Castle Review: “Always”

E: Hey there!  I know we’ve been less dependable on the Castle front lately, but there’s no way we weren’t going to comment on this one.  Now that, my friends, is how you end a season. Best ever episode of the whole “Beckett’s Mom” mythology, that’s for sure.

C: Really? You think so? Because I kind of feel like it was identical to every other Beckett’s Mom episode – I mean really, beat for beat – except for the last three minutes. I imagine those three minutes are why you liked it better…

E: Well, sure, but it’s not exactly a high bar, is it, being the best mythology episode, since they’re routinely terrible?

M: Now, I don’t think that’s fair.  They have been good, they just aren’t like regular Castle episodes, as we’ve gone over many times before.

E: I still think “good” is overstating things, but we don’t need to beat this horse anymore.  To begin: you know I saw the title of this episode and my mind immediately went to The Prince’s Tale chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Snape tells Dumbledore he’ll always love Lilly Evans Potter.

C: “Still?” “Always.” Ah, undying love of a hate-filled creep who verbally abuses children. A romance for the ages.

E: Yep.  That’s the one.

M: I’m still mad that Rowling turned James and Sirius into bullies mid-way through the series.  It still didn’t make Snape likable, since he’s such a complete and utter dick to Harry.  All it did was taint the former good guys who were dead by that point. But we digress.  Back to the episode.

C: In terms of intertextual connections, my first thought was: first Sam, now Helo!

M: Crap, I’m getting rusty, I knew I knew him, but couldn’t place it.  Ugh.

E: Didn’t we see Helo at the end of last season when he shot Beckett?  The IMDB is no help; they don’t have him listed for Castle at all.  But yes.  It’s good to see members of the old gang still getting work; they deserve it.

C: And was it just me, or was Tahmoh Penikett doing a strange accent?

E: I don’t know.  How much did he actually talk?

M: Yes he did, and yes he was.  That was part of what threw me.  It was on the roof top before he chucked her over the edge.  I think he was trying for Irish.  Maybe.

C: Some sort of working-class, city accent I thought, only it wasn’t really working. Unless that’s his natural Canadian speech pattern.

M: Ahh, nothing like a good Canadian joke.

E: And that was nothing like one.

M: Thank you Uncle Albert.

E: You’re welcome.  I loved Castle’s confession of love.  Sigh!

M: Nice segue…

E: Oh, stuff it!  We were done.  I know he’s a wordsmith, but he did that well.

M: I agree completely.  Very well done, very well said, and something that you hope other shows can learn from.

E: I like that he confessed everything and I like that he forced her to admit that she knew he loves her.

C: I did like that. I think my problem – and I know we’ve talked about this ad nauseam, but it’s the only way to explain how I feel – is that in these off-key episodes, when they’re melodramatic and shouty and use each other’s first names, they just seem like totally different characters to me.

M: Yes, totally.

C: Which is, I think, why it still hasn’t sunk in for me that Castle and Beckett finally got together. Those other weird intense people, Rick and Kate, did…

E: I totally get that, too.  It hasn’t sunk in for me either.

M: I think that’s just because it was so quick, near the end of the episode, and the only scene after didn’t involve them, and set up Beckett’s impending doom.

E: Whoa whoa whoa, we’re skipping ahead a little – I’m talking more about his initial confession than the passionate conclusion.

M: Easy there, sis.  Since you’re apparently intent on guiding this, what did you want to discuss next?

E: What did you think of Alexis’s valedictory speech?

C: Nice, I thought. I mean, much better than the usual “oh the places you’ll go” speech, since it was… not that speech. Anything else is automatically better. But I like the idea of acknowledging the fact that graduation is sad and scary, while still ending on a life-affirming note.

M: I thought the speech itself was fine, if unremarkable.  What I found endearing were the scenes leading up to it, with Alexis stressing over it and Castle guiding her.  Especially the “that sounds real, write that” one.  With her going off to college, even if it’s not that far, I think we’re going to get much less Castle-Alexis time next season, so I was happy to have this bit.

E: I liked that very much too.  I was a little surprised that the speech didn’t go in a “when one door closes, another one opens” directions – since we were moving toward Beckett and Castle transitioning their relationship.

C: And they do love having the family plot echo the police plot as neatly as possible!

M: Very true.  Speaking of which, are you ready to go there yet, E?

E: Yes, let’s.  Is it just me or was it weird for Castle to rip open Kate’s shirt so he could focus on the bullet hole?  Or maybe that’s an “I almost lost you, and now you’re here” thing?

C: Is it possible that the camera was focused on her bullet wound, but Castle’s primary interest was her bosom?

E: Well, we know this show loves its bosoms.

C: Don’t men rather often feel that way?

M: I don’t know what else you watch, but there is very little T&A on this show, so I’m not sure why you keep harping on the occasional moments of it that come maybe a couple times a season.  That said, I think it was definitely a dual focus.  I think they wanted to make sure that we understood it was more than just smooching, but also wanted to tie in the bullet wound and that it was the catalyst for Castle professing his love.

