This week Castle
picks up right at the heart-pounding moment where we last left off
with Alexis still kidnapped in Paris and Castle no closer to rescuing her. But things take some pretty big detours as the hour moves along, until we finally meet an important missing link in the Castle family tree: Castle's father.
The show has danced around the issue of Castle's father for ages. Castle's mother Martha is a big part of the show (and one of our favorite TV grandmas
!) but his father was very infrequently mentioned. Now we know it's because Castle's father is in fact a real life spy. If Alexis wasn't in life or death peril, Castle would likely have been giddy with excitement over this revelation.
Instead this hour almost entirely leaves behind New York, our favorite detectives, and even Beckett to hone in on Castle's journey to save his daughter. Along the way, Castle goes more or less full Neeson in his quest to find Alexis.
Once again, Fillion gets a prime opportunity to show his range and doesn't fail to deliver. Whether it's watching as Sara is saved but Alexis remains kidnapped or meeting his father for the first time, Fillion is a master of showing Castle's anguish and confusion without overplaying the emotions. Getting to see the usual happy-go-lucky Castle more serious and even more dangerous was a nice side-effect of an episode packed to the brim with action and intensity.
As Castle's super spy father, James Brolin was great and the two hit all the right emotional notes. Even though there was scant screentime available for bonding in such a packed episode, the two formed an immediate connection. Castle's father saying he was proud could touch even the hardest of hearts.
But with an episode so packed full of twists, turns, action, and ridiculous Paris green screens the emotional beats needed to play quickly and powerfully. Hopefully we'll see James Brolin's "Jackson Hunt" come back for another mission soon.
Beckett Goes Bad Cop
Beckett didn't have much to do this episode, which is par for the course in episodes where one of the duo is highlighted. Many of the big, emotional Beckett episodes have certainly been Castle-light. Beckett worked mostly as Castle's support system here, although she never stopped investigating the case.
When Castle decides to go full Neeson and runs off to Paris after Alexis, Beckett doesn't give into the temptation to run after him. "He's acting like a father and I have to act like a cop," she tells Espo and Ryan. Beckett's pragmatism has always been one of the qualities that make her a great detective. She doesn't let her emotions get in the way, even when she has to protect the man instrumental in her mother's death.
So Beckett gets down to business investigating the murder of the man they found tortured, but this doesn't mean the emotional strain isn't wearing on her. She gets downright frightening with the man's girlfriend, becoming the literal definition of bad cop with no good cop to even her out. It's not hard to see why she freaks out though. They certainly don't have much to go on except a few sketches, which we later find out show Castle's father hot on the trail of the kidnappers.
This is how she and the team discover that Alexis was the real target after all, which explains why Sara was easily let go but Alexis remained chained up in a cage like a ginger tiger in the city of lights.
Castle Goes Full Neeson
Castle might not have the "particular set of skills" Liam Neeson's character possess in the hit movie Taken, but he does his best to track down his daughter anyway. First he goes to see an old contact in Paris, who directs him to a sketchy gun-for-hire who always works off-the-books.
On the way to the meet, Castle wanders through Paris and it is some truly questionable green screen work. Obviously, Castle didn't have the time or the budget to really film in Paris and some of the interiors they found were great.
Honestly, the long exterior shots were pretty impressive. But every time the camera got close to Fillion's face, it became painfully obvious he wasn't in the city of lights but superimposed on a background of Paris. Haven't we come farther than this with green screens yet?
Henri the gun-for-hire takes Castle down into the underground taverns of Paris because that's where all the best super spies hang out. Hey, if it's good enough for Batman right? Down there it's like a Neil Gaiman fever dream with kooky sound guys who can pinpoint restaurant sounds. That's a pretty specific skill.
This episode's use of sound, light, and music was very impressive. The way the musical cues overwhelm the dialogue to show Castle's exhaustion was clever and evocative. The use of light and shadow, especially when Castle finally reunites with Alexis, certainly made this a very pretty episode to look at.
Castle, I Am Your Father
When Henri double crosses Castle, it looks pretty dire for our favorite author. (Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!) Thankfully, it's dear old dad to the rescue.
The episode gets a few of its rare comedic moments when the mysterious stranger totally goes parental on Castle. "If you talk on your phone when I tell you not to I will shoot it! Don't whine! And don't forget to pick up your three million dollars! I hate when you leave giant cases of money lying around." "Daaaaadddd!"
Back at Jackson Hunt's place, we find out pretty quickly that he's Castle father. It turns out he had spent a night with Martha on leave and thought he was out of the game, but he got another assignment and had to go MIA for a year.
When he came back, he found out he had a son, but because of his line of work he couldn't communicate with Martha and Castle. Still, it didn't stop him from giving a ten-year-old Castle a copy of Casino Royale or helping him get CIA access for his book research. Aww!
In the Russian cliche palace of KGB grudges, Volkov (who is not the villain from Chuck) has Alexis in a cage in the middle of the room. This whole thing was so ridiculous it kind of took the dramatic impact of danger out of the situation.
I knew I should be afraid for Alexis, but I expected to see her petting a miniature giraffe like in those DirecTV "opulence, I has it
" commercials. On the scale of Russians I would be afraid of from Natasha and Boris to Keri Russell in The Americans
, this guy fell more on the Bullwinkle
side of the spectrum.
Castle and Daddy Castle trick Volkov and blow him up with the walkie talkie, while Castle uses some spy work to get Alexis out the back entrance. In a flashback to their planning, Castle says he needs more time to get to know his father. But his dad needs to disappear once more, and they won't even know if he made it out alive.
But this is the Castle family, where not playing by the rules is basically in the DNA. So after a smooch with Beckett and a family hug, Castle finds a copy of Casino Royale came in the mail for him. Thanks for the life saving and the book dad!
What did you think of the #SaveAlexis conclusion? Were you excited to meet Castle's dad? Were you shocked? Sound off in the comments!
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