For what is pretty much an episodic procedural, "Castle" has a handful of really good serialized elements, and two of them were on display in Monday's episode, "Knockdown."
First, let's address that picture up there. Yes, Castle and Beckett finally kissed, ending years of will-they-or-won't-they speculation... sort of. See, Castle only kissed Beckett to sell a bit he and Beckett were doing to distract a guard, but then, after they separated the first time, Beckett kissed him again. The way the moment developed, and how it wasn't the centerpiece of the episode, felt so organic and so well done. It was a great job by everyone involved, from the writers to the actors to the directors, and bodes well for the show going forward (especially since most shows go incredibly downhill after a pair of "will-they-or-won't-they" characters gets together).
But as much as this episode will be talked about, and remembered, for that kiss, it was more about the other major continuing story on "Castle," the murder of Beckett's mother. I was a little disappointed at one significant development -- for the second time, someone with information regarding the case was killed before they could get all the information they needed from him, which contrasted with the kiss seems like really lazy writing -- but everything else was good. I was particularly impressed with the performance of Jonathan Adams, who I'd loved as Dr. Goodman on Bones. His character ended up having little to nothing to do with the case, but Adams sold his scene anyway.
There was an undercurrent to both stories, about why Castle continues to shadow Beckett even though he's got more than enough material to continue writing Nikki Heat novels. It's been a question that's lingered over the season, and there's a reason it came up so prominently in this episode. The answer is tied to both of those ongoing serialized elements: Castle stays because he has feelings for Beckett, but also because he wants to help solve this case.
On a weekly basis, "Castle" does a good job of making its everyday cases interesting, in large part because of its characters. And when those characters are so closely tied to the plot, it just makes things better, which is why this episode was probably my favorite of the season.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.