Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Castle 8x01 "XY" (Digging Deeper) [Contributor: Hope]

Original Airdate: September 21, 2015

I love this show. I really, truly do. It’s one of my favorite series of all time. That said, this was one of my favorite episodes in recent memory. THIS is the show as I absolutely adore it. And do you know why? Because I laughed throughout it and frantically waved my arms at the screen, often doing both actions within the same scene.

It must be hard to write a show whose main characters are, by definition and/or default, in the clear. There have been moments where things were up in the air on that, but let’s face it: you can’t have Castle without Castle. And at the heart of the show are Castle AND Beckett. Remove one of them and the entire A-plot of the show crumbles to pieces. Remove Ryan or Esposito, and you’re left with only one-half of a cornerstone bromance.

So this episode gets major credit for achieving something extraordinary: not only making me completely absorbed in the suspense of Castle being caught and Beckett on the run, but also making me doubt the outcome. During the last scene in the precinct, I was legitimately worried the assassin was going to shoot Ryan or Esposito. There was just this feel to the episode that anything could happen, and that whole scene was top-notch.

This episode was also the first half of a two-parter, I suppose making up for the lack of a true cliffhanger at the end of season seven. Castle cliffhangers, season finales or otherwise, always make for my favorite episodes. This one didn’t lose any humor for the sake of suspense, and everything that went into the episode was all-around spot-on. Not only that, but they added whole other dimensions to the series. I know the show is under new leadership this season, and this episode has confirmed what I’d suspected: it’s in good hands.

Cupcakes and Job Changes

Okay, I loved this episode to pieces, but I really loved the beginning. First, Castle gives Beckett a GIANT cupcake, with a bracelet inside that had "Always" engraved on it (which, presumably, she left at the crime scene so he’d know she was there? But if she didn’t want him involved… Okay, they need to answer this question next week). Then she went off to have her first day as CAPTAIN, while Ryan and Esposito fought over who got her old desk (she has her own office, guys. She has Montgomery/Gate’s office!) Then Castle visited his P.I. office, where the remodel was complete, secret room and spring-loaded gun-tosser and all.

... And also where Alexis had taken over the place. Literally. Alexis was on a bit of a power trip in this episode and it was really awesome. I hope this means she gets more screen time this season. I want to see her step into her new role as part time P.I. Molly Quinn deserves more material to work with, and the father-daughter dynamic has always been among the best in the show. Besides, Alexis went out and got that EMT to give her the evidence she needed like a true professional.

P. I. 101

Hayley, a private investigator caught along the way, really helped Castle to think about what he might have to do as a P.I., who he might have to betray, and what rules he might have to break. Firstly, Toks Olagundoye (previously from the funny and rather endearing The Neighbors) was the perfect choice for this role. She has so much sarcasm that balances well with Castle’s sense of humor. She also has this really sincere side to her, which you can already tell. When Castle BEGS her for information, you can see she’s genuinely sorry, and that’s really the first glimpse we get of her more caring, compassionate side. She really wants to help these guys, even if she’s not usually a team player… yet.


When Castle finally finds Beckett, I was so proud of this show for doing what it did: respecting the immense amount of trust between these two. Remember those episodes where Castle would be accused of murder and, for a little while, at least, they’d doubt his innocence? Those episodes always bugged me, even though "Probable Cause" in particular still goes down in my list of favorite episodes. During "XY" though, Castle reacted in just the way he should have, wondering why Beckett hadn’t told him, why she hadn’t called him or the police, and why she was scared enough to run. It was never "is she bad now?" or "why would you get yourself into this?" No. Before the police come and she runs off, he asks her: "Why are you shutting me out?" SO GENTLY. The trust between them is almost palpable. He believes in her ability to get a grasp of her situation herself, and if she believes she has to do this on her own, then that’s what she has to do. If anything, he doesn't feel angry; he just feels left out. He feels that she should have shared this with him, because he WOULD have tried to help.

That’s why it was so lovely when Alexis talked to Castle, telling him to trust Beckett. Equally poignant was Alexis’ reminiscing about him going missing last season, saying "… and then you went missing today, and I was so scared." She’d been solving crime and proving herself all day, and they gave Alexis this beautifully quiet moment where she could just be honest and raw. Again, these two characters/actors have to be together on the screen more often.

Some Technical Stuff

Okay, so I have to talk about this. The musical score, especially in that scene at the ripped-apart apartment, had just the right amount of suspense (a.k.a., a literal boatload). The special effects when Castle was dizzy – really, really interesting. The cold, bluish tint in the warehouse? Matched the tone of the episode. The wide shot when Castle broke free and ran away – visually stunning. The sudden cut to Alexis yelling that her father was missing? Startling.

Overall, I really enjoyed what they’re doing here. They are at a point in the series where things needed to change a bit in order to stay fresh. The addition of the father-daughter P.I. business, Hayley, and the new high-stakes Beckett storyline that’ll probably extend beyond this two-parter, along with all the sense humor we love and expect from this show worked together fantastically. This episode stayed true to the show’s deep roots while showing us where it can go. It felt extremely grounded and executed with precision. If this is any sign of the season to come, it’s going to be amazing.

So, why were all the people from the CIA (in season six) murdered? What does Bracken have to do with it? And IS THAT CUPCAKE JUST SITTING THERE ON THE DRESSER, DRYING OUT?

To be continued…


  • "Did you set your hair on fire again?" "That was one time, and no."
  • "Yeah, you’re great at fetching, I trained you well."
  • I got a kick out of how Castle tried tossing garbage into the trash bin…and missed…and scurried over to pick it up and sneak it into the trash. Because I’ve done this.
  • "I will play you Knife, Gun, Kevlar for it." Police rock-paper-scissors. I love it.
  • Ryan freaking out about having another child (!!!): "Yes, a homicide! Fingers crossed for overtime pay!" Esposito: "Bro, there’s something wrong with you."
  • "OH MY GOD THIS TURNED OUT EVEN COOLER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD." I love secret rooms and levers. PLEASE let Castle’s new office make it into every episode.
  • "Don’t wait for the old man, if you’ve got something, follow up on it." I love how she just couldn’t leave. She really started to care about the outcome here, and I’d love to see her helping Alexis in her new-found calling.
  • "If you wanted a binding agreement, we should’ve pinkie-sweared."
  • "Are you going to be here when I come out?" "No."
  • Assassin: "Your earlier stuff was better. You got soft once you met the skirt." Castle [exasperated]: "Everyone’s a critic!"
  • "Hey, Richard Castle. I’d shake hands, but…" "Do you think this is funny?" "No, I just felt like you’d be serious enough for the rest of us."
  • "Okay, I might puke," says the assassin. Those spiders were seriously terrifying. They put a bag of fluffy spiders over his head! I’m scarred for life.
  • Also: after Castle broke free and they went on a chase… were those spiders just left there in the warehouse to escape and multiply and take over the world? Because if there’s ever going to be a spider apocalypse, you can bet giant, fluffy spiders will be at the forefront of the attack.
  • The only major unexplained character absence was Martha. I know that she got her own place, but it’s unthinkable that Castle would go missing and she wouldn’t march right over. Should we be worried?

1 comment:

  1. I loved this episode. It was horribly amazing. But Beckett's secret is killing me