Summary: Beckett, Hayley, Ryan, Espo, Castle, and Mia, their murder witness, work together on a case involving a stolen van Gogh. Meanwhile, Kate makes her move from the loft more official, and Castle shows Mia there’s a better life out there than the one that she’s living.
Best Scene: In the most poignant scene of the hour, Beckett comes back to the loft for more of her stuff, but stops for a moment to smell one of Castle’s shirts. After she leaves, Castle does the same to an NYPD top that Beckett left behind.
Best Line: “She still loves you with a passion.”
My Review: This episode continued what’s unfortunately becoming a trend for me this season: I enjoyed aspects of the episode, but the thing as a whole left a bitter taste in my mouth that even the episode’s funniest scenes couldn’t quite get rid of. This is something I’ll get into more below, but I want to talk about some of the positives first.
The case this week was one of the better ones in awhile, unique and twisty without being too confusing, which is a hard line to walk. My favorite part of the case was definitely Mia, who brought a fun energy to every scene she was in. She and Castle were hilarious together (that decontamination chamber bit was especially good), and she allowed Castle to show his kindness and unbridled desire to make other people happy, which are two of his best qualities. It was also nice to see his protective side come out when the gunman arrived at the loft, and the seriousness of that moment raised the stakes at what’s usually a slower part of the episode. One minor case qualm though: when talking to Mia for the first time, why didn’t Beckett ask more about what she smelled on the murderer? Since Mia had already proved that her sense of smell was no joke (mentioning Kate’s breakfast choice), it seemed like a pretty unbelievable oversight that Kate would send her on her way without further questions, making it obvious that it was a loose thread left for Castle to pick up later.
Another aspect of the case that I liked was Hayley’s role: believably looking out for her employer’s interests, while still helping out with the murder investigation. I like the idea of Hayley oscillating between working with Castle and Alexis and the NYPD as her cases intersect with theirs. It’s a nice way to keep things fresh without changing the structure they’ve established this season too much. I mentioned that I enjoyed Hayley’s dynamic with Castle and Alexis in the premiere, and she and Kate had a nice one here as well: two professional women that obviously respect each other’s skills. I was glad that Kate echoed the thought I’ve had since the premiere when she asked Hayley what exactly her job title is. At this point I’m assuming she’s just a P.I. who operates in a bit of a seedier circle than Castle does, but alas, the mystery remains.
Ryan and Espo’s usually solid relationship was put through the wringer again this week, with Espo passing the sergeant’s exam and Ryan failing. This was a little unexpected (no offense to Espo, but I assumed if one of them passed it would be Ryan), and I’m curious to see if Ryan will try again right away, or if we’ll have a few episodes with Espo as a sergeant first. As bad as I feel for Ryan, it would be interesting to see his relationship with Espo complicated by having to report to him for a little while. I don’t think he and Javi’s dynamic with Kate has changed much since she became Captain, since she’s always taken the lead on cases anyway, but this change in the hierarchy could actually have a serious impact on his relationship with his partner. Though, when you consider the butt shot, I guess it already did…
O.k., so now to the Caskett of it all. Let me start by saying that they had some lovely, well-acted moments. Kate steeling herself before entering the loft, her obvious relief that Castle was o.k., each of them having the same instinct to seek comfort in the other’s things, grasping for an attempt to feel close again, all were very nice. However, at the end of this episode, I felt largely the same way I have after each episode this season, which is “Wow, I’m really sad right now.” This wouldn’t be a problem for another show, but it’s not something I’m accustomed to feeling after watching this one.
This takes me to another one of my issues with the breakup, which is that it’s fundamentally altered the tone of the show. Castle prides itself on being a light procedural that doesn’t take itself too seriously (something that the cast and crew have been vocal about in the past), but that is not something you can maintain when your main couple is separated, a couple whose love story is arguably the biggest draw of the show. There’s a reason that, in the show’s entire run, the only time that Castle and Beckett have had any noticeable angst in their relationship (to the point where it significantly altered their interactions) was at the end of season four, from when Castle found out that Beckett was lying to him until she came to him in the finale. Sure, for most of that season they were keeping things from each other, but at that point they’d been hiding their feelings for one another since season one, so it didn’t affect the tone of the show all that much.
That’s not the case this season at all. Instead, every single one of their interactions is either sad or wildly unbelievable (don’t even talk to me about Kate calling the husband she’s not living with “babe”), the latter an attempt to maintain the light, but at this point unattainable, tone of the show. To be clear, I have no problem with angst, especially when it’s done well. I watch a lot of shows solely for that purpose. Castle isn’t one of them. And I think that’s why I leave every episode this season disappointed; watching a show I love completely change what made me fall in love with it in the first place in its eighth (and possibly final) season honestly just kind of sucks, and that’s not a feeling I expect will go away any time soon.
On that happy note, what are your thoughts on this episode? Feel free to tell me if I’m just being over-dramatic…