Devika Syal ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
After a two week hiatus, Castle returned with an episode that had its good and bad moments.
The good? It was incredibly Beckett-centric, focusing on her insecurities, fears, and hopes for the future, something the audience has been deprived of recently. The bad? The murder storyline suffered at the hand of Beckett’s (Stana Katic) relationship with Chief Inspector Zhang (Linda Park), a guest cop from Hong Kong whom Beckett kept comparing herself to throughout the episode.
The episode began with Beckett finding out that her schoolmate, who had been on her level the entire time they were training to become police officers, had become a sergeant. Beckett, meanwhile, was still a detective. She reflected on all the things she had hoped to become at this point in her life, and let it consume her throughout the entire episode.
Things only got worse when they encountered Zhang, who was trying to solve the same murder case because the victim was her friend. As Beckett never failed to remind Castle (Nathan Fillion), Zhang has a movie star husband, perfect kids, and a great job. Compared to her, Beckett felt completely inadequate. This resulted in her taking Zhang out on a “girls’ night,” which apparently consists of shooting practice if you’re a cop.
The episode had good intentions, however, the way it was executed is what made it subpar. While Zhang’s presence added a lot to Beckett’s character in this episode, she kind of ruined everything else. When a show has been on air for seven seasons, fans develop attachments to the main cast of characters. They expect to see them in every episode. So why did it feel like they were the background characters in their own show? Even Castle, the show’s title character, was barely in it. It felt too much like the Zhang Show, and that left a disconnect between the episode and the viewer, especially if she’s never going to return again. She got too much attention for a guest.
The best part of this entire episode was that Beckett was never once spiteful or envious towards Zhang, and Zhang was never condescending or demeaning to Beckett. An incredibly easy out that many storytellers take is a plot that involves two women neck and neck, against each other, and fighting it out. The episode was actually very empowering for women in a lot of ways, some rather obvious and some subtle.
Zhang appeared to be the obviously strong woman, disarming Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) in just a few seconds, and taking down a suspect in his own fighting studio. Yet she later admitted to Beckett that her marriage was over and she was having trouble balancing her life. She even felt responsible for the victim’s death because she refused his call for help since she was too busy. Even though Zhang felt like her life was falling apart, she was still able to do what she needed to do and do it well. Even though Beckett felt inadequate the entire time, she didn’t use her insecurity to tear Zhang down. Instead, she wanted to become more like her, and used her as an inspiration. In the end, Beckett realized that she could create her own destiny, and is seen making a list of goals she has for the future.
As alluded to about a million times in the previous few episodes, there is the question of a Castle baby in the mix. Beckett did say that she wanted to be a part of something bigger, and what could be more special than raising a child? But there are still so many problems with all of this. Sure, Castle and Beckett have mentioned having a child. So has Martha on many occasions. But it still doesn’t feel like Beckett’s heart is in it. This may be a problem on the writer’s part, but they need to establish that Beckett really wants a child before the Castles have one. Otherwise, no one will be convinced. That may be their intention, however. As the season nears its end, more information will come regarding Castle’s disappearance many months ago. With that to worry about, a pregnancy will not help.
Time will tell, and until then viewers can await next week’s episode, which will involve the Twelfth Precinct’s very own Kevin Ryan in hot water.
Overall Grade: C+