This Castle review contains spoilers.
The end result was predictable, but last night’s Castle filled up our cup with tremendous performances and a few interesting sights and sounds.
Picking up where last week’s episode left off, Rick Castle and the 12th Precinct crew hurriedly searched for Kate Beckett, shaking Mike Boudreau/Jerry Tyson’s tree to see what he knew — a fruitless endeavor that pushed Rick to embrace the need to operate outside of the law to find his wife.
Rick’s vigilante maneuvers are at the heart of this episode. He and Kate have been through so much that he understands the danger and spins at a different speed than everyone else. The difference between losing a wife and losing a partner and friend. The difference between being a target of a madman’s swipes and being adjacent to all of that.
When Rick forces his way into Boudreau/Tyson’s apartment, we see a menacing version of Nathan Fillion that gets lost under the gentle goofiness that he usually deploys on Castle. This dude will kick you into a jet engine.
Boudreau/Tyson is a rag doll when matched up against Rick’s fury as he is tossed about the apartment. On his knees with a gun pointed at him, Boudreau/Tyson constantly tries to sell Rick on the lie, his face half-hidden by shadows and half covered in blood.
When the cops come, Rick doesn’t break his gaze, but Boudreau/Tyson breaks his character ever so slightly, a fraction of a grin slowly taking shape on his face.
The stylistic influences are all over the place. From comic books (in the above mentioned scene) to torture porn and gritty action thrillers. To me, the color pallette used in this episode — greys and cool blues — make it feel like a Tony Scott film. Enemy of the State comes to mind.
At the station house, Rick is in custody while Boudreau/Tyson is in the foreground giving his statement. Again, Rick’s gaze is unbroken, even as he gets a lecture about taking things into his own hands. He is dogged. He is focused. We get it.
Away from the action, in the dark and quiet, Captain Gates comes to Rick. Penny Johnson Jerald doesn’t get many big moments on this show as the stock authority figure and she certainly doesn’t get to be gentle or humane when she does get the spotlight. An expectation chip that gets cashed in here by the producers as she shepperd’s Rick away from the dancing blue flame of rage and points him towards another, more productive way. Rick has to see the story, not just react of chase.
Because this is only supposed to run as a two-episode event, Boudreau/Tyson breaks character by calling Rick moments after leaving the station and breaking free of the detail that was following him. It’s a shortcut, but we roll with it.
Ryan says that the call is coming from inside of Rick’s apartment after tracking. Soon a fast moving aerial shot of the city breaks the transition from the station to the apartment as we rush in with the SWAT team to find Alexis and Martha startled by the raid. There isn’t a part of Rick’s life that Boudreau/Tyson isn’t toying with at this point and that point is rammed home once more when Castle, Ryan, and Esposito go to a warehouse and watch what they think is Kate’s execution — a gut punch of a scene that is quickly revealed to be another hoax, seemingly pushing Castle back toward the chase and the rage.
A surprise appearance by Lee Tergesen as Marcus Gates, Tyson’s former protege seems to give Rick an in and a compass, but it’s a little too easy.
Armed with a gun and building plans for Boudreau/Tyson’s possible hideout, Rick heads for the woods by way of a montage that is cut with his conversation with Marcus Gates.
Once he arrives, Rick pulls up the building plans but wait… he doesn’t have Wifi. Thank GOODNESS, his car has a built-in Wifi hotspot. And also a spacious trunk… welcome to what feels like 2015’s most awkwardly timed bit of product placement. Your move, Bones and Modern Family.
Naturally, Kate isn’t in the house, but Boudreau/Tyson is with a taser in hand. A surprise taser — the worst kind. Self-satisfied in his victory over Castle, Boudreau/Tyson does the bad guy overshare, only to find out that CRISS-CROSS! Rick has actually tricked him by not going it alone, but actually including Esposito and Ryan, who are poised to take a… and they shot him. Jerry Tyson is dead again. Or Mike Boudreau. We’re never gonna find out which one. Until next season when Michael Mosely comes back to play Willem Crenshaw Slade, another Tyson-doppelganger… or is he!?
Alright, enough hijinks. The point is, with Boudreau/Tyson disposed of, the hunt was on for Kate before the iced-creapy Dr. Kelly Nieman could take her face… off. This is the torture porn part, because the industrial sounding music and Kate’s last second grasp of Nieman’s face cutting hand felt like a scene from the Saw franchise, as did Rick’s discovery that Kate didn’t need to be saved since she was able to break free and apparently cut Dr. Kelly Nieman to ribbons until she had no more blood in her body. A sharply dark twist that may haunt Beckett going forward assuming that the show isn’t going to go right back to… nope. Next week’s episode sees Rick (who is back with the force and whose assault charges against Boudreau/Tyson were dropped because it’s okay if you beat and threaten a guy who turns out to be bad…) and Kate go into a space simulator to solve a case and I have whiplash.
With that said, THIS was a solid effort. Castle should keep giving its actors more to do than mug for the camera and they should let their directors play with the things that influenced them more often. Finger wag.