Castle Season 8 Recap

Castle Recap: #SvetlanaStone 4Ever

This week on ABC’s Castle, Rick and Kate craftily kept their recoupling under wraps as they investigated the death of an ex-con turned a cappella star. Cue the introduction of Russian underwear model Svetlana and the dashing Dr. Livingstone!

The midseason premiere opens with Martha rehearsing her latest show when the cue for “snow” results in a few flakes from the rafters above… followed by a downpour of blood. Cut to the loft, where Rick and Kate have wrapped up a third round of covert copulation. Alas, Kate’s touch-base with Gates at 1PP precludes a fourth go-round. After she leaves, Rick gets a call from Martha about her rehearsal’s grim intermission.

The vic, Robyn, was an ex-con who by some accounts (including Martha’s) was turning her life around, while others suggest she had fallen back in with her old “crew,” led by the tough-talking drug dealer Momma. But Momma maintains that Robyn had found a “new family” and had a “big thing” lined up for the imminent future.

Following some leads (namely, a message hidden in a string of emojis), Rick takes Alexis to scout out an abandoned mall in Spanish Harlem. There, in the ominous cavern, they uncover… an underground a cappella sing-off. (Scaredy cat Rick had already texted “911” to RySpo, though, so the super-entertaining shindig gets busted up by the cops.) Coming out of their convo with Robyn’s group — the Aca-Cons, who are sponsored by a husband/wife duo out to help ex-cons get back on their feet — Suspect No. 2 is Agnes, a bad egg and recently ousted member.

Before checking into Agnes, Ryan and Esposito lean on Castle to come clean about the nature of his and Beckett’s estrangement. Cornered on the topic of possibly cheating, Rick “admits” that he met someone — “Svetlana,” a Russian underwear model. That “confession” puts him in the doghouse with the boys for the rest of the hour, as they freeze out the man who would betray their Beckett. Later, when offered sympathy for Castle’s infidelity, Beckett tells the boys that she in turn found someone else, a “Dr. Livingstone.” After, Kate chides Rick for his choice in his new girlfriend’s name, before confirming that Svetlana is a “really, really hot” model. In public, though, she must vocally chew him out and let slip with the occasional slap.

Agnes cops to taking a meeting with Robyn, but says that the fellow con had sought her out for protection, from someone involved in the a cappella competition. The head judge is next to fall under suspicion, especially after scoffing that Robyn and her “kind” should not be involved in the competition. Rick and Espo meanwhile confront one of the rival groups, but they decline to pause their warm-ups to answer Qs. That sets the stage for Espo to “sing” (and quite well at that) his questions to the guys, until the one played by Corbin Bleu runs scared, only to get awesomely clotheslined by Kate.

We are then led to believe that the head judge offed Robyn, after she learned that he took a bribe from Corbin Bleu. Instead, it turns out, Robyn had happened upon a video that revealed who had “rescued” her from the months-ago car crash that landed her in jail — as evidenced by a distinct, expensive scarf that had been used as a makeshift tourniquet. The item belonged to Linda, the woman who helped found the Aca-Cons and was actually responsible for the car crash but covered it up. But Linda didn’t kill Robyn either. Rather, after Robyn confronted Linda about her role in the crash, her husband Scott “accidentally” did the deed, fearing that “the truth would ruin everything the girls had worked for.” Martha for one makes sure the killer doesn’t remain misguided in his justification, smacking him good before leaving to cheer on the forlorn Aca-Cons.

What did you think of “Tone Death”? Does pretend adultery between fictional TV characters leave a bad taste in your mouth? Or do enjoy the fun web of lies Kate and Rick are spinning, knowing all will be revealed in a matter of weeks?

And remember, new episodes this Sunday as well as next Monday.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sam says:

    This episode could have aired in the middle of season 5. I mean that both as a compliment and as a complaint. The spark was there; Castle and Beckett actually had screen time together; some of the banter had me legit laughing; and best of all, no Hayley or Vikram – both unnecessary characters adding little to nothing to the show. Now the complaint: the episode aired in season 8, not in season 5, and the hidden relationship is pointless and feels contrived. It truly seems as though the showrunners did not want Beckett and Castle married and that they are doing everything they can to undue the marriage without completely alienating the fandom. At least according to Ask Ausiello from February 6th, we only have to endure the fake break-up (aka the Season 5 Redux) until episode 16, so only 6 more to go… But the ending – legit! Very excited for 2 nights of new Castle in a row.

