It's Castle and Beckett's first Christmas as a married couple and what does "Bad Santa" go and do? He dumps a lump of coal in Rick's stocking.
Below, TV Fanatics Stacy Glanzman, Jim Garner, and Christine Orlando are joined by Mary Lou and Kriss from the 12th a Castle Fan Forum to discuss the end of Esplainie, make predictions for Rick Castle PI and share their favorite scenes from Caste Season 7 Episode 10.
Were you surprised that Lanie lied to her parents and what was the best part of that storyline?
Stacy: Not really. Parents can put a lot of pressure on their daughters and I can see something like that just slipping out, especially considering they were on again/off again a couple of times. I could see her feeling the need to defend the relationship. The best part of the storyline was Ryan coming to the rescue with an awesome proposal story! That was so funny and so very Ryan.
Mary Lou: Lanie is a strong, confident woman, and to see her unable to stand up to her parents and tell them the truth was surprising. I enjoyed seeing Esposito rise to the occasion to keep everything peaceful even though he was uncomfortable. Ryan's made up engagement story - priceless!
Kriss: Yes, and no. Lanie seems to be so level-headed in all her advice to Kate when she's been in turmoil over something with Castle, that it truly is affirmation when the shoe is on the other foot, that our sense of logic can crumble before our eyes. Especially when it involves not wanting to disappoint our parents, or someone close to us. And if they were pressuring her, she needed a way out, so no, under the circumstances, I wasn't surprised. My favorite part, was, of course, Lanie punting to Espo to reveal how the engagement came about and him being at an absolute loss for words!
Jim: Nope, known too many single women who have done the exact same, and for the same reason. The best part of the storyline was what Stacy pointed out, when Romantic Ryan (can we call him that now?) came to the rescue with a proposal story.
Christine: As Kriss said, I was a little surprised only because Lanie always seems so strong a level headed when giving Kate advice but then I guess it's always easier when it's someone else's life. I hate to be repetitive but Ryan jumping in with such a detailed proposal story was hilarious. How much has he thought about that scenario?
So... Lanie and Espo are moving on. How do you feel about that?
Stacy: I'm actually okay with it. I liked them as a couple but I wasn't super invested in it. We didn't really get to see them together all that much anyway. However, I did find it odd that Espo went from "we could be engaged someday" to "we don't belong together" after one dinner. That was a pretty big jump.
Mary Lou: If they'd stayed together, I would have enjoyed that. However, I'm alright with them being good friends and supporting each other as they move on to find the person that's their "one and done."
Kriss: Honestly, I am not an Esplaine shipper, so I am fine with it. I thought their dating/trying to make it work was okay, but I just don't feel they have the spark of chemistry to the extent that Castle & Beckett do. I guess I am indifferent. I'm not surprised the show is taking them into the "friend zone", and I'm okay with that.
Jim: Does this mean there might be a return of Marissa the Transit Officer??? She and Espo seemed to hit it off really well and now that he knows Lanie is not the one, maybe he is ready to "transition?"
Christine: ery creative Jim. I've been rooting for Espo and Lanie since Castle Season 2 Episode 1 so I'm kind of surprised I am OK with their break up. They have chemistry but not the one and done kind so this may be the right move for them. I'm just happy it was amicable and that they can remain friends.
Should Castle have told Beckett right away about getting banned from the NYPD?
Stacy: Yes, but I understand why he didn't. Beckett just read her poem which was of course all about their partnership and he didn't want to ruin that or their holiday with the bad news.
Mary Lou: While I wish I could have seen that conversation, it was not the right time. It would have put a damper on the party mood at the precinct.
Kriss: No. Totally on board with how he handled it. He took it like a man. The festive spirit, and Kate's playful mood at the holiday office party coupled with her happiness at sharing her family poem with Castle were evidence of the joy in her heart in that moment. Why would he squelch that? There is a time and a place for everything, and later, at home, was the time to deliver the news to her.
Jim: Nah, no need to ruin a holiday party. And I won't point out the fact that he was killed AFTER being arrested which is public record, and clearly Castle would not have been involved, they clearly want a reason for Castle to strike out on his own.
Christine: I kept thinking how difficult that must have been to hold onto that news and watch all of his friends enjoying their holiday as he knew they had worked their last case together. Castle did the right thing letting everyone enjoy themselves but I would have liked to have seen his conversation with Kate at home and her reaction.
Rick Castle, Private Investigator. What are your thoughts or predictions?
