I don’t want to jinx the rest of the season, but this was the second episode in a row that I genuinely enjoyed, and, what’s more, enjoyed without a dozen caveats tacked on. Vasily was a gem of a character that brought a certain zest to the hour, Castle’s stepmom showed up unexpectedly but in a way that worked very well, and we even had mentions of Locksat and Castle and Beckett’s separation that didn’t make me want to tear my eyes out.
Like Sunday’s episode, this one had a twistier case than usual, with Kate, Rick, and Co. navigating diplomatic immunity, shady characters, and Russian justice, all while trying to catch the killer. By far the best thing to come out of the case was Vasily, who was my favorite guest character in a long time. His obsession with Castle and his books was hilarious, and I loved how seamlessly he shifted from jovial security expert to guy with questionable intentions without it feeling like personality whiplash.
I mentioned that the last episode made me nostalgic for simpler times when Kate, Rick, Kevin, and Javi would work cases together from crime scene to arrest, so I was happy to see a bit more of that here, with Vasily forcing Castle and Beckett to work together without any P.I. sidetracks, plus the core four colluding to hide their suspicions about their new Russian friend.
The case had a few other great moments as well, with the twist that Grigory’s mother was actually alive, Castle figuring out the assassin’s plan in under sixty seconds, and that nerve-wracking killer in the crowd scene that added some suspense to the hour. If I had a dollar for every time Beckett tackled a dude to save his life…There was also that great mention of Russian justice after the killer walked away, a surprisingly funny ending that I liked much better than Beckett trying (and probably failing) to reverse his diplomatic immunity.
However, most importantly, the case this week led to the reappearance of Castle’s stepmom, Rita. I was surprised to see her, mostly because I figured ABC would have shown her in the promo, but I’m glad that she showed up when she did. Her appearance made total sense within the case, and her conversations with both Kate and Rick settled a few questions that I had about their current relationship status. For instance, while I still find it a little unbelievable that a super spy didn’t figure out that they’re actually together, I’m more willing to suspend my disbelief now that it’s at least been addressed on-screen. That scene with Kate only made me love her rapport with Rita that much more; she showed up when Kate needed her, but had no problem lecturing her about the separation when she thought it was real. That brand of tough love is definitely something that Kate sometimes needs.
I was also pleased that Castle finally got to meet Rita in this episode, though I was a little surprised by how bluntly Beckett told him who she was. Kate continuing to hide that particular bit of information from him was something I was having trouble with (especially because knowing about Rita reveals nothing about Locksat), so I’m glad that was resolved here. I’m also happy that he expressed his anger at Kate for keeping that from him, totally understandable with how much she’s already hiding for his protection.
Like her scene with Beckett, Rita’s scene with Castle was a highlight of the episode. The quick connection between them was sweet, as was Rita telling Rick how proud Jackson is of him after he very humanly inquired about it. Nathan Fillion did a great job there of playing Castle’s happiness and relief upon hearing that. I also liked that his conversation with Rita gave us some more insight into how he feels about what Kate did. I’m actually glad that he said that Kate lying to him still bothers him sometimes, but that he’s chosen to forgive her because of how much he loves her. I’ve said before that the breakup storyline and quick re-coupling did nothing for Castle’s intelligence, so I’m glad that this scene showed his completely reasonable attitude toward Kate’s choices, an attitude that he’s probably had all along but hadn’t been able to vocalize until now.
Lastly, I like that Alexis and Martha are starting to question Castle and Beckett’s separation because, one, it’s starting to get a little ridiculous that they haven’t figured it out yet (Alexis is living with the guy, she has to have noticed something), and two, hopefully it means we’re that much closer to the two of them just telling the truth.
Did you enjoy this one as much as I did? Hit the comments and let me know!