Monday, September 21, 2015

TV – Castle Season 7

Note: This is part of my ongoing reviews of the Castle television show’s seasons, the books written by “Richard Castle”, and some events related to the show.  For the parent post with links to all of these, please click here.  I will have an upcoming review for the latest Nikki Heat novel at some point.  I haven’t read it yet.

Note 2: There are spoilers for Season 6 in this post.

This season picks up right where Season 6 ended.  Castle did not make it to the wedding and Kate Beckett finds his car off the road and on fire.  Even though this was a cliffhanger there really wasn’t much suspense.  They were not going to kill off the title character of the TV show.  It’s quickly determined that Castle’s body is not in the car, so then the search is on for where he is and what happened.  It turns up some strange things, most notably security video of Castle himself making a cash drop some hours after his “accident”.  Most everyone else figures Castle got cold feet and ran out on Beckett.  She holds out hope, but as days stretch into weeks and weeks into months, even she starts to doubt. 

Of course, Castle is found (in the first episode), but there’s a twist – he has no memory of anything that happened from the time of the accident until he was found.  Several other things are strange, too: he’s got a partially healed injury from a bullet, he’s got antibodies to dengue fever, and he was found unconscious in a boat in the ocean.

Now that the writers finally wrapped up the last of the open threads of the mystery of Beckett’s mother’s murder in Season 6 they are obviously setting this Castle mystery up as the one to take over for it.  We do get a few answers right away, then the show mostly puts it in the background until an episode late in Season 7 that at least answers the basics.  This was done because it was possible that this season was going to be the last for Castle.  As it turns out, new contracts were signed with the principals and there is going to be an eighth season.

As always there are a mix of serious episodes and lighter episodes.  The other major storyline still open coming into Season 7 is the 3XK one and they have a two-parter devoted to that.  For anyone who may have felt they’ve milked this storyline long enough there does appear to finally be closure on it.  There are also episodes where Esposito is caught on a subway train with a suicide bomber, one where Castle witnesses a murder, and one where Ryan is moonlighting on the security detail of a political candidate who gets shot.

Fun episodes include ones where Castle may or may not be in an alternate dimension where he and Beckett never met, one where they have to investigate a murder in a sealed environment mimicking a mission to Mars, and an extended storyline where Castle becomes a Private Investigator after being banned from the precinct.

They also continue to mine other shows, movies, and current events to do their own spin on things.  They have versions of Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop movie, Saturday Night Live, and The Expendables where Castle teams up with a bunch of 80s action heroes who are out to solve a murder of one of their own.

Of course, Castle and Beckett never did get married at the end of Season 6, so that gets addressed.  They go on a sort-of honeymoon, sort-of an investigation to a place that reproduces an old West environment.  It’s worth watching just to see Beckett in a black gunslinger outfit.

Because of the possibility that this was the last season of Castle they thankfully did not end it with a cliffhanger.  In fact, the final episode of the season can be seen as a very fitting send off for the entire show.  Castle runs across connections to the first murder he ever saw back when he was 12 – one he had convinced himself he had imagined after no evidence turned up.  It was trying to make sense of this event that started him down the road to writing murder mysteries. 

In fact, this episode was so good at bringing everything full circle that the thought went through my mind that I might not watch the show anymore because this was the best ending it could have.  When I then heard rumors over the summer that they were planning to either break up Castle and Beckett in Season 8, or at least give them marital troubles, that cemented my decision.  After seven great years I am not going to continue to watch this show.  I’m not saying I will never watch it again; just that I don’t want to be brought down from the high of the final episode.

Overall, Season 7’s weakest point might be that they move on from Castle’s disappearance faster than is realistic, but I’m sure they wanted to get things back to normal.  The other episodes were on par with prior seasons, both serious ones and fun ones.  And as I mentioned it has a very satisfying ending episode for all the fans of the show.

Chip’s Rating: Four stars out of five

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