Apparently Castle knows his camping: Goon Reviews Castle “Driven”

What do mean wedding's not happening!?

And we are back with our favorite crime fighting author and sexy cop partner!

When we last left the pair they had just gotten married, it was a lovely ceremony.  Alexis looked adorable in her best man suit, and gave a fantastic speech at the reception, Esposito and Ryan got up to some antics at the open bar, but it was played for laughs, and  Castle and Beckett’s first dance was just tooth rotting sweet.  We closed out with the two driving off on their honeymo…wait,  what did you say? 0
They didn’t get married?  Beckett got a call and found Castle’s car burning on the side of the road?  Wait, what did  I see then?  I distinctly remember a wedding.  A dream, you say?  No, that can’t be right, the writers wouldn’t do something so horrible to us, their loyal fans would they?  They did!

Well, crap.

So, after an annoying cliffhanger, and a false hope providing hallucination, we pick up right where we left off.  Beckett scrambles to the burning car, trying to save her husband to be, but the heat of the flames force her back.  Once the fire is out, she sees that there is no body inside, and the team scramble to find their missing friend.  The local police jump on board right away, more than willing to save Castle, who is considered to be one of their own.  The discover tracks leading away from Castle’s car, and get a lead on a black SUV that was seen in the area.  The FBI is able to get a brief lock on Castle’s phone, leading Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito to a junkyard where the aforementioned black SUV is being crushed.  They nab the guy the crushing the car, but he refuses to speak.  The troops are scrambled and the FBI is called in to help, the agent assigned does not seem hopeful they will find him alive, raising the idea that it was someone Castle and Beckett nabbed in the past who is behind it.  We get a brief shot of a devastated Alexis, convinced that her dad will be coming home.  The clues lead to the attack being mob related, which brings about a familiar face from the past, Vinnie Cardino, last seen in season five where Castle and Beckett solved a crime in the Hamptons.  He is upset over the news, having made peace with Castle in the past, and explains that he was paid cash to destroy the SUV, not knowing it was related to Castle’s disappearance.  He tells them where the money drop point was, and our favorite reoccurring tech head Tory is able to get security cam footage of the alley, only to discover that Castle was the one to drop off the cash.  The plot, it thickens!

Beckett is shaken by this news, Ryan is confused, and Esposito is angry.  Beckett tells Ryan to look into Castle, and Beckett goes to interview Martha and Alexis.   They know nothing, but we have a nice moment of Beckett worrying that Castle was having doubts about the wedding, but is reassured by Martha that running was the farthest thing from Castle’s mind.  With this in mind, Beckett knows that something is up, that there is something off about this, but the FBI isn’t buying it, convinced that Castle is just trying to make himself disappear for reasons unknown.  Beckett once more throws herself into the case, determined to find Castle. and we are treated to a montage of her chasing leads.  The episode then cuts to the coast guard coming across a seemingly abandoned boat, but low and behold, there is an unconscious man inside it, that’s right, its Castle!  Castle is brought to the hospital and Beckett and team rush to see him, Beckett monetarily stunned after seeing him in the hospital bed, convinced that she would never him again.  What could have been a touching moment, is spoiled by Castle not gaining consciousness.  Martha and Alexis rush in, and we learn that Castle has no serious injuries but is recovering from exposure and dehydration.  Esposito is still angry over the situation, wanting to know what Castle was doing, but Ryan comes the authors defense, saying that after everything they have been through, he deserves the benefits of the doubt.  Beckett calms the two and gets them back work.  She talks to the captain that found Castle, and they are able to  track down where the boat came from, leading them to Massachusetts, and a new suspect, one Henry Jenkins.  Team Beckett go to the dock, and the mobile home next to it, there is no sign of Jenkins and before they can move in, Beckett gets a call from Laney, who looked Castle over, and made some shocking discoveries.  She finds antibodies for a tropical virus in his blood stream, and a weeks old bullet wound.  The team nabs Jenkins, who says he has no idea who Castle is or how he got into his boat.  Jenkins says he saw a man camping nearby to long ago, and after seeing a picture, confirms it was Castle.  Beckett and Esposito check it out and find the tent full of supplies as well as his wedding tux.  Castle regains consciousness and Beckett goes to speak to him.  Beckett confronts him, but Castle claims to only remember the crash and then waking up in the hospital.  It is then revealed that Castle has been missing for two months, gasp!
A doctor tells them that Castle shows no signs of the usual things that cause memory loss, but doesn’t rule them out, nor does she rule out that Castle may have just walked away from his life.  Beckett is upset, and Castle wants answers.  He asks her to take him to his camp site, but nothing is ringing any bells.  Beckett asks Castle for the truth, but Castle insists that he is telling the truth, Beckett does seem to buy it.  At this point Ryan has also lost faith in Castle, to much evidence points to him being there.  Castle says he never would have camped there, research done on never finished book giving him the knowledge of camping.  Beckett takes him to see the witness, but a different man answers the door, who is the real Henry Jenkins.  This leads them to believe that the camp was indeed a set up, and now everyone is determined to find the truth.

