Captain Beckett was thrust into the middle of a deadly new mystery on Castle Season 8 Episode 1. Will Rick and the boys figure out what’s going on before someone gets killed?
Below, TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Stacy Glanzman, Robin Harry and Christine Orlando are joined by Bobbie from A Possibility For Joy a Castle fan forum to debate Alexis as P.I., the new mystery and where they rank “XY” amongst the Castle season premieres...
What are your feelings toward the new character, Hayley Shipton?
Bobbie: Right now, she feels like any other guest star. I look at her as a player in this particular mystery, but I honestly don't care to see her become a regular. What's supposed to be sassy and confident hits me more as arrogant.
Jim: I like her, she reminds me a little of Beckett during the first two seasons of the show. I haven't heard; is she a full time cast member?
Stacy: I really like her. A show can never have too many bad-ass female characters.
Robin: She intrigues me. I like her dynamic with Alexis and with Ryan and Esposito. I'd like to see how they work with that in the future.
Christine: I found her a little grating. I know they were going for confident and edgy, but to me it felt more like arrogance and not giving a damn. Maybe that will change. We’ll see.
Did you enjoy having Alexis working as a P.I.?
Bobbie: I'm OK with Alexis becoming her dad's assistant and helping out occasionally, but I hated that first scene where she acted like she owned the place and was so much better than him. I thought the premise that Alexis had solved four cases and run the office for a month without Castle knowing it was completely LAME. She has no PI license or training and should be in college!
Jim: Yes, very much! Honestly, for the first time in a long time Alexis really "fits" into the show, her nerdy skills are awesome, and Hayley is already teaching her a thing or two.
Stacy: Yes, when Castle found out Alexis had been working his cases, it gave me Veronica Mars flashbacks. I'm glad they're bringing Alexis into the series more and giving her a chance to be helpful.
Robin: I really did. I was a little put off for a few seconds at the idea that she started it without Castle's consent (it is his business), but it didn't matter when I saw how good she was at it, and how much she enjoyed what she was doing. Also, I seriously want that dress she was wearing.
Christine: Her first ten minutes on screen annoyed the bejeezus out of me. It’s one thing to help out, it’s another to take over. Since I never watched Veronica Mars, I wasn’t feeling the vibe. So far, I’ll say that a little Alexis goes a long way.
What did you think of Castle’s new P.I. office?
Bobbie: I think the new office suits Castle quite well. He does love his gadgets and all things spacey and cool.
Jim: I loved it, who wouldn't want an office with a secret lounge/bat-cave?? It rocked!
Stacy: That thing was awesome and totally Castle. His expression was perfect when he realized it turned out even better than he imagined.
Robin: I loved it! Although my first thought was, "Wait – can he afford that? Oh right, he's rich!!" I honestly forget how wealthy Richard is because we've moved so far away from his writer life.
Christine: I so loved that 1940s vibe of the old office, so I was a little disappointed that they changed it…but Castle’s exuberance sold the new version.
Rate this new mystery on a scale of 1 to 10.
Bobbie: I'd have to give this mystery a 9 for sure. It drew me in and has left me with a gazillion questions that I hope get answered next week.
Jim: I’m giving this one a solid 6 for the first half. It would have ranked more, but we simply didn't get enough from Beckett to even really understand how she's in trouble. Besides that, Rick answered her phone "Captain Beckett's phone," and she was asked for by rank and name... what telemarketer would know her rank... too easy of a clue to have overlooked as long as he did.
Stacy: I'd give it an 8. I'm intrigued, and I think this was a great way to work around Stana Katic's schedule. I can't wait to see part two!
Robin: Given what we've seen so far, it gets an 8. I'm hooked, and I really want to know what's going on. That said, I have very low expectations for the rest of it, given how poorly they treated the Castle-disappeared-for-two-months mystery after the fantastic premiere that introduced it.
Christine: I give it a 7. The mystery was really intriguing, and I definitely want answers but I hated that Beckett was lying right from the beginning and seeing more of Alexis and the P.I. theme wasn’t really a selling point for me.
As far as the eight Castle season premieres we've seen, where does this one rank?
Bobbie: This one would rank near the bottom for me. I think something this dramatic and intense would be better positioned mid season like most other two parters have been. I love the premieres that have given us the CLASSIC Castle – a nice mix of fun and mystery and romance.
Jim: I'm putting it on bottom. First, I'm not a fan of cliff-hangers, but to start the season out with a two-part episode and leave me this confused?!? Come on! If you’re going to do that, get permission to do a two-hour premiere!
Stacy: It's hard to compare it to the earlier seasons, but I liked it better than the last three premieres. Personally, I love cliffhangers, and I will take the one week before finding out what happens over having to wait all summer!
Robin: Oh dear, I don't remember them all. Like Stacy, I preferred this over the last few. It definitely ranks above Beckett-joins-the-feds and Castle-has-amnesia.
Christine: It ties for the bottom with last year’s premiere. I’m tired of two-part premieres, and I prefer a premiere that’s more fun and less angsty and dark. Plus, no matter what the reason, this one didn’t have Castle and Beckett working together which is what I tune in to see.
What, if anything, disappointed you in Castle Season 8 Episode 1?
Bobbie: I was disappointed in the way they started off with Alexis in the PI office and I'm disappointed that it was such a dark episode. I would have enjoyed a fun, uplifting one after the long hiatus. I'm also disappointed that once again, Kate has kept Castle in the dark about what's going on, but after reading a lot of other people's comments, I guess I'm softening on that. If it ties back to her time in the AG's office, it might be something she wasn't at liberty to share, and I can accept that she wanted to keep her loved ones safe. Having said that though, I still think there will be repercussions in her and Castle's relationship as he struggles to accept her explanation.
Jim: Not seeing any of Kate's events and Rick taking so long to remember the phone call. Left me feeling lost and confused way more than I should have at the end of the hour.
Stacy: I would have liked to see more of Kate as well, but I knew we wouldn't going in so I was prepared for that. I hope we get to see some of what happened from her POV next week. Otherwise, nothing really disappointed me other than perhaps a Martha appearance could have been included.
Robin: I'm glad someone else was bothered by that phone call, Jim. It floored me that it took Castle so long to recall it. I was also disappointed that Gates only got a throwaway mention – I quite liked her.
Christine: That Kate lied to Rick. This was the first time that’s happened since they got married, and it felt like a step backwards in their relationship. Also, I wasn’t thrilled with Castle going back to being a P.I. I liked it for three episodes, but I’m not sure how I’ll take to it for a full season.
What was your favorite scene from “XY”?
Bobbie: My favorite scene was the first one with Kate and Castle. I loved the surprise and the feeling of pride that I got from Castle. It kind of hurts to think that Kate knew all along that something was coming down the pike, but Castle sure stepped up to be the loving and supportive husband.
Jim: Hands down, Alexis P.I. She's smart, nerdy, hot, and getting college credit. Sounds like a win in my book.
Stacy: I love fight scenes, so I'm going with Hayley and that other girl kicking each others butts. That was fun to watch.
Robin: I loved the torture scene with the spiders in the plastic bag. I loved that Castle got out of his restraints on his own, and the scene reminded me of Missing in Action with Chuck Norris where they put the bag with the rat over his head. I also loved the precinct shoot out – Espo was seriously badass.
Christine: I agree Robin. I loved Esposito in that takedown but my favorite was Castle going head to head with Bracken. There was such an edge to that scene, I just loved it.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.