particular had three excellent selling points: a compelling case, strong moments from supporting characters, and plenty of good Castle/Beckett moments.
Let’s start with the case, which seemed to be straight out of Gone Girl—until it turned out that the wife who wanted to fake her own murder was actually dead. I loved the little nod to a pop culture phenomenon while creating a case with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep me guessing without keeping me confused for the whole hour. Although I guessed the killer correctly from her first appearance (Lawyers usually don’t get that much focus in a Castle episode unless they’re important.), I still found it fun to unravel the web of lies, adultery, and manipulation swirling around every character involved.
Ultimately, this case mattered to me not because of its twists and turns but because it mattered to Castle. The best Castle cases are ones that resonate deeply with one or more of the people working to solve them, and this case certainly resonated with Castle because of his connection to the victim and his guilt over not being able to save her. Deeply personal connections to murders aren’t new territory for Castle characters, and I liked that the history Beckett has with getting too close to cases was felt in her dealings with her husband in this episode. Beckett knows what it’s like to have a case get under your skin, to carry the guilt of not being able to stop someone you cared about from being murdered. But she also knows there is a sense of peace found in getting justice for those who couldn’t be saved. It was a sign of how much she’s grown that she was able to help Castle find a sense of purpose despite his guilt and grief, and it was a nice role reversal because he’s always done that for her.
This episode was another excellent showcase for Castle and Beckett as spouses. It was nice to once again see Castle working with the 12th in any capacity because, for as much as I like this P.I. storyline, I do miss the whole gang working together in every episode. I’m so happy, however, that my fear of Castle and Beckett’s professional partnership taking a backseat after Castle left the precinct turned out to be unfounded. Kudos to the writers for finding creative ways to get these two to still work together to solve cases.
Though I miss seeing Castle and Beckett working together in the precinct, I thought it was beautiful to see her so encouraging of his P.I. work. What she once saw as a whim has become something she believes in because she believes in her husband. Castle has always reminded Beckett that she’s someone who doesn’t back down (It’s what makes her extraordinary, after all.), and now we got to see her encourage him not to give up just because he’s struggling.
Castle and Beckett are even more wonderful to watch as a married couple than they were when they were dating or engaged. There’s a brightness and a lightness to their interactions that I adore. I love the casual displays of affection that were once strangely absent from many of their scenes together. It’s been fun to see them in this honeymoon phase, where it’s clear they’re enjoying every aspect of their married relationship—especially the “naps.” I wasn’t usually one of those fans who got mad about the intimacy or lack thereof shown between these two characters, but I have to admit, it’s been nice to see two married characters on a network TV show who are clearly enjoying their sex life.
“I, Witness” was a great episode for Castle and Beckett, but it had some good stuff for Esposito and Ryan to do, too. It was nice to finally see the fallout from Esposito and Lanie breaking up (but no one seemed to be taking that very seriously—despite my feeling after it happened that this was a final breakup). However, it was incredibly uncool of Ryan and Jenny to set up and secretly maintain an online dating profile for Esposito. Maybe I’m just sensitive because, as a single person myself, I’m constantly dealing with people wanting to meddle in my dating life or lack thereof, but I’ve never been more protective of Esposito and angry at Ryan than I was for a good portion of this episode. However, I was so happy to see Ryan actually apologize and admit fault by the end of the episode. He knew he’d overstepped. Friends don’t let friends wallow after breakups, but they also don’t set up creepy secret online dating profiles for their friends, either. That’s not just a violation of “Bro Code,” that’s a violation of “Normal People Code.”
“I, Witness” was a fun little breather of an episode before next week takes us back down the 3XK rabbit hole. I am incredibly excited about this upcoming two-part episode. 3XK is the last bit of overarching mythology left from the earlier days of the show, and every time they revisit it, I find myself more and more freaked out—but also more and more captivated. The 3XK-induced sleeplessness is coming, and I can’t wait!