    • CastleBuzz says:

      This. Season 5, not Season 8 sums up my thoughts exactly. Average cute ep but not under present circumstances and still a too much overacting from Nathan. Seriously. He has to squeal “My skin” plus make faces when Espo pushes him up against the wall? The over the top mugging, squealing, stumbling, bumbling just distracts from the humor.

      • White Tulip says:

        Don’t want to absolve Nathan from everything you said (love this guy to death but I reluctantly have to agree about the overacting ) but isn’t it what directors are for ?Among other things shooting several takes until the right one ? I suppose that what ends up on our screens is what satisfies everybody, from writers to directors and showrunners…Maybe Nathan enjoys this kind of acting but it doesn’t do him any favour..glad I know his work from earlier seasons and pre-Castle…
        For the sake of “fun” (gaaahh, this word makes my skin crawl, now !),AH & Co are sacrifying everything, they dumb everyone down, so Castle and Beckett are shadows of their former selves….
        I especially hate what they did to Beckett in this episode : her slapping Castle? Not cool. Society is all about gender equality these days right? I’d love to see the reaction if Castle did that to her.
        I don’t find even fake adultery funny, I don’t find slapping people funny, I don’t find lying to friends and family funny….I hate what they’re doing with this show.. *smh*

        • CastleBuzz says:

          Point taken about the purpose of a director, White Tulip, but from what I’ve seen of Fillion in “RL” — TV interviews and talk show appearances, ComicCons and web shows, as well as his tweets and the show’s blooper reels — this kind of mugging, frat-boy humor, OTT reactions is very much part of Nathan’s make-up. Whether he can act without doing that is not the question. He did in the early seasons of Castle with just an occasional glimpse of what he now does constantly. The glimpses were funny, because they were unexpected and caught one by surprise. Not so any longer.
          The show is using more and more new directors, some very inexperienced. Last night’s ep was directed by a first-timer, not just to Castle but to any show I believe. Coming into the eighth season of a show with an established star has got to be difficult. It would be tough for a new director to rein in someone like Fillion especially if the (brand new) writer included scenes that could be overplayed easily and, more importantly, the showrunners appear to back Nathan’s brand of humor as fun, fun, fun.
          What they’ve done to Beckett this season is even worse, mostly b/c she was such a strong, intelligent, complex, sometimes flawed, almost always heroic (and I don’t mean Badass, but in the fight-for-justice way) female character who had evolved and grown over the first six seasons (season 7 was sometimes on, sometimes off IMO). The fake fight and slap are only two manifestations of her regression this season. The larger is the fact that we’re meant to believe that Kate believes she can keep Rick safe from LokSat with this fake separation.
          I had no problem with Kate leaving Rick initially when LokSat was introduced in such a dramatic way in eps 1 and 2. Trauma alone could have explained such a desperate attempt to keep him safe, not to mention Rita’s comments. But character-wise it would have made much more sense for it to take just one ep, at most two, to get her to realize that wouldn’t work. For it to go on for seven eps now and reportedly another seven is ludicrous. As is the slap, the fake cheating, and the lying — I agree. I hate what they’ve done to this show.

          • KLS says:

            Hanelle Culpepper directed Tone Desth, but she is not new to Castle (“Private Eye Caramba”, 712) nor to TV. She’s worked on Grimm, Revenge and Criminal Minds. But I get your point of not reigning in Fillion, he’s been over the top this year.

        • bmccarle says:

          I totally agree with you. Seeing her slap him in the face is so unlike Kate’s character, especially in public, and the act of a slap in the face is such an insulting thing to do to someone.
          Both of them being so casual about cheating is another insult to their characters. Their relationship is more than just “Let’s just go have sex as much as we can.” These writers act like they don’t understand the characters of Rick and Kate at all.

