Castle: Like Father Like Daughter

“Sometimes, the good guys don’t win.”

Sure they do. This is Castle, where the bad guys always confess and where major relationship conflicts are solved in an hour.

Maybe I’m holding a grudge, but Alexis’s behavior is still unacceptable to me and I felt that the resolution of this conflict was just too pat and, more importantly, unearned. At the end, Alexis is hugging Castle and Beckett, the idea being that both have forgiven her. They are bigger people than I.

The Beckett/Alexis conflict could have been really interesting to watch. Becoming a stepparent is like walking into a minefield without a map. Something, somewhere is sure to blow up. Whether consciously or not, the writers have turned Alexis into almost a mini-Beckett. Alexis is now the age that Beckett was when her mother was killed and she, too, appears to be headed toward a career in law enforcement. My guess is that law school is in her future. In this episode, Alexis was working for the Innocence Project, the same organization Johanna was working with when she was killed. The big difference between the two is, of course, that Beckett had a mother for the first nineteen years of her life while Alexis had crazy Meredith and even crazier Martha. We could also point to Gina, but she wasn’t really around all that long.

I think that Beckett is approaching Alexis the right way, allowing her to make all the moves about where the relationship will end up. The choices Alexis makes in this episode, however, are telling. She goes to the boys for help, but not Lanie and not Beckett. Her reasons for these choices are never clearly articulated, but we can guess. She is acting out against Beckett and Lanie, as Beckett’s BFF, gets a bit of the backlash. I liked the way that Lanie called her on it and the way the boys subtly had Castle’s back.

Unfortunately, this conflict seems to have ended as we watch Beckett and Alexis hug it out at the end. I truly believe the writers could have taken this much further and made its resolution feel much more earned.

One of the things that bothers me about this show is that, whenever there is conflict, it ends up being Castle’s fault, the one exception being when he calls Beckett out for knowing that he told her he loved her at the end of season four. In this instance, however, he takes all the responsibility on himself for the radio silence between his daughter and him for the past weeks. Yes, he does bear some fault, but so does she. All Alexis apologies for is getting mad. Frankly, it’s not enough. Her behavior was appalling and I think the resolution would have been much stronger if Castle had forced her to see it.

I understand that Castle loves his daughter and wants to be a part of her life, but he seems to want these things at the expense of his own feelings. The first scene between the two of them infuriated me. It takes a bit of cheek to ask for help in the same breath that you announce to your father that things are not all right between the two of you. Then, even though Castle has agreed to help her, she is spitefulness personified through most of the episode, getting furious with him for checking up on her. For the love of God, child, he’s been doing this all your life. In what way does this surprise you?

While I’m sure we were meant to see Alexis working to clear an innocent man as a redemptive act, it wasn’t enough. Even worse, what brings Castle and Alexis back together is the fact that he was able to give her what she wanted, again. I would have much preferred to see her realize and take responsibility for her actions in the past several weeks.

What this episode did well was the case. It was fun, but predictable. All the twists were so obviously signposted that none of them came as a surprise. Of course, Frank was protecting his brother. I knew that from the first scene when John watches Frank being arrested. Of course the cop was guilty. I knew that from the moment he snarked at Alexis. But, I have stopped worrying about “who done it” when it comes to this show and just wait for the motive. They are usually well thought out and the reveal is always a fun scene.

The one thing the writers are doing exceptionally well this season is the Caskett relationship. Our two seem to have truly become a couple and their interactions feel real. The phone call from the prison, with Castle telling Beckett about being the savior, was a lovely beat. They are turning to each other for support and validation, while continuing to have each other’s backs. I really like the way the writers are showing us that Beckett is the one moving the wedding forward, not Castle. I hope they come back to this theme again. Anytime we can see a “let’s get married in space” scene is fine with me.

Overall, not a bad episode, but it left me feeling that everything had been resolved just a touch too easily. Two and half out of four really cool planet clocks.

Tidbits:

-- I liked Ryan telling Alexis that Castle may be able to spot something no one else can. The dynamic among the three men is fraternal and teasing. We rarely get to see how much they all respect each other.

