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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Too late to return the tux: Goon Reviews Castle “Veritas”

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Holy crap, that just happened.

This week, we open with Beckett on a stakeout, following a man linked to Sen. Bracken, (refresher: the guy behind her mother’s murder) hoping that this will lead her to evidence she can use against him.  A snag is hit when the next morning the man she is following turns up dead.  It is discovered that he was with Vulcan Simmons before he died, who we know was in charge of a drug ring that was funneling money into an account to fund Bracken’s run for the presidency.  Gates orders her off the case because of her close ties to it.  Undeterred from this, Beckett tracks down the town car that Simmons was seen in, and finds blood in the car.  After a tension filled stand off between the two, we cut to black.  Upon the return, Castle receives a phone call from Esposito, saying that Beckett is back on the case after Simmons is found dead.  Beckett is then accused of the murder, forcing her and Castle to go on the run.  They discover that Mr. Smith, the man who had the file that was protecting Beckett and was previously thought dead, is still alive and kicking.  He passes on some information about a cassette tape that has proof of Bracken’s evil doings, but the holder of the tape was killed and the tape lost.  Smith tells them to leave town as there is nothing else they can do, Beckett refuses at first feeling that she is abandoning the fight  but eventually agrees.  Castle goes off to secure them a car while Beckett stays at their motel room to change her look, only for Bracken and two thugs to show up, intending to kill her.  In one of the most badass scenes of the show to date, Beckett kills her two would be assassin’s before blacking out due to bottle related head trauma.  While she is out, a memory of her first meeting with Montgomery resurfaces that points her in the direction of the cassette.  The dearly departed Captain left it with her mother, prompting the two to return to New York and find the tape.  While going through her things, they are caught by Capt. Marcus Donovan, who has been leading the manhunt against Beckett.  While they are waiting to be dragged off to the slammer, Beckett realizes that the elephants on her desk, that used to belong to her mom, are where the tape is hidden.  The tape is retrieved, the evidence found, and Bracken arrested, bringing to a close the case that has been tormenting Beckett for her entire career and allowing her to find justice for her mother.

As stated above, holy crap.

The plot for this episode was a relative simple one, and one that we have seen before in the series.  I speak of course of the episode last season where Castle is framed for murder, forcing him to go on the run, but that is not to say this was in anyway bad.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Depriving Beckett of access to her resource and support structure, forcing her and Castle to only rely on each other was a pure genius.  The entire show is built up around their partnership, so ripping away everything else and leaving them to rely on each other almost exclusively was the perfect way to close out this long running story.  Best of all, we didn’t see either of them do anything stupid, well nothing too stupid.  Beckett going to find the Simmons car without a warrant was a pretty big misstep on her part, but I can let that pass.  In a situation like this, I would not be surprised to see Beckett begin to loose her cool.  Her mother’s killer is after her, her shield is gone, being set up as a crooked cop, all of this could easily lead to her going rogue and trying to handle things on her own.  Instead of that though, we had her relying more on Castle, knowing that she couldn’t do this alone and needed help.  It shows just how great her character is, that she is able to keep a cool and level head is a testament to how great her character is.

Castle’s role in this week was amazing as well, we got to see him in a serious role throughout pretty much the entire episode, which is a rarity for the show.  Usually we see him balancing his humor and more serious side throughout the episode, but every once in awhile we get an episode that forces him into a situation where we has no choice but to keep his humorous side suppressed, and this is great to see!  Fillion (who I actually had the pleasure of meeting this past weekend, and is a delight!) is amazing when he brings this side of Castle out.  By no means should it be something we see all the time, the balance they have in most episodes is perfect as is, these rare occasions that we have the deadly serious Castle from start to finish help to drive home just how dire the circumstances are.  Like Beckett, he didn’t let the tough spot they were in get to him, his reassuring Beckett that they weren’t running from the fight, instead just finding somewhere safe to come up with a new plan, was amazing for his character.

Now for the big part of the episode, Beckett finally solved the case.  Let’s be honest, we all knew this was coming, but I didn’t think it would happen now.  We have had some build up to this earlier this season, i.e. the Beckett undercover episode from a little ways back, but I am honestly surprised to see it happen now.  I thought it would be a season finale and it would be dragged out for another season, possible being a continual build up to the series finale, but no, its wrapped up and wasn’t even a season finale.  Now, that is not to say this was a bad call on the writers part, but I wouldn’t say it was a great one either.  Honestly, I am ecstatic that Beckett finally caught the guy, that we finally to see the end to this long running story, and that is ended in an almost perfect fashion, but a part of me thinks they could have done more with it, set up as  two parter, part one being the season finale, part two the next season premier.  But what do I know?  It’s not like I am getting paid to write for the show. (kinda wish I was though, its got to be better than working with Snooty)

As far as our supporting cast goes, Ryan and Esposito were used sparingly in this episode, but used well.  They were thrust into the role as Beckett and Castle’s guys on the inside, and they did this well, never once believing that Beckett was a murderer and working inside the system to help their friends and teammates.  Gates was also fantastic in this episode, also showing her faith in Beckett and wanting to do everything she could to protect her officer, and dare I say it, friend?  I can honestly say that I am loving how Gate’s character has evolved over time on the show, and she is fast becoming one of my favorite characters.  And best of all, the brief but amazing return of Captain Roy Montgomery!  This scene was amazing, best part of the episode hands down.  It really showed the importance of Montgomery to Beckett and the whole of the murder of Joanna Beckett, and really showed just how torn up and haunted he was by his role in the event.  His subtle hint to Beckett about where to find the truth about her mother was perfect, showing how he was trying to find redemption for his past sins, which in the end he did by sacrificing his life for Beckett.  Ruban Santiago-Hudson was a fantastic, and still missed, part of this show and it was ever so amazing to see him come back.