        • L8wrtr says:

          So Castle remains not on my DVR. I still haven’t watched an episode since the third of the season. Instead the wife and I are alternating back and forth between Castle (starting from the beginning) and Moonlighting (because the wife had never seen it). Watching quality old episodes only reinforces my resolve to not reward H&W with my eyes, both during broadcast or DVR.
          From what I’ve read about this episode and people’s reactions, it appears that while the quality of the writing itself is back to an acceptable, the issue that prevents me from diving back in remains the problem that turned me off by the end of Episode 3.. that this entire thing is forced, feels totally unnatural, and it’s impossible for me to enjoy what’s on screen because the entire time my brain will be screaming “But it’s all a f***ing lie!!!”.
          Castle isn’t a sitcom where the characters either never grow because the show is just a series of closed events that have no consequence on the next episode, or their growth is randomly inconsistent again just to suit the story.
          Castle is like a chapter book, each episode, while focusing on a unique story, builds on the last, characters grow, they make mistakes, they learn.. they have traits that are their core, like any real person.
          From the end of episode three I simply cannot sit through an episode that exists under the conditions they’ve created. Not only is it not fun, it is painful to watch.
          As White Tulip put so well:
          – Dumbed down characters are not funny
          – Violence as part of normal relationships is not funny (and I couldn’t agree more about the double-standard, if Castle slapped Beckett that hard, it would not be seen as ‘funny’.. physical violence between partners is extremely unhealthy and a terrible thing to trivialize, but then again, H&W have no problem with trivializing important social dynamics when you look at their treatment of Beckett this season)
          – Fake adultery isn’t funny. Adultery isn’t funny.
          – Marital strife isn’t funny.
          – lying to friends and family isn’t funny.
          – Nathan hamming it up and looking pathetic is definitely not funny.

          No matter how they’ve raised the bar with quality writing, and good story ideas, the premise is false and their actions remain unbelievable to me. They are inauthentic because they continue to operate in a manner that is for so many viewers, even the ones that are cutting the show slack, disingenuous to the show and characters we’ve watched for the previous 7 years.
          I keep hoping the show will return, that H&W set their massively inflated egos aside and fix this damn show.. but their stubbornness is just killing the show. So I’ll just continue to sadly come back to this site as if I was in an abusive relationship, hoping to find that the show has finally moved past this crap only to see the nightmare continues.

        • KLS says:

          Most of the directors this season, so far, are Castle regulars. Only 2 out of 9 episodes, What Lies Beneath & The Nose are from new-to-Castle, but experienced TV directors. So, they know what they are doing and have accepted Fillion’s overacting.

  2. Bob says:

    Lol love the title of this

  3. Jakay says:

    Did anybody recognize the cop Beckett talked to, the who took a payoff because he was close to retirement when the accident happened? He looked really familiar in test “used to be on a sitcom” way but he’s not listed in the guest cast anywhere I could find.

  4. Maria says:

    Thought I’d try an episode after taking some time off.
    It opened with Martha, one of my favorite characters, and I thought…okay, so far so good.
    Then the bedroom scene. A little heavy on the expository dialogue, but whatever…
    Then the stupid fake fight in the precinct.
    Yeah, I was done after that.
    What a waste of Nathan and Stana’s talent.

  5. Kristine says:

    Wow. Only three comments? I think people either forgot it was on or just didn’t care. C’mon, people! I’m waiting for the fandom bickering. I haven’t watched it yet. Tell me if it’s worth my while.

  6. TamAy says:

    Yeah I just could not get into this. I’m not a hater, I’m not going to bash the show. I’ll simply say this….the spark seems to be gone and I don’t think I’ll stick around, although I do always like to come back for a series finale. Look sometimes shows just get old and tired, and sometimes it’s better to end on a higher note. This weird storyline i think is the beginning of the end.

  7. Hack says:

    I loved it! Great banter between Castle & Beckett, loved the Caskett romance, enjoyed Ryan & Espo being ‘brotherly’ & protecting Beckett, loved Espo’s singing, & I enjoyed Martha’s part! Loved the episode, no complaints :) Looking forward to the next episode!!

  8. Susan says:

    We enjoyed it. It was fun to see the Martha character get so much screen time. She always does a wonderful job.

  9. John NYC says:

    Funny turn.

    Was that by any chance what Kate called herself when she’d fake being Russian when she went cruising Russian clubs? (Which she admitted doing when she had to shed her slacks to go into a club to save Castle)

    • KLS says:

      Not sure she gave herself a name in 201 “Deep in Death”, but I was thinking of that too when I heard Svetlana.

      I like “SvetStone” better.

  10. lauri5567 says:

    I only saw the ending, so I have to catch the rest of the episode. But the couple, that has to pretend to be broken up, kisses in front of an open door? Cute if they are hiding from Gates, really stupid if hiding from the supposedly scary LockSat.
    I agree with @Sam, good for an episode in Season 5.

