Castle’s season six premiere answered questions and eased fans into the new journey of Kate Beckett and Richard Castle – Beckett as a federal agent and the duo as an engaged couple.
The “to be continued” haunted Castle fans for a week as in the closing seconds of the season six premiere, entitled “Valkyrie”, revealed Castle had been dosed with a deadly toxin and had less than 24 hours to live.
This is where the second episode of season six, titled “Dreamworld”, picked up – with Castle and Beckett sitting in the interrogation room of a nondescript federal office contemplating their next move. A move that would help find the antidote that would save Castle’s life.
Beckett tried to reassure Castle they were doing all they could and reminded him that she was not letting him out of their engagement that easily. She tells him they are tracking down every possible lead and he reminds her that is what she says when they have nothing to go on.
I guess you can’t fool a guy you have known for over five years so easily.
A doctor from Walter Reed is brought in to give Castle a dose of something that was never fully explained, giving him a few extra hours at best. Castle is informed he has 10 to 12 hours to live.
So the clock is running, the leads are thin, and Beckett is on the case to save her man. Castle first avoids his mother Martha’s call – not wanting to reveal how dire his circumstances are. When he finally calls home you can hear the longing in his voice for his family – telling his daughter he loves her – almost saying goodbye.
I understood why Castle didn’t tell his family but it was also unfair. Had he died, Beckett would be left delivering the news and shouldering the blame.
A quick note before moving on is the scene where Javier Espositio and Kevin Ryan calls Beckett after Martha comes to see them stating she is worried about Castle. The way Beckett blows them off is both a sign of how far out of their league her old partners are and how focused she is in saving Castle’s life.
The layers and side turns Beckett and her federal partner Rachel McCord must traverse to unveil the truth is curvier then Lombard Avenue in San Francisco. Is it a case of domestic terrorism with the intent of releasing the deadly toxin that killed Jack Bronson and is slowly killing Castle? Or is there more to the story?
And that is the key to the second part of this two-part episode. Castle has taught Beckett it all begins with the story and she uses that to perfection.
From ferreting out Rasheed, who they once believed was a terrorist, was telling the truth to the twists and turns that lead to the real truth. Not to mention the run-in with the Secretary of Defense, Michael Reed.
The story reveals Reed had a hand in a cover-up that lead to the death of an asset which set events in motion that led to the theft of the toxin that turns out to be about revenge. But he was not the culprit?
The revelation that the journalist Brad Parker is the real culprit really takes a back-seat in the end to the real heart of the story – which is Castle and Beckett’s devotion to each other and what they will do to keep each other safe.
The scene between Castle and McCord reflected Castle’s desire to make sure Beckett would be okay if something happened to him. His veiled question, asking how she was doing in her new job, was his way of saying if she lost him, at least she would have her job.
If Castle hadn’t survived, Beckett would have two rings dangling from the necklace around her neck – representing two lives she lost. In the years since Castle began following her, Beckett evolved and came out of her shell – becoming the woman she was meant to be prior to her mother’s death. If she had lost Castle, Beckett would most likely have lost herself as well.
It would seem Beckett’s cool and collected persona is unwarranted and some may lament her lack of emotion. Where is the frantic Beckett watching as the man she loves wastes away as the deadly toxin steals his life?
Beckett does what she always does she goes after the truth to solve the case. Not to say she wasn’t worried out of her mind and the subtle expressions explored by Stana Katic, as Kate Beckett, conveyed more in a single look then pages of dialogue could ever do.
The parallels between Beckett lingering at death’s door, after being shot by the sniper in the season three finale and Castle lying on the grass after collapsing at the end of the episode was stunning. The plea not to leave – the hope for a future lingered on both of their lips.
And it seems the best way for Castle to assist with the federal agency Beckett is working with is to be dying from a deadly toxin. It was a nice move on the Director’s part to allow Castle to assist in the investigation – after all, his life is at stake. It was also believable that the Director limited Castle’s help to the operations area.
Of course, the Director changes his mind near the end of the episode. Beckett, McCord and other members of the team go after Parker, allowing Castle to go with them because his time is winding down and being there if they find the toxin could save his life.
Riding in the car with Beckett, Castle begins to fade and she pleads him to hold on. Partners to the end – they both decide Parker was using misdirection and going after Reed’s wife instead of Reed. So Reed would lose the one he loves just like Parker lost his fiancé thanks to Reed. Beckett changes course and goes to Reed’s house intent on saving Reed’s wife and snagging the antidote for her fiancé.
Castle doesn’t make it into the house as he collapses getting out of the car. Beckett calls Castle “Rick” and pleads with him to stay with her. When she leaves him lying there on the grass, which must have taken Herculean internal strength, to go after Parker, the look on her face was that of stoic fury.
Beckett has a run-in with Parker who uses his military training to get the jump on Beckett and snag her gun. For such a warrior, Beckett seems to get her gun taken from her a lot. Turns out it is McCord that comes in to save the day. As Parker is backing away to make his escape, he runs into the muzzle of McCord’s gun.
The episode closes with Castle waking up in the hospital with his family around him. Yes, his family – his fiancé Kate Beckett, his mother Martha and his daughter Alexis. I am not even going to address the train wreck that is the addition of the character Pi as Alexis’ boyfriend. Why did he go to D.C. with Martha and Alexis? He lost his passport, so how did he fly from New York to D.C.?
Martha, for once with great timing, leaves Castle and Beckett alone after all are assured he will make a full recovery. “I’m so sorry, Castle,” Beckett says in a strained voice – harkening back to her pleas for forgiveness in the season four finale.
The end scene with Castle and Beckett is where the episode gets interesting. So many shows use a near death or tragedy to have couples take two steps back in their relationship. But not Castle and Beckett, they move forward. They both address their relationship will take work, but sometimes the hardest things in life are worth doing.
Lest we forget the closing scene with Beckett and McCord, first addressing Beckett’s shock that Reed will not pay for his actions. Beckett is black and white when it comes to justice to hear McCord state that this is just how things go in D.C. sometimes really took Beckett aback.
Beckett also thanks McCord for backing her up even if she didn’t know Beckett’s play. “That’s what partner’s do,” McCord says to her.
“That’s what partner’s do,” Beckett whispers to herself as she looks to the swinging doors leading back to Castle. The doors are a perfect metaphor for her life – doors swinging back and forth between two lives. And as she stares at them she is discovering how much she wants the doors to swing back to Castle and the life she used to know.