Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Castle 8x02 "XX" (Conflicts of Trust) [Contributor: Hope]

Original Airdate: September 28, 2015

Let’s forget about Castle and Beckett and their confusion for one moment. I’m completely conflicted about this episode. For everything I loved about it, there was something that rubbed me the wrong way. Here’s what I don’t understand: why do the writers feel the need to cause drama between these two characters? I’m not opposed to drama – they should have their fights and disagreements, and they should occasionally be annoyed by each other. However, it’s not necessary to spatially split them apart.

I do admire the show for respecting the level of trust and love Castle and Beckett have between each other. That trust is a little shaky right now, but it’s not unreasonable. Kate’s obsessions over cases is a problem that Castle had every right to be concerned about. But she also was doing the right thing by keeping him – and Alexis and Martha, no doubt – safe. They both understand the others’ point of view, and Beckett certainly didn’t leave on account of any of issue between them. She felt she had to go to protect him, and told him how much she hopes he’ll forgive her afterwards. Castle begs her not to go, and from the promo, it seems like he’s not holding a huge grudge. Somehow this show has managed to bring us back around to having Castle chase Beckett, and… well, I have to give them points for that. They know they had a good formula, so I suppose their logic is, "Why not try that again?" And you know what? It’ll probably work. The drama they’ve set up here is really good. It’s just also a little exasperating.

Flashback Timeline

We got to see pretty much everything we’d missed as far as Beckett’s side of the story goes from last week. We got to see her patch herself up (well, I didn’t. I looked away because GOOD LORD I CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT FAKE WOUNDS. What an amazingly tough character. Geez). Then Beckett and Vikram met Castle’s stepmother and — wait, what? I thought Castle’s father loved Martha. I thought he couldn’t be with what could have been his family because he couldn’t risk their lives. I don’t understand this marriage. Enlighten me, someone.

I did appreciate, however, how the episode stressed that Beckett couldn’t tell Castle about anything, even if she wanted to. The writers could have given Castle a legitimate reason to doubt her, and I don’t think they really did – and I’m glad. If anything, the writers made him come across as a bit hypocritical, seeing as he was missing for months while she was only gone for three days. The poetic justice here works well.

Working Together

The scene in the hanger was the most intense of the episode, in my opinion. At that point, I was pretty convinced that Vikram was the mole, and Castle lunging out of the shadows to stop her from being hit was awesome. I appreciated that while there was tension between them because of the events from the previous few days, there is this overarching sense that whatever differences of opinion they have, whatever feelings have been hurt, they’re both alive and together, and that’s all that matters. It was a major factor in keeping this whole episode true to the series.

I also enjoyed how Hayley helped them track down Beckett and became really invested in their mission. She also continued to mentor Alexis, and encouraged her to stand up for herself and become a part of the case, which was really great.

The scene where the baddies storm Castle’s office was another highlight of the episode. The little nuances of the scene (and the entire episode) were great – like Beckett putting down her weapon without a moment’s hesitation, because the gunman had Castle. The save on Ryan and Esposito’s part was a fantastic use of the hidden room, and the twist with Hayley being caught gave the show a (pretty epic) use for Castle’s gun-tosser. Quick question: did it shoot rubber bullets? Because I don’t think the gunman was bleeding, and I’m pretty sure Castle never received a permit.

Tough Decisions

In a really nice scene, Castle’s stepmother reminded Kate that anyone she gets involved in the case from this point on IS her responsibility, and their lives will be on her. She essentially gave Beckett an ultimatum – go home and be happy, or continue chasing these guys and risk it all.

It does seem in character, at least to me, for Beckett to have made the decision she did, because she is a very selfless person. While she’s going after these people in order to make up for the deaths of her former coworkers (in the process ease her guilt), it would be far more selfish to choose her own happiness instead. Of course, this is just in her way of thinking – she’s also hurting Castle, not to mention everyone else who cares about her and who will be affected by this by chasing after dangerous people.

The scene where Beckett leaves is heartbreaking. It is a testament to how well the actors understand their characters, because – as I mentioned before – the nuances took this from a crucial scene to a conflict of who these characters are. Castle isn’t asking Beckett to not work on the case, even though he points out that she has a problem – he’s simply asking her to include him, because they both know they "work better as a team." They should trust each other. And I think they still do. It’s only that Beckett doesn’t trust the enemy – or herself – with his safety, and Castle doesn’t trust her instincts. I can’t decide if either of them are in the wrong or in the right. Everything is a gray area at this point, and it’s pretty fascinating.

One more detail I loved: that Beckett left the door open behind her. Her closing the door behind her could have made for a dramatic shot. The writers and director obviously chose not to, and I think it worked perfectly. She’s not stopping Castle from coming after her. In turn, he chooses to let her walk away. They’re both so torn in this scene, and it was beautifully frustrating.

All that said, while this episode wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for, the season still looks promising.


  • Why did Beckett leave her gun by the sink? I just feel like she wouldn’t do that, even if she had a lot on her mind.
  • "Now, I can’t help but wonder what she’s keeping from me." a.k.a. the moment when I groaned and said "NOOOOO."
  • "If I had known, I would have used you as bait and stuck around to wait for the ransom note from your kidnappers." Was she serious or not?
  • "I thought she was a keeper." Martha was back!
  • Beckett didn’t call Castle after she’d been shot because her call could have been traced. Solid reason.
  • It was Beckett’s two-year-old search that had finally found a result and triggered the whole thing. Vikram’s forwarding of that said result created a common ground of guilt between the two of them that worked well.
  • Vikram was racing to finish his search in the bar, and yet he still paid for his drink. I enjoyed that detail.
  • THEY KILLED BRACKEN. It was kind of anti-climatic, and yet the shock factor worked so well because of that.
  • "I’m not running away from the life I worked so hard to create." I love how she stood her ground here.
  • "We really must get the families together." Like that won’t be awkward.
  • "Thank you for taking care of him." "It’s a lot of work. I don’t know how you do it."
  • "It’s you, because I’ve seen this before… nothing. It’s just that we work better as a team."
  • Two questions and an observation, because I’m picky about details: 1) Would Alexis have been able to zoom in that much on the bar’s security camera? 2) After Castle found them, Beckett and Vikram stopped running. Did I miss something, or should they have been much more careful? 3) They never explained why Beckett left her bracelet at the crime scene. Even if she didn’t know everything about the case yet, she didn’t want to rope him into a Level 7 emergency.
  • Why would they put her rescue ON THE NEWS for everyone to see?
  • "So did you guys get lost, or did you wait until the last possible second to save us?" "We got distracted…"
  • "Hey guys, so funny thing happened on the way to the airport…"
  • "You are so cool." Can Vikram make it into another episode or two so he can try to be Castle’s sidekick or something? Please and thank you.
  • Beckett’s first speech as captain! And with a nice nod to Montgomery and Gates.
  • "Don’t you see the gift that you’ve been given?"
  • "So I have to choose between finding the killer and being with Rick?" … "Anyone who dies now, that blood is on you."
  • "… so we can have our happily ever after."
  • "Like always."
  • "Do you trust me?" "Of course." His response was so quick. His expression, however...
  • "Please do not tell me [Bracken] knew you better than I do."


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