'Castle' Premiere Recap: Castle and Beckett Make It Official
'Castle' Premiere Recap: Castle and Beckett Make It Official
Morgan Glennon
Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Mark my words here: Castle is on fire. And I mean that creatively, of course, although there was some actual fire in tonight's episode. (Also explosions! Also nudity! Also, Alexis was drunk and I wanted to have flashbacks of her doing a drunken version of the Gangnam Style dance. But I realize this show isn't written entirely for me so...)

Last year, Castle reached the point of diminishing returns on the show's central conceit: a will-they-won't-they crime fighting duo. It wasn't the first we've seen on television and, knowing network TV's love of procedurals, it certainly won't be the last. But last season, Castle did something shocking in the television universe: it committed to the central couple. Instead of pulling the sexual tension out until it was ridiculous, the show made it clear from the early episodes of last season that we were on a ride and Castle and Beckett were the destination.

Knowing we weren't going to have to wait a million seasons made it easier to enjoy the ups and downs of their relationship in season 4. Last season, we knew both characters were in love and circling each other. It was clearly only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped, Beckett almost fell off a building and there was the inevitable sexy storm hookup.

Now, however, we're in unknown territory for Castle. Will it fall into the Moonlighting curse? Not if the explosive (another pun -- Castle would be so proud) premiere has anything to say about it.

Together At Last

Is there anything better than seeing Castle and Beckett being sexy in the morning? It's hard to say, since Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion have such excellent chemistry. Already, the Castle writers are enjoying the new dynamic. Clearly, there is a lot of humor to be gleaned from Castle and Beckett pretending everything is the status quo in their relationship.

As Martha interrupts their first morning together, Castle shoves Beckett into a closet like a "sophomore in high school." Later, Beckett's paranoia nearly demands that Castle get into a closet when Ryan stops by for no apparent reason. "But I'm wearing pants!" Castle complains. What Moonlighting curse?

Of course, aside from some near-death commentary about how they should have gotten together four years ago, things are pretty standard for a Castle episode. The truth is, the Castle and Beckett relationship is already well established enough to work whether the two characters are annoying each other or throwing each other into closets without pants.

A Conspiracy Uncovered

The other big storyline left over from season 4 was the conspiracy surrounding the death of Beckett's mother. The conspiracy had gotten remarkably complicated throughout the third and fourth seasons, and it's a relief to finally have it at least somewhat solved.

Last season, the show managed to balance fun cases of the week with a longer-running storyline about the investigation into Kate's shooting and her mother's cold case murder. This season is looking to stack up in a similar fashion, with the through-line belonging to Kate's quest to take down Senator Bracken.

With Maddox still on the trail of the mysterious Mr. Smith, Beckett and Castle are joined on the search for clues by Ryan and Esposito. The two are still at odds, and it's painful to see their bromance torn asunder. The team puts the pieces together, literally, after Smith's spare file blows up in Maddox's face. I'll miss you, Maddox, and your killer cheekbones. (This episode is fairly light on puns, so I'm just trying to make up the difference.)

They quickly put together Senator Bracken's complicity in the old mob kidnappings, as well as the deaths of Beckett's mother and Roy Montgomery. Smith refuses to come forward with his evidence. And before you can say, "mysterious hospital death," he has mysteriously died in the hospital. It's like Castle and Beckett have never watched a police procedural before! Never leave the key witness in a hospital. Mysterious death is always the outcome.

So Beckett loads up her gun and goes to meet the senator at a campaign event. All signs point to Kate just shooting him in the face, which is the immediate conclusion the rest of the gang jump to. However, they tell Ryan not to call Gates because if he does, they've labeled her an assassin. Ryan really needs to chill it with calling Gates all the time. I know it's the right thing to do and all, but it just feels like tattling.

Instead, Kate tries to get Bracken to confess. He doesn't so much confess as tell a weird story about murder-suicide. Um, thanks? Even Kate is thrown by the non sequitur. If I'm ever being threatened at gunpoint, I'm just going to start telling random tragic stories to see if I can throw everyone off base. It seems to work pretty well.

Bracken says that he's the one with power, which is true because he's played by Jack Coleman, and that guy has been in everything on television at some point -- I don't think he sleeps. I don't want to start any rumors, but I think Jack Coleman is a Cylon.

Beckett bluffs and tells Bracken that she still has the file and that if anything happens to her or anyone she cares about, it goes public. So she basically is taking on Smith's old deal. She does, however, get in a fairly bad-ass speech and a pistol whipping for satisfaction.

Back Where Beckett Belongs

As the episode winds down, there's one little matter to take care of. See, Beckett is still technically not a member of the police force. Thankfully, this scene only takes up about five seconds of real estate in an otherwise packed-to-the-brim episode.

Basically it goes like this:

Beckett: I'd like my job back so this can continue being a police procedural and not a story of an eccentric writer who plays laser tag all day.
Gates: I'd watch that show.
Beckett: Me too, but that's not what we promised ABC.
Gates: Okay, but I disapprove because I disapprove of everything.
Beckett: Noted.

So Beckett is back on the force and just waiting to find the right information to take Bracken down. In the meantime, however, there will be crazy cases to solve and that pesky relationship with Castle to hide.

What did you think of the season 5 premiere? Did it live up to your expectations? And what did you think of the conspiracy finally being uncovered? Sound off in the comments.

Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC)