We know what's on your minds, Castle fans: after last season's sorry cut-away right when things were finally heating up between Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic), you want to know where they stand-- and how much more sexy time comes-- when the season five premiere starts.
And if you don't want to know about that, we apologize. Judging from our Twitter feed, though, it was the number one question about the premiere episode, "After the Storm," by a landslide, which is why we're focusing our preview post on it.
Well, there is good news for all of you shippers who breathed a big sigh of relief back in the spring. When "After the Storm" kicks off, it is the morning after Castle and Beckett finally did the deed, and Castle, and the show by extension, takes the time to ask Beckett point blank if the "thing" between them is for real or just because her life is in crisis. While we admittedly didn't love the exposition right up front, we admit it was a question we had in our heads ever since action was finally taken. Sure, their feelings have been there for a long time, but just because feelings are real doesn't mean the timing is right. And with such a delicate relationship as one that is half-professional, we didn't want to see them jump into bed, only to realize that actually ruined things.
Castle and Beckett seem to very much be on the same page in "After the Storm," (at one point Castle even channels the fans to say that they "should have done that four years ago"), though that is not to say that their intimate time together doesn't get interrupted, in the most comedic way possible, when his mommy comes home early. Yes, seriously. It's like they're a couple of teenagers, and it's actually cuter than it sounds because it's in pure Castle whimsy fashion. In fact, the episode, and Beckett herself, starts off a bit "softer" than one might expect, given the severity of life or death situation of which they are all trying to keep her out. But thankfully, that's not for long.
It is Castle's knee-jerk reaction that puts the first crimp in this new lovey-dovey relationship, though, bringing back the usual fire and sassiness from Beckett, which is a welcome relief. The first minute or so of the episode was a bit too "soap opera romance" for the dynamic we have come to know and love from these two.
Castle and Beckett aren't the only ones still learning and growing, though. Alexis (Molly Quinn) has a major milestone after her graduation party; and both Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) step up their police game to hunt down Beckett's shooter, the latter even calling upon his military service contacts in a way that we hope the show circles back to, in order to get more insight into him.
For anyone who loves watching Castle solve mysteries like puzzles, this time around he, along with Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito, gets to solve the ultimate puzzle after an explosion shreds a file they needed to get to the bottom of not only her shooter but also the person who killed her mother. Big strides are being taken in a very short amount of time to deliver on what turns out to be a twistier political case than previously expected. They should have done that four years ago!
But perhaps it is because the sexual tension has been consummated, no longer a distraction, that the show is able to hone in and focus anew...
"After the Storm" is more of a "tying up loose ends" premiere in order to jump start an action-packed arc for the new season than it is a "case of the week" procedural. With Beckett still resigned to be, well, resigned from the NYPD, she and Castle investigate the man who has been "keeping her safe" from the comfort of her own home, laypeople with extraordinary skills that allow them to get to the bottom of things faster than even Ryan with all of his police resources.
Dever really taps into a more emotional side of Ryan, mingling an almost manic agitation, guilt, and remorse. He is a man torn between his loyalty to her and to the Captain Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald), in a way that should have lingering affects over the way he relates to both of them going forward, despite Beckett's claims that she already forgives him. Is she just the best adjusted person on the planet, or is she existing so hard off adrenaline that she's bound for a crash?
Only subsequent episodes can tell what her long-term game is, but so far, one thing is for sure: Castle has started its fifth season off right simply for the strong balance of emotional character moments with pushing the long-term plot ahead. We can't tell you anything about the final few minutes for fear of ruining the pure pleasure you will experience while watching Beckett take control of her life and situation truly for the first time in the show's run for yourselves. But can tease that it is a cable drama worthy scene, taking a brief page from the way Homeland itself plays with the idea of power and how to really leave your mark. We may have underestimated what this show wanted its message to be. If this season premiere is a true indication of the rest of Castle's season, though, the best is still yet to come.
And hopefully that best will include Lanie (Tamala Jones), who was sadly missing for this premiere.
Castle returns to ABC on September 24th 2012 at 10 p.m.
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