Granted, all is not fixed in the Castle universe because it’s going to take more than one episode to accomplish that, but “The Last Seduction” was a big step in the right direction.
So, let’s take it from the top.
Watching Scott McCoy get stabbed nine times was brutal. I’m just glad this is Castle and not some other crime procedural where we would have also been subjected to the blood and the gore.
I felt so bad for Scott’s friend Anton when he broke down in tears over his buddy's murder. Even men the size of mountains have best friends. When Anton said he was Scott’s wingman, I was instantly reminded of Castle Season 4 Episode 11, “’Til Death Do Us Part,” where the murder victim was hooking up with numerous women. The scene where his wingmen described their tactics in interrogation has always been one of my favorites.
But Scott was different. He was hired to sleep with married women and record the sexual encounters in order to break their prenups for their husbands. Ain’t love grand?
The fact that George Keller hired Scott to set up his mother was truly despicable. Talk about family values. Eww.
The murder of the week laid the ground work for lots of interaction between Castle, Beckett, Esposito and Ryan which is what I’ve been missing this season.
Ryan and Espo were having serious issues, so much so that they were in therapy to save their partnership. Castle working as their buffer was a great way to bring him back into the fold, but I do wish they’d dump this silly P.I./Captain Beckett/LokSat storyline, so that we didn’t need goofy reasons to have my favorite foursome working cases together. Can’t Castle simply be a consultant for the NYPD once again?
Esposito and Ryan’s bickering was both humorous and heartbreaking depending upon the moment. Ryan couldn’t seem to handle Espo taking the lead and was incredibly defensive over the shooting. Espo was hurt that his partner and best friend didn’t think he was good enough to pass the exam and seemed to hold it against him. Both sides were realistic enough to be a bit painful.
Castle tried to help. He even offered some advice he and Gina had used to avoid vicious arguments; of course since Rick and Gina eventually divorced, I’m not sure how helpful writing notes really was for any of them.
I assumed Ryan was going to come in and save Espo as soon as Lindsey pulled that gun, but my fear was that the show would play it for laughs, and I’m done with finding humor in gunshots this season. Thankfully it didn’t go that way.
The boys reconciliation was heartfelt as Javi realized his best friend jumped in front of a bullet for him, even though he’s got a wife, a kid and another on the way back at home. They were obviously back together when Espo accepted the invitation to come back to Ryan’s, even if it meant having to eat Jenny’s homemade tofu.
While one relationship was mended, another was still having issues.
It was Rick and Kate’s first wedding anniversary, and I almost wanted to cry when I saw that wedding photo. It felt as though it’s been longer than a year, but then again, the last six episodes have felt interminable.
Rick’s anniversary banner – complete with confetti – was over the top, and yet completely Rick Castle. But it was the balloon with the invitation that was the sweetest.
I was thrilled when Kate agreed to dinner. Then I actually felt the urge to hit Vikram when he reminded Kate that she shouldn’t be spending time with her husband. Did anyone ask for his opinion? I didn't think so.
Hayley and Beckett went undercover at the spa, and although Hayley didn’t annoy me nearly as much as she did in previous episodes, I’m still unsure why she’s here. Wasn’t there one other female officer in the entire NYPD who could have gone undercover at that spa?
I also didn’t mind Alexis helping out this time. Having her pose as an intern at a law office fits her character better than most of the super-spy stuff we’ve seen her do this season.
On a side note, and I know it’s silly, but was Alexis' incredibly red hair distracting to anyone else in this episode? Perhaps they could tone it down just a bit.
One of the best things about this hour was having Rick and Kate actually share scenes together because watching their chemistry shine is the magic of this entire show. It was a nice parallel to see these two work so hard to keep their friends partnership from falling apart.
Castle: They've been through way too much together to give up on what they have.
Beckett: You're a wise man Castle, with a big heart and you're rather good looking too.
Castle: You might want to pace yourself with the flattery. You've got a whole dinner to get through.
This made me smile but not nearly as much as what was to come.
I know it’s just a time out when I wish a time out weren’t necessary, but Kate showing up at the loft with Remy’s gave me hope. The two of them spending the night together made me truly happy in a way I haven’t been all season, and nothing was better than this Castle quote when Kate worried that he might be giving up on them…
Castle: Kate, I have never given up hope, not since the day we met and that will never change until you tell me it should.
Beckett: Then don't change, ever.
Rick crawling across their bedroom floor wrapped in their comforter was adorable and him reading that text gave me hope that Beckett won’t be able to keep secrets and tell herself she’s keeping him safe for much longer.
Is hope enough? For now, but this silly LokSat story and ridiculous separation needs to end as soon as possible. If they wanted to throw the whole P.I. arc in the trash heap as well, I certainly wouldn't complain.
Will I get my wish in Castle Season 8 Episode 8? Check back next Monday to find out, and don’t forget to see what our Castle Round Table team thought of “The Last Seduction later on this week.
If you can’t wait for more, you can always watch Castle online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.