Wow. O.k. so it’s a little hard to look at this episode on its own, especially without knowing what’s coming next week. So with that in mind, I’m going to do more of a quick hits than a full review for this one, and then I’ll talk about the two-parter as a whole after next week’s airs.
-Alexis and Kate’s little moment in the morning was adorable, and I liked that Castle and Beckett mentioned that it was a little out of the ordinary.
-THE BABY TALK. I’ve had a feeling for awhile that either during or before this season’s finale Kate is going to get pregnant, and this conversation just made my hunch that much stronger. I also really love that they’re planning on having an adult conversation about whether or not it’s time, which just shows how solid their relationship is. I would really like to see them get pregnant on purpose, rather than relying on the trope of the accidental pregnancy to induce drama.
-The scenes with Castle and Tyson were excellent, some of the most intense scenes they’ve done in awhile. Michael Mosley and Nathan Fillion have such a creepy chemistry (as do Stana Katic and Annie Wersching), and that was on full display in this episode. Tyson just brings out such a dark side of Castle, mostly because of that guilt that he has caused him, and that was shown in their two interrogation scenes, as well as their moment in holding. The mirroring to “Probable Cause” with Castle on the other side of the prison cell was great, and I loved the unflinching way that Castle looked at Tyson in all of their scenes together.
-I liked that they brought Tyson’s “mom” into it; she’s someone I’ve wanted to know more about since Castle mentioned her in that first episode.
-A few other little things I liked: the scalpel title card, Beckett wearing the same shirt that she wore in “Disciple”, her big smile (despite the seriousness of the case) when Gates said that Castle could come back, and Castle being the one to stand in front of the murder board and lay out Tyson’s past.
Now for the qualms…
-I think the flashbacks were used a little too liberally. Some were effective, but others seemed a bit too long and actually pulled me out of the current moment. I also don’t think that all of the flashbacks to “Disciple” were necessary. I do appreciate that they wanted to remind viewers that everyone has a stake in the case, including Lanie and Espo (and show Dr. Nieman as a villain equal to Tyson), but some quick flashes rather than long scenes would have been just as effective. And honestly, yes, everyone wants to see Tyson behind bars, but this is Castle’s collar. He and Tyson have had a connection from the beginning, and Beckett’s kidnapping is far more about punishing him than her.
-The RETURNED anagram was a bit obvious, though it was a nice reference to the title of the episode.
-Kate going off alone was also a bit of a “yeah sure” moment. With Tyson and Nieman’s past history of toying with Castle, Beckett, and Co., as well as the number of times that they’ve slipped through their fingers, I don’t really buy that Castle and Beckett were dumb enough to split up, which made it that much clearer that it was just a storytelling device.
But that promo, oh man is it going to be a long week…