Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together – Act One Finale

castleseason8CASTLE
Season 8, Episodes 7 & 8 (The Last Seduction)(Mr. & Mrs. Castle)

8-7To finish off the first half of the season, the show’s writers try their hardest to resolve the quagmire that they got themselves into at the beginning of the season by bringing to light the reason why Beckett took a break from Castle and by hopefully getting our favourite couple back to a semblance of normalcy again.

Earlier in the fall, I decided to trust the storytellers – I figured that they had a plan and that it was ultimately their story anyhow. Nothing about this season has felt forced or artificial – so far, everything has evolved organically, but it has evolved in a direction that was unexpected and not particularly welcomed. Castle and Beckett still feel the same to me, as do the other characters. They just keep making some fairly questionable choices – Beckett in particular.

That said, it will take a lot of work to resolve the tensions in Castle & Beckett’s relationship regardless of how well they have come to an understanding now. What has been broken needs to be fixed and it will always be cracked. Other relationships have fragmented as well, and they may be harder to repair than that of our main couple. Beckett especially has lost trust with Martha and Alexis. Both Ryan and Esposito, in addition to having their own serious struggles, have lost some respect for Beckett (and Castle, to a lesser extent). Enter into the fray two new characters, Hayley and Vikram, who have not known the previous dynamics and thus shake up the status quo further. Alexis has especially taken a liking to working with Hayley on independent investigations in a way that she has never shown with Lanie or Beckett. Conversely, Lanie has been marginalized this season as she does not want to take sides against anyone and because her friendship with Beckett seems fractured.

Individually, The Last Seduction and Mr. & Mrs. Castle are enjoyable but heavy episodes. The first centres on Castle & Beckett’s first wedding anniversary and whether or not they will take a break from their break and have a romantic evening together. That part went well and ended on a sweet note – it is almost sitcom-like. The main gist of the episode is about Ryan and Esposito and how by focusing on their friends, Castle and Beckett also address their own relationship insecurities. Castle and Ryan raise the issue of broken trust and how that is nigh impossible to get back – certainly not to the level of trust that they had with their respective partners from before that trust was broken. The issue is not deliberated long in the episode, unfortunately. This episode is more sparkle and sampler than substance.

8-7bWhereas Mr. & Mrs. Castle packs a stronger punch, despite having a lighter storyline. Whatever the case of the week was, the bulk of the episode is spent pitting Castle and Hayley against Beckett and Vikram – the newcomers being used primarily for their hacking skills than any actual plot development. Beckett is found out and confesses to Castle what she had been up to. They resolve their relationship enough to save it – at least temporarily.

Castle is right to say that his is disappointed in his wife’s lack of trust and faith in him. He has saved her life on numerous occasions, but she could not even make him a part of her ruse. All she needed to do, in hindsight, was tell him what she was up to. She could have said that to protect their families, they would need to pretend to be estranged. They could have worked on the case together in secret. But Beckett is also right in her assessment of and faith in her husband – namely that he would have discouraged her and also tried to help her too much. She needs to let him help and also stand up to him about boundaries. (Really, this should have happened several years ago, but now that she is Captain, she wields more power against him.) Overall, they need to learn to trust each other more and also, more importantly, they need to work with each other more like the team that they are.

That is ultimately the problem right now. Castle and Beckett are not a team anymore. It remains to be seen whether they can become a team again in the new year.

8-8

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