Stacy: I think this could make for some pretty funny stories. I wonder how much time has passed between the episodes though, because I feel like it would take awhile to study for and pass the PI exam. My prediction is that it won't last too long. They'll get Castle back in the precinct with Beckett somehow.
Mary Lou: I've always thought Castle would make a great PI. However, I don't think it will be what he expects. There will be a definite learning curve as he flies solo and he will miss theory-building with Kate.
Kriss: Well, I have to say, that ending threw me for a loop. Totally didn't see that coming. Now, in Castle fashion, him pursuing this doesn't surprise me. From a character stand-point., Although, I feel we've had enough diversion and twists and turns and change-ups since that finale in the Spring. Coming back with Castle's disappearance and the mystery surrounding that, to the wedding, I feel as if it's time to get back to business as usual. I'm not against changing things up, but I think we've had enough of that in recent months. But, it's not my story, and this is my beloved show, and I'm in it until the wheels fall off. So, taking a "wait & see" approach, and focusing on the fun and hilarity that could, and probably will, ensue, with this new adventure. Of course, I understand it will be temporary. Just not feeling the love for another shake-up right now.
Jim: REALLY? Really?!? Which writer watched the latest season of Sherlock and went, "Oh, I have an idea!" Please let Stacy be right and this will be short lived.
Christine: Anyone willing to place bets? My prediction is that this story arc will last 3 episodes much like Kate's move to D.C. It will be fun for the short term and then Castle will be back at the 12th…or at least that's how I'm hoping it will play out.
Was there anything about the episode that disappointed or didn't work for you?
Stacy: To be honest, the whole episode was a little disappointing. I was hoping for more out of the mid-season finale.
Mary Lou: No, but I definitely did not expect Castle to be told he couldn't work at the precinct anymore. That took me completely off guard.
Kriss: Ha. Loaded question. There are a few….I didn't care for how Castle was 'forced' to work for Dino. On the flip side, being it's the mob, what could he do. They just don't take 'no' for an answer, do they? When that scene occurred, I had a foreboding feeling that this wasn't going to end well. I didn't realize exactly how, enter the twist at the end, but I knew him going outside of the NYPD with Beckett was going to backfire. So that didn't sit well with me from the get-go.
Secondly, I wanted to add, I missed the warm-fuzzies with Castle & Beckett that Christmas is supposed to bring. The poem was cute, and the beginning with Martha & Alexis was charming, but wished to see Castle maybe make up for last year in the gift-giving department. I know Christmas shouldn't be about gifts, and his gift to her wouldn't have to be anything material, but wanted a little holiday romance from them. And what happened to the extravagant Christmas display at the loft that we saw LAST Christmas? Seems Castle didn't go all-out this year!
Lastly, the way Castle oogled at the strippers, just no. If he would've glanced, cracked some jokes, and maybe made a comment that the whole lot of them couldn't compare to her, I'd have been okay with it. I mean, Kate's the prize he fought for all these years, and he's oogling at strippers. Meh. Seriously? Why even put that in there? They wasted that minute if you ask me.
Jim: It was a little heavy on the mob movie cliches starting out. Should have spread those out through the episode a bit more.
Christine: I would have enjoyed more fluffy Christmas romance and more time at the loft. Mob stories and murder are not very merry.
What was your favorite scene?
Stacy: My favorite scene is probably the one I mentioned above with Ryan jumping in with a great proposal story for Lanie and Esposito.
Mary Lou: The ending scene, though unexpected and sad. I think Captain Gates is really sorry to see Castle go and I enjoyed seeing that softer side of her. The range of Castle's emotions expressed by Nathan was amazing to watch.
Kriss: While I loved how the ending was acted out - Nathan knocked it out of the park, I didn't have one scene that I adored. Perhaps it was when Kate revealed her poem. Because in her words, were multiple meanings. That entire poem was metaphorical for many things encompassing both their personal and professional lives. And when Kate delivered her poem, the joy on her face and enthusiasm in her reading of it were heart-warming. Stana knocked that out of the park! Of course, the hilarity with Ryan delivering how the proposal of Esplainie went down. And also, kudos to the tech-lady for the mob. SHE was hilarious, and did a fabulous job playing her part.
Jim: When Kate read Rick her poem. Not only was it adorable, but she was so cute doing it. I loved it.
Christine: Yeah, Kate couldn't have been any cuter when she read that poem and yet it was so bittersweet for Castle. And as Kriss said, an honorable mention to the mob's Cyber Reader. She was a hoot. Like Tori gone to the dark side.
We've got weeks to wait for a new episode but you can watch Castle online right here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.