Sadly, we didn’t get anything from Martha and Alexis this week, but honestly that wasn’t a bad thing.  They are usually there to bring some levity to the drama or some insight to help solve the case, which just wouldn’t have worked for this episode.  As stated above, what made it great was Castle and Beckett being on the run and having to rely mostly on themselves, as much as I love Martha and Alexis, they would have been weak point to this week’s episode, which means that we better get a double dose of them next week!

Overall, fantastic episode.  We finally say the close to the series biggest, and really only, overarching plot.  It brings a sense of closure to the story and the characters, while at the same time, leaves the show open to a new story, hopefully we get a good one.  So, next week we have the long awaited nuptials between Castle and  Beckett, can’t for that, but until we see Beckett walk down the aisle.

Goon out.

Cheeseburgers!: Goon Reviews Castle “Number One Fan”

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Man, Castle’s bedroom really doesn’t have any privacy does it?  You have Pi wandering in for a razor, Martha doing her usual asking for permission after already doing it, and Alexis just wandering in to see what happens.  Makes one wonder how anyone gets any sleep around Casa De Castle.  Lack of privacy aside, this episodes opens with a fun scene between our favorite crime fighting couple.  Beckett is feeling lost and unsettled over her being fired from her job at the feds and being unable to rejoin the NYPD due to a hiring freeze.  Castle does his best to comfort her, and of course puts his foot in his mouth in the process.  As I have said before, one of the strong points of this series is Castle and his family, and this scene shows that amazingly fun family chaos perfectly, while giving us a sweet moment between Castle and Beckett as he tries to comfort her and put her current unease to rest, even if he lets slip the wrong thing, but this is in true Castle fashion, his poor choices of words or speaking at the wrong time makes him that much more lovable, and makes him easier to relate to.  Who doesn’t put there foot their mouth from time to time?

Moving on from our amusing opening we jump right into the case of the week, or CoW as I will referring to it in the future because it amuses me.  The CoW for this episode was interesting, as it was different from the usual find the body, catch the killer routine that has been established.  Instead we see Castle having to negotiate with the suspect after she had taken some hostages and while the rest work behind the scenes to catch the killer.  I found this episode so much better than the usual Castle episode because at times it honestly left me guessing as to whether or not Emma, the suspect, was actually innocent of the murder or if she was just had a psychotic break and didn’t know what she did.

Castle’s scenes with Emma were great to watch.  You got to see Castle doing what he loves best, solving the puzzles to put together the story, while Beckett was working the crime scene and doing the same thing, albeit each in their unique ways.  The entire scenes where Castle was talking with Emma showed just how afraid he was being locked in a room with a potential killer, while at the same time his sympathy for this distraught woman and his desire to help her.  It also shows just how far he’s come as character, where he was competently able to work this hostage situation, even if he was just making it up as he went along some times.  I would say the best part was that after five years of this show, that “Writer” vest of his finally paid off.

This episode also had Beckett’s triumphant return to the police, even if it was unofficial at first, and this is what truly made the episode for me.  You had Beckett easily falling back into her role as leader of the team, only to be reminded by Ryan and Esposito that she wasn’t actually a cop anymore.  It led to a fun new team dynamic, Ryan and Esposito still clearly like and respect Beckett, but can’t pass up the opportunity to give her a little grief, as any friend would.  I think I am most disappointed that we didn’t see a few more of those friendly barbs directed at their former coworker.

Gates was fantastic in this episode.  You can clearly see that over the past two years she has come to respect what Castle has to offer and can bring to an investigation, even if she still may not like him all that much.  This is clearly shown by the fact that she allows Castle to do what he needs to for the hostage negotiation, and even flat out states that she has come to realize that Castle’s insight and often wildly theories have been invaluable over the past years.  She showed her respect for Castle, and just how much she also respects Beckett by allowing her to partake in the investigation even though she wasn’t an officer anymore.

The episode closes out with the discovery that everything boiled down to Emma’s adoption.  Her boyfriend wanted to help her know where she came from, leading to his murder, and Emma’s frame up, by Emma’s father’s son-in-law.  I liked that in this particular case, the rich, affluent, white businessman wasn’t actual a villain.  Sure he did something immoral in the past, but at the end he stepped up decided to a part of Emma’s life, even stating that he would support her through her trial and make sure she would never be alone again.  All in all, he’s a stand up guy.  And best of all, said rich guy helps to get Beckett her job back and allowing Castle to come back as a consultant, thus reforming team Castle!  *cheering in the streets*

Overall, it was a solid episode, and wraps up the Beckett as a fed story arch.  It had an outside of the box CoW, that had some twists in it and some legitimate surprises.  Emma was a solid victim/villain type character that I actually cared about, and Castle showcased some of the development his character has had over the series.  Only downside to this episode was the limited amount of Castle’s family.  I really want to see something done with Pi, apart from him just being an annoyance in Castle’s life.

Goon out.