Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TV Recap: Castle 7-1 - Driven

Of all the season premiers this year, I was most looking forward to Once Upon a Time and Castle.  Sunday night’s Once was okay, but that was about it.  And Monday’s Castle?  I think I get what they were trying for, but it just didn’t work.  They wrote themselves in a corner and couldn’t get their way out of it, at least in one episode.

The episode picks up moments after the finale from last season ended.  Beckett has just shown up at the scene of Castle’s car crash and is trying to get into the burning car.  Esposito and Ryan show up, closely followed by Martha and Alexis.  When the firemen put out the fire, Beckett realizes that no one is in the car.  And so the hunt begins for Castle.

They put up road blocks and search for him that way, but their real clue comes from a road side fruit seller who saw the SUV that forced Castle off the road.  He saw both cars go one way, and then the SUV going the other a few minutes later.  Then the FBI is able to force on Castle’s phone just long enough to get a ping at a local junk yard where they find the SUV – just seconds before it is crushed.  But again, Castle wasn’t in it.

They question the guy who was crushing the car, and he finally rolls on the guy who hired him.  But that mobster, someone Castle knows, was just doing the job he was hired to do as well.  And the person who dropped off the payment?  They find a video of it, and even before they enhance it I knew who it was – Castle.

The FBI had been called in as well, and they questioned whether it might be someone that had a grudge against Beckett and/or Castle.  That leads Beckett down a list of past killers, including the top two fan theories – Bracken and 3XK.  However, once the video surfaces, the FBI backs off, figuring that Castle ran away.

Beckett doesn’t give up, and she spends the next two months searching everywhere she can think of, including Paris.  Then Castle shows up in a row boat off the coast of New Jersey.  And there are bullet holes in the boat.

Castle is in a coma, but with a little help from the Coast Guard, Beckett comes up with an area to search for where he got the boat.  Information about the boat helps as well, and they track it down to an isolated area in Massachusetts.  When they arrive, the guy living in the trailer says that Castle has been camped out there for months, and the tent they find is filled with his clothes and other items, including the clothes from the wedding.

However, when Castle awakes, he doesn’t know anything about the last two months.  In fact, he thought he was in the accident the day before.  At this point, Beckett finally gives in to all the others who have been saying that Castle ran away/had a psychotic break.

She might never have believed Castle if they hadn’t gone back to the site of the trailer and his tent.  When they go to talk to the owner of the trailer, it’s a different guy, and he hasn’t been there for months.  Turns out that the guy Beckett first talk to was a fake.

Now everyone is on board with the fact that there is a greater conspiracy behind Castle’s kidnapping.  But we have no clue what it might be.  And, while Beckett and Castle aren’t quite back to where they were, they are on the road to becoming very close again.

I knew we weren’t going to get the solution to the mystery of the crash/his disappearance last night.  I don’t even expect to have it by the end of next week.  I’ll be happy if we get it by the end of the season.  See, the creator and the new show runner have been talking all summer about how the show needed some new mythology now that we’ve wrapped up Beckett’s mother’s murder.  That’s actually the first point where I’d disagree with them.  Yes, story arcs are all the rage, and most of the show I watch have them.  However, I don’t think every show needs one.  Most of the books I read are standalone stories with some growth between in the characters but no bigger story to keep me coming back, yet I keep coming back.  Once upon a time, we tuned into a show because we liked the characters and wanted to spend time with them, not because of some greater mythos.  Frankly, I miss that.  It would be nice to have a few shows that didn’t feel the need to have longer arcs on them.

Ok, I’ll step off that rant now and look at what we did get here.

It just didn’t quite work for me, and the reason it didn’t work was because it was so rushed.  I get that we needed to get Castle back.  Let’s face it, we knew he was coming back.  However, by skipping those two months, we weren’t in the emotional place that Beckett was, so her turning on Castle felt too harsh and sudden to me.  It felt forced.  Frankly, with how in love we left them, I don’t see her turning on him that quickly when he did resurface.  Yes, I know Beckett is a skeptic, but still.

On the other hand, I can understand her having drifted a bit and not being in the same place Castle is as far as their relationship goes.  That moment completely rang true to me.

Still, the show hasn’t gone as far as Lois and Clark did with their ridiculous clone interrupted wedding story line.  I think they are smart enough to step back and get things back on a normal track fairly quickly.  I don’t think it spells the doom of the show; it just isn’t the strong start I’d been hoping for all summer.

And, honestly, that may have been more of my problem, too – heightened expectations.  I’d been waiting for this all summer, after all.

I’m hoping the show is closer to back on track when it returns next week.

So, what did you think of last night?  Am I off in my thoughts?  Did I not go far enough to judging the show runners?  Let me know in the comments.


  1. I've got issues with the episode too. I was...very unhappy with the finale. I'm not that unhappy now, but I'm not happy again yet either. I had read different things, especially in the last week, about what would happen, so I already knew a few things would happen - the doubts and all that anyway. Even before I read that stuff, I wasn't expecting everything to be resolved in this episode.

    So far, I'm not really liking the direction they decided to go with this. I really, really do not like that they spent so much time making it look like Rick was willingly involved in what happened to the point where just about everyone doubted him, even Kate. From a logical or more realistic point of view, I can see why some of the doubts pop up. I don't like it though. I just don't like that the story is making it look like Rick is a sneaky liar even briefly.

    I agree that not all shows have to have the big, ongoing story arcs too. Sure keep developing the characters and sharing more little bits about their past or something. It is difficult for those types of long, on going stories to be done well, and more often than not, they fall flat. The Castle writers handled the stuff about Johanna very well and the way that concluded was probably one of the best episodes of the series. Just because that is settled doesn't mean they need to rush into something with Rick. They still have stuff with 3XK and the creepy doctor they can deal with..and even Rick's dad. If they want to focus more on Rick and have some stuff from his past come up, I'm ok with that. I'm just not liking the way they are setting that up. At least right now. Hopefully we get a little more information in the next episode that will make me feel better about this.

    1. I'm definitely willing to give them a few episodes to convince me this is a good story angle, but I'm certainly not there yet. Which is ironic because I felt like the only one not saying the sky was falling after the season six finale.

    2. I understand that feeling. I'm not there yet either, but I see hints of the potential and think they have at least started back in the right direction. I just would have preferred if they had found a different way to start this new story arc stuff.
      I didn't think the sky was falling after the finale, but I was definitely not happy with it. I'm still a bit annoyed. Even with the few other episodes I didn't like as much, I wasn't as annoyed or disappointed in them. But I have no intention of giving up on the show.
      I did see something last night that had a bit of a spoiler in it. It made me feel so much better about where things are going. It looks like things will be a lot better sooner rather than later.

    3. I can see how they could easily get us to more solid ground quickly. It's why I'm not giving up on the show yet. But I hope it does happen and soon.

    4. I've seen something that has a spoiler in it if you look close enough. It is a good thing and should be within a month, give or take a week.