Hello, fellow Castle fans! I hope you’re all doing well despite surely not getting any sleep after this latest episode. Today’s post will follow a slightly different format to account for time constraints on my part and the open-ended nature of the first part of a two-part episode. I hope you find it to be a good starting place for discussing this chilling hour of television.
Two-Sentence Summary When a blonde woman with a connection to Dr. Kelly Neiman ends up dead, Castle, Beckett, and the whole team at the 12th precinct fear that the dangerous serial killer Jerry Tyson, aka 3XK, could be involved. However, Dr. Neiman’s plastic surgery work, the lack of DNA records for Tyson, and multiple cases of copycat identities allow the pair to continue to torment everyone at the 12th, including Castle and—in a very dangerous way—Beckett.
Favorite Line “I never forget a face, especially if I cut it.” (Dr. Neiman)
Episode M.V.P.: Nathan Fillion
Fillion always rises to the challenge when it comes to Castle’s dramatic episodes, especially episodes dealing with the 3XK storyline. While Stana Katic got to show off her dramatic chops during episode dealing with Beckett’s mother and Senator Bracken, 3XK has always been a more Castle-centric—and, therefore, Fillion-centric—storyline. These episodes have been building since Season Three to create a layered portrait of a man carrying the weight of years of guilt and fear on his shoulders because he didn’t stop Tyson and instead has become the killer’s favorite target for psychological torment.
Fillion once again did so much with subtlety in this episode. There were no emotional breakdowns (Those seem to be coming next week, which means I will need lots of tissues for my tears.) and no melodramatics. Instead, so much of Castle’s journey in this episode was told through Fillion’s face. It began with radiant joy and adorable hope when Beckett mentioned thinking about having kids, but that changed all too soon. As the case went on and Tyson was brought back into the precinct, Fillion made me feel every bit of Castle’s need to finally have this nightmare behind him and feel some sense of absolution for being too late to stop 3XK all those years ago in that hotel room.
Rick Castle is generally a lovable character, but we’ve seen glimpses of a man who can also be terrifying when the situation calls for it. And Castle is at his scariest when he’s alone with someone he has a personal vendetta against and is acting completely calm (his solo interrogation of Tyson in this episode, his moments before getting information out of the man who played a role in Alexis’s disappearance back in Season Five, his admission to Bracken that he would have watched him die…). Kudos to Fillion for choosing subtlety and restraint instead of overacting because it makes these moments so much more compelling. When Castle finally played his hand with Tyson and with the audience, showing the pictures of Tyson’s mother and the women who looked so much like her, it felt like I needed to hold my breath because the tension in the scene was so palpable. Fillion has such a great rapport with most of his scene partners on this show, but the stuff he does with Michael Mosely as Tyson is some of his best work in any given season.
Fillion was able to give such depth to Castle’s desperation in this episode. Through his scenes with Katic, we could see that it came from a sense of horrible guilt. The weight of it sat heavily on his shoulders and in his face throughout the episode, and I can’t imagine how much more painful it will be to watch next week. If his guilt over 3XK is bad now, I’m not emotionally prepared for what he’s going to feel now that Beckett is in his clutches. His rising panic at the end of the episode was tough enough to take; next week is going to emotionally destroy me in the best possible way.
Favorite Scene: Neiman and 3XK go free, while Beckett gets caught
“Resurrection” was creepy from the start, but as I watched, I kept feeling like it wasn’t coming close to the nightmare-inducing stuff in last season’s “Disciple.” That all changed, however, with the episode’s final scene, which was as chilling as it was captivating. I think we all knew from the moment Beckett left to save Amy that she was walking into a trap. (Seriously, why does anyone on this show ever go anywhere alone?) But even I wasn’t prepared for how disturbing that trap would be.
The setup was perfect, and it harkened back to the conclusion of my personal favorite Castle two-parter: Season Two’s “Tick, Tick, Tick/Boom!,” with Castle suddenly figuring out that Beckett was in immediate danger and frantically trying to call her. I thought it was brilliant (evil but brilliant) for Tyson and Neiman to set the whole thing up to give them an alibi for the time when Beckett was taken. The quick cut from Castle calling Beckett to Beckett picking up her phone was a nice bit of TV trickery. It made the song on the other line feel even more unwelcome and frightening as it started to play. And then Beckett was jumped and injected with some kind of sedative. The image of Katic’s open eyes and slumped body as she was wheeled away is going to haunt me for the rest of the week.
All of that would have been disturbing enough, but the final shots of Neiman and Tyson in the elevator were even more chilling. Her smirk as she received the phone call stating, presumably, that Beckett was theirs was outdone only by his wink at Castle before the doors closed. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this terrible twosome is the best pair of villains to ever be featured on Castle, and I’m both eager to get to next Monday to wrap up this two-parter and completely emotionally unprepared for it at the same time.
• Kudos to Seamus Dever for perfectly conveying Ryan’s guilt and desperation to see Tyson behind bars. The tension in his demeanor was palpable throughout the episode, and it came from such an honest, unforced place.
