Castle: Valkyrie

OK, so that happened.

I made no secret of the fact that last season’s ending annoyed me. I resented Beckett’s job being the cause of so much angst and felt that the writers had taken it all a bit far. The proposal bothered me as well as I felt it was unearned.

Here we are, the summer hiatus is behind us, and we finally got to see what Beckett was going to do, both in terms of her job and the question directed at her. In fact, the episode began exactly where last year’s ended -- Castle down on one knee.

The opening scene was fun and worthy of this couple. I enjoyed the “yes... no... yes” exchange and was not at all surprised by the final answer. While I still believe that it is too early for them to be engaged, the scene worked and I relaxed into the show.

Only to have it all go wrong. I sat through this hour shaking my head and wondering what the hell we were supposed to make of all of this. While I am always a proponent of change, this wasn’t change. This was a bump in the road that just didn’t work.

Beckett has moved to DC, is now a federal agent, and has a whole new group of co-workers. Except, finally, she doesn’t. All you have to do is look at the promo pictures for Season Six to see that all they show is the New York crew; there is not a DC face anywhere. Unless Marlowe and Co. are pulling off the best misdirect in television this year, these new people will be gone in an episode or two. Why bother getting too invested with them?

Not to mention that they are all cardboard cutouts of television federal agents. The exception is Beckett’s partner, McCord, played to perfection by Lisa Edelstein. But, even she did not have much to go on. Watching her interact with Castle was like watching the pilot again. Castle is annoying and doing what he should not be; the woman in law enforcement is annoyed by him.

Frankly, she has every right to be annoyed by him. In fact, it rather begs the question why Beckett isn’t furious with him. We all know that Castle is incapable of minding his own business, but his getting involved in a federal case with national security repercussions was a step too far. Castle has worked extensively with the CIA; he would know to stay out of it.

Lanie and Gates were nowhere to be found; Ryan and Esposito were given the barest minimum of screen time and were mostly there for the comic relief. Until, of course, it is Esposito who figures out about Dreamworld. The feds wouldn’t know about this? Seriously?

There were moments that I liked. I did like watching Beckett not being the best and making mistakes in her new job. Although, I truly believe that being shot in the chest (even in a training exercise) would have been more traumatic for her than it was. And, I really liked the fact that the writers made it clear that both Castle and Beckett have cancelled on each other; it’s not always Beckett’s fault.

All of this ends with Beckett telling Castle that he has less than a day to live. Dear God, but how ridiculous is that? Of course he will live. What is the name of this show? My guess is that a magic serum will be found to save Castle; Beckett will learn that one of her co-workers (or Senator Bracken if the writers are really going to push it) is behind the theft; and, this discovery will so disillusion her that she will hightail it home to the people she respects and trusts. Tune in next week to see how wrong I am.

I was tempted to give this episode a one, but I will give it a two for the good opening. Two out of four bottles of red wine that make Beckett feel all...

Tidbits:

-- I’m not sure that Beckett’s engagement ring works for her. The jewelry she wears is simple and elegant; this ring seemed a bit gaudy to me. I defer to my fashion guru, sunbunny, to give us the final word on the matter.

-- I liked the symbolism of Beckett wearing Castle’s ring on the same chain as her mother’s.

-- Katherine Houghton Beckett and Richard Edgar Alexander Rodgers Castle.

-- Deadly Heat has been released. Review to follow eventually.

-- I’ve said it before, but the fact that the writers constantly have Castle bribe Ryan and Esposito to help him has gotten old. It feels grasping and greedy to me now.

-- You may have noticed that I have not mentioned Pi. That was intentional. How does a man who has lost his passport travel from Costa Rica to New York? A sillier caricature of the worst possible guy for Alexis it is difficult to imagine.

-- It’s a long, long walk from DuPont Circle to Union Station.

Soundbites:

Castle: “So, that’s a yes?”
Beckett: “No, wait.”
Castle: “No?”
Beckett: “No, no, no, not… not no.”
Castle: “So, yes?”
Beckett: “I…”
Castle: “Not yes?”
Beckett: “No. Not not yes.”
Castle: “You do know how this works, right?”

McCord: “The next I see you, it’d better be on a book jacket.”
Castle: “Wow, OK, she is not invited to the wedding.”

McCord: “Castle get home OK?”
Beckett: “Yeah. Fine.”
McCord: “You wanna talk about it?”
Beckett: “No.”
McCord: “Good.”

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.

7 comments:

Patrick said...

I was definitely disappointed in this episode. The only thing really good about it was the opening scene when Kate accepted the proposal. Nobody expects her to stay in DC, therefore we don't care about any of the people she's working with now. Though I did think it was nice that they made it clear Castle's still hanging out with Ryan & Esposito, even if it's just for online Halo matches. But that cliffhanger ending? Helpful hint to the writers - if you want to create tension, don't do it by creating an over-the-top threat to the life of the ONE character we know you're not going to kill off. I mean, really, do they think ANYONE believes for a second that Castle might not survive? That's bush-league, guys.

Dustin said...

I kept wondering if the fed characters are meant to be a backdoor pilot for a new series - why else feature them when we know it's only temporary. In real life, Beckett would receive such an opportunity, take it, and never look back. Castle would move to DC and their relationship would either last or not. On a TV show, however, Beckett will always return to NYC because that's where EVERY OTHER character on the show is based.

Pi scared the crap out of me, but only because I have two daughters who will someday be dating.

I did love the intro and how Castle and Beckett immediately were back to being happy Caskett instead of overly serious and unhappy with each other.

a.m. said...

I enjoyed this episode, but I think that was all because of the beginning 3 minutes...though why that had to be the cliffhanger when, duh we all knew the answer, I'll never know--same as this week's idiotic cliffhanger...

I thought Alexis was really laying it on thick and trying really hard to get a reaction. How far will she push it with the fruitarian just to get a rise out of her dad?

Speaking of Pi, the best part of his character is his name because I can just imagine this great argument between a teen Pi and his/her parent. "The only thing in this room more irrational than you is my name!" (Or vice versa...) Plus, who doesn't want a name that can be spelled with a Greek letter?

drnanamom said...

I agree with everyone that the beginning was fun but the rest of the episode was less than stellar. At the end, I actually said out loud "Seriously?" I agree, bush league writing.

Namastenancy said...

I think I will give it 1/2 a bottle and that's being generous. The mysterious virus, Castle only has one day to live, all the silliness about how confidential Becket's job is? P-l-e-a-z-e. That's been done to death. The nitwit fruity boyfriend? Alexis has better taste and is far to smart for that. I hate to think that Castle has jumped the shark but unless this season improves, I am afraid that we are going to see a lot of jumping sharks.

ChrisB said...

Namastenancy -- I'm afraid I agree with you. It is time for TPTB to wrap up this story and go out before too many fins are circling. I have loved this show since it started; I would hate to lose all faith in it.

The other problem, as I see it, is that Castle now has some real competition on Monday nights. I enjoyed NBC's The Blacklist and CBS's Hostages more than I did this episode. I'll be interested to see how the numbers hold up as we move into the season proper.

sunbunny said...

I have to agree about the ring, Chris. It was entirely too big for Kate. Some simpler and smaller would've been better for her. I'll take the one she has now though. :)

I didn't hate this episode, probably because everyone's been telling me for weeks how much I was going to hate this episode. It is obvious that Beckett will eventually get back to NYC, but I can live with this for the time being.

In Beckett's training exercise where she got 'shot,' why on earth would they rig up her vest to get all bloody? Obviously it was just for the audience as everyone in the exercise knew it was fake and the blood was pointless. Annoying conceit of television.