Gotta start this off with saying just how amazing Joshua Gomez was in this episode. I have really missed seeing him on TV, and he played the time traveling quack pot amazingly well, but we will talk about him in a bit.
The CoW this episode started with the murder of a parole officer, but unlike most episodes the killer is discovered rather quickly and team Castle is left trying to play catch up to the killer and stop him from committing other murders. Sadly they fail and another dead body is added to the kill count for the week. What really made this episode stand out from the norm was the character of Simon and the subplot he brings to it. The whole concept of the time travelers trying to change the future, while hardly an original idea in the realms of fiction, it is a fun twist for a crime drama like Castle. But lets be honest, is it really all that out there? There has been some pretty wacky episodes in the past, vampires, secret agents, voodoo, zombies, all sorts of crazy stuff that fits in perfectly with the tone of the series, and this episode is one of the best by far. Castle jumps straight in to the time traveler story, and while he admits that its ridiculous and claims that he is just playing into Simon’s story to get info, you can see that he is having so much fun with it, and may even be believing it. The subplot ties in well with the CoW in that the murderer is this mysterious figure who didn’t exist before 2007, and continued to live off the grid. At no point were his true motives stated, and people are left guessing as to who is target is up until the end. All of this builds to the ever so simple question of “what if?” What if Simon is telling the truth, what if he REALLY is from the future, sent back to prevent changes. Logically, we know this is ludicrous, but the simple fact that the episode plants that idea of belief in the impossible is what made it so much fun. Its the things like this that really help to set Castle apart from other crime dramas. This idea was fully driving home at the very end, with Simon rounding a corner and disappearing and Beckett causing the letter to be the same as in the photograph on the murder board. Its the little touches like those that help the audience to believe that Castle has that sci fi/supernatural edge to it that makes it so much fun.
Of course, as silly fun as this episode was, if it wasn’t for the characters we know and love, it would have just fallen flat. Castle’s diving right into the story and Beckett’s continual denial of it and determination to find the truth are what made the episode. This of course fit in perfectly with their characters and allowed for some fantastic dialogue between the two. That of course, and the fantastic acting of one Joshua Gomez. He did an amazing job with the character of Simon and did a perfect job of selling the crazy that Simon may or may not have been. The one downside I can pull from this was was Ryan and Esposito. While they certainly weren’t lacking in the episode, I really don’t think that contributed as much as they have in previous episodes this season. Granted, Esposito’s Doctor Who reference was just, as a certain Doctor would say fantastic, and showed that Esposito may just be a bit of geek.
While limited, Alexis had a pretty significant role in this story. We Castle finally at this wits end with Pi, saying he has to go, only for Alexis to tell him that she and Pi will be moving in together. Naturally Castle doesn’t take to well to this news, but this is understandable given how much he cares for Alexis and his dislike of Pi. Beckett did a good job of trying to help Castle see Alexis’ view on this, and even tying in hers and Castle’s relationship. Showing that she has an understanding of how the younger Castle’s mind works. Honestly, I think this season would be stronger if we could see some more bits with Beckett and Alexis, after all, they are soon to become step mother/daughter so it would be nice if we could see them bonding a bit, and this would have been a perfect time. We could have had a scene of Alexis talking to Beckett, hoping that she could help her dad come to terms with her moving in with Pi. But oh well, while that would have been nice to see, it wouldn’t have really helped the episode be better, it was already pretty damn amazing.
Overall, solid addition to the season thus far, and has been keeping in tune with the previous episodes being a bit outside the norm for series thus far. I eagerly look forward to what comes next.