Review: Castle 8.14

Castle

I’m honestly still deciding how I feel about this one, so I apologize if this review is a little haphazard.

Before we get to the episode’s big reveal, let’s talk about the premise of it, with Hayley, Alexis, and Rick going to L.A. to investigate his missing time. I’ll say it: I wish Kate had been there. I totally understand scheduling issues and people needing to take episodes off. I’m also not one to instantly write off an ep just because my favorite character isn’t in it (for example, I really liked this season’s “Cool Boys”, despite Kate’s absence). That being said, I think this hour would have been stronger with Beckett in it. I know Kate and Rick are still publically separated, but with all the finagling the writers have done to get them to work together this season, I’m pretty sure they could have come up with an adequate explanation for Kate tagging along.

Sure, the episode was fine without her. But I found myself a little dissatisfied after each scene, largely because I kept imagining a better version of it with Kate present. We could have had some fun callbacks to Castle and Beckett’s season three trip to Hollywood, referencing how much their relationship has changed since then, Kate teasing Castle for being excited about the G.D.S. but helping him become a member anyway, etc. If this season has proven anything it’s that this show isn’t nearly as much fun with Castle and Beckett apart, so seeing them separated in an episode where they didn’t necessarily need to be was a little frustrating.

The G.D.S. stuff was fun, though I do wish it had been in an hour that didn’t deal with Castle’s missing time as well. It felt like we weren’t able to dive into either thing fully and I would have liked to see more of Castle and Kendall trying to outsmart one another (I’m still not tired of Firefly reunions on this show). It was sweet that Castle declined the club invitation in favor of working with Kate; I never get tired of hearing how proud he is to work alongside her.

I was definitely surprised by the role Hayley played in Castle’s disappearance, but that reveal was timed perfectly. She’s been around long enough for Alexis and Castle to feel betrayed, but they also know her well enough to understand that she had a good reason for lying to them. I’ve enjoyed Hayley a lot this season, so I’m glad that her secret wasn’t big enough to affect her role on the show. Her explanation of why she stuck around to work with Castle and Alexis was also nice.

O.k., so that final twist. I really like that Castle’s disappearance is connected to Loksat. It’s a great way to bring he and Kate’s storylines together. It makes the choice Kate made in the premiere easier to swallow because Castle essentially did the same thing, keeping something from Kate (and himself) in order to protect her. It also makes the whole Loksat storyline feel more cohesive. My biggest issue with it has been that Bracken was the big bad for so long, I found it hard to believe that suddenly this season there was an even bigger threat. But the fact that this mystery man was wreaking havoc on Castle and Beckett’s lives so soon after Bracken’s arrest shows that he’s been a factor all along, Rick and Kate just didn’t realize it at the time.

However, it was by no means a perfect reveal. For one, it’s frustrating that Castle erasing his memory did the opposite of what he intended. Kate still got shot because of Loksat, just as Castle did, so his choice didn’t protect her from that. It also led to a lot of tension in their relationship, with Kate believing Castle had lied about his time away and Castle not having the ability to prove her wrong. And, worst of all, Kate would have never broken up with Castle if she knew that he had knowledge of Loksat as well.

Plus, this reveal makes the previous explanations for Castle’s missing time feel that much more pointless. We’ve gotten so many random pieces of information scattered over such a long period of time that I honestly went into this episode not even caring about the final reveal. With the murder of Beckett’s mother, we always knew what the game plan was: someone had killed her and Beckett needed to figure out who and why. We knew exactly what was at stake, which is why we cared about that investigation so much and didn’t mind that it took most of the series for Beckett to get justice. In contrast, with this storyline we got all of the pieces without knowing why we were supposed to care about them, which means that, unfortunately, by this episode I really didn’t.

What are your thoughts on this episode and the Loksat reveal? Let me know in the comments!

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