Series of Tubes: "Castle" Reaction (or how to ruin an event in one minute)


Let me get this out of the way up front: I really enjoyed the two-week "Castle" event. Last week's episode was great, balancing the traditional "Castle" fun humor with seriously tense drama and building to an incredible cliffhanger. The second part, which aired about an hour ago on the East Coast (and isn't airing for awhile on the West Coast, so, um, I guess "spoiler alert") was so good that I'm completely willing to forgive the absurdity of Beckett surviving the bomb blast in her apartment by hiding in her lead-lined bathtub.

What I'm not willing to forgive is the ending, which really just left a sour taste in my mouth after what was two hours of great television. For the majority of the two hours, the episodes centered around Beckett and Castle, and the serial killer with an unhealthy obsession with the Nikki Heat character (based on Beckett, created by Castle). There were a handful of Castle-at-home scenes thrown in, including one that provided another of those trademark "what did you say"moments where something random Alexis said leads Castle to break the case.

But those scenes weren't what the episode was about, which is why it was so weird to see the second part of the episode end with a scene between Castle, his daughter and his mother. It almost felt like the writers realized they forgot to wrap up the whole "Castle's mother moving out but hanging on" storyline, so they tacked it on to the end. It wasn't a terrible scene by any means, but it wasn't up to the quality of the rest of the episode, it came out of nowhere, and it seemed to "cut off" rather than come to a sensible ending. I went back and watched it again to see if I missed something, and I'm pretty sure I didn't. The scene just doesn't make sense where it's placed in the episode.

That said, the rest of the episode itself met my every expectation, particularly in the last couple of scenes leading up to the apprehension of the serial killer. Sometimes on this show, I feel like they forget that Castle is a writer, and they treat him more like a generic crime expert. But in the scene with Castle and Beckett in the truck, waiting while the FBI was moving in on what the thought was the killer's hideout, Castle felt like a writer again. He didn't have any reason for his hunch other than "that's not how I would write it", but that's exactly why he's in the position he's in.

There were a lot of Castle writing-related crimes in the first season, either through direct reference or something in the crime reminding Castle of he'd written, but those hadn't been as plentiful in the second season. This two-part episode got back to some of that, and that aspect of Castle's character is what drew me to the show in the first place.

Also, I have to take a moment to congratulate my new favorite character on television: Detective Kevin Ryan (played by Seamus Dever). When they were getting leads on the serial killer, they discovered that the guy he'd set up was a Knicks fan, to which Ryan said "His only other joy in life was the Knicks. Poor guy." They quickly figured out that the framed killer didn't have a TV at his house, which meant he had to watch the games at a bar. Ryan chimed in with "if you're a Knicks fan, you gotta share your pain with somebody." Two digs at the Knicks in 30 seconds? Yes please.

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