Yes. Doi. The real question is: will the back end of this two-parter soar or drift?
Waaay back in Season 5,1 ABC’s Castle did something pretty awesome. They built a very solid episode centering around Alexis, the titular character’s daughter, being kidnapped, and they capped it with something that has become a bit of a lost art: a cliffhanger ending. In particular, Alexis manages to make a break for the roof of the building where she’s being held so she can tell the NYPD where it is. Surely someone will now save the Castle child!
No! Because she bursts out of the roof stairwell, the camera whirls, she looks absolutely stunned… and the camera wheels around to show us that she’s looking at the Eifel Tower. Blackout. Credits. Jaws on floors across this great land of ours. I may actually have applauded.2
Castle is a damn solid show (most of the time) with a rather deep cast (which doesn’t always get used, at least not in the later seasons) but it’s also a show that’s best in its moments. Fan service moments to be sure, but also scenes that sneakily showcase actors,3 show a surprising depth of writing,4 and nail the clever twist. This is a show about a mystery writer and a stellar detective, after all – clever twists are practically de rigueur.
The problem – or, more nicely, the missed opportunity – has long been that Castle doesn’t build well on its moments. Case in point: the second half of the above-mentioned episode – while awesome for introducing James Brolin as Castle’s absentee super-spy father – lacked so much oomph it was easy to forget the thrilling chase and even more thrilling denouement that had come before.
Which is why I’m tentatively fingers-crossed for the episode debuting in less than half an hour. Last week gave us a pitch-perfect return of 3XK, the beyond-brilliant serial killer who slips in and out of the Castle universe with a playbook that could easily be Castle’s next five or six books. It also ended with a moment we haven’t seen in a while – Rick Castle looking anything but happy, giving a death stare to the departing villains as he’s just figured out that their current endgame involves Beckett. It was a solid cliffhanger ending, with Beckett getting nabbed and 3XK walking straight out of the precinct, juiced by that glare, that moment…
We know Beckett will be saved, somehow. This show isn’t/can’t be that creative with its stories. So now Castle has to do what it hasn’t really been able to do before – keep up the momentum for an hour. Let’s hope it doesn’t just grind to a halt.
- So… no spoiler warning here, although if you haven’t seen the episode you may want to go watch and be pleasantly surprised, as was I. ↵
- Probably not – two years ago I was watching all my television on my laptop at a coffee shop, and, despite reports to the contrary, I don’t try and draw attention to myself in public. ↵
- Seamus Deaver’s interrogation discovery that Castle and Beckett are dating was one for the ages. ↵
- The time traveller episode is seriously one of the better constructed TV short stories since The Twilight Zone. ↵