Senator Bracken is back, only this time he is the one in danger and Beckett is assigned to protect him from an assassination attempt. The issue of Johanna’s murder has not been addressed since we learned that the Senator is the man who ordered it. Not that I’m complaining. I truly believe that this is a story that has run its course, but the writers took this story and gave it an interesting twist.
Played by Jack Coleman to perfection, Bracken is a scary guy, devoid of any kind of empathy. It is completely understandable that this is a man who would kill anyone who stands in his way and the arrogant way he looks at and addresses Beckett is frightening -- to everyone, that is, except Beckett. She more than holds her own with his man and the scenes where they square off are fun to watch.
But, what should have been a simply amazing episode was only mediocre. Maybe it’s the fact that the writers were concentrating on the upcoming traditional February two-parter, or the 100th episode that follows soon after that, but there was a fair amount of lazy writing throughout this one. Melanie’s sister carries a phone that quite a few of us carry as well. Unless her phone is significantly different from mine, or unless for some reason she didn’t look at it for nearly eighteen hours, Julie would have seen that she missed a call from her sister. I’m not sure what having Julie miss the call added to the plot.
And, because we want to keep the investigation a secret, we’re going to send Ryan and Esposito to the Senator’s mansion? Really? There must be other detectives in the NYPD that could have covered that. Not to mention the fact that their NYPD badges aren’t worth anything in Patterson, New Jersey.
But, the aspect that really jumped out and bothered me was Castle leaving Beckett alone in the precinct to go through the letters. I’m sure he was tired, but it felt completely out of character for him to leave her alone under the circumstances when they could have gone to either of their apartments. It felt like an awkward ploy for the writers to have Beckett make the decision about destroying the letter on her own.
Which brings us to the crux of this episode. Beckett is in an impossible situation and she reacts in a very human way. I was afraid for a while that she was going to hide the evidence and allow Bracken to be murdered. Luckily, the part of her that is a cop, the part that is so strong, took over and enabled her to make the right decision. Having said that, however, she is not a perfect person. If she were truly guided only by duty and honor, she would have stepped down. Instead, by leading the investigation, she got to keep an eye on Bracken.
Castle’s role in this episode was almost nonexistent, which I think was a mistake. Castle’s biggest fear in this relationship is that Beckett will lose herself again in her mother’s murder. This time around, he seemed almost sanguine about the whole thing, not getting upset when she didn’t return his calls and then going off by herself as soon as she sees him the next morning. These two are meant to be a couple now, but the way they have been interacting lately, it feels as though we have slipped back to last season. They barely touch each other, which is absurd when one of them is going through such an emotional situation. In the moment in which she is facing her ultimate dilemma, she talks to her therapist, not Castle.
It was Beckett, not Castle, who was the most clear sighted throughout. It was she who discovered the frame and it was she who figured out that the bomb was out in the open. Of course, this forced her to save Bracken’s life.
What I did like about this episode was that there seemed to be a great deal of foreshadowing or setting up of future episodes. It doesn’t take much to believe that someday Beckett will have to call on Bracken for help and, with the correct writer at the helm, that is an episode I would love to watch. We got the throw away line about Alexis’s new boyfriend. Between that and the fight last week, I am more convinced than ever that something is going to happen to her. Not that I want it to, but something is being set up.
Finally, Gates simply must know, or at least strongly suspect, that there is something going on both with Caskett and with Bracken. She may be many things, but she is not stupid. I can only imagine that the writers are waiting for just the right time to reveal that she has been in on the secrets the whole time. Or, the ultimate twist, is Gates somehow involved with Bracken? How else did he know about the fact that Beckett fired two shots at McManus and missed?
An overall weak episode that had some fantastic moments, all of them between Beckett and Bracken. Two and half out of four clicking Zippo lighters.
-- No Martha or Alexis, but this was certainly a Beckett driven episode.
-- How pretty does Beckett look with her hair pulled back in a bun like that? I loved that look. Speaking of hair, Gates’ hair has become very long which suits her.
-- I will always love seeing Castle in his Writer vest.
-- Did we know that Beckett’s badge number is 41319?
-- Although I was not a huge fan of this episode, Stana Katic did an amazing job. She played just about every emotion under the sun and did it beautifully.
Esposito: “You know, I was really hoping that the next time I saw this guy it would be down the barrel of my gun.”
Bracken: “It’s just us here, Detective. A shooter on the loose, me in the crosshairs. Must be a dream come true for you.”
Beckett: “In my dreams, I’m the one that gets to pull the trigger.”
Esposito: “I’ll tell you something. If I’m her, I sit in there shuffling papers ‘til whoever it is puts a bullet in Bracken’s head.”
Ryan: “No, you wouldn’t, ‘cause that would make you no better than he is.”
Esposito: “The guy murdered Beckett’s mother, Captain Montgomery, who knows who else. Bracken’s got it coming to him, so I say, let it come.”
Dr. Burke: “Maybe the right choice is the one you can live with.”
Castle: “I wouldn’t have done it, you know, what she did. I would have stood and watched.”
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.