    • KLS says:

      Doesn’t Beckett still have a key to the loft? She welcomed now and is supposed to be sneaking around. Knocking and announcing yourself at the door isn’t really on the DL.

      • DarkDefender says:

        In case anyone else was unexpectedly at the loft, I can see her knocking.. Also sneaking in from adjacent building into Castle’s secure residence building.. Probably okay at the door. I can overlook that.

  11. James D says:

    I loved this episode. It felt like classic Castle again. The spark was there between Caskett and with Ryan Espo (nice set of pipes Jon Huertas). My question and concern though is can they keep it fresh enough for a stretch of episodes? I will certainly be watching to see.

  12. DarkDefender says:

    Aside from the missed opportunity for complete role play with Stana using a Russian accent, I thought it was great. The perp of the week was obvious, but I didn’t care. My favorite show is on its way back.

  13. Luli says:

    Unusual for a castle recap/article to have sooo few comments…

  14. veronica says:

    ESCO CAN SING! (i mean jon, but whatevs)

  15. Carla Krae says:

    Very fun. Laughed a lot. And Kate’s hair looked great.

  16. Dunia says:

    Well, it feels pretty out of character to have asked ryan and espo for help to celebrate the anniversary and two episodes after to be cheating. For Castle to do it for them to believe it. I find the entire seasson as a bad attempt to br like the good old seasson and has failed becoming a very simplistic and unrealistic plot. I agree with most of you: what a waste of talent

  17. GT500RonSmith says:

    I can’t NOT watch this show! I love it and the characters too much to stop, but I really don’t like the path these new leaders have taken Caskett. Back at the big break in November, I had hopes that they would be back to normal in this episode, but I saw it coming in all of the previews and snapshots that they would be hiding it still. Now they are pretending to be cheating on each other. The boys hate Castle! It’s worse than I imagined.

    There were some wonderfully funny spots in the episode, and the cast was pretty much flawless in my view. Stana was gorgeous as usual (that makes up for a lot!). I’m just so unhappy with the direction these new guys insist on taking us. Claiming all of this fun that they’re throwing out there! There has been some fun, but not a lot of joy like I’ve been accustomed to.

    • annie says:

      Agreed. As others have said before, there is a black cloud hanging over all the episodes and this “hidden reconciliation” isn’t helping. It really saddens me that these writers and showrunners can’t figure out how to write an interesting, happily married couple. The idea that just quickie sex is a fulfilling marriage is really sad. We’ve invested so much in watching these two grow to a point that they can be honest, vulnerable, and truly a couple that this shadow of a relationship and the backsliding to lies and deceit is just depressing.

      • CastleBuzz says:

        Agree with both of you. And, GT500, “joy” is the perfect word to describe the early Castle. Even with dark story arcs — Kate’s mother’s murder, Bracken, 3XK, sometimes grim COTW — there was always a joy in the characters’ interactions, humor in the witty banter, and satisfaction in the resolution of the cases. These showrunners could have accomplished that even with LokSat being introduced in eps 1 and 2 if only…they had allowed Kate to come to her senses about leaving Rick by ep 4 or 5, dealt with LokSat in a way that kept us aware of the problem each ep even if it wasn’t being concluded quickly, stayed away from the PI nonsense and super sleuth Alexis, and so on.

      • KLS says:

        I would say the cloud is more grey then black. Eps 802-807 had this pervasive gloom over everything and were not entertaining at all. Now, things are a little lighter and more upbeat. Not quite clear skies, but not black skies either.

  18. Mery Charlotte says:

    Love the episode, love the show, the sparks is there, Caskett are so sweet , Martha amazing like always, the boys are so sweet try to protect Beckett. Really love the dynamic, the swing between Castle and Beckett, Nathan and Stana nailed again.

  19. Noz says:

    i stop watching after episode 8.02,but this epi..GREAT!! Svetlana and Dr.Livingstone A.K.A Caskett were constantly funny,adorable and SEXY !!