• I loved that Lanie got a chance to shine, making the connection between this episode’s murder and the ones in “Disciple.” The women of Castle are so good at their jobs, and it makes me love them even more.
• As a general thought, I really liked that all of the characters, especially Ryan, Castle, and Lanie, were allowed to show how deeply affected they were by the mere mention or idea of 3XK. The actors all did such a good job of showing the emotional scars their characters have from their dealings with Tyson.
• I think we all predicted after “Disciple” that Beckett would be the next to be targeted by Tyson, but did anyone think it would be this awful? I’m genuinely scared for her, which I haven’t felt for a fictional character in quite some time.
• On a happier note, my intensely positive reaction to the idea Castle and Beckett having babies surprised me, if I’m being honest. I’m normally not one to feel a need to see my favorite TV couples with kids, but I actually think it would be a great storyline for these two characters. I’m hoping that putting that scene in this episode means that Beckett will come out of this ordeal ready to start a family of her own with Castle.
• I really loved the shot of Neiman and Tyson walking out of the precinct hand in hand. It visually reinforced the idea that these characters are foils for Castle and Beckett. It was like looking at a twisted version of Castle and Beckett’s partnership in some kind of creepy funhouse mirror.
OK working backwards – “twisted version of Castle and Beckett’s partnership in some kind of creepy fun house mirror” just may be one of my favorite descriptions you’ve ever written. Perfectly adept with the visual punch of precisely what these two sociopaths are.
I think I may need to rearrange my top ten Castle episodes to make room for this one. I said it on twitter last night and spent spare moments haunted by it today. Last night was how you make television. I have marveled each week as to how Castle has found the pep in its step this season. To take stories and characters we know like the back of our hands and take them to fresh spaces and emotions has been a joy to watch. To have them revisit arguably one of their very best story arcs with that same freshness made for an exhilarating hour of television.
From the title card with the scalpel to Martha hearkening back to Castle’s pre-wedding advice to that jaw-dropping menacing wink as the elevators of the 12th closed this episode truly had everything a Castle fan could want and a great episode of TV should have. Enough can not be said about the tightness of the script that made way for some of the best editing of flashbacks into a storyline I can recall. And then there is Robert Duncan’s unrelenting score. This team with Bill Roe at the helm of the episode gave us so much meat in an hour of television I could feel my heart pounding through my chest for more reasons than I can count.
The Opening Scene — I live for a good loft scene. And not since Castle and Martha stood looking out the window reminiscing about the benefits of closure and the joys that can be found in the unexpected family we create in season 6 have been more moved than by Rick and Kate’s conversation about starting a family. From the obvious rhythm they have discovered as a content family, to Alexis’ joke straight out of Castle’s playbook everything about this scene set the table for next week. Kate is a member of the Rodgers-Castle clan. She is one of them and now an integral part of their camaraderie. She is a pivotal piece of the puzzle that would be a loss to all.
Your take on Fillion, mirrors my own. I just simply nodded along about his smart, small choices that are contained in a way that breaks my heart a little more every time. Whether it was the giddy hope at the prospect of starting a family with Kate or the visceral guilt displayed in his slumped shoulders and posture as he addressed the members of the 12th to whom he is so indebted and believes he fundamentally failed. Fillion didn’t make a false turn last night and his tone was spot on. The collateral effects of the terror Neiman and Tyson have wreaked on this police family was felt through the TV. You could feel the heaviness in the air, as they investigated, as Gates looked for work arounds, as Ryan carried his own demons as the cop on the scene back in season 3. The burden Lanie felt in her responsibility to open back up pandora’s box on her personal fear and her friends’ worst nightmare. The episode was oppressive in the best possible way.
However as good as Beckett and Neiman’s confrontations were they really were the warm up to the main event of last night that was the sequence of conversations between Tyson and Castle. I 100% agree that Mosley is probably Fillion’s single best guest scene partner in the history of the show. They feed off one another in a way that takes the oxygen out of the room and can even feel intrusive as a viewer. This chess match, this battle of outwit, outlast, outplay is not in our league. It is a masterful back and forth that left my shoulders in my ears more than once over the course of the hour. Mosley was simply terrific. I actually had a moment where I believed this could have been a mistaken identity that Neiman concocted in some sick need to resurrect 3XK. Mosley was just that good. I loved the juxtaposition in holding between Castle and Tyson as he refused to break and in Castle’s relentless retelling drew out a face break from Tyson that sent Castle the only lead he’d need. And then the interrogation scene with just the two of them. I don’t have words for the power of that scene. The dance. The terror and the weight of the hammer Castle dropped on Tyson when he unveiled the photos. It was such an intense power play and one I was so caught up in that I initially ignored the fact that Neiman was sitting there and effectively set the pick on their joint alibi for Beckett’s inevitable kidnapping. For my money that moment between Castle and Tyson when he says it’s me was more terrifying than any combination of Lockwood, Bracken, Vulcan Simmons over the years. Tyson invokes ice like fear while Neiman maniacal glee in the game she is playing. When Castle goes through that whole sequence that ends with Fillion’s delivery of ‘you raise them’ in reference to his sick partnership with Neiman it was bone chilling to watch Mosley’s erie pride in their work and the knowledge of what was coming next.
