Castle: The Wild Rover

Ryan: “I am Fenton O’Connell.”

I love Kevin Ryan. From the beginning, when he carried around copies of Castle’s books until he had read them all, he has shown himself to be a good cop, a good husband and a good friend. He is willing to make the hard choices when he knows them to be right, and he keeps secrets better than anyone else on the team. He has stood up for the underdog more than once. Kevin Ryan is a brave and honorable soul.

What Ryan did this episode took bravery to a whole new level. It is one thing to go undercover when you are a young kid and have very little to lose. Times have changed for Ryan and he has substantially more to lose; the scene where he leaves a tearful Jenny who can’t kiss him goodbye illustrated that perfectly. As did his conversation with Esposito who pleads with him to come out. In typical fashion, Esposito is worried, not because he doesn’t think that Ryan can do the job, but because he won’t be there to have his partner’s back.

Very few insights were given as to what Ryan’s life was like when he was undercover. Fourteen months is a long time to live another life; much of it must have become real. I believe that some part of Ryan cared about Bobby S and I know that some part of him loved Siobhan.

It was Ryan’s love for Siobhan that sent him back in. Many times we have seen Ryan take responsibility for things that are only tangentially his fault, but this time was the icing on the cake (I know, I can’t help it.). It is during his conversation with Agent Walker, when he learns that Siobhan will be sent back on her own, that he agrees to go under again. He sees her fall as his fault and he is going to ensure that she is safely put into witness protection.

While he is under, the only time we saw even glimpses of the man Ryan is today was when he was with Siobhan. The scene with Mr. Whiskers was sweet; you don’t spend $50 on a ring toss for some casual fling. The scene at the end when he says goodbye to her and admits to her that he loved her was moving; I got tears in my eyes watching it.

Although I knew that the chances the writers were going to kill off Ryan were slim, I was really worried about him as he drove to the docks. And, for a show that usually telegraphs its twists so that a blind person could see them, I gasped when Siobhan got out the car. I could not figure out how Ryan was going to get out this situation, but I couldn’t have wished for it to be better. One by one, his new partners come out the shadows. The special forces guy; the woman who is tougher than she looks and Castle. I was disappointed at the Castle reveal. We have seen him be extremely badass; I wish we could have seen that part of him this time.

What I found while I was watching this episode is that I wanted to stay with Ryan. While I understand that it was important that we know that his crew back at the precinct were doing everything they could to protect him, I was often impatient through them. Even the whole point of Castle being reluctant to tell Beckett about Jordan didn’t engage me as it should have. I had assumed it was Jordan Shaw, the FBI agent from the second season two parter. I was wrong.

The revelation about what Jordan really means is another layer of the Castle onion. We already knew that Castle began to write in boarding school, but now we learn what drove him to write so much. Castle is a cauldron of seething insecurity. Afraid that he will be seen as a fraud; afraid that Beckett won’t like him if she sees the truth.

This story dovetailed neatly into the overall theme of this episode -- we don’t know everything about the people we care about, even those we think we know everything about. No one knew about Ryan’s past and I get the distinct impression that Castle has never told that story to anyone before. The girl bonding moment between Beckett and Jenny, all about secrets, made an impression on both of them. Jenny got some insight into why Ryan had made the choice he had made; Beckett stopped nagging Castle to tell her his secret.

The lesson learned is that those who love us do so because of everything we are. Beckett tells Castle that she likes him “a little bit more” and all three of his partners seem to have a new found respect for Ryan. In the happy ending department, Ryan learns that Jenny is pregnant. This should be a fun story to watch.

Overall, what should have been an outstanding episode was slightly tainted for me by how Castle was portrayed and the fact that, once again, the guilty party was a twist too far. Three out of four stuffed mice won at the fair.


-- No Gates, Alexis or Martha this week.

-- The cake at the bakery says ‘Happy 99th,’ the number of this episode.

-- Esposito learning how to pronounce Siobhan made me smile. I still remember the first time I saw the spelling; I had to be convinced it was correct.

-- Of course the bar is called Kelly’s. How many Irish bars in the world have that name?

-- “Wild Rover” is an Irish folk song. The lyrics are dead on.

-- Luke 15:32 is the final verse in the parable of the prodigal son: “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” I prefer the language of the King James version.

-- ‘Fast’ Eddie Parker was a legendary pool player and was the inspiration for ‘Fast’ Eddie Felson in the movie The Hustler, played to perfection by Paul Newman.

-- Seamus Dever was brilliant in this episode. Really, shouldn’t someone start nominating this cast for an Emmy or two?


Castle: “You can rule out dissatisfied customers. These things are insanely good.”
Lanie: “Eww. You’re eating a dead man’s cupcake?”
Castle: “There was free samples.”
Beckett: “Time of death?”
Esposito: “Between 11:30 and 12:00.”
Lanie: “Based on what? All of a sudden you’re an M.E.?”
Esposito: “I thought you liked it when I played doctor.”
What I loved about this entire exchange were the looks exchanged among the others as first Castle then Esposito said the wrong thing.

Jenny: “Hey! What the hell are you doing? That’s my husband.”
Siobhan: “You’re married?” Slap.
Castle: “Whoa! Oh, lady, you can’t slap a cop.”
Siobhan: “You’re a cop?” Slap.
Ryan: “I can explain.”

Siobhan: “Was any of it real?”
Ryan: “What I felt was.”

Beckett: “You know, I think that there are probably a number of reasons, but the main one is that he just wants to do the right thing.”

Ryan: “Only two things to do at the docks -- kill someone or go fishing. Kinda late to be fishing, ain’t it?”
Liam: “Yep.”

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.


tucsonbarbara said...

Great review!

Btw, Jenny is played by Ryan's real-life wife. :-)

Patrick said...

I loved this episode! A Ryan-centric episode was a long time coming, and this one didn't disappoint.

ChrisB, I understand what you're saying about Castle's entrance not being "bad ass" enough when Ryan was calling his team out, but honestly what could he have done? He's not carrying a weapon, and having him just standing there looking tough wouldn't really play all that well. It certainly wouldn't scare a bunch of Irish mobsters.

The pregnancy reveal at the end was a bit cliche, and I totally saw it coming like halfway through the episode, but it was still sweet. Assuming Jenny's not very far along, that'd put her due date what, somewhere around November sweeps? How convenient! :)

On a side note, I wonder if the baby plot has any basis in reality. Anyone know if Seamus & Juliana Dever are expecting?

I had to laugh when Esposito had trouble pronoucing Siobhan. That's my sister's name, and EVERY year on the first day of school, she'd have to help her teachers pronounce her name correctly.

celticmarc said...

Bloody brilliant review Chris !

Mister Dever shone; I was very anxious during the car ride toward the docks....

Thanks for the tip tucsonbarbara; always great to see a real life couple acting cool cool !

TJ said...

Lovely review ChrisB! And what a lovely episode this turned out to be! I really didn't expect that after the climax of Castle's daughter-got-kidnapped-drama.

Yes, I love Kevin Ryan too. This is what good television should be like. It got it all! It was exciting, had good drama, and we now know a whole different side of Kevin Ryan. Right now I think this is my fave Castle episode ever, and I would probably rate it 5 out of 4 stuffed mice. Great stuff!

sunbunny said...

I liked Castle forgetting his vest in the car! It was funny and it took the tension out of a very tense situation. It was a perfect laugh following a perfect badass moment with Espo and Beckett coming out of the shadows. And let's be honest here, Castle's not all that scary. Except when someone he loves is in danger, which Ryan clearly wasn't.