The theme this week was time -- whether looking back at the past, worrying about the present, or wondering about the future. It was about wishing to go back in time and, maybe, even being able to do just that.
It’s been a while since our gang has dealt with an X-File, and I was glad to see one. These are always fun episodes as the Mulder/Scully dynamic works just as well for Beckett and Castle. In the past, however, the lines have always been clearly drawn. Castle and Ryan are the believers; Beckett and Esposito are the skeptics. This week, however, Castle was more or less on his own. Or, at least he was until that fateful spill of coffee.
One of the things I love most about Richard Castle is his willingness to consider any possibility, however outlandish. It’s what makes him a great writer and a good detective. Was Simon actually from the future? Does it matter? The case was fun to watch; the murder was creepy boarding on gruesome; the ending was ambiguous.
I spent the entire episode waiting for what the Castle writers do every time -- explain away what has originally seemed supernatural. This time, however, they didn’t. Although there was a rational explanation for everything that happened, Simon disappears at the end and Beckett spills coffee on the letter in a stain that will show up on the letter from the future. Awesome! I was thrilled that, for once, we as the viewers can decide what we want to believe.
While all this time travel is happening, time is passing in the Castle loft as well. Alexis is moving in with Pi, a turn of events that has less than pleased her father. For as long as we have known him, Castle struggles whenever Alexis shows signs of growing up. To be fair, moving in with her boyfriend is a big step, one I know from experience any father is going to struggle with. Castle, however, seems to be taking this turn of events especially hard and he spends a great deal of the episode fretting about his daughter’s decision.
I think this (over)reaction is due to the relationship Castle and Alexis had for so long. When Castle first met Beckett, Alexis was the most important female in his life. He was looking after his mother and he was dating anything in a skirt, but his biggest emotional attachment was to his daughter. Over the past four years, that dynamic has shifted -- as well it should. Alexis must grow up and leave and Castle must allow that to happen. The two of them cannot remain the most important people in each other’s lives. Castle has committed his life to Beckett; Alexis must start to find her way in the world and decide to what and to whom she will commit.
To make this dynamic even more complicated is the fact that Castle considers Alexis to be his greatest success. While his writing has made him wealthy and famous, Castle has never indicated that he is proud of it. What we have seen is his doubt that he writes well at all. So, when Simon tells him that he will one day write “serious literature," Castle is thrilled. For now, however, Castle is still focused on Alexis as his success story. Ironically, the most successful thing one can do as a parent is launch your kids into the world with self-assurance and love -- two things Alexis has in abundance.
Something is going on with this young woman, and it is more than just the fact that she is growing up. Whether it is lingering PTSD from her ordeal last year or unresolved issues with the fact that her father is engaged (again!), something is affecting this girl’s behavior. Although Castle married Gina, I am relatively certain that, throughout the relationship, Alexis knew that she was still number one in her father’s affections. With Beckett, I’m not so sure that Alexis has that same sense. Castle truly loves Beckett, and I am not sure that is something that Alexis has ever had to deal with in the past.
I am by no means a fan of Pi’s, but as I think about what it is Alexis finds so attractive about him, I wonder if it’s the fact that he appears to need to be looked after. Alexis spent her childhood looking after her father; he now has Beckett for that. Is Alexis looking for the next wounded bird?
This episode was really well done. The A story was fun, but the B story was better and provided some interesting character development. Three out of four time jumps.
-- The timeline for this season has gotten jumbled. I mean, really jumbled. Simon says that the future changing event would be on October 7th, yet in episode three of this season (that aired on October 7th), a television screen clearly shows that date and Beckett is still with the FBI. To make things even more confusing, Pi has been in the loft a month, but he and Alexis came home two months after the proposal, which we all assumed was mid-May. Finally, Alexis is going back to college “next week,” which I would guess places the episode sometime in August or early September. It doesn’t really matter, finally, but whew! That’s a mess.
-- How wonderful is it that Esposito is a Doctor Who fan?
-- I was astonished at how calm Mrs. Wickfield was. If I had just seen my husband get his neck snapped without warning, I think I may have been a bit more emotional about the whole thing.
-- Caskett’s future seems rosy. Senator Beckett was an interesting moment. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far. Three kids was a nice touch as well, especially Beckett’s reaction to it.
-- For the second week in a row, we have a glaring continuity error. I noticed this the first time I watched the episode. I wasn’t the only one. Finding this still on the internet was too easy.
Lanie: “A lot of weirdos out there with too much imagination is what happened. And, yes, I'm looking at you, Castle.”
Castle: “Yes, but I only commit my murders on paper. I don't actually do them. A lot more lucrative; a lot less prison.”
Ryan: “And, you're letting her?”
Castle: “Well, apparently the only way to stop her is by locking her up. But, according to Miss By-the-Book here, that's unlawful imprisonment.”
Castle: “Whatever crazy theory I could have come up with, this is better.”
Castle: “I write serious literature? Beckett, you hear that?”
Beckett: “Yeah I heard. And, I'm the president of fantasy land.”
Beckett: “You're trying to drive me crazy, aren't you?”
Castle: “Well, apparently I already do if we end up with three kids.”
Castle: “Is it just me or does that make sense?”
Ryan: “No, it's just you.”
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.