It was a case of “Castle Gone Crazy" (or #CastleGoneWild if you were on Twitter) in the Jan. 21 episode, and despite how much the twelfth episode of the season was initially appearing to be filler, 5x12 was delightfully balanced with all those things that have endeared many to the crime drama from the get-go. Additionally, "Death Gone Crazy" had several moments that seemed to foreshadow some serious events to come in future episodes, too, which begs the question as to what we're in for with the two-parter this year.
Kelly Hu’s character and the potential romance between Scarlet and Esposito was featured in many of the recent teasers for the episode, and at first glance, especially from the sneak peeks that were released, “Death Gone Crazy” was looking to be just another filler leading into the drama set to come in February. On the contrary, 5x12 was a pleasant surprise with its content. The Espo/Scarlet romancing was very light, and while it led to quite a few comedic Ryan/Espo moments ("Sorry we had to copblock you, bro." Ha!) it was not at all at the forefront like early media reports were playing it up to be. Castle and Beckett were back to front and center again this week, and the episode felt like a throwback to the Castle and Beckett dynamic of seasons past. We didn’t need that single, momentous Caskett scene; the interaction between them through the episode as a whole was fulfilling to watch, and the episode itself was solid, crime solving fun.
Case in point: College Guys Gone Nuts. This scene was completely unexpected, and Beckett checking out the topless guys with Castle having to snap her out of it was priceless! It was very reminiscent of season 3’s “Almost Famous” with the male strippers and how amused Beckett was while Castle was so obviously uncomfortable. Add in the "You ever do it in a nightclub, Detective?" and Castle's double-take to Beckett in a later scene, and we have some classic and highly entertaining Castle and Beckett moments right there.
But not everything was fun and games for our duo this week. There were, of course, some heavier, and more subtle but meaningful moments between the two as well, some of which that is starting to look even more like foreshadowing for events to come, given the fatherhood element of it all (more on that in a moment). A few scenes showed Beckett being rather thoughtful and reflective in regards to Castle, giving viewers a glimpse at him through her eyes for a change, which is something we've been hoping to get since that end scene in 5x10.
"Did he have any family?"
“No. His mom left when he was little and he never knew his dad. I think it's what drove him. You know, this company was the family he never had. People thought he was this sleaze, surrounding himself with all these women, but it was because he was looking for something he couldn’t find.”
This was one huge bit of subtext! It explains exactly why Castle used to exhibit such a huge playboy persona in the early seasons, and why it’s disappeared over the years. He finally found what he was looking for: Beckett.
If you’ll remember back to last season’s two-parter, Castle says at the end of “Linchpin” that when he was writing Clara Strike, the character started out based on Sophia, but ended up turning out to be more like Beckett in the end. He went on to say that he thinks that’s what drew him to her. That scene was profound back then because it was as though he was saying that he was writing Clara Strike in the Derrick Storm books as though she were his ideal woman, and then years down the road, he finally meets Kate Beckett, who was the embodiment of what he wrote in the character of his book series.
After meeting Beckett, Castle's persona changed. Not immediately, not even quickly, but gradually Castle started moving away from the guy we first met in the pilot episode, and he became the guy we know today. Beckett was what Castle had been searching for all those years, and once he found her, there was no reason to keep up the façade anymore. Castle has always been himself around his daughter and mother, but it's only once he found that missing piece to his little family puzzle that he was finally comfortable being who he truly is deep down: a wonderful son, devoted father, and the amazing partner and boyfriend he is to the woman he loves.
This end scene is another huge one for a couple reasons, and beware as we'll be headed into some potential spoiler territory from here as far as two-parter speculation is concerned. Proceed with caution.
"You think he'll be able to accept his grandchild?"
"What makes you so sure?"
"Because a father would do anything for his daughter."
Beckett got to see more of the parental side of Castle in this episode, especially in this exchange, and there was some very obvious foreshadowing in this episode with Alexis potentially being faced with danger in the future. Castle is paranoid she's "catnip for internet predators", and then here he is essentially saying he'd do anything for her. It's been said time and time again that what drew Beckett to Castle, in spite of his immaturity and other annoying quirks in the early days, was him being a father. That smile at the end says everything, really, as to what Beckett's thinking in that moment. She loves how great of a father he is to Alexis, and knowing that he would do anything for his kid. And if this episode truly is foreshadowing with Castle's "parental paranoia" over Alexis' vlog, and Alexis being heavily involved in the two-parter, it sounds like we may see exactly how far Castle would go to protect and/or save his kid very soon. A scenario like that will open up Castle's character like never before, and really, it's about time.
Overall, this week’s episode made last week’s pale in comparison. The case this time around was far more interesting, and the twists and turns—especially the unexpected but laughter-inducing ones—throughout the investigation kept it engaging and easy to follow along with. Ryan and Esposito were hilarious together, and the one-liners were great. Ryan particularly shined when teasing Espo, and he had the best lines of the night. Finally, while there were no big Castle and Beckett moments in the physically romantic sense, the subtle but meaningful scenes between the two of them were still poignant and significant in their own right. The ending of the episode was especially satisfying, and makes the prospect of what they may have planned for the two-parter even more exciting.
“Castle” will be on hiatus next week with a repeat of episode 5x04 "Murder, He Wrote" airing on Jan. 28, and will be returning on Feb. 4 with brand new episode 5x13 “Recoil”. The thirteenth episode of the season will not only see the return of Beckett’s therapist Dr. Carter Burke (Michael Dorn), but “the Dragon” himself, Senator William H. Bracken (Jack Coleman).
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