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‘Castle’ Review/Recap: “At Close Range”

Devika Syal ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Sean Bunch and Seamus Dever in the Castle episode "At Close Range." Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.
Sean Bunch and Seamus Dever in the Castle episode “At Close Range.” Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.

This week’s episode of Castle placed Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) in the spotlight as he navigates his way through a murder case he’s directly involved in.

The episode opened with Ryan in a dimly lit, purposely desaturated bathroom, with blood stains on his chest. He paces for a moment then punches the mirror. As the image fades out, the next scene is captioned with the words “6 Hours Earlier.”

As many fans may remember, Ryan had been having financial troubles at the beginning of the season after the birth of his daughter. This resulted in him taking side jobs as a personal security guard. It is revealed that the cause of his turmoil in the first few minutes of the episode are a result of one of these missions. He was being a body guard for Alex Lopez, a potential presidential candidate, when a shooter injured Lopez and killed his friend Carolyn under his nose.

Seamus Dever and David Conrad in the Castle episode "At Close Range." Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.
Seamus Dever and David Conrad in the Castle episode “At Close Range.” Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.

This episode was intense, but not difficult to watch. This was both a good and a bad thing. The storyline and acting were perfect, especially on Dever’s part. He captured Ryan’s pain, desperation, and guilt extremely well. There’s a scene when Ryan suspects that his brother-in-law might have been the murderer and he has to confront him. Ryan pulls his gun out but points it out at the ground to his side, because he doesn’t actually want to shoot his family. It was a beautifully set up shot.

Unfortunately, there was a lack of consistency. The promo for this episode, which aired after last week’s episode, gave a different impression of what the episode was about. It made it seem like Ryan was guilty or in trouble for something big and they needed to get him out. Instead, he was the one searching for a killer.

Another problem with the consistency was that the intensity diminished throughout the episode. The best part was the beginning. The viewer got to see what Ryan saw through his eyes as he scoped out the room trying to find threats to Lopez. The shots were quick and made the audience feel as on edge as Ryan. Later on, as they’re interviewing a witness, the audience got to see what he saw as it happened. These types of shots were present earlier in the episode and were dropped later on. Everything got calmer and felt less important. When it’s revealed that Ryan’s brother-in-law was innocent, a shaky resolution is revealed, leaving the viewer wondering why that storyline was even brought up.

Reiko Aylesworth, Ricardo Chavira and Ali Hillis in the Castle episode "At Close Range." Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.
Reiko Aylesworth, Ricardo Chavira and Ali Hillis in the Castle episode “At Close Range.” Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.

Perhaps the worst problem with this episode is that, in the scene when Ryan is introduced to Lopez, his wife, and his personal assistant, you could easily predict that the personal assistant was the murderer. Without even knowing who had been murdered yet, it was that obvious. The episode took the viewer through twists and turns and many potential suspects, yet went back to the apparent one. Maybe the writers thought it would be so obvious that no one would expect it. But they did.

It was also extremely predictable that Lopez and Carolyn were having an affair. It appeared that Ryan would catch the two of them lean in for a kiss while he was watching over them and that would cause things to spiral out of control. That didn’t happen, but it still led to the same conclusion.

This episode had only two moments of humor. This is fairly unusual for a Castle episode, because even in the most serious moments there always seems time to be time for a joke. Regardless, the two jokes were some of the best. The first happened at the beginning when Ryan refused to reveal who he was guarding that night, but the 12th precinct knew it was someone important. Castle guesses that it’s One Direction (channeling an incredibly convincing high pitched, whiny voice in the moment) only for Esposito (Jon Huertas) to quickly let him know that 1D is currently in Tokyo. Maybe in the next episode viewers will figure out how in the world Espo knew that.

Seamus Dever and Michael Blum in the Castle episode "At Close Range." Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.
Seamus Dever and Michael Blum in the Castle episode “At Close Range.” Photo Credit: David Moir/ABC.

The second joke involved Beckett (Stana Katic) entering the crime scene to see Ryan and Castle working on the case already. After demanding to know why Ryan had called Castle instead of her, Ryan replied, “Well, when you have a crazy theory, you don’t call the voice of reason.” He’s right. You call Castle, the king of conspiracy theories.

The best part about the episode was all the little things, such as Beckett calling Ryan by his first name on the phone to establish intimacy after he had been through a traumatic experience. There were also many instances where Espo showed his brotherly devotion to Ryan and offered to stay by his side when he needed him. Meanwhile, Beckett has been considering taking the captain’s exam and moving up in her career.

The episode ended on a strong note, with Ryan walking alone down a dark hallway and around a corner, leaving the viewer feeling like his troubles aren’t yet over.

Overall Episode Grade: A

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