Devika Syal ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Monday night’s episode of Castle completed the show’s two-part season premiere. Following the suspenseful part one, ‘XX’ was anticlimactic, to say the least. Part one worked because it had the viewers and Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) asking, “Where is Beckett?” Part two, the same story told in Beckett’s perspective, was just her responding with “Here I am!” Obviously fans wanted these answers, but they were told in such a straight-forward way that it became a bit uninteresting after a while. Couple this with the incredible information overload thrown at the viewers, and it can safely be said that ‘XX’ was a confusing hour of television.
Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) has always been a complex character; there is no doubt about it. There’s the Beckett who is a superhero, knows exactly what she wants, and solves any problem that comes her way. Then there’s the Beckett who is wary, scared of accepting Castle’s love a few years ago, caught up in her mother’s murder for most of her life, and has had to handle every bout of PTSD that inevitably comes her way throughout the history of the show. Both those Becketts were shown in Monday’s episode. One moment we see her literally sew her gunshot wound up in a dry cleaners, and later on we see her leaving her husband and going out into the world alone to catch the person responsible for the murder of her team when she worked in Washington, D.C.
However, Beckett leaving Castle was completely out of character. There was something so cowardly about what she did. It’s obvious that she felt guilt for all of the murders that took place due to the search she did on criminal connections with Senator William Bracken (Jack Coleman). Speaking of Bracken, it was incredibly disappointing to see him finally die. Bracken has been the number one villain in Castle since season one, and viewers have accepted how important he is to both the storyline and Beckett as a character. His death means that there is someone even more powerful and scary than he is, something fans will have to get used to. Turning back to Beckett, it felt like her character took ten steps back when she ran away from Castle to pursue her enemy. She used the excuse that she was protecting her husband, but the Beckett people know and love would realize that working through her problems with Castle would always result in a happily ever after, regardless of the fear of death. Hopefully, she will make her return soon.
If there’s one thing the episode should be proud of, it’s the conscious decision to cast Sunkrish Bala as Vikram Singh. Although he played the character extremely well, it’s not his talent that made the character so monumental for Castle, but the way he was written. Like most shows that try to show diversity, the seemingly “diverse” characters, usually Asian or Middle Eastern, are portrayed stereotypically. When an Asian guest star has appeared on the show, he had a thick accent. When a Middle Eastern characters were involved, they at one point either were a terrorist or were accused of being a terrorist.
Vikram Singh was not like that. He spoke with an American accent, worked as just another man in Beckett’s field, and did not mention some tragic backstory in India that made him the way he is today. For an example of this stereotypical representation, watch the character Bilal Jafari in “Sleeper” on season seven. Sure, show writers could have been a little more original with the name and gone with something a little less typical than Singh, but that wasn’t a huge problem. Singh was a huge character for Castle because he portrayed what representation should be. When people of color, such as Indians from America, say that they want representation in television, Singh is an example of that person. He is an American man with an Indian ethnic and cultural background who is exactly the same as Beckett, Castle, and the rest of the characters except that he is Indian! This is a character who may show up later in the season as Beckett tackles her case. But, he also has the potential to be killed. Hopefully the writers do not kill our innocent diabetic tech guy! He’s one of the most relatable characters.
In watching ‘XX,’ it is obvious that the new show runners know how to create a good story. It had the right amount of suspense, yet let the audience have their answers. Unfortunately, they haven’t quite mastered the relationships on the show. Since Castle and Beckett’s relationship is the main protagonist, with it gone, the show loses its backbone and what makes it special.
Overall Grade: B-