It’s hard to be moved by an episode of a TV show when approximately 85 percent of it is bullshit, but despite the It’s A Wonderful Lifeyness of “The Time of Our Lives” does offer fans an iconic moment in the history of this show, so it’s not all bad. The question is, does this Castle episode’s journey to that moment diminish it, does it heighten it, or is it irrelevant?
The episode begins with an obvious setup for what we’re about to endure. Kate gets a wedding invitation from an ex-boyfriend (who sends out a wedding invitation to their ex?), and she and Rick briefly and playfully ponder where they would be without each other.
Quickly, the two leave the kitchen and head off to their latest crime scene where they find clues that lead them to an abandoned coal plant where a shootout ensues after Rick picks up an odd looking artifact that sets off an alarm after it is removed from its case.
This isn’t just any odd looking artifact, though, it’s a portal, and when Rick is blown through a door by a flash bang, he wakes up sans artifact in a dimension much like his own, but with a few key changes.
For one, Kate is now the captain and Javier and Ryan work under her. They also have no idea who Rick is. Martha and Alexis, on the other hand, do recognize Rick as a part of their family, but the characters have walked down incredibly different paths than the ones that we know — Martha is the toast of Broadway and Alexis is raven haired, cynical, and typically found in Los Angeles where she works for a stagnating non-profit. To them, Rick is a failed novelist party-boy with a penchant for keeping company with escorts or near-escorts. There is no Nikki Heat, no long history of solving crimes with the NYPD, just a quick one-off a few years ago with a cop that wasn’t Kate.
Since this is Castle, there is a case-of-the-week to solve, but it’s really just stand-in that allows Rick to persistently pester Kate to participate while telling viewers that the natural connection that the two have spans dimensions. So much so that Rick would even die for this dimension’s version of Kate when fate brings back to the abandoned coal factory and the artifact, which once again proves itself to be a doorway, this time leading Rick back home.
Like I said: up top, bullshit. Why bullshit? Because we know that this is a dream or a hallucination or something along those lines. Because of that, none of this matters. Or does it?
I get easily annoyed by parallel world storylines when they lack staying power or feasibility relative to the story. This is a prime example of that kind of behavior. On the last season of Being Human, they did the same thing in a grander way, but while I was put off by the brevity of their exploration, I eventually came to understand that the experience had altered the characters.
Did this experience alter Rick? Yes and no. On one hand, he did re-propose to and marry Kate instantly after his return, but that was inevitable and the amount of trials and tribulations that they have been through should have eased all doubt that they belong together. Especially after they were able to get back to normal after he blew off their last wedding and disappeared for months for reasons that are still not known to Kate or Rick.
If there is any real change that came about because of the dream/dimension skip, it’s that Rick saw his mother’s career in full bloom and he gently nudged her to try out for a role once he got back. Which is a nice thing, but not earth-shattering.
The wedding was also nice, but not earth shattering. Did fans, after years of will they/won’t they shenanigans, near death experiences, fights, and the aforementioned disappearance deserve a “wedding episode” sans gimmicks? I think the answer to that question may be yes, but I’m not sure. Nonetheless, fans will get a honeymoon episode next week that looks like it might right that wrong. It also looks like a lot of fun and a splendid opportunity to make a few Captain Tightpants references what with the western motif of a dude ranch as the setting. Until then, I bid you adieu, adieu until the next time we spend our time trying to solve the mystery of Castle.