The Castle fall finale has been a long time coming as fans have had to endure the Caskett separation, the LokSat conspiracy, the P.I. business and new characters that have felt forced into the story. Thankfully Castle Season 8 Episode 8 gave us some forward momentum on at least two of these fronts.
To be honest, I felt this episode was a mixed bag. Some things I was happy to see while other scenes had me yelling at the screen. At the very least that must mean I still care.
Let’s start with the yelling…
What on earth is going on with Martha this season? Why was she showing Hayley so much love? She barely knows the woman. How is it that Hayley has earned all of this trust? It really makes no sense.
Also, I really do wish they’d shut down the “money pit” of a P.I. business. The thrill is long gone if it ever existed in the first place. Remember when Rick Castle was a mystery novelist? It’s become a faint memory, and I wish this show would get back to basics and give us the writer and his muse because that’s what I fell in love with. A private investigator and a police Captain aren’t nearly as entertaining.
Then there’s Martha’s advice to Rick about Kate. Why does she keep insisting he sit on his hands and do nothing? How much time does she expect her son to give his wayward wife?
Who is the pod person who inhabited Martha Rodgers' body?
Vikram Singh. Are they trying to make me hate him because if so, the writers are doing an excellent job. Vikram made no less than five either pro-separation or anti-Castle comments in this hour, plus he admitted to sending a text about a fake lead just to break up Rick and Kate's anniversary celebration. Why does she trust this guy again?
Where Hayley has been downgraded to a minor annoyance, I’m now rooting for Vikram to become the next fatality of LokSat.
At least Hayley had more of a purpose in this episode as Castle needed someone with tech experience to hack into Beckett’s phone and find out more about the text. I’m still not a fan, but at least I felt as though she had a place in the story.
Then we were introduced to our third new character in only eight episodes. Ugh.
Welcome sleazy public defender Caleb Brown to the fold. I’m almost grateful that he’s a villain, but I also find it disheartening that his appearance most likely means we’re stuck with this preposterous LokSat conspiracy for most of the season. I get the feeling it’s not going away anytime soon.
That said, at least we got some movement on LokSat after weeks of it being on the back burner and having to endure the Caskett separation for nothing.
As for the murder of the week, I was really hoping we’d spend more time on that cruise ship. The visit was far too brief and Castle and Beckett spent most of it in “divide and conquer” mode which meant they weren’t working together.
As for Rick’s dance number, I’m sure some fans will enjoy it, but I’m just not a fan of this kind of silliness…and enough with the jazz hands this season! On the upside I will say that Nathan Fillion manages to make ridiculous awkwardness look effortless.
Extra points given for Isaac the Bartender and The Love Boat shout out. I wish there’d been a little more of that.
Now we get to Rick and Kate…
Once Castle realized that Kate’s been conducting a secret investigation with Vikram, it didn’t take him long to figure out it was LokSat. To his credit, he confronted her with what he knew.
Castle: You know when I hung up my shingle as a P.I., I knew I’d have to follow some wives, I just never thought it would be my own.
No kidding. You’d think that after all this couple has been through, Beckett would have more trust in her husband. That’s why this entire story line has such a false ring to it.
Castle: The fact that you even think that breaks my heart. I would walk into a tornado for you, Kate.
Beckett: And I would die if I lost you.
Are we supposed to believe that Kate went into panic mode thinking she might lose Castle, so she pushed him away to protect him, yet at the same time she couldn't bring herself to walk away from this case? Was it really worth nuking her marriage?
Kate asked Castle why he couldn’t just trust her. Was she kidding? He let her walk out the door and gave her the space she asked for for weeks. How long was the man supposed to patiently wait for her while their marriage crumbled? Someone had to fight for them because it obviously wasn’t going to be Kate as Rick pointed out in this Castle quote…
You want to know what hurts the most? You could have come to me with everything. Broken us up just like you did only it would have been a cover and together, in secret we could have taken this guy down but that thought never even occurred to you because deep down inside you like being broken and you need this obsession and no matter what I do I can't change that, only you can, Kate.
So we’re supposed to believe that after a year’s worth of therapy in order to feel worthy of having a relationship with Castle, Kate damn near threw it all away to go chase more big bad conspiracy criminals.
Do I like it? No. Do I buy it? Not really. Am I willing to accept it just to move forward from this ridiculous story line? Yes.
I wish Castle had held out a little longer. I wish he seemed a bit angrier, goodness knows I am. Although he did waffle a bit when Kate decided to come home, it was only for a minute.
On some level I get it. He loves her, and he wants his wife back. Things are far from perfect, but handing down naked punishment is certainly more fun than moping alone and drinking with a talking box. (Can we get rid of the stupid box? Please.)
Am I thrilled with this fall finale? No, but I am happy Rick and Kate are finally back on the same page and working together. Why we couldn’t have had this from Castle Season 8 Episode 3 astounds me, but it is what it is.
I also hope that this "fake" separation doesn't drag out too long. It might have been fun at the start of the season, but all of the contrived angst may have used up any good will fans had to give questionable story lines a chance. Let's hope this new development brings back some Caskett romance and fun.
I’ll definitely be here come Monday, January 4th when Castle Season 8 Episode 9 returns because I hope this season can get back to the Castle I love. Will you?
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.