I liked this one a lot; the trial aspect was cool and different, and Castle, Beckett, Ryan, and Espo’s interactions reminded me of an early season episode in a really sweet way. I’m a little bummed that ABC didn’t do a better job of promoting this ep, because I think it was one of their strongest this season.
I’ve surprised that the writers haven’t done a court storyline before, especially since it’s such a big part of being a cop or working with cops, and I had to suspend my disbelief a bit when Kate mentioned that this was Castle’s first time testifying. I’d always assumed that he’d done it before (like Ryan and Espo mentioned they had), just not on-screen. It seems like he would have had to testify in the 3XK case, at the very least.
However, after Castle got destroyed on the stand, it did make a little more sense that he’s never been called before. The personal shots made me feel bad for both him and Kate, but they did add a nice bit of continuity to the hour. It made total sense that the crazier aspects of his life would be used against him and make the jury question his judgement. That cross also gave both viewers and Kate a better look at Caleb Brown, and it worked very well to have him serve a dual purpose here, allowing Kate and Vikram to make some progress in the Locksat case without taking too much time away from Kate’s investigation with Castle, Ryan, and Espo. I’m curious to see how she and Vikram will end up using Caleb’s weakness against him and especially how a guy who has done so many bad things has that weakness in the first place.
Despite my issues with Castle and Beckett’s contrived, but now at least fake, separation, I will say that it didn’t bother me quite as much here, probably because we got the same cute morning and evening scenes we would have had if everyone thought they were together, and the Locksat mentions between them were enough to be believable without completely zapping the sweetness from their moments together. And though I would much, much rather just have them together in public, Castle’s hilarious “I love you” signal was pretty cute.
I also just really liked the case itself in this one. The courtroom part of it led to a twisty investigation, with Castle questioning what he saw, and Kate, Espo, and Ryan helping him figure out what really happened in a very short amount of time. I generally like cases where the team has to race against the clock because it adds a fun urgency to the episode, and this one was no exception. The time crunch also led to my favorite scene of the hour, with Castle, Beckett, Javi, and Ryan eating Chinese in the conference room while trading stories and spinning theories. That was the moment that made the ep feel like one from Castle’s pre-P.I. days, and it definitely made me a little nostalgic. I know that shows just naturally shift and have a desire to keep things fresh as they age, but I do miss the days of the core four (plus Lanie) putting an entire case together from crime scene to arrest, which is something that we really don’t see anymore. One plus is that it does make episodes like this one, where they interact in a way closer to how they did in the early seasons, feel that much more special.
What are your thoughts on this hour? Let me know in the comments, and check back here after tonight’s ep for another review!