This week on Castle
, a killer sniper sends Beckett on a post-traumatic downward spiral, but thankfully her friends are there to help her pick up the pieces.
This episode will undoubtedly be on Stana Katic's Emmy reel because she did phenomenal work playing a Beckett coming unglued at the seams. Beckett is usually the stoic member of the team but in this outing her carefully crafted defenses came crumbling down. Katic has never been better or more empathic than she was in this episode. How about some love Emmy voters?
Still this breakdown might have also triggered a breakthrough of the more emotional kind. And that could spell good things, not just for Beckett personally but for her future with Castle. Once the floodgates opened up in regards to her shooting some other issues came flooding to light. In particular, Beckett looks ready to deal with her mother's murder. It's long been her defense mechanism for keeping the world, and especially Castle, at bay. If Beckett really let's go maybe our favorite crime fighting pair will finally become partners in more ways than one.
Memories of Bullets from Afar
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The episode opens with the murder of a woman just walking down the street, planning her wedding. After a second victim is shot in the middle of the street, the gang begins to wonder if it's all random. But more disturbingly, they wonder if this is just the beginning of a spree. Beckett, finally forced to confront her own shooting after months of denying she even remembers it, begins to slowly come unglued.
First it's just looking at her scar in the mirror. Then it's questioning the initial red herring suspect just a little too vigorously. But soon her hands are shaking and the police precinct is happening too fast around her. Then she's drinking too much at home and imagining the shooting all over again, cutting her arm in the process. Although Beckett is suffering from severe PTSD, somehow her hair has never looked better. When another victim wants to know why she was shot, Beckett runs off into a hallway to finally breakdown and cry.
Castle wants to help but every time he tries Beckett takes his head off. So instead Castle does something that is rare and shocking for Castle: he is quietly supportive. In fact, Castle is mostly just in the background of this episode making supportive, concerned faces at Beckett. But clearly this is exactly the kind of support that Beckett needs.
Of course, being concerned isn't Castle's only role in the episode. He also breaks part of the case wide open. See the shooter has been leaving little paper dolls at the crime scene but Castle can't figure out the purpose of these tokens. Good thing he has a genius daughter who can immediately recognize an obscure painting from a tiny, person sized swatch of it. She should really have put that skill on her Stanford application.
A Little Help from Her Friends
Watching Kate continue to unravel, Castle realizes he can't be the one to help her through this. But he knows exactly who can: Esposito. Esposito takes Beckett into the evidence room and shows her the gun she was shot with. He tells her that the person who shot her wasn't some god, passing down judgment from above but just a regular person. "Just like every other bad guy he's damaged goods," Esposito explains. "So am I," Kate says sadly.
But Esposito explains that her scars make her strong. The shooting is a part of her now and she should use it. He hands her the rifle and she takes it, a tear running down her cheek but still nodding in that tough way of hers. How Beckett wears so much eye makeup yet never smudges it when she cries has to be one of her superpowers. It's a really sweet scene between the two friends. This episode is a powerhouse performance piece by Katic so it might be easy to overlook the great work put in by Jon Huertas.
Taking the rifle back with her to the crime scene, Beckett wonders why on earth the shooter would have used the partially obscured view from the windows when he could shoot from the roof. When she tries to take the gun up there, however, her injured arm prevents her from climbing. And that's when she realizes that the shooter could have an injury that wouldn't allow him to climb.
This, in addition to Castle spotting a coffee cup and connecting it to a coffee shop all the victims visited, breaks the case wide open. Now their suspect pool dismisses from 207 to three. And they know how he was picking victims: because they had a recent success in their lives.
They zero in on the suspect, a homeless man with a prosthetic leg. He was an ex-marine who lost his leg in a hit and run and became bitter. They bring in his sister who confirms he was angry about his lot in life and asks Kate not to hurt him.
The clock is ticking down, however, when they find a whole string of paper dolls cut out from a meadow scene. Turns out a local high school track team just won a big tournament and will be celebrating in Central Park. While Ryan desperately tries to call the bus driver, Beckett and Esposito head to apprehend the shooter.
After a struggle, Beckett is once more at gunpoint. But now she's not freaking out anymore. She shows him her bullet wound and explains that they're more alike than different. She's had things taken away from her too but shooting people isn't the way to have his voice heard. She almost talks him down but at the last minute he decides he has to finish his task.As he raises the gun to shoot her a shot flies through the window and puts him down. Turns out there is no one better to have in a pinch than Esposito.
It's a big episode for Beckett on an emotional level. As the episode starts she's telling her therapist that she has to be ok. "I don't have time to get all weepy over a couple of scars," she says defensively.
By episode's end, she's come to realize that the scars are part of her but they don't have to define who she is anymore. And the biggest, more open wound she has is her mother's death. For years she's picked at the scab her mother's death left on her emotionally, never allowing it to even heal into a scar. At the start of the season she told Castle she didn't think she could ever have a healthy relationship until she put aside or solved her mother's murder.
She's let this murder mystery define her for so long, but it's also limited her as well. "Now I want to be more than who I am, but I don't know if I know how to do that without letting my mom down," Beckett explains to her therapist. He says she'll have to make peace with her mother's death and asks her if she's ready. And for the first time, Beckett thinks she is. This is, of course, huge for both Beckett and Caskett.
While most of the Caskett moments of the episode were sweetly understated they still shared a great moment at the end. Castle wonders if Beckett has seen his partner because she owes him about 100 cups of coffee. "Pretty girl thinks she can leap tall buildings in a single bound, carries the world on her shoulders but still manages to laugh at some of my jokes," he describes her. Beckett thanks him, sincerely, for not pushing her and allowing her to get through everything on her own. While not a big Caskett episode, tiny moments like this and Castle's unconditional support shows just how good for each other they would be together.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Do you think Beckett will really be able to let go of her mother's murder? And do you think she'll tell Castle she remembers his three little words? Sound off in the comments!