It looks like Beckett’s last-minute firing from last week’s episode from the Feds is sticking. I guess the Feds are just that strict…even on TV. Back in New York City, Beckett is as bored as can be, complaining to Castle that she has not been unemployed since she was 15. It turns out that she could not be reinstated by the police commissioner because of budget cuts. But a quick phone call from Captain Gates may turn all of that around. It seems that Castle’s “number one fan” killed her boyfriend and holed herself up in a dentist’s office with hostages. The catch is that the suspect is demanding to speak to Castle and Castle only. After passing a gauntlet of questions about his own books, the gun-woman allows Castle into the dentist’s office so that he can deal with her directly. Not the most believable scenario but it made for interesting TV. Especially when compared with last week’s debacle of an episode.
As usual, it seems that Castle and Beckett are in over their heads. Of course that doesn’t stop Captain Gates from letting Beckett work the crime scene even though technically she is not a cop at the 12th anymore. While it is certainly not Die Hard, the episode goes out of its way to make the most of the classic setup of the innocent gunman with a heart of gold. From early on it is pretty clear that this is a standard setup and that the woman in crisis has a history of violence and mental illness, but there is something that does not seem right. She is holding out and it seems only Castle can crack this mystery. There are some light moments and the usual repartee between Castle and Beckett. While I would not put this episode on any Top 10 lists, it does manage to hit the right notes and follow the formula that made the show work all these years.
When the layers of the conspiracy are peeled off they reveal how high up it goes, things get a little too easy. A wealthy NYC power broker with an eye on political office is inadvertently involved in the case—in a good way. A magical phone call between the NYC VIP and the police commish rewards Kate with her job back at the 12th. I am starting to feel like the wheels are coming off the proverbial tracks of what makes Castle Castle. Even an amateur sleuth of the lowest caliber like myself can see these plot lines laid out before they are spoken this season. The whole “Beckett as a Fed” experiment seems to have been an exercise in futility. It left me scratching my head as the Kate character seems to be regressing rather than moving forward. And a tough, kick-ass chick like Kate Beckett deserves to be moving up in the world. As much as I like her as the queen of the 12th, they really dropped the ball as far as her moving up the chain of command in law enforcement. The upper echelon was calling her name but the producers decided that she belonged back at the station house. I’m not saying I don’t like Beckett where she is but it would have been cool to see her move up in the world.
Yes it feels like home having Castle and Beckett back on the beat but I will be really bummed at more vanilla episodes that do not really push the boundaries. The first four seasons had the weight of major conspiracy, Beckett’s mother’s murder and the now-deceased Captain Montgomery being in on all of it. I want to see that kind of real tension back to the show along with the signature banter they had before they were a couple AND maintain the high stakes of some of their earlier episodes. If they can’t achieve this then I am seriously starting to worry how many seasons are left before this toe is tagged.
Den of Geek Rating: 2.5 Out of 5 Stars