Castle, “Knockdown” (3.13)

It’s not about the books anymore.” – Richard Castle

What an intense episode to mark my first review here at The Signal! If anyone reading this has yet to watch Castle, be warned! Spoilers after the jump…

PREVIOUSLY ON: In “Knockdown”, the story of Beckett’s mother’s (Joanna Beckett) murder is re-opened. In S02E13 “Sucker Punch”, we learned that Beckett’s mother was not the victim of random gang violence as the investigating officer John Raglan led her to believe. Instead, Joanna was killed by a professional hit man, whose employer Beckett could not discover before having to shoot the man dead because he posed an immediate threat. She was left twisting in the wind with no leads as to who could be responsible or why this information was not revealed in the original investigation.

SUMMARY: “Knockdown” opens with Beckett receiving a call from John Raglan, asking to meet her privately and to “bring no one”. Of course, she defies these instructions and brings Castle along because he’s “someone I trust”. Raglan reveals he was aware that the murder was a professional hit, and that he covered it up because he was afraid. He explains that the context started 19 years ago, 7 years before Joanna Beckett was murdered. Before Raglan is able to explain, a sniper fires through the window of the diner they’re sitting in and Raglan is killed. Despite being taken off the case by the Captain, Castle and Beckett spend the rest of the episode attempting to locate the ties between Raglan and Joanna’s murder. They learn that Joanna was investigating a previous murder in the very same alley she was killed. The reason Raglan covered it up was because Joanna discovered that he was acting as a vigilante with some fellow cops, kidnapping mobsters for ransom. Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito are working Raglan’s murder, getting closer and closer to the sniper. When R&E get too close, they are kidnapped and tortured for their information. Castle and Beckett bust in to save the day, this time capturing the sniper and putting him behind bars. The sniper reveals there is one more conspirator who hired him, but refuses to say who he or she is. Beckett vows to return to the prison where the sniper is incarcerated every week until he reveals to her who the last conspirator is.

THE BREAKDOWN: The drama! The suspense! THE KISS!

This most recent episode delivered in spades. Beckett’s personal saga is re-opened, with heart-wrenching affect. Stana Katic puts on one of her best performances in a scene where Beckett loses it, slamming a suspect – as played by Johnathan Adams, in a fantastically slimy guest performance – against the two-way mirror, smashing it. This scene exhibits both Beckett’s strength (physically) and weakness (emotionally). For Kate Beckett, when it comes to her mother, no emotional stone is left unturned. When it comes to the suspect she is cold and unfeeling. When she learns she’s being taken off the case due to her outburst, the despair she feels is written all over her face. Examining her past and her mother’s past is painful for Beckett, but necessary so that she can move on; this is the reason she became a cop. In this episode in particular, the audience is are often seeing through her emotional eyes, being placed in her position, feeling her pain.

This same pain is reflected in a brief but poignant scene between Castle and his mother. Usually posited as comedic relief, Susan Sullivan dusts off her acting chops in this scene, fiercely defending the love she has for her son and the heartbreak that would overcome her were she to lose him.

Tension mounts as Ryan and Esposito draw closer to the sniper, and are kidnapped while on the phone with Castle and Beckett. How do the cavalry rescue our boys in blue? READ ON to find out!

Just because the episode is full of drama and emotion, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its lighter points. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but Ruben Santiago-Hudson (as Captain Roy Montgomery) has to recite a pretty sassy line (“What does it say on my badge? Now read the fine print. It says get yo ass out there and solve Raglan’s murder before I bust you both back down to traffic!”), and does so in the most over-the-top sassy black way possible, which sent me into fits of giggles. A conversation between Castle and Beckett discussing the nature of their relationship (Castle says he’s “the plucky sidekick”, but when Beckett reminds him the sidekick always gets killed, he decides he’s her partner instead) gives the audience reason to crack a smile, reminding us just why the two work so well together.

Of course, as in most (if not all) crime shows, there is an element of ~forensic magic~ that anyone can spot as a bit of a cheat. This is something that has always bothered me about this genre, but can’t refute its necessity to keep the story moving, so I have to begrudgingly accept these moments even though my disbelief is not quite suspended. The trope is referred to as the “Enhance Button“, and while not used in exactly that context, is along the same lines. At one point while Beckett and Castle are looking through her mother’s personal belongings, they discover film negatives that they then somehow (it is done off-screen) transfer onto a computer in perfect resolution. Never mind that this is FILM we’re talking about – the negatives are 12 years old; there is no WAY the images would be that clear. The most bothersome part about this sequence is that the pictures didn’t need to be seen clearly to be used as the plot device that they are – the actual resolution of the images would have worked just fine. It’s simply a small peeve of mine that I wish shows of this nature would try to limit as much as possible.

Now all the aforementioned is nothing compared to the moment every Castle fan has been waiting for since the show’s inception… THE KISS.

Yes, you read that right. There is a kiss. And it’s not between Ryan and Esposito.

Castle and Beckett, FINALLY, after many episodes rife with tension, sparks flying back and forth between them, seal the deal. And this ain’t no kiss you give your grandma, no siree! This is a full on makeout session! The catch? It’s used as a distraction to help Beckett take down the armed guard outside the hideout where R&E are being tortured. So it’s possible that Castle and Beckett will completely brush it off as case-related and it won’t be addressed for the rest of the season (which I REALLY hope doesn’t happen). It’s also a bit of an elephant in the room because Beckett is still involved with Josh (her boyfriend I completely forgot about until Castle mentioned him briefly). Despite the fact that Josh gets NO screen time, and has only been mentioned once or twice since his appearance in episode 4 of this season, apparently he’s still in the picture. So, in this instance Castle will likely play the gentleman, and wait until Beckett is ready to talk about things between them. As the audience though, we all know a man with no screen time isn’t going to stand the test of time, and it’s likely Beckett and Castle will have some sort of relationship discussion before the season is up (or at least that’s this viewer’s hope!).

What a great episode to start me off! Let’s hope that with this high bar set, that Castle can continue to both meet and exceed it!

One Response to “Castle, “Knockdown” (3.13)”
  1. Keran says:

    Fantastic episode, Castle is a great show. Looking forward to more reviews!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: