Review: Castle 8.04

Summary: Castle worms his way into another one of the Twelfth’s cases, this time using his connections in the Mayor’s office. Meanwhile, Beckett continues to work the Locksat investigation, and Ryan and Espo squabble over taking the sergeant’s exam.

Best Scene: Martha gives Beckett some much-needed advice about her relationship with Castle.

Best Line: “Look, be honest with yourself. Then be honest with your husband.”

My Review: O.k., so I won’t go so far as to say that I liked this episode, but I did enjoy it more than last week’s. Unfortunately, most of the issues I had with that one carried to this one as well, but I think going in knowing what to expect, and knowing that I would be disappointed in certain areas, did help me enjoy other aspects of the episode more.

For one, I was more comfortable with Alexis’s involvement in this investigation than I was in any of the first three episodes. The help she provided here was believable and well within her skill set; for example, she didn’t point out clues that a trained P.I. somehow missed or use herself as frat boy bait. Instead, she came across as more of Castle’s plucky sidekick and giver of reality checks when needed, which I think worked very well.

This episode also deepened my love for Captain Beckett. It’s becoming increasingly clear how much this leadership role suits her, evidenced by the way she helped Ryan and Espo get seats for the sergeant’s exam, proving that she looks out for her guys as captain in the same way she did as detective. It was also nice to see the two of them (plus Castle) looking out for her as well, sending her away while they made their church plan so she wouldn’t get in any trouble if it went south. And hey, if being a captain means more dresses for Beckett, then that’s just a perk.

The Ryan/Espo and Castle/Ryan/Espo scenes were a lot of fun here (Castle in a sombrero, I can not), but I think Ryan made some questionable choices on his own. I get that he’s worried about money (and the writers have done a nice job of continually referencing that so it feels like a real problem), but I don’t know if that’s enough to drive him to lie to Espo, as he did in this episode. It would have been far more in-character for him to be honest with Javi, but then ask if he would mind if he took the slot. Also, what was his plan if he passed? He would obviously have to come clean if he became a sergeant, and at that point it would have been an even greater transgression.

I’m a little torn about Ryan’s deal with Castle too, because I don’t think he would lie to Beckett that easily either. He’s friends with Castle yes, but he’s known Beckett longer, she just broke up with the guy, and she’s made it pretty clear that she doesn’t want him around the precinct. She’s also his boss, and I have to imagine the NYPD would have a pretty big issue with one of their own spilling secrets to a civilian. Ultimately, Ryan just isn’t the kind of guy to skirt either an important friendship or the law to make a quick buck. After all, he’s the one that was so intent on doing the right thing in the season four finale that he told Gates the truth about Espo and Kate, and I don’t think his actions in this episode showed that part of his personality at all.

The case itself was fun, but I’ll admit that the details got muddled a bit in the middle for me, whether because I wasn’t paying enough attention or because it got a little too complicated to make logical sense. The faux blind priest was a fun character, and I did enjoy Castle, Alexis, Espo, and Ryan’s church bit, especially the boys’ frustration when Castle and Alexis let the guy get away. The other investigation, Beckett’s Locksat one, was incorporated a little more seamlessly here than it was in last week’s episode, though I can’t help but wish that Beckett was moving a little faster on it, as its conclusion seems to be all that will give us a Caskett reunion at this point.

Like I said above, some of the issues I had with last week’s hour did continue in this one, and unfortunately most of them involved Castle and Beckett. I won’t harp on it too much (I already did that a lot in last week’s review), but the fact that Beckett is always so excited to see Castle when that interaction should make her concerned for his safety is still ridiculous to me. There was still far too much smiling, teasing Beckett for the current state of their relationship, and it was very odd that, for example, when she skyped him for help on the investigation, she was more worried about Castle gloating than the danger of that interaction.

To Castle’s credit, he was a little more realistic in his pursuit of her in this episode, and the way that he cautiously brought up their relationship while they interviewed the victim’s wife, and brought her coffee with the caveat that it was just a congratulatory cup, suggested that he recognizes there’s more at play than Beckett just falling out of love with him, that she is hiding something important and at this point just needs to wait her out.

Looking at that last scene, it was heartbreaking beyond belief, no doubt about it. But there was also a yearning and an awkwardness there that was far more appropriate and believable than any of the lighter scenes they’ve shared since their separation, so I have to give them props for that. Unfortunately, I also have to acknowledge that, like this storyline as a whole, this scene would have easily fit in to season four. I love that season, I do, but it had its time, and it happened so that these characters could get to the well-deserved, happy place they’ve been in for the past three years. So watching that growth get erased and rewritten again? Yeah, that continues to be frustrating as hell.

Finally, saving the best for last, I have to talk about that lovely and much-needed Martha/Kate scene. Their relationship has become one of my favorites, and I’d really hoped that we would get a one-on-one moment with the two of them soon, because if there’s one thing Kate needs right now it’s Martha’s brutal honesty. And she definitely delivered on that front, asking frank questions about divorce and hammering home the importance of honesty, but doing it all while calling Kate “kiddo” and “darling”, making sure that Beckett knew that she still loves and cares for her, despite the pain she caused her son. You could see how much that meant to Beckett when Martha leaned in to hug her; there was a relief on her face that we haven’t seen since she walked out on Castle. If we could get a Martha lecture every episode, then Castle and Beckett would be back together in no time, just saying…

How did you feel about this episode? Hit the comments and let me know!

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