Like most episodes this season, I appreciated aspects of this one, but there were also quite a few issues that took away from my enjoyment of it.
My biggest complaint is that I didn’t like the premise of it, which made it hard to enjoy the episode as a whole. Sure, it would have been sad to see Castle and Beckett celebrate their first anniversary separately (or ignore it all together), but I could argue that marking the occasion with a glorified one-night stand (Kate literally said “see you around” before hightailing it out of there) was even more of a downer.
Yes, it was wonderful to see them smiling again, falling into old habits, finding a moment of bliss in what’s been a difficult few months for them. I also understand the comfort in that; I’m sure it was immeasurably easier to fall into bed with each other than actually talk about their issues. But I really, really wish that they had done it anyway. I’ve been waiting since the breakup for Castle to hold Kate accountable, to question her motives, to show some of that fire that made Kate fall in love with him in the first place. Castle has never sat back and let Beckett run her life aground before, so it’s kind of killing me that he’s letting her do it now. I wish that, as Slaughter advised last week, he had insisted on talking about Kate’s real reason for leaving, something that would have done a heck of a lot more to rebuild their relationship than one night of sex.
Surprisingly, in this hour, Castle and Beckett weren’t even the couple with the most problems. That honor belongs to Ryan and Espo, and I have mixed feelings about it. Their storyline led to some really funny and, at the end, touching moments for the two of them, but I don’t know if I totally buy how serious their fight was made out to be. It didn’t seem like their issues were big enough to warrant therapy and new potential partners. Their argument in “Always” was a far bigger deal than this one, and even that didn’t lead them to such extraordinary measures.
I also think the parallels to Castle and Beckett’s relationship were a little heavy-handed (Ryan accidentally shot Espo in the butt and Kate left Castle to keep him safe from a super murderer. Not. Comparable.) Though I did like that Castle took Ryan aside and Beckett Espo, each choosing the person more like them.
I was happy to see Vikram, Hayley, and Alexis used fairly effectively here. It was nice that Vikram played a role in the regular case while keeping Kate in the loop about their Locksat investigation. I am bummed by how slowly that investigation is moving, though. I’m sure Kate’s giving it her all, desperate as she is to be back with Castle, but I don’t know that their progress is showing that. But meta-ly, I’m sure they’re waiting for the mid-season finale for the next big clue to drop.
I also like Kate’s budding friendship with Hayley a lot; they obviously respect the hell out of each other and have a decent amount in common. Hayley fit into the case pretty organically as well, and I love how Kate pitched the spa stakeout to her.
For me, the best part of this season is Alexis’s involvement in the cases, so I was glad to see that happen again in this episode. I like that she had a pretty safe, but still important, job at the lawyer’s office. The audience needs to be eased into Alexis putting herself in potentially dangerous situations on the regular, just as I’m sure Castle does.
Thoughts on this episode? Predictions for the mid-season finale? Be sure to hit the comments section!