This week Castle did something wonderful. It’s not just that this was by far the best episode of the season –– with the great balance of comedy and suspense, it really was. No, it also put an end to that terribly annoying, cringe-worthy storyline that felt like it would never end! It. is. OVER. Does it make up for the last several episodes? Maybe not. But it sure did make waiting it out worth it.
There wasn’t a B-storyline in this episode, as Ryan and Esposito took the backseat, and Lanie was nonexistent (Perlmutter, it’s been forever). So this review is going to be organized a little differently this time around. Let’s start at...
The episode started with Martha and her signature common sense. That’s a little silly to say about a character who once spent the entirety of an episode repeating her play’s opening line, "Is he dead?" But Martha really has become the one who dishes out the common sense as of late. Then Hayley took over, and now it’s real –– she is Castle’s consultant. This makes her role sound much more permanent, and I’m glad. Toks Olagundoye is wonderful in this role, from Hayley taking over Castle’s office and dismissing him with a wave of her hand, to her raising her hands up and asking Castle if he was second-guessing his decision to hack Beckett’s operation. She’s brought to Hayley such a complex mix of characteristics: she’s tough, she’s kind, and she’s far from detached.
One good thing I have to say about the breakup storyline is that the show didn’t try to make Hayley a love interest. I remember that being speculated near the start of the season among fans, and it would have been such a trope-y mess. Hayley is a well-rounded character who already had a ton of depth in her first episode. It would have been a shame to waste her character that way.
Castle and Beckett got stuck on a cruise liner and were shipped (he, he) off to sea along with their crime scene. The cruise employees were oddly told to not aid in the investigation. I get that the big wigs didn’t want a PR debacle, but they just didn’t get the concept that police trump cruise ship managers in priority. The police are basically the best move in a metaphorical game of rock, paper, scissors.
Anyway, Mr. Cranky Pants informed Castle and Beckett they had 60 minutes before a smaller boat would come and remove them from the cruise liner. The time constraint was a nice twist (and I actually thought it would span the whole episode), and it led to Castle and Beckett –– on multiple occasions –– declaring "divide and conquer!" which seemed like a bit of a bad omen. The funny thing is, the whole time they were actually working together, without problems, and it was wonderful. Their interactions were so relaxed and easy. THIS was the Castle I missed.
The cinematography of this episode shone in the sequence where Beckett chases their suspect through the boat’s boiler room. The guy threw something at her (rude) and the chase began. The camera darted around as Beckett climbed up and down stairs, and around the boat’s inner-workings. They cut quickly from shot to shot, and combined with the confusing nature of the setting, it created a wonderful sense of suspense. The whole time I watched this scene, the only thing I could think of was how HARD it must have been to shoot. This scene was the stuff of climaxes, not the first half of an episode.
I actually found the case itself really interesting. The victim had been undercover on a sort of one-man environmental sting, and although only the first half of the episode focused on it –– it then turned into a Vulcan Simmons related case –– I was engaged. It also brought us the Castle Pretends He Knows How to Dance Scene, which was comedic gold.
BRINGING CAT VIDEOS TO A HACKING FIGHT
The scene where Hayley hacked Vikram’s system was THE BEST. (Speaking of Vikram, he’s hilarious and his has a good dynamic with Beckett. However, he sent that text to Beckett in last week’s episode just to get her away from Castle. He loses points for that.) This scene, honestly, goes down as one of my favorites of the whole season. "Can you stop him?" "No," Hayley answers, "but I can slow him down," as she initiates COUNTERSTRIKE. "Slowing him down" = CAT VIDEOS. A boatload of them, meowing all over Vikram’s screens. The incredulous look on Beckett’s face was priceless.
The combination of the dynamics between Castle and Hayley, Beckett and Vikram, and of course, Castle and Beckett, came into full play here, and it was really nice to watch. It was the culmination of the first part of the season, and watching it, you get the sense that something good came from all the drama. I hope that going forward, these dynamics continue, because it was truly one of the best things that came from the past seven episodes. When Vikram "nuked" Castle’s system, Hayley was devastated by it. The sheer level of investment she had in this operation was a wonderful example of how much a part of the show she is –– and could be –– becoming.
