Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TV – Castle Season 4

Note: There are spoilers for Season 3 in this post, as well as a discussion of the status of the Castle/Beckett relationship at the end of Season 4 and the first episode of Season 5.

This season picks up right where last season left off.  Beckett is being whisked into a hospital emergency room.  She took a bullet to the chest from an unknown shooter at the end of Season 3.  After a tense scene, she is going to survive (although it wasn’t ever really in doubt.)

What was in doubt was whether Beckett would remember Castle’s confession to her, just after she was shot, that he loved her and he couldn’t lose her.  She says she doesn’t, but it is revealed in the first episode that she really did.  Her therapist (Michael Dorn) tries to help her address this, as well as the trauma of almost being killed.

The show skips a few months in the first episode.  During this time Beckett is recovering from her shooting and she and Castle don’t see each other.  She tells him she needs some time alone and she will call him.  She never does.  This creates some hard feelings for Castle.

When she finally does return to work, she finds that her shooting case has grown cold.  The new Captain, Victoria “Iron” Gates (Penny Johnson), has ordered the detectives to shelve it and move on to the many other cases they have.  Beckett can’t believe it.  Ryan and Esposito haven’t pushed it with Gates because they don’t want to reveal Captain Montgomery’s part in all of it.  Castle took what research he could with him to keep it from getting out.  The detectives are then amazed that Beckett hasn’t spoken with Castle since she was shot.  They tell her he practically slept in their precinct for months, killing himself trying to figure out any leads on her shooter.  He’d still be there now if the new Captain hadn’t ordered him out.

In the meantime, Castle has been contacted by an old friend of Montgomery’s.  He tells Castle that Montgomery sent him a file that will incriminate the person who ordered Beckett’s shooting.  He has cut a deal with this man that Beckett will remain unharmed, but only if she drops her investigation.  He tells Castle that if he has any feelings at all for Beckett he better do his best to direct her away from it.

So both characters are hiding secrets from the other – Castle that he has to keep Beckett from investigating the most important case of her life, and Beckett that she does remember Castle telling her he loved her.  Both of these things finally come to a head in the Season 4 finale.

During the season they had the usual mixture of more serious cases (i.e. Castle caught in a bank robbery) and more humorous cases.  There was a fun episode where Castle and Esposito were fighting over who would throw Ryan a bachelor party.  They all end up in Atlantic City dressed as Elvis impersonators.  Another fun episode involved Adam Baldwin (Firefly) appearing as a violence-prone cop nicknamed “Mad Dog”.  Of course he and Castle end up together for much of the episode.  The best episode was one where the characters spent time in a 1940’s noir story that is a diary from a PI of that time.

They once again had a two-parter during February sweeps.  This time Castle and Beckett get brought into a CIA investigation by none other than an old friend of Castle’s – Sophia Turner (Jennifer Beals).  It turns out she was the inspiration for female CIA agent Clara Strike in Castle’s Derrick Storm books.  Beckett, who insists that she doesn’t like being Castle’s “muse” for his Nikki Heat character suddenly finds herself bothered by the fact that she’s not the first woman Castle ever had as a muse.  When she further finds out that Castle and Turner had a relationship for a year it really pushes her to confront her feelings for Castle.

I mentioned in my Season 3 post that the continued excuses for keeping Castle and Beckett apart were wearing very thin.  The show’s exec Andrew Marlowe had been insisting for years that he was not going to put them together, and he had been growing more and more strident as he kept getting that question over the years.  He must have finally woken up to the fact that he was losing viewers who were fed up over the situation. 

Another possible thing that might have finally clued him in was the 2011 Comic Con appearance.  Before any of the cast were brought out the panel’s moderator asked the thousands in the crowd if they thought Beckett would survive her shooting.  In unison they responded, “Yes.”  He then asked if they thought she would remember Castle telling her he loved her.  In unison once again, and with a note of disgust in their voices, the crowd responded, “No!”

Marlowe finally realized that he couldn’t keep the characters apart anymore without destroying whatever suspension of disbelief was remaining in the situation.  The final episode of this season does put the two together.  Of course, there was always the thought that Marlowe might change his mind over the summer, but after watching the first episode of season 5 I can thankfully say that the show appears to be committed to moving forward and not trying to reverse themselves.

Chip’s Rating: Four stars out of five


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