We close out the episode with a touching family scene, and a talk between Castle and Beckett, the two seem to be back on a good page, but knowing that they have some work to do to rebuild their relationship to what it once was.

 

Wow, that is a lenghtly plot summary, but I feel that at least in this case its important.  A lot happened in this episode with virtually no filler in it.

Honestly, I have some mixed feelings about this episode.  The mystery of Castle’s disappearance feels a bit to conspiracy theory for my taste, but I have to admit that it does fit in with Castle.  The character is all about the mysteries, unexplained, and conspiracies, so throwing him into the middle of one, with no memory of it, will certainly be interesting to see him try to unravel it.  That being said, it is just a jackass move on the writers part to throw this wrench into the Castle/Beckett romance.  We waited four years for that to happen, two years for them to tie the knot, and now this.  I get that they feel they need to keep the drama going to keep viewers interested, but this is getting annoying.  It is good that they have not split up, and that Castle is sure they will get back to what they once were.

A lot of this episode focused on Beckett, and this was a good thing.  She progressed naturally with the story, sorrow over Castle’s apparent death, rage over his abduction, hurt and distrust when it was revealed that he was apparently hiding out, confusion over the mystery, and finally hope that Castle was home and that everything would be better in time.  Sadly, Castle was used minimally in this episode, so we didn’t get much of the two playing off each other, but his few scenes were great, and he really sold the confusion and hurt over the situation.

The supporting characters all played their roles well.  Ryan and Esposito throwing themselves into the case, Esposito’s distrust of the situation and Ryan’s loyalty to Castle fit perfectly with the character’s, including Ryan’s loss of faith as evidence presented themselves.  Despite their friendship, he is a cop, and has to go where the evidence takes him.

Martha and Alexis were used briefly, but it made sense.  They weren’t involved with case, staying on the sidelines and showing up to provide some drama to the situation, heartbroken over Castle’s disappearance, overjoyed at his return, and never doubting him for a second.  We even got a brief mention of Castle’s spy dad, Esposito wondering if he was involved, and who knows, maybe he was.

This was far from a bad episode, and honestly was one of the better season premiers, it was full of drama and twists, grabbing the audience and not letting go until the end.  They didn’t drag out Castle missing, instead just using it to set up the new overarching plot for the show.  The real problem with it is the whole conspiracy thing surrounding Castle’s disappearance.  While it’s not horribly out of place for the show, it does feel a bit gimmicky, and could get really old really fast.  If this is handled in the same as finding the murderer of Beckett’s mom, with it being in the background and coming up every once in awhile, new pieces of the puzzle occasionally being revealed throughout the course of their investigations, it will be good.

Overall, this was a great premier to the season.  A good, well paced story, and the introduction of a new overarching plot.  There were some missteps taken, but they were minor and don’t hurt the show.  I look forward to seeing this mystery unravel.

Goon out.

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