Then, of course, Castle had to find Beckett and get her to talk, because a full-on hacking war and the frying of his computers signaled a line had been firmly crossed. Cue the sad music! Their conversation in the precinct BAFFLED me. "Instead I find out you’ve been lying to me." Excuse me? When the case in the season premier involved Bracken and Beckett left soon after, Castle remarked on her need to be obsessed over a case. So the fact that he believed she needed "looking for me time" just blows my mind. Was I incorrectly assuming that he knew more about why she left than he actually did? He knew she was caught up in something bad, right? Even if it wasn’t the Lockset case? Someone, enlighten me.
Then Castle dropped a major truth bomb (to Beckett or the writers, you choose):
"You could have come to me, with everything. Broken us up, just like you did, only it would’ve been a cover and together, in secret, we could’ve taken this guy down."
Yes, why didn’t this happen? This would have been rational. The only excuse I can come up with is that people, in real life, aren’t always rational. Beckett made a mistake because she was scared. I get that; it’s human. So I accept this mistake, but truly... this same conclusion could have been reached EPISODES ago, and now I feel a little exhausted.
He left, despite her asking him to wait, saying, "You have a job to do. And there’s no one better." It seemed like he had accepted and washed his hands of the whole mess. I wouldn’t say that he gave up, but he gave in. He’d been chasing after her and trying to be there for her for weeks. There comes a point in time where you just have to stop trying for your own sake. This was Castle’s time.
While Beckett chased after a suspect with mixed success, Castle was at home, chatting with Lucy. That is, until Beckett came in. She admitted that he was right –– their breakup could be a cover. He argued that she had "lost faith" in him, which was a very valid point. He hadn’t lost faith in her, except in the very beginning of their breakup, before Alexis had convinced him not to.
Trust and faith are so closely entwined, and I think that was the root of the problem. There’s an immense level of trust between these two. Beckett let her walls down for him, he trusts her with his heart and with his safety when he inevitably gets in over his head. I could go on. Beckett argued back, "I didn’t realize how much I needed you until this happened," which, okay, I can see that. They work best as a team, so that makes sense. It also makes sense that she would realize how much it would hurt if she lost him, either through pushing him away or if Lockset went terribly wrong. However, they can’t downplay everything that has happened before this season. She knew she needed him well before this point, and I just don’t want them trying to invalidate that. A show cannot alter or undermine its emotional arcs for the sake of validating a new arc.
Anyway. There’s a long silence where Castle thinks this all over. It’s perfectly long and his answer is perfectly simple: "Okay."
This was such a great end to the otherwise annoying storyline. I’m still not sure that we needed to go through all that to get to this point, but maybe we’ll see things more clearly in the second part of the season. Either way, Castle and Beckett being fake broken up should be a lot more fun. I’ve had my reservations, but this episode was just what the season needed. Let’s hope more like this will follow when the show returns in January. Until 2016, everyone!
- "Ooh, I am so glad you agreed to consult with Richard. Maybe now this money pit will turn a profit!" He, he.
- Hayley/Alexis fist-bump! #LadiesSupportingLadies.
- Is there really such a thing as cruise ship "resident guests"? People just live on these boats for years?!
- That dance scene, really and truly, was SO hilarious. The moment Castle recognized that "Jazz hands!" was something he could actually do, he lit up.
- "He’s just a little weird." "Well, normally he’s a lot weird... In a charming kind of way." "Oh." There was so much depth to that "oh."
- That hacking sequence screen with the circling numbers and action-filmy music was SO CHEESY.
- "No, we’ve got only two of the blinky boxes left to go!" "Blinky boxes." "Just hack!" Castle’s terminology is basically mine.
- "I’ve got a cyber nuke." This is scary. But… did he really need the SUPER HELPFUL ROCKET PICTURE? I mean... it doesn’t look very serious.
- "Ah, you are having a pity party. That’s okay, I’ll leave. But I will be taking a pretty juicy clue with me." Vikram is so excited about this secret investigation stuff. Please don’t kill him off, show.
- Lucy: "Don’t take this the wrong way, Rick, but you don’t make any sense." Castle: "Well, it’s because I’m in love. But you... wouldn’t understand that." "So why are you talking to me about it?" "Touché."
- Question: does this episode and resolution make up or partially make up for the drama of this season so far? If this episode was the series asking for forgiveness for this storyline, would you answer, "okay"?
- The Annoyingness of the Caskett Breakup Scale: 4!