C: That makes sense to me. To your other point, this show is more into using its butt- and boob-cams than most shows I watch, but we needn’t get into that. E, what’s next?

E: I’m sure you guys were also expecting Ryan to be the one saving Kate, but I particularly liked the way they focused on his wedding ring as he grabbed Beckett so that we knew immediately that it was him.

C: I was actually confused by her yelling “Castle, Castle,” because I couldn’t figure out how he got there but I thought it was him there.

M: I’m with C, I missed the ring, was wondering why she wasn’t calling Wonder Twin #1 (Esposito), and then assumed that Wonder Twin #2 (Ryan) got a hold of Castle (or should we call him Rick in this review?).  Even when they showed Ryan I assumed it was going to be Castle standing behind him, not Gates.

C: Me too.

E: Oh, really?  I totally knew it was going to be Ryan when they left him in the office.  I knew he was going to tell Gates.

M: That he was going to tell her was definitely clear, I’ll give you that.

C: I was happy it was Ryan, and really annoyed with Esposito and especially Beckett for not showing a little gratitude. Yes, he got them suspended…

M: …I’d argue that they got themselves suspended…

C: Right, and Beckett would be dead if he hadn’t reported them. Definitely, unquestionably dead. Shouldn’t that be the takeaway from what he did?

E: Sure, it should, but I don’t know, I thought the fight between Ryan and Esposito was pretty reasonable.  Ryan’s always been the more sensible one.  Not that I’m happy to see the Wonder Twins fighting, but since Javi and Kate lost their guns and badges, I could see them being peeved.

M: Honestly, I was kind of peeved, to use your word, at the way they had Beckett and Wonder Twin #1 acting the whole episode.  They were really acting more like vigilantes who happened to have badges than like cops.  And I know all about the leaks and dirty cops and not knowing who they can trust, but come on.  They have to have at least a few people they can trust, and they know they can trust Gates on this matter.  That was weak.

E: Well, it would have been nice to have them bond with Gates in that way – to make her something other than a soulless martinet.

C: Yes, and while we don’t get to see the “uniforms” as actual people on this show, surely there are some they would have good relationships with.

M: And even that wasn’t as weak as Beckett thinking she was an invincible one-woman army.  So I was really happy that Castle told her off and walked away, and that Ryan actually acted like a cop.

C: Me too! They both behaved very well this episode, even if the other two were being ridiculous.

E: Indeed. I do think Beckett owes Ryan a huge thank you.  On a picky and personal note, that whole cliché of someone reaching down and pulling their partner off the side of a building from sheer upper body strength, though? SO glad they didn’t quite go there. He’d have pitched over the building after her if he’d tried that.

C: Ha, yes, after reading the brilliant sci-fi novel Komarr (which I know you must be thinking of too, E) I will never see scenes like that the same way. Of course you couldn’t catch the dead weight of someone as big as you and hold them, without being really effectively braced. But the other folks there were probably holding him, in this case.

E: Yeah.  It’s totally a Komarr-induced pet peeve.  I’m glad they did it better here.

M: So, I know not this Komarr that you talk about, but love that it was at least semi-believable.

C: Unlike much of the episode, frankly. My favorite moment was when Beckett said she was done with the whole conspiracy plot. I didn’t believe for a second that they would leave it that way, but don’t you wish they would? The decade-long anti-Beckett vendetta is just the world’s most implausible thing.

E: Not to mention the most annoying and inconsistently written.

M: Now from the way I see it, there are two questions left hanging at the end of the season.  One, what will they do now that Deep Throat is going to be dead and Beckett won’t be protected? and two, what will Castle and Beckett together actually be like?  I hope we find out a lot more about the latter in more light, fun murder investigations, and less about the former in heavy, serious mythology episodes.  And I don’t think that’s just me.

E: Um, no.  Not just you.  There’s wondrous comedy to be had in seeing those two adjust to being together – not to mention Martha and Alexis adjusting to Castle having a real relationship for the first time.  And the possibilities for cute silliness?  Let’s start with Beckett joining the father/daughter laser tag games.  I mean, the options just go on and on.

C: Beckett and Castle’s will-they-won’t-they worked for me for the first two or three seasons, as I’ve said before, because Castle really needed to grow up into a man who could be compatible with her. The past year or two that they’ve been dragging things out, I feel like they’ve shown that they have a lot in common, but Beckett’s also shown her own problematic tendency to get mean or close off when something goes wrong. For the show to work with them together there has to be ongoing tension. I’m curious to see if that tension will come from a return of Castle’s irresponsibility, a continuation of Beckett’s lousy problem-solving — or if it will come from an outside source. Castle and Beckett against the world, I could get behind.

E: Hear, hear!

M: And if all three of us can get behind it, you know it’s a good idea.

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One comment on “Castle Review: “Always”

  1. Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

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