Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Castle 8x19 Review: “Dead Again” (Lurking in the Shadows) [Contributor: Hope]

“Dead Again”
Original Airdate: April 25, 2016

Well, folks. We’ve all had a week to cool off from THAT news, and now we’ve returned calm, collected, ready to — yup, nope. Sorry. I will be sticking with this series until at least the end of the season because if we do get the final, final scene instead of the cliffhanger, I need to see that. I’m also not going to turn my back on the rest of the cast, and I’m certainly not going to throw away the rest of Stana and Tamala’s hard work. This whole review could be another edition of Hope Rants for a Thousand Words, but it’s not going to be.

I will say, however, that it’s incredibly hard to watch this show after knowing what I know now. Every funny scene, every sweet scene, everything I would have loved has a dark cloud hanging over it, and I can’t shake that feeling of impending doom. Everything good makes me think of everything this show is throwing away. I can't believe the broad range of attitudes I've had toward this season so far. I loved the premiere, then it went downhill, then it looked bright again, and now it would be good if it weren’t for the series finale/end of the show as we know it looming ahead.

You guys might be familiar with the song “Riptide” by Vance Joy. In it is a notable line that I interpret in a way that could apply here: “I love you when you’re singing that song, and I’ve got a lump in my throat because you’re gonna sing the words wrong.” It’s not just that I’m nervous Castle is going to mess things up — I already know what it’s doing, and yet I’m sitting here, watching it anyway. Is it slightly torturous? Well, yes. Yes it is.

And still, I’m glad I’m watching. This was a great episode. It might have been one of my favorites of the season, if not for the large amount of foreshadowing that I can't help but interpret a certain way. It was funny, the case was intriguing, and the personal storylines were balanced enough to take up half of the drama. Ryan and Esposito didn’t have much to do, Alexis, Martha, and Hayley weren’t in the episode at all, but Lanie got more screentime than she has had all season. The would-be murder victim, who was almost killed three times, was just endearing enough to make it plausible that Castle could convince him he was a superhero. But someone, please — let Castle mature a little.

First it was genies, now it’s telepathy, superpowers, telekinesis, and invincibility? And not just a belief in those things — which is plausible enough because it’s Castle we’re talking about — but actively pursuing the suspected “superhero” and throwing things at him to see if it hurts? Maybe if Beckett wasn’t regulated to her desk and captain duties so much, she might have been around to be the ever-present, ever-needed voice of reason.


Castle starts off the episode on an odd, slightly unprecedented tone. I’m not sure I would call it out-of-character, or shoehorned into the episode, but it certainly is serving a purpose. What is that purpose? That seems to rest in the hands of ABC at the moment. But it’s clearly opening up a pathway for either Castle and Beckett to leave the crime-solving life for a normal one... or for them to regret not leaving it all behind.

Castle suggested that they go to Paris, to which Beckett argued that she had just gotten her job as captain. He, in turn, argued that being a captain was just the start, and there was so much potential for her career outside of all that crazy, high-stakes, occasionally off-the-reservation crime solving (see: LokSat). And then, he said, they could lead a “normal life.” But of course, they have their jobs and there’s Alexis to think about. This also got a laugh out of Beckett, who joked that he could never be normal. A week ago I would have seen that as a sweet throwaway line (and a true one at that), but now, it feels like foreshadowing. As if this “normal life” isn’t in their future. Specifically, his.

To make this theme a little more heavy-handed, the murder victim who wouldn’t die was just an ordinary man... who Castle decided must want more out of life. He channeled all of his feelings about being “happy with his life” and “getting out there” into his little mentee. He then regretted this because it (almost) gets the poor guy killed for the third time. Both the second and third time, Castle feels guilty for the “murder” — especially the last time, when Castle realizes he pushed the victim into being a hero instead of just keeping him safe.

It’s arguable that Castle would feel the same guilt if anything happened to Kate. He told her what he had found out about LokSat. He agreed to work with her. He couldn’t stop her if he tried, but he’s helping her, encouraging her, and not standing in her way. Should he have just kept her safe? Will he live to regret this? Or will they make a change to their lives before it’s too late?


Speaking of heavy-handed foreshadowing that is probably only heavy-handed because of what we now know: Vikram found out Caleb’s alter-ego and tracked him to Los Angeles, where he was seen talking with that dude from the season premiere who put a bag of fluffy spiders over Castle’s head (the fluffy spider bag that was then thrown onto the floor to let loose the fluffy spiders to take over New York City and then the world. If a herd of giant fluffy spiders running around doesn’t make your skin crawl, then you’re made of tougher stuff than I’ll ever be).

Anyway. Vikram wanted to go full steam ahead into tracking down LokSat, but Beckett got him to slow down. However, not before he tripped a digital wire that alerted Caleb, who confronted and threatened Kate. She, in turn, forced Caleb to think about the kind of person he used to be and the person he is now. She tried to turn him to their side, which almost seemed fruitless, until the last scene of the episode, where Caskett arrived home to find Caleb sitting in the middle of the darkened loft.

He did something pretty surprising: he gave them the phone he had been given by LokSat (whose identity is even a mystery to him) and, in doing so, is giving Beckett the chance to trace its next call. This is not going to end well for Caleb, you just know it. And unfortunately, everything about this storyline is building up toward whatever the season/series finale has in store.

I’m thinking that LokSat, after all this build-up, has got to be someone who is already present on the show, or it will lose some of its impact. Sure, it could be some politician or crime lord, but what if it was Vikram? He’s overeager to the point of being reckless, and I get that this dude is inexperienced with crime-solving, but he’s also frightened by all this. Fear, you would think, would act to hold him back a bit.

However this LokSat case unfolds, the drama would be much more enjoyable if we didn’t know it can only end in one of two ways — Castle and Beckett starting a new chapter of their lives, or tragedy.

  • “What are you doing?” “Watching you sleep. Is that creepy?” “I think it’s sweet.” “I took some pictures.” “Less sweet.” “They’re part of a series. Usually you don’t wake up.” “And now it’s creepy.”
  • “I think it’s time we shake things up. Move to Paris. You know, search for buried treasure in Nepal. We could fly a hot air balloon across the Sahara.”
  • “But what if we didn’t?” Anyone else sensing a call-back to the line from 3x22, “you don’t want to look back on your life and wonder, ‘if only’”? 
  • “You’re on a rocket, sky’s the limit. And then you know what’s going to happen? We’re going to become normal.” “No, Castle, you’re never going to be normal.”
  • “Um, Lanie.” “Don’t ‘um, Lanie,’ that man was dead!”
  • “They start out as mild-mannered weaklings, and that’s you!” “Wow, thanks.”
  • “Sidekick? Please, I’m the mentor.”
  • “Let’s hope you don’t flash back to this moment, when you had the chance to live and you chose not to.” Well, crap, the foreshadowing of this scene was just unnerving. 
  • “Oh my gosh, is that what we sound like?” “I surely hope not. I mean, it’s cute but just… overly cute.” I love how these two finish each other’s sentences. I just love these two in general. Please, Castle, don’t break my heart.
  • The WRITER vest returns!
  • “Maybe it is time for a change.” “So long as I’m with you, I’ll go anywhere.” GO TO PARIS, DO IT NOW. 
  • “Remember who I chose to be today, because nobody else will.” 
  • “And when the time comes, we’re gonna make it count.”
  • So, next week involves a production of Hamlet, the second reference to Hamlet in the span of three episodes. Anyone else sensing foreshadowing to a whole lot of tragedy? Or is that just me? 


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