Castle Recap: The Mystery Of... What Does the Show Look Like Now?

Castle Missing LokSat

ABC’s Castle this Monday tackled not one but two mysteries. The first involved the murder of a college kid found dressed in a prison jumpsuit.

The bigger mystery, however, involved the long-running series itself. Namely, does it look and feel much different now, with Rick and Kate apart/estranged/separated? And if it does, it that an insurmountable thing?

Addressing the murder case first, if only because it’s less messy: This story started off intriguing enough, mingling frat boys with leggy professors with secret-keeping deans. And I was even on board with the secret prison. But to say that the Army was rebooting the 1971 Stanford prison experiment, as a means to yada yada yada millennials? Oy. Props at least for not pinning the rap on the pretty professor or the dean, but to say that whatshername killed Peter because he stole a scholarship from her…?

OK, maybe the other mystery is actually less messy.

As much as I was looking for it, I didn’t feel as if Rick and Kate were spending that much more time apart. Yes, there were stretches where it was just him and Alexis working an angle, or where the show would peel away to show Kate and Vikram chasing the “ghost.” But I reckon that, say, a good 18 percent of you were surprised by how much screen time the characters did share, especially during the closing acts, where they were “trapped” together in the cell.

Plus, I think they played the “Ooh, our bodies are pressed up against each other, I’m feeling those old feelings” card way, way, way sooner than I expected. So there’s some solace in the fact the writers seemingly see the marrieds’ reunion as more a sprint than a marathon.

That said….

A shortcoming that was highlighted in TVLine’s 20ish Questions column looked just as bad as feared, when illustrated during this first post-breakup episode — and that is Kate’s wafer-thin reasoning for the split, which for all practical purposes thus far is in name only. For heck’s sake, at one point in the precinct she even had her hands affectionately draped on Rick — a terribly risky oversight if she is worrying (and we must assume she is) that LOCKSAT’s people are forever eyeballing her.

Beckett herself admits that she “blew up” her marriage in the name of this iffy enterprise. Even the older guy who previously helped her navigate the Bracken mystery flat-out questions her death wish in pursuing this issue, warning, “You’re going to get yourself killed.” And on not one but two occasions, Vikram invited her to back out from this odyssey. He’s on board, to repay her for saving his life. But why is Kate dead-set on what everyone has deemed a suicide mission?

In fact, so devoid of proper motivation as she is, after that heart-to-heart with Vikram in the car, I half-expected him to get taken out by a sniper, to light some kind of fresh fire under Beckett.

But if they are going to go down this path (…for however long…), at least they have Kate reassuring Rick à la “This one is not about you. It’s on me. I love you, I always will.” So, at least Castle doesn’t think he’s gone completely bonkers, or is to blame.

A few other thoughts:
* Nice to see that Lanie has been trying to talk to Kate about the split, and has her GF’s back (“You went Houdini on her!”) to a degree when Rick grumbles about the situation.
* There’s a number you can call to have puppies on your doorstep? Want.
* I hope I don’t have old man ear hair yet, either!
* People are going to have thoughts about Rick using Alexis as bait/a resource as needed/appropriate during the occasional investigation. Planting her in a classroom? Sure. “Sending her into a house full of drunk frat boys dressed as a slutty angel,” as RySpo put it? Absolutely questionable. But at lest Rick was quick to remedy that.
* But related to “adult” Alexis, if we’re going that route and establishing a new dynamic between her and her dad, how about we dial down the cutesy “bubble cigar” moments? I was more impressed when it appeared they were sipping Scotch over a success.

What did you think of this first look at Caskett “2.0”?