Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Castle Season Four

Previous Castle Reviews:
Season One
Season Two
Season Three
Heat Wave

Season three of Castle ends on one of the biggest cliffhangers I've ever seen. The kind of cliffhanger that would have made me intensely upset if I had seen it when it originally aired. Fans of Castle who had to live through that, I salute you.
The writers of Castle never fail to go where most shows might fear to tread, and true to form, Beckett's shooting at the end of season three, and Montgomery's death, are not events that are quickly wrapped up and glossed over. They have far reaching consequences that continue to affect the characters throughout the season. Beckett specifically has to confront her demons when a sniper begins terrorizing the city in "Kill Shot," midway through the season. At the end of the season, they find evidence that leads back to Montgomery and the man who attempted to kill her.

Which is getting ahead of the other thread of the season, the resolution of Castle's confession to Kate that he loves her, which she spends most of the season pretending to have forgotten in the trauma of almost dying. To be honest, a lot of what Castle says and does at this point makes me want to poke him and remind him that she's going through some pretty amazingly difficult situations here and he could maybe think a little less about himself. But as always, when it matters, he's there for her. And he usually doesn't wallow in his wounded feelings for very long, on other shows that stuff would get dragged out over multiple seasons. Castle usually mostly resolves things on his own in an episode or two.

During the mid-season two part episode, "Pandora" and "Linchpin," there is the once-a-season story that's hard to believe and really stretches credibility (an international conspiracy that involves a mole within the CIA and an agent that just happens to be Castle's former muse) but the episodes hint that a story about Castle's father will be on the horizon, now that we've wrapped up more of Beckett's mother's case.

The season also has quite a few top notch stand alone episodes. "The Blue Butterfly" is sort of a standard episode, almost every genre show ends up with a noir themed story sooner or later. But Fillion and Katic are very good at what they do, and as usual the writers don't forget to give Esposito and Ryan something fun as well.

"Heroes & Villains" takes on the homemade super hero movement, and "Eye of the Beholder" actually does a pretty brilliant take on the modern art world, which I love to poke fun at since I studied art history in college. "Cops & Robbers" also treads some familiar ground, as a pretty by the numbers "main characters are taken hostage in a bank robbery" story. It happens to everybody eventually (you would think, from watching American TV that there are a lot more hostage situations in daily life). But again, what this show does best is work with it's characters, and in the end it's about seeing THESE characters in this familiar situation.

One of my favorites was "Dial M for Mayor," where Castle and Beckett are again pitted against each other in an investigation, this time when Castle's friend - who happens to be the Mayor, is a suspect in the investigation. Beckett and Gates have a lot of great moments where you really get to see what drives them, and as I've said before, I wasn't sure how they could resolve this episode without somebody being wrong but the writer's resolve it beautifully, even though it's very bittersweet.

The season again ends with a cliffhanger, but this one is not the same kind of devastating moment as season three, so you can feel okay about not having season five ready to go afterwards. But you will want to get your hands on it pretty quickly.

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