Heather is back to share her thoughts with us on the latest episode of Castle!
Title In Plane Sight
Two-Sentence Summary When an air marshal goes missing and is later found dead on a flight, Castle is called to solve the case with the help of Beckett on the ground. With the help of Alexis, Castle pieces together the story and brings the killer to justice before they land in London.
Favorite Line “Air, by nature, should not be bumpy.” (Castle)
My Thoughts Now that the mystery of Castle’s disappearance is seemingly resolved, this week’s episode tried something new and gave us an investigation that took place almost entirely at 39,000 feet. This allowed Castle to play lead investigator with Alexis and the flight attendants assisting in the air, as Beckett and her team helped from New York. It allowed the show to play with a new dynamic and allowed Nathan Fillion proved he was up to the challenge of leading a case-driven episode.
We’ve seen more of Fillion’s range as an actor this season than we have in past seasons. The mystery of Castle’s disappearance and the return of 3XK gave him a chance to show his skills as a dramatic actor, while this week gave us a glimpse of what this show could be with Castle alone as its central focus. It was an interesting switch to see Castle fully in control of the case. Even when he was a P.I., we saw the case through Beckett’s (and the NYPD’s) perspective, with Castle providing some needed insights. Here, he was in control of developing the theories, finding evidence to be processed, and taking on his first solo interrogation. While I’m not sure about his authority to question suspects, I thought Castle was absolutely in his element.
The case started with a strange occurrence—people don’t disappear on airplanes. Then, the more we learned, the easier it was to develop a narrative around the events of Air Marshal Ford’s death, and that is exactly how Castle operates. He looks at the evidence and figures out what story it is trying to tell. It’s something we all do to help us understand our lives; Castle is just more explicit in it’s use in crime-solving. Without a lot of physical evidence to examine or a lot of time to solve the case, it’s only natural that stories would be the basis for this investigation.
In order to be plausible, stories need to make sense. There needs to be a preexisting foundation for the story, whether that is drawn from our own experiences, our observations about the behavioral patterns of those around us, or the narratives constructed by the media. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the first narrative and suspect in the episode revolved around terrorism. It’s the default association Americans tend to make in an air-related incident, especially one that features a potentially Muslim suspect. Admittedly, the evidence against Haddad seemed fairly damning, but as we found out, the story we crafted in our heads had another explanation. We’re quick to jump to conclusions because that’s the easiest thing for our brains to do. But sometimes we need to dig a little deeper to uncover the real truth, and I’m grateful this show chose not to tell a story about terrorism.
The next story made equally as much sense. We’re all familiar with the idea of an employee wanting or taking revenge on a company after being fired. Once again, the pieces seemed to fit together on paper to create a tidy story and once again, there was an alternative explanation.
It wasn’t until a key piece of evidence came in from New York (in a nice role reversal from Castle’s P.I. days) that Castle and Alexis were able to put everything together. Only then did all the little details they had remarked on earlier in the episode come into play to tell a whole new story of robbery that stemmed from desperation. It was the least intuitive explanation of the events that took place, but, to me, it felt the most real. Debbie didn’t fit into an easy mold. She wasn’t a pre-constructed narrative device where we knew all the answers. She was a person who had what she thought was a secure future for herself taken away and that desperation led to some bad decisions. These are the types of stories I love the most as a viewer because I am able to feel so much for the suspects.
I loved that it was Alexis who was able to talk her down at the end of the episode and stop her from making another bad decision. She got to play the role usually filled by her dad, and she did it so well. It was a moment full of compassion and recognition of Debbie’s fear. This whole episode reminded me of all the things I love about Alexis and her relationship with Castle. She was dedicated, determined, and compassionate, and there was so much mutual admiration between the two of them; it was really fun to watch.
I also loved the steadfast support Beckett provided to Castle, even though they weren’t physically together. She promised to give him the necessary resources to help him solve this case and encouragement when he worried he was in over his head. They were always in it together, and their partnership, both professional and personal, was always evident. I’m glad for Beckett’s sake that there was something she was able to do to help. I don’t know whether her reactions during this case were residual fears about losing Castle again or if they teased something happening in the future, but as someone who hates feeling helpless when someone they love is in trouble, I’m glad she didn’t need to feel that way.
While not a game-changer, this episode was enjoyable to watch. It was fun to explore new roles for Castle and Alexis and to be reminded of Lanie and Alexis’s relationship. I loved the little nods to other pieces of pop culture. All in all, it was an entertaining and less emotionally-heavy case, which is honestly just what I needed from this show this week.