Review: Castle 8.21

I didn’t love this one, partly because of its tonal issues. Usually this show is fairly good at balancing the creepy and the comedic (season five’s “Scared to Death” is a great example), but here it felt jarring rather than cohesive, I think because the case was too unsettling for the funny moments to feel genuine. This also seemed like a strange choice for the penultimate episode of the season; this may just be my thing, but I always like a light, fun episode before the angst of a finale, and since its finales are typically pretty contained, Castle is one of the only shows on-air that can usually pull that off.

What’s more, not only was this the last episode before the finale, it was also Beckett’s last “normal” episode, and I was bummed that she didn’t play a larger role. To be fair, the writers didn’t know at the time that this would be one of her last, but she’s just generally been sidelined far too much this season for my liking, something I’ll expand on in a moment.

It was also Castle and Beckett’s last regular episode as a couple, which meant it was their last chance for a cute domestic subplot, for fun, flirty case banter, for a standard interrogation teamup, etc., and I wasn’t satisfied on any of those fronts. Sure, I always love it when Beckett pranks Castle, and the two scaring Hayley and Alexis together was fun, but overall the Caskett scenes highlighted a huge problem the show’s had over the last couple seasons.

Just a heads up, I’m about to be brutally honest about something that’s been bugging me, and I think a lot of fans, for awhile. I’m only mentioning it now because we’re nearing the end of Castle and Beckett’s time together, and I won’t get another chance. It’s obvious that, for whatever reason, Castle and Beckett have had drastically fewer scenes together for the larger part of two seasons, and to be frank, it’s torpedoed the show. It’s meant that episodes like last night’s have become the norm, while ones like last week’s fun dating outing are the exception.

I try hard not to talk about BTS stuff and just critique the episode that’s in front of me, but it’s been hard to ignore it in this case. I’ll be honest: I don’t think their reduced screen time is the fault of the writers. In fact, I bet it’s even more frustrating for them than it is for viewers. I think they made the most of a crap situation, not always very well (cough, breakup, cough), but doing the best they could. This ties into Beckett feeling nonessential, I think. If for whatever reason your main couple can’t have as many scenes together as they used to, then the character the show’s named after is just naturally going to be given more to do. And as someone who quite honestly likes Beckett more than Castle, that’s a real shame.  

Sure, there were funny moments in this episode that didn’t include her: Hayley cracking the safe, everyone laughing at Alexis’ antichrist cookie joke, etc., but they added up to a pale imitation of the show I fell in love with, as most episodes this season have. Even more than falling in love with an individual character, I fell in love with the magic of Castle and Beckett together, something that’s been reduced this season but will completely cease to exist in season nine. That’s why, as I’m sure a lot of fans are considering right now, in the event that the show does get renewed, I won’t be watching it. I may change my mind after seeing the finale, but that’s where my head’s at right now.

Sorry to end on such a bitter note, but what are your thoughts on this hour and a potential season nine? Hit the comments and let me know.

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