Castle Season 7 Episode 1 Review: Driven

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I don't expect Castle Season 7 Episode 1 to make all fans happy.

It doesn't so much fix the woes of the season 6 finale, but it does put it into an entirely new context. It's intense and intriguing. However, at times, as a huge Caskett shipper, it was hard to watch. 

The opening scene was a little surreal, watching Kate sit on the ground, water from the fire house raining down on her in her wedding dress. I'd call it dreamlike if weren't such a nightmarish scenario because in those many minutes, Kate Beckett believed her fiance was dead. 

The sheer relief on her face when she realized that there's no body in the vehicle quickly gave way to determination. It was time to find Castle. 

It's certainly not the first time Kate Beckett proved she's a bad ass but she definitely took it to a new level.  Beckett did one hell of a flying tackle and it took both Esposito and Ryan to pull her off of Gary Duffin. And once she finally got Duffin into interrogation she was far from done…

Gary: You're going to break my finger.
Beckett: And after that there's nine more.

I had little doubt she'd make good on her threat. 

Gates, for how briefly we saw her, seemed to have Kate's back. She was giving her plenty of rope and hoping she didn't hang herself with it. 

Of the many previous criminals that Castle and Beckett had dealt with, Vinnie Cardano was one of the last ones I expected to see on the other side of that interrogation table but if you're looking to make something disappear, Vinnie's the type of guy you'd call. And I clearly remember the earlier seasons when Castle always knew a guy who could get things done.

When the video showed Castle himself dropping off that $10,000, Esposito was the first to turn on him, which was both understandable and disheartening. Espo's always been the biggest skeptic. Still as Ryan pointed out in this Castle quote, it felt like Castle deserved more from his friends…

As long as we've known him, worked with him, don't you think Castle deserves the benefit of the doubt?

Ryan

Even Kate was torn, which I'm certain will upset some fans.  Beckett has always been all about the evidence. If it were anyone other than Castle she probably would have sounded just like Javi. Where Castle has always been the optimist, Beckett's always been the realist so when the FBI believed that Castle had run out on her, she had to question whether or not they could be right. 

When she asked Martha if Castle was having any misgivings about getting married again, I couldn't help but smile at her response…

Misgivings? Katherine, that was the farthest thing from his mind. He couldn't wait to be married to you.

Martha

If anyone would know it would be Martha. She's watched her son fall head over heels in love and turn himself inside out over Kate Beckett for years. Martha certainly had no doubts about what was in her son's heart on his wedding day. 

Beckett went through an awful lot of emotional turmoil in this episode. First she thought her fiance has been incinerated. Then she thought he's been crushed. Then almost everyone around her began to believe that Castle had bailed on her and his life. 

Watching her open up that makeshift murder board with Rick's picture on it was disturbing but that's the way Beckett makes sense of the evidence and works through it. Staring at the board helps her interpret the evidence. The problem here was that she didn't have Castle to help her come up with the story.  When he finally showed up unconscious in that dingy, the look on Kate's face was utter relief at his being alive. 

Just when I thought we're about to get answers there were yet more questions. A witness, Henry Jenkins had seen Castle camping out on the beach. No one holding him at gunpoint. No one keeping him from those he loved. Simply a man hiding out from the world. And when the DNA came back from the clothes and the watch and the newspaper articles found in that tent, even Ryan couldn't deny that Castle may have conned them all. 

It all left even the love of Castle's life wondering how well she really knew him. It made everything she thought she knew appear to be a lie. As Kate stood at the foot of his bed when he woke up, the distance between them felt like an abyss.  It wasn't until Castle insisted on seeing this beach where he'd been spotted that the tide started to turn. 

By the time Kate realized that Henry Jenkins was an imposter, that this whole thing was a huge, insidious conspiracy, I was exhausted. I could barely imagine how Kate felt. 

Perhaps that's the most disconcerting part of the episode, that Castle and Beckett were in two very different places emotionally. For him, yesterday he was about to get married when he had a car accident and woke up in a hospital. For her, it's been two months of emotional torment. I dare say that Kate is far more traumatized at the moment by this experience than Rick. 

On the upside, Castle was there to hold her when the tears began to fall. They may not be on the same emotional page but they are together. They're home and they'll work as partners to find the answers.

As for this new story arc, it's strange and intriguing and had even this diehard Castle fan wondering what secrets Rick Castle might be hiding. After six seasons of exploring Beckett's past, it feels time to explore Castle's. Castle season 7 feels like an odd new world but as Tamala Jones told me last week, this could be the the best season yet and I'm definitely looking forward to the ride ahead. 

And don't forget, if you need to catch up, you can always watch Castle online here at TV Fanatic.

Driven Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (307 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Castle Season 7 Episode 1 Quotes

Misgivings? Katherine, that was the farthest thing from his mind. He couldn't wait to be married to you.

Martha

Gary: You're going to break my finger.
Beckett: And after that there's nine more.