: The actors, a few of the episodes/moments
: Set up for the season ruins everything we love about
Ruined by writer’s choices
“You, Me, and a Crime Scene – Just as Nature Intended.”
I have been a fan of Castle
since season one, episode one, day one.
The mix of banter, romance, and mystery was perfect for me. Okay, so the mysteries weren’t the strongest,
but I fell in love with these characters and couldn’t wait to revisit them week
Which is why I am still trying to wrap my head around what
the writers did to them in season 8
Yes, I was actually one of the many who was glad the show
was canceled when this season ended so we were all put out of our misery. There were parts I enjoyed, but for the most
part it felt very forced this season.
And I’ll warn you now that this review might devolve into
rants a few times.
The season opens with a brilliant two part episode that
finds mystery writer Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) investigating the disappearance
of his wife, newly promoted NYPD Captain Kate Beckett (Stana Kantic), with the
help of two of her detectives, Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito (Seamus Dever and
Jon Huertas). Then, in the second part,
we get Beckett’s side of things until both halves come together for a wonderful
climax. Well, it would have been
wonderful if they hadn’t decided to completely mess with the show.
See, the plot of this two parter revolved around Beckett
learning there was more to the conspiracy surrounding her mother’s murder,
something I thought we had finally put to bed a couple of seasons ago. Beckett learns that she is in danger, and in
an attempt to keep Castle and his mother and daughter, Martha and Alexis (Susan
Sullivan and Molly Quinn) safe, she announces she needs a break for their
marriage and moves out. No explanation
to Castle about what is really going on.
Now, this is supposed to recapture the old magic of the show
when Castle was pursuing Beckett and she was resisting. And they returned to Castle working as a PI
to bring him into these cases of the week.
But seriously, let’s go back to that premise for a minute. What bad guy is going to stop going after
your family because you left them a week ago?
A month ago? Seriously? You think that’s going to keep them
safe? They are going to go after them to
get at you just as much today as they did before you left. Plus, with no warning to them, they are in
more danger. If you stayed or at least
told them why you left, they’d be more on their guard, so better protected,
than if you just walk out of their lives.
Not to mention that this show is as much romantic comedy as
it is mystery show. After watching the
will they/won’t they tension and the building of their relationship leading up
to their marriage last season, I don’t want to see things go backwards. I actually liked the show after it got Castle
and Beckett together because it showed growth for their characters and built a
solid relationship between them. This
was a huge step backwards.
And frankly, this overshadowed the case of the week aspect
of the series. While it might have had a
bit more overarching storyline this year, there were still plenty of cases of
the week, but the spark wasn’t there because I was so frustrated by the breakup. Still, over the course of the season, we get
mysteries such as the death of Castle’s writing idol, a murder aboard a cruise
ship that has just set sail, and a corpse in the theater where Martha’s
latest show is rehearsing. Many of these
individual episodes are good and have great moments, but overall they can’t
rise about the premise of the season.
Of course, with Beckett as a captain now, Castle shares more
detecting scenes with Ryan and Esposito, and that chemistry isn’t the same,
which does nothing to help the show.
Mind you, I love the characters, but they aren’t Castle and Beckett
Fortunately, the complete breakup didn’t last all season as
Beckett did finally clue Castle in to what was happening, leading to a repeat
of season 5 where the two where sneaking around. Are you sensing a theme here? Reruns.
No new ground, nothing but reruns.
The writers did try to tie in Castle’s missing memory from last season
to the mystery this season, but it just felt forced.
And speaking of forced, this season’s big bad is also very
forced. The payoff for all the angst was
so underwhelming it left me scratching my head as to why anyone thought it
would be a good idea.
Now I’m not pointing my finger at any of the actors. They all did a great job with what they were
given, and when they had a moment to shine, they took full advantage of
it. Praise also much go to new actors Toks
and Sunkrish Bala
who had the thankless job of stepping into roles in a season that the fans
didn’t like. I have nothing against
them, but the changes they represent to the show, on the other hand….
Late in the season, word came down that Tamala Jones, the
actress who plays medical examiner Lanie Parish, as well as Stana Katic were
not going to be back for a potential next season.
While some started cries of sexism (and that might be the case, I don’t
know), I spent all of my time trying to wrap my head around doing this show
without Beckett. Oh, I know the show is
. But reference my earlier comments about this
being a romantic comedy. If budget
constraints were the reason (and that’s the reason ABC gave), then you fire the
rest of the cast and retool the show to just be about Castle and Beckett.
Fortunately, ABC came to the right decision and canceled the
show at the last possible moment, giving us a chance to see the ending that
wrapped things up instead of the cliffhanger.
(Two different endings for the season were shot.) However, that ending felt so tacked on and
forced that it left me feeling cold. You
want a good ending for this series? Look
back at the season finale for season 7.
That was a great ending to the show, and that’s where I intend to stop
. This last season? It was a fevered dream I had about fan
fiction featuring the characters and nothing more.
For the record, if you are looking for this set, you’ll find
22 episodes here in widescreen and full surround sound. In the way of extras, you’ll find a couple of
audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a featurette showing the
cast of the show trying to solve puzzles to get out of an escape room.
If you are a fan of Castle
do yourself a favor and skip season 8
It is a mess that ruins the characters and the legacy of the show. Even this completest collector plans to skip
this season with a clear conscious, which tells you just had bad it truly was.
10. Witness for the Prosecution
20. Much Ado About Murder