'Castle' Recap: Beckett Faces Her Mother's Murderer
'Castle' Recap: Beckett Faces Her Mother's Murderer
Morgan Glennon
Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
This week on Castle, things get a little bit tense for Beckett when she's tasked with protecting the very same man involved in her mother's murder. Talk about a weird day at work.

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As this season has progressed, it's focused more on character relationship drama than the big mystery surrounding the murder of Beckett's mother. It's only natural that after getting together our favorite will-they-won't-they crime fighters, the show would be interested in exploring the new relationship between Castle and Beckett.

Last season used the conspiracy as a through-line, while this season has lightened up on the mythology to focus more on how being together romantically changes Castle and Beckett's dynamic. The focus hasn't only involved Castle and Beckett's budding romance,  however. The side characters have also have their moments to shine with episodes focusing on Esposito, Ryan, and even Sergeant Gates' love of dolls.

But this week, we're back to dealing, at least indirectly, with the main (cold) case of the show: the death of Beckett's mother. Jack Coleman is once again perfect at playing an oily senator obsessed with power at any cost. This seems to be his new wheelhouse, as even his character on The Office has turned out to be similarly weasley.

So it should come as no surprise that someone else is interested in offing Senator Bracken. It should also come as no surprise that Beckett has mixed feelings about protecting the man who was behind her mother's death.

While she spends most of the episode pretending like Bracken's past actions don't matter when it comes to protecting his life, her hesitation in turning over the threatening letter shows Beckett isn't quite as impartial as she'd like to be. For his part, Bracken seems more concerned with announcing his new environmental policy than he is with the fact that someone wants him dead. If I were Bracken, I would be a little bit less than comforted with the fact that the person tasked with saving my life had once pointed a gun to my head.

Beckett's Dilemma

Having put Beckett's quest to get to the bottom of her mother's murder on the back-burner for a bit, it's great to see an episode dipping its toe back into the conspiracy plotline. Mostly, it's nice to see the show give Stana Katic a big, meaty and emotional character arc again.

While it's been fun to see Castle and Beckett negotiate their new relationship this season, last year was a big year for showcasing exactly what Katic could do. In fact, I even made a case for her to nab a Golden Globe nomination last year after her solid work in some of the more emotional episodes dealing with Beckett's shooting. This episode lets Katic go back to the well of Kate Beckett's torment over her mother's death. She is excellent while showing the strain of balancing Beckett's personal feelings of hate for Bracken with her duty as an officer to uphold the law.

When she looks into McManus' eyes and sees the pain of losing someone important, she hesitates in taking him down because she very clearly understands what that pain could drive a person to do. Playing conflicted is something Katic has always done really well, and episodes revolving around Beckett's vulnerabilities always allow us to see a different side to Kate than the self-assured officer we're used to. Beckett is usually the capable and surefooted one in the precinct, but when it comes to her mother's murder, she can sometimes be blinded by emotions.

Who Wants to Murder Senator Bracken ... Besides Everyone?

As with some of the other big episodes dealing with Beckett's internal turmoil, this episode puts the Castle and Beckett of it all aside. Castle's definitely there for Beckett to support her and to wonder if taking the case is the right thing for her to do. But this episode is Beckett's show, and it's her conflict that powers the hour.

 It's also her inability to let go of the case, even after it's ostensibly been solved, that ends up saving the day. While Beckett has learned to lighten up a bit and let go of her obsessive tendencies, they very much come in handy for Senator Bracken. She realizes with little time to spare that McManus might have had an axe to grid against the senator, but his arrest was set up by someone a lot closer to Bracken to allow him a real chance of getting close.

Thanks to Melanie Rogers' voicemail and a well-timed zippo lighter, Beckett manages to save the day and Bracken's life. While she agonizes over whether or not she should go above and beyond to save the man who was instrumental in her mother's death, when it comes to a quick decision, she jumps to the rescue without hesitation. As she tells McManus, that's what makes them better than someone like Bracken. She might have had her moments of hesitation, but when it comes down to a big life-or-death decision, Beckett does the right thing.

Which might actually put her in Bracken's debt. It's hard to tell just how evil Bracken is and how much of the truth he actually reveals. When he expresses regret over Melanie's death or says he didn't kill McManus' son, Beckett rightly doesn't believe him.

Just what is Bracken's endgame and how will it affect Beckett? As the episode draws to a close, Bracken admits that he owes Beckett his life. He tells her it might be helpful at some point to have a friend in high places. Does he know something he's not letting on?

Of course, Beckett isn't about to give up on seeing Bracken put behind bars. Bracken takes down the man who paid his driver to blow him up, while making himself a folk hero in the process. Castle mentions it's the kind of story that might help someone into the White House someday.

Bracken is obviously only going to get more powerful, which might be dangerous for Beckett down the line. But Beckett has never shied away from challenging powerful, scary people. Somehow, I doubt this will be the last we see of Senator Bracken this season.

What did you think of this week's episode of Castle? Did you miss a more lighthearted case or did you enjoy the return to the show's mythology? What do you think will happen with Bracken in the future? Share in the comments!

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(Image courtesy of ABC)



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