Review: Castle 8.19

As some of you saw, instead of doing a review last week I posted this piece on Kate Beckett. I did this mostly because she’s long been my favorite TV character and I had some things I needed to say about her, but also because the behind the scenes news was fresh, and I knew it would hinder my enjoyment of the episode, one of the precious few we have left with her. Unfortunately, that knowledge is a hard, hard thing to put out of your mind, and it was something I struggled with when I eventually watched the last episode, as well as tonight’s. I found myself constantly searching for any clues as to how Kate might exit the show, and that just doesn’t make for a very fun viewing experience, especially when the clues given here suggested the worst possible outcome for Beckett.

Before I get to that, though, I have to acknowledge that this episode had a unique case that I probably would have enjoyed more were it not for the circumstances. The lack of actual murder was refreshing, Alan was a fun character, and he and Castle were hilarious together. I also loved the superhero references (lots of Marvel/ABC synergy there), especially Castle trying to remember Ant Man’s origin story to no avail. Tamala Jones got to do a bit more than usual, with her increasing frustration over Alan coming back to life, as well as their fun theorizing run (I also loved Beckett’s embarrassment after realizing what she and Castle sound like when they do that). I didn’t mention Lanie at all in that piece I wrote, but she’s a great character that’s added a lot to the show, especially through her friendship with Beckett. Jones has done a fantastic job of creating a fully realized character, often without a lot of screentime or backstory provided. I knew I was going to miss Beckett, but this episode made me realize I’m going to miss Lanie even more than I thought I would.

The other big aspect of this episode was the LokSat/Caleb stuff, and surprise!, I still hate that storyline. I’ve detailed why I dislike it in various reviews this season, but this episode highlighted another reason: it’s sluggish as all get out. With Bracken, it took Beckett six seasons to take him down, yet I never got bored or felt like the investigation was moving too slowly. We had big moments two or three times a season, episodes full of twists and turns and huge reveals. Then, at the end of the hour, they’d hit a dead end of some sort and believably put it aside for the time being. The repercussions from those episodes were large enough on a character level to be felt throughout the year (especially for Beckett) but private enough that they didn’t impact the weekly cases. It’s a format that worked very, very well for the show, making their strange pacing of the LokSat storyline that much more maddening.

With LokSat, the time devoted to it is random at best, sometimes whole episodes, sometimes small chunks of episodes, sometimes a single scene, and, occasionally, no mention at all. That means that in this episode a lead from several weeks ago just now paid off, a lead that I’d nearly forgotten about in the intervening time. It’s also worth noting that the leads in this case would likely have been contained to a single, action-packed episode in the Bracken arc, not an entire season, giving this storyline a serious momentum problem as a result. But while the LokSat leads are taking too long to pan out, the investigation feels too short, if that makes any sense. Everything I’m reading about the rest of the season seems to indicate that they’re wrapping this storyline up this season, which, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for, but doesn’t help me buy LokSat as a viable threat. He’s supposedly the even more dangerous partner of Bracken, but it took six seasons to take Bracken down and only one for him?

One of the only interesting parts of this investigation for me has been Caleb, though he still isn’t as dynamic a character as anyone they dealt with in the Bracken investigation. His scene with Kate had me feeling a lot of different things. I loved Beckett’s fearlessness in that moment, as well as her confidence that he would do the right thing. It’s amazing to me that after everything she’s been through, Kate still looks for the good in people, something even her more idealistic husband struggled with in regards to Caleb. But as much as I loved that moment, it made me incredibly sad that our “badass Beckett” scenes are coming to an end. What’s more, Caleb’s warning there left me with a really bad feeling, and words can’t express how much I hope I’m wrong. This show is a big old fan of foreshadowing, and that’s why his warning that she might see this moment when her life flashed before her eyes scared me so much. I don’t want to get into it too much, because as I said, I really hope it doesn’t happen, but my heart can’t bear the thought of Kate’s beautiful, believable, hard-fought journey towards happiness ending in tragedy, especially because of some ridiculous behind the scenes politics.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Did that Caleb scene give you a bad feeling as well? Feel free to reassure me in the comments…

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