I have to be honest with you, sometimes reviewing television makes it so much more difficult to enjoy actually watching it. Not all television, to be sure, but when you review a particular show episode by episode you can get caught up in the over-analyzing and the scrutiny. Everyone has their process, I’m sure; for me it is laptop at the ready, making sure I catch every quote (you know how I love my quotes) and taking every note.
Once in a while, you have to close the laptop lid, sit back and enjoy. During this particular episode of Castle, that is exactly what I chose to do. The show has a history of outstanding two part stories, and bringing in a wildcard element like Sophia Conrad makes things even more interesting. And who doesn’t love Jennifer Beals? No, seriously: Who doesn’t love Jennifer Beals? I need to come over to your house and talk some sense into you.
Over the years, we have met several women from Rick Castle’s past, but Conrad represents something entirely different from his previous ex-flames. As the subject of his shadowing, research and his basing a character on her, she was the Beckett before Beckett. Their relationship obviously ran deeper than Castle was letting on, which was causing all types of drama. Castle and Beckett are living in this weird limbo where they both are pretty sure about how they feel about each other, but neither are pushing things to move beyond where they are at – Beckett for her own reasons, and Castle for Beckett’s sake. Tossing in a hand grenade like Conrad can really do some damage to that dynamic.
Another thing this show has pulled off exceptionally well in the past is finding believable ways to raise the stakes beyond what one would normally expect from a homicide procedural – the story with the dirty bomb is a good example … as long as you ignore Rick Castle diffusing said bomb. Bringing in the CIA might just stretch that track record, but Castle having a history with the Agency in general, and Conrad in particular, helps alleviate that some. Regardless, the jury is still out until the story is complete.
The case itself is enough. I was theorizing that Tracey McGrath was actually Nelson Blakely’s daughter, but facilitating his continued work was considerably more interesting. I did expect Blakely to survive past the end of the episode, however. There are several questions I had hoped he would stick around to answer, like how Gage knew he was still alive in the first place. Using the economy to bring down a nation-state isn’t exactly new territory; Tom Clancy did it in Debt of Honor, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.
Speaking of scary, there was something I just didn’t like about the villain Gage. The idea of a Navy SEAL turning coat is a tough enough pill to swallow on its own, but the famed SEAL Team Six is a much smaller, elite group. I’d hope with the even more strenuous testing those guys go through, one becoming a traitor is a very small likelihood.
Notes & Quotes