-- The “You Should Be Writing” screensaver is back. I missed it.

-- We need to teach Alexis and Frank the difference between “less” and “fewer.” It’s not difficult, I swear.

-- Seeing Ava with someone other than Boyd was odd.

-- The scene where Alexis enters the house of the man both she and her father believe is a murderer stretched my credibility just a touch far and her head toss as she announces that she has new leads at the end made me want to pull her ponytail.

-- The scene when Castle and Alexis come up with a theory and then voice the same statement at the same time felt oh so creepy to me. For the past five years, the writers have used Caskett’s doing that as sexual tension. Even Castle’s comment, “that’s weird; I usually do that with Beckett” was creepy and was not saved by Alexis, “eww.” This scene was just yuck.

-- Cyberspace went wild this week with rumors that this season or next would be the last. In an interview with TVLine, Marlowe cleared up what he had meant, saying that the show “can take ten to twelve years if everybody wants to.” I, for one, do not. This season has been the weakest and the show is exhibiting signs of shark infested waters. Let’s get Caskett married and off the air before the show devolves into something it shouldn’t.

Soundbites:

Beckett: “Because when I was a little girl imagining my wedding day, being stuck in a small tin can with a thousand tons of rocket fuel strapped to my ass was exactly what I had in mind.”

Castle: “So I insulted her boyfriend. What's the prison sentence on that?”

Castle: “You’re pretty great, you know that?”
Beckett: “Yeah.”

Castle: “You know, Alexis, this is a long shot. You know that, right? I mean, it may not work out the way you hope. I just don’t wanna see you hurt.”
Is he talking about the case or about Pi?

Beckett: “I’m always gonna be on the outside.”
Lanie: “Perfect families don’t exist. It’s gonna be up to you to find a way to make your baggage match their baggage. It’s up to you to make your own history.”
Great advice and a wonderful BFF scene.

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.

5 comments:

sunbunny said...

Two weeks of the silent treatment as a response to Dad being rude about her boyfriend? Really? I feel like the writers have totally screwed up Alexis's character. I used to love sweet little Alexis but she's so unlikable now. Castle's story about her passing out from holding her breath in an attempt to get a candy bar doesn't fit with the stuff that's been previously established and just makes her seem like a spoiled brat.

Nonei said...

I agree they are doing well with Castle and Beckett's relationship, but I also agree they really have screwed up a lot of other things. It took an entire season to address Castle saying "I love you" and Beckett not admitting that she heard him, and resulted in one of the best (I thought) season finales. Now things that should be taking a while (Beckett being rehired at the NYPD, Alexis and Beckett addressing their unspoken conflict) are being resolved in one show and things that shouldn't be taking a long time (Castle deciding to get a DC apartment) are taking forever.

I also hate that the writers are being so "formula" with the episodes having the brief "flavor" scene with the murderer being so obvious. It's like they lost a few key writers that had the bulk of the creativity as far as story arrangement lol.

I agree that the story about her holding her breath didn't fit what we know about Alexis. They could have picked a better "kid story" to show persistence, like mowing lawns or collecting cans or something that shows initiative rather than entitlement. I do see where they are trying to go with her refusing her dad's help and using dumpster furniture and the 2 week silent treatment - trying to push her over-meddling father away and establish her own independence - but I don't think she would really go that far either. Then again, she is 19. I did a few uncharacteristic things at that age too lol, and I was also a "good girl".

Here's to hoping the writers find their groove. Or the show is cancelled. I don't want several more years of mediocrity...

Anonymous said...

Agreed. It's time for Castle to get off the air..before we have too much silliness like all the Alexis and Pi stuff..Hey at least this episode was Pi-free.
Anna

Nonei said...

Well, you know, really I'd prefer the other option which would be for the writers to get clever again...

Anonymous said...

For me a show has a certain lifespan and then it just grows stale..Castle is on its way down..and I doubt the writers can shape up enough. If they do, I'll be pleasantly surpised,,
or if Pi leaves..well then much is gained.
Anna