On Castle this week, the Dragon returned in a strange twist, as the man who ordered the murder of Kate Beckett's mother suddenly needed the detective to save his life.
Below, our Castle Round Table team of TV Fanatic writers Jim Garner, Chandel Charles, and Christine Orlando are joined by Castle fan Erin from the 12th Castle fan boards as they debate whether Beckett's conscience is clear and which of us would stand back and watch with Castle.
What was your favorite scene?
Jim: I really liked Kate's discussion with her therapist. Beyond the fact that Michael Dorn has such an amazingly soothing voice, it was awesome to see her struggling to hold on to being "the good guy."
Chandel: Probably that little bit at the beginning where Castle was explaining how any serious boyfriend of Alexis' needed to be thoroughly intimidated before approval.
Erin: There are two scenes that I found equally powerful. Both the scene with Castle and Beckett finding out that Bracken is involved with the case and also the scene with Beckett and Dr. Burke. Both scenes give a little insight into the struggle that Beckett is facing: first with realizing that she has to face Bracken again and then the internal debate that Beckett is having with herself over whether to destroy the one piece of evidence that might tell them who they are looking for.
Christine: The scene where Kate comes clean with Rick about the letter and why she didn't shoot McManus. She's so torn up over it. Rick is the person she shares her fears and guilt with and he's completely nonjudgemental and has her back. It really highlighted how strong their bond has become.
Should Beckett have taken herself off the case?
Jim: I'm surprised Gates didn't have this very question for her after hearing her talk about her mom's death to McManus. Prior to that it would have really opened a dangerous can of worms to recuse herself.
Chandel: Given that very few people know what transpired between Beckett and the Senator - including Gates - it would have seemed a little suspicious if she had recused herself. It would have forced her to perhaps voice her suspicions, etc. Too much trouble!
Erin: Given Beckett's past with Bracken she should have stepped aside. At the same time it would have proven pointless because given who was involved Beckett would have kept working the case.
Christine: It certainly would have made her life easier but Gates would have asked so many questions I'm not sure it would have been possible without completely coming clean with her.
Why do you think Beckett didn't shoot McManus?
Jim: She said it herself, she saw her own pain in his face. As it turned out, McManus was innocent anyway so it was a good thing she didn't shoot him.
Chandel: I'm still struggling with that one. She said she saw the pain in his eyes, but I couldn't help but get the feeling she was off her game and one step lagging behind throughout the course of the case in a lot of ways. It could be a combination of both!
Erin: I think Beckett was in conflict at this point in the episode. What she longed to do herself was reflected in McManus and Beckett was probably willing to let him go so that her longing would be fulfilled.
Chrisitne: Stana Katic did a fantastic job of portraying the complexities of Beckett's struggle. I do believe she felt a connection to McManus' pain but earlier we saw her almost burn that letter. She has a dark side too. I don't think she's entirely certain why she didn't shoot him.
Would you have chosen Beckett's route (saving the Senator from the bomb) or Castle's (watch him get blown to bits)?
Jim: For better or worse, my nature is like Beckett. I'm pretty sure I would do the right thing and save the Senator if it came down to the situation where I'm running on instinct. Though I did love Rick's digs at the Senator afterwards.
Chandel: I was constantly rooting for Kate to do the right thing this episode, and I believe that perhaps saving Bracken's life will pay her in dividends at a later time, so for that reason I think that doing the right thing is generally the right policy because you never know what they might yield.
Erin: Knowing what Bracken has done would certainly sway my option towards Castle's line of thinking. However, and I might be in the minority, but I'd still take the risk to save Bracken from the bomb.
Christine: I'd like to think I'd choose the light and be a Beckett but I'm afraid I've got a fair amount of Castle's dark side. I probably would have stood and watched.
Do you believe Beckett will ever take down the Dragon?
Jim: I don't know, I would like to believe so, but the chase is so much of who she is. I don't know if she would know what to do with herself afterwards.
Chandel: Certainly it will have to happen eventually. But I am more than willing to wait!
Erin: I do believe that Beckett will take down the Dragon. Also it is only fair that Beckett be given the right to take him down because Bracken has caused too much personal pain in Beckett's life.
Christine: I envision Kate and Rick taking him down in the last season and then the two of them living happily every after.
What should Rick and Kate get one another for Valentine's Day?
Jim: His and Hers matching bullet-proof vest with hearts on them. Oksy, maybe that's too much. How about His and Hers fuzzy handcuffs?
Chandel: This is a toughie because I don't even know what I'm getting my sweetheart yet. I am highly unqualified to suggest gifts for others at this point!
Erin: It would be touching if each got the other a small memento with the word "Always" engraved into it. This would be something that symbolizes what Rick and Kate and, at the same time, Castle and Beckett mean to each other. (Work relationship and personal relationship combined)
Christine: I hate to be so traditional but Kate did hint about jewelry for her birthday (which we never saw) I think he needs to get her something simple but beautiful. For Him… perhaps Kate could show him the book he signed for her and tell him the story of how she became a fan. I think knowing that he'd been helping her deal with her mother's death even before they met would mean more to him than any material present.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.