Season 6, Episode 1 (Valkyrie)
First out of the gate on my viewing list, the sixth season premiere of Castle was enjoyable and engaging. (Pun intended.) In the opening scene, the tension from the last season was resolved, but in the second, it seemed as though I was watching a new show.
Castle, unlike many procedural dramas, does not have a set formula and the writers tweak with it enough to make it feel different depending on the mood of the story. Some episodes are funny, some are goofy in a themed way, some are outright parodies, some are action-oriented, some are creepy, some are philosophical, and some are dramatic – with many being a combination of several of those. The premiere episodes tend to veer into dramatic and action territory, and Valkyrie is no exception. However, by relocating the majority of the action, introducing new secondary characters, and having the character of Castle stumble around uncomfortably, the first few scenes of this episode were both refreshing and disappointing. After a summer, we’ve missed Beckett and Castle, so seeing them separately is somewhat of a let-down, since on their own, Beckett is aloof and Castle is rather…abrasive, to put it mildly. They are enjoyable as a couple, not apart.
Secondly, we have not only missed our leads. Castle has evolved into an ensemble show, and not seeing the supporting cast for the first fifteen minutes was less than thrilling. I’m all for new characters, but since they don’t seem to be sticking around for any length of time (this is Castle, after all, not Once Upon a Time), I don`t really care much about them when I haven`t checked in with Ryan and Esposito since May. Luckily, they come back into the picture after the first commercial break, but seriously – fifteen minutes to wait? Gates and Lanie were absent from the whole premiere. Martha and Alexis were the only members of the main cast, aside from Beckett and Castle, who got their usual amount of screentime.
Otherwise, the premiere was just what the doctor ordered to start off the new fall television season. The mystery was intriguing (and not over – hopefully to be solved next week), the comedy was spot-on, and the romance was delicious. Seeing Beckett’s new colleagues with their advanced technological gadgetry was a treat. The new characters are interesting and I am disappointed that they don’t get much development, but such is life when you are not on the main cast list.
Hopefully, the writers bring back some of the more fun elements of the show for subsequent episodes!