It doesn’t matter that I know Beckett will be OK. It doesn’t matter that I know our heros will win the day. Castle has created a suspense and immediacy in the terror that Castle feels in the preview that I know will emotionally take me for a ride next Monday in a way that only great TV can. When Castle is at its best, it truly is great TV. Is it Monday yet?
Both the review and your comments are right on–I only want to add that the last scene with Tyson and Nieman was perfect..and I believe that Bill Roe’s almost perfect direction of this scene made the smirk from Nieman and the wink from Tyson set a perfect cliffhanger for next week. Just keep up the excellent reviews, and readers great comments like you provided.
I finally had a spare moment in between projects at work to reply, and now I find myself at a loss for words because you said everything so perfectly that all I want to do is stamp a big “Amen” onto this.
So all I’ll say is that I agree that my top 10 list might need to be rearranged to allow for this two-parter to find a space in there. The first 3XK episode was one of those moments when I fell in love with this show even more than I’d thought I possibly could, and with each new piece of mythology added to this arc, my love for it has grown. It brings out the best not just in Fillion but in the entire precinct team of actors in a way not even the Johanna Beckett arc managed to do for the ensemble as a whole.
And I want to conclude by thanking you for making me feel less alone in having a moment of genuinely wondering if the man we thought was Tyson was actually a different guy with the same face. There was something so horribly unsettling about those moments where I didn’t know exactly who Castle was talking to, and that’s all a credit to Mosley, who I can never watch in anything else without yelling at the screen for everyone around him to run away. 😉
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed here but college is sure making me busy and making me lazy at times especially when I procrastinate.
Moving on, I really loved this episode. Dare I say, it was one of the best episodes of the series if not the entire season. It reminded me why I truly loved Castle in the first place – for it’s dramatic storylines especially the triple killer storyline. It showed what the actors on Castle are truly capable of. It showed a lot of character growth in many ways, suffering in others. For the first time in months, I was truly, truly, in awe of Nathan Fillion’s acting here. His subtlety was so profound in such a way that it felt dramatic, and more importantly, realistic. I was so impressed. I even went, “Is this the same person who used to make jokes on set?”
Even though Nathan Fillion stole the show in this episode, I have to applaud Stana Katic and Annie Wersching (if I spell her last name correctly) for their acting. Their scenes were so intense, so dramatic, and yet there’s something off about them. I just could not help but think, “Why do I have a strange feeling that something bad is about to happen?” Of course, Beckett is kidnapped and drugged. My instincts were right.
One final note, Seamus Dever did a brilliant job of portraying a lot of guilt and anger in this episode. His anxiety combined with his own guilt and anger made him a totally different person. Everyone did a brilliant job!
Rating: 10/10 in terms of execution, storyline, acting and technicalities.
Oh, I just remembered. That cliffhanger before the screen went blank – what was that? I had trouble comprehending that a detective went alone without any backup, but once again, I told myself to maintain “plausible deniability” and remember that this is entertainment and a crime show.
Your last little note made me laugh because it’s a running joke in my house that no one on Castle has learned from past mistakes, and they continue to go into potentially dangerous situations without backup. Sometimes you just have to suspend disbelief and, like you said, remember that it’s a TV show.
I’m so happy you’re back to share your thoughts with us, by the way! I totally relate to the business (and procrastination), and I’ll get into “mother hen mode” for a second and say college definitely should come first! 😉 But we’re always happy to have you commenting along with us whenever you can.
This show does not disappoint with arc episodes or the two-part February episodes so to combine them was amazing.
First the cuteness. I love that opening scene more than words can say. Alexis joking about becoming an escort was priceless for the look on her dad’s face and I may have actually squealed about her goodbye kiss to Beckett. Then we have both Castle and Beckett’s facing about potentially having a baby and I was already 100% in love with the episode.
3XK and Kelly Nieman have been so delightfully creepy to watch. They are so untrustworthy and completely in control at all times and I love how unsettled they make me as a viewer.
The highlight of the episode was of course, the conversation between 3XK and Castle in the interrogation room. As everyone has mentioned, Nathan Fillion was incredible. This case is so personal to him and he feels so much guilt over it, which focuses his intensity and ability to provide both a compelling and accurate narrative. He understands people because we are all actors in our own story and that’s something he understands well. He understands the need for motivation and driving forces in our lives and he’s really good at uncovering them. The reveal with Tyson’s mom and the lookalikes was outstanding and one I still didn’t expect even after all 3XK has thrown at us before. Between that and the wink in the elevator, there will be chills running up my spine until next week.
I loved what you had to say about Castle using his personal connection to this to really focus in on what he does best, finding the story. And the story led him to the revelation about the women all looking like Tyson’s mother, which was perfect. That personal connection was only something Castle could have found using his unique skill set.
I also just have to say I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who squealed a little bit when Alexis kissed Beckett goodbye. It was so sweet!
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