After last night's episode it finally became clear what is bothering me about the new Castle dynamic. Every writer knows that your characters have to have believable motivation or else their actions ring false and your readers won't trust you to deliver the story. Beckett has three very large motivation problems.
1. First, let me say Beckett going after her mother's conspirators made sense because it was her mother. Now, she's embroiled in this conspiracy, but has no real personal stake in it. She's going after people who killed an assistant AG and a team she worked with two years ago. What do you want to bet there are a bunch of other alphabet soup agents/officers doing the same thing? Castle's own stepmother said she'd been hunting this guy for years and hadn't even gotten close. So, not only does it not make sense for Beckett to throw her hat in the ring because she barely knew those people, she's giving up her family to do it and there is no logic behind that big of a sacrifice.
2. The second part of her motivation also leaves me scratching my head. She's leaving Castle to protect him? Um, the last hit squad kidnapped and tortured him. He is a famous person and their relationship has been all over the press. Just because she leaves him, doesn't mean he's protected. In fact, it would make him more vulnerable since she has also chosen to leave him in the dark with no warning to protect himself if something does happen.
3. Which brings me to the third reason why her motivation makes no sense. Without Castle she wouldn't have gotten any closure at all on her mother. She'd hit dead end after dead end. It was Castle and his investigation and connections that broke that case. She pushed him away all through that "conspiracy" as well. But they always work better together and she knows that. He would be her best ally to cracking this case.
With that in mind, last night's episode was cute, but it just felt like I'd seen it all before. The new showrunners are trying to recreate the beginnings of the Caskett relationship, instead of exploring how a married couple would handle two big job changes in their lives and a new family dynamic. It seems like they are afraid of the "Moonlighting" curse, so tossed aside any and all character growth with a fabricated separation between Castle and Beckett, and all for a chance to re-use old scripts? Sigh.
That said, I did enjoy seeing the tie grabbing stunt (yeah, we'd seen it before, but it was cute) and the tension in the prison cell while he boosted her up. (I know, another thing we've seen before, but I have to find enjoyment where I can.)
But let's talk about last night's episode. It had lots of twists and turns. We started out with a guy in an orange prison jump suit running in some woods. He turns and says he's been caught, then stands there while someone with a flashlight shoves him into a tree branch and impales him. It was actually quite gruesome. But why did he stand there? That seemed odd.
Castle wakes up in bed alone and he looks so dang sad. That's probably what I hate the most about the Caskett reboot. She knows he has a history of being left and she did it to him--the one person he should have been able to trust. He gets a Home Operating System (a voice in a box named Lucy) who tries to anticipate his needs (I can look up divorce attorneys for you) stuff like that. He talks to her like she's a friend and it's so very sad and needy.
Kate is working out with Vikram and she wants him to be serious about their case since she blew up her marriage for it. He gives her a chance to get out of this before they start. Kate declines because . . . oh yeah, she doesn't have a good reason.
The team goes to the murder scene and the boys are talking about why Caskett broke up since no one seems to know. Beckett comes to the scene (which I don't get. She's the captain! Shouldn't she be trying to fit into that role? It's like her title changed but nothing else. So many missed storyline opportunities!). They talk about who the guy could be, Lainey tries to get info out of her and reassures her Castle loves her (heaven knows why.)
The Home Operating System asked Castle how he won Kate in the first place so he decides that's how he'll get her back, by working cases with her. He heads to the morgue to talk to Lainey, sees a tattoo on the impaled dead guy and goes back to the PI office, where Alexis recognizes that is a Hudson University tattoo. (He must have really loved HU. I wouldn't get my alma mater tattooed on me.)
He heads to Hudson U to make a donation and be a guest professor while the team is also there investigating. Kate is surprised to see him, drags him out of the office by his bow tie and tells him to stay out of it. She's annoyed that he's not giving her time when she asked for it. Ugh. Really? Salt in the wound. The boys found out a guy at the U had a grudge against him, so they're going to go undercover to get info out of him. Seriously the highlight of the show was them dressing as college students and having the guy call them out as cops. So funny. (Do I have old man ear hair? Haha!) Castle trumps them by being the guest professor and having Alexis go undercover to get info out of him. She does, and it leads them to a secret apartment where Peter the dead guy was carrying on an affair.
Castle sends Alexis in to a frat party alone, dressed in a skimpy angel costume which was surprising to me. He'd always been such a protective father, but had no qualms doing that. Until the boys mentioned it to him and he hurried in. Why did he agree to it in the first place? Weird. Castle has a beer pong competition with Frankenstein and finds out the name of Peter's girlfriend. Beckett comes in and tells him to go home, then gets a phone call from Vikram. They found that creepy guy from her mother's murder conspiracy (Smith, I think) and he tells her to let it go, he's happy, and she's going to get herself killed. He finally relents and tells her to look for the drug signature Vulcan was using.
Castle and Alexis track down the girlfriend (head of the psych department) to an abandoned warehouse. They go in alone and get caught. A bunch of college students are playing prison guard/prisoner and it's super creepy. Castle demands to be let out and the college student guard takes him to the "warden." He puts her under citizen's arrest and takes her to the station, ordering everyone at the makeshift prison to stay where they are. They don't, and by the time he gets back with the boys, everything is gone. Kate reminds him they have protocol and he feels bad about how it turned out, but they do have the psych lady and they play some softball mind games with her and she folds pretty easily. Peter was actually having an affair with the other dean we met at the beginning (when Beckett pulled Castle out of the office) and she says she didn't kill him, she was just mad he stood her up.
Beckett and Castle go back to the makeshift prison and he locks them in Peter's cell so they can figure out how he escaped. Castle boosts Beckett up to the air vent and it's a bit tense with her in his arms. (She does tell him she'll always love him, but again, her actions don't say that at all.) Once she gets out they realize that Peter couldn't have done it alone. They bring in the girl who was in the cell next to Peter's. Apparently she would have gotten a scholarship to help her stay in school, but Peter won it instead. She didn't know why she killed him. Claimed it was another part of her. It was fairly unbelievable, too. I mean, this girl looked like she'd fall over in a stiff breeze, but she impaled a well-built man on a branch? Mmmm'kay.
Anyway, case closed. Castle goes to blow cigar bubbles with Alexis. He thinks his plan with Beckett is working. Poor guy.
So, all in all, I'm still not loving what they're doing to Caskett. It's just unoriginal and feels off. There were cute moments in the episode for them, for sure, but nothing we haven't seen before. I did love Ryan and Espo, though, and they are keeping the show enjoyable for me. I hope next week is better!
Did you see it? What did you think?