  20. JImN says:

    2nd Watch comments. The good news – the writers have found how to write dialogue that allows Beckett to be Castle’s best friend, eye rolling and wise cracking best friend. Stana and Fillion deliver those scenes very well. Their on screen presence together still provides great chemistry. The bad news – Fillion and Katic spend very little time together on screen. There are lots of tricks with phones and wall vents which don’t work well. The good news – the writers have found a way to take some of the sting out of Alexis running theory (Caskett foreplay) with Castle by providing a chaperon, Martha. The bad news – they still don’t know what to do with Alexis. A suggestion – Send Molly Quinn to another show away from Fillion. She’ll never grow as an actor if she keep hanging around him. The good news – Shamus and Jon are doing very well on screen. No bad news.

  21. mike says:

    How pissed are the Boys gonna when this nonsense is finally revealed and they realize they’ve been played for suckers all this time? Its not all. IRL though..this is friendship ending stupidity

  22. Jennifer says:

    I loved it. I love seeing these two together. I loved when she tells him, I love you but now I’m going to have to yell at you, or when she says I really want to kiss you right now and sees the boys and says sorry and slaps him. Stana and Nathan have great chemistry together. The show would not be Castle without both of them. Without Stana I won’t watch the show.

  23. Joey says:

    Last night episode was light years ahead of episode 2. In your survey I rated last night show a C. And here I reasons why. I gave A to the fact that you had all the cast in the show that should of been there. A give the story line a C, I did not like the fact that they lie to there friends. And then the elephant in the room, Rick and Kate still being separated I gave that part a F. I guess we all have to wait to 8/16 for that BS to go away. But that only leave us with 4.2 hours of show time left before the end of season 8. You just did a survey saying that 44% of the folks that took it think episode 9 was awesome, and you we run that up the flag pole. Back on 12/18/2015 Cartermatt did a survey asking the folks when they would like to see a wrap on this separation of Rick and Kate. Over 31 % wanted it to go away after episode 9 and another 39.9% wanted to go away by the end of episode 11, over 71% wanted it to go away by the end of three episodes. They had 77 days to rewrite the story a little but choose not to. I wish in the next 13 episode the ratings start going back up ( I have not seem the ratings for episode 9 yet) I also hope Rick and Kate sign new contracts for season 9. Again it is so sad that we have to wait until episode 16 for the BS separation to go away.

  24. doctrsnoop says:

    To me, this show emotionally is a faint echo of what it was. Its still charming and fun at times but I can’t say I ever thought about it during the hiatus. Maybe this LokSat thing will be interesting but right now I can’t say I care about it like the death of Beckett’s mom, or 3XK. Shoot, if they were going to kick Penny off the show anyways, maybe they could have killed her off in some emotionally resonant way. Just my opinion, folks.

  25. annek says:

    Def the best of S8 but absolutely hate the lie they’ve told their friends. There were so many other ways they could have gone with that instead of cheaters. It only seems to be for Espo and Ryans benefit (how many secrets have they shared over the yrs). But as with all things S8, you must forget all history of this show. They are acting so out of character. I see no romance, just booty calls – not the essence of what they have been, but i guess what they are now. Too bad

  26. BrianR says:

    Stana should have at least been wearing some sexy lingerie under her coat at the end since she’s Svetlana the hot model.

  27. lame says:

    I thought the demo might keep slipping, this dramatic drop in viewers was unexpected. I guess this is a way fans are showing their displeasure with the breakup storyline.

  28. Lillian says:

    Castle: wait for years for them to Matt tgen you have them breakup?
    It’s getting to be a little childish.

  29. Patrick leahey says:

    Did joe regalbutto play a part in tone death

    • KLS says:

      Yes. He was the retired cop who took the bribe (thanks Matt). Just reminded me how I miss the early years of Murphy Brown and Eldin, the house painter (RIP Robert Pastorelli).

  30. Phoebe says:

    What I see in Castle is a show that was great and could’ve stayed great if only the characters weren’t written to be act so stupid. I’m invested in this show because I’ve been watching it for so long. But I went from live view to just catching up with it later and fast-forwarding to the Caskett scenes.

  31. phyllis says:

    Who was the bald older gentleman in charge of the singing competition, I couldn’t find his name in the credits. He looks very familiar, I should recognize him from another tv show!!

  32. Buddy says:

    I read about a possible spin off with Ryan and Espisito as detectives. I would suppose that this would happen when they learn that Castle and their Captain was lying to them and therefore not to ever be trusted again. I guess Alexis would start her own PI office in competition with Castle. Martha would move out and make mega bucks. Beckett would lose her job and have to depend on Castle to be her sugar daddy.