This Castle episode almost felt like a spin-off attempt. Famous mystery writer teams up with crusading daughter to fight crime and right wrongs. But wait! Take away the daughter part and add NYPD detective Kate Beckett, and isn’t that what Castle is all about anyway?
I get what the Castle writers were trying to do with the episode “Like Father, Like Daughter.” They were using this seemingly hopeless case, a man sentenced to die in less than 72 hours for murdering a young woman that lived across the street from him 15 years before, as a bonding session for Castle and Alexis.
Alexis Castle is kind of following in her father’s footsteps working with an initiative helping individuals who are claiming to be innocent get their fair shake in the legal system. But this time, Alexis and the professor she is assisting have come up against an impenetrable wall and the man, Frank, seems guilty and is set to be executed.
This sets the stage for Alexis, who hasn’t talked to her father for weeks, to come and ask for his help. A parent will do anything for his or her child, and we know Castle goes above and beyond for his only child. I really wish they didn’t paint Castle as a placating whipping boy and would have him stand up to his know-it-all daughter.
As it is, when Alexis comes a-calling Castle goes wagging his tail like an abandoned puppy.
There was only one endearing Castle and Beckett scene, with them together on screen, and that came in the beginning. Castle tests the water with Beckett about getting married in space. She squashes that idea claiming yes she dreamed as a young girl of strapping a jet pack to her ass and getting married in a flight suit. It was a sarcastic admission.
Beckett questions Castle asking if he even wants to go look at wedding venues over the weekend and he admits he doesn’t. She comes back with too bad, he is going. I really liked that line from Beckett. It wasn’t a whiny Bridezilla comment or even an ultimatum – it was just two people who are partners in every sense bickering over everyday tasks like a place to get married. It was nice.
Unfortunately, besides a couple of conversations on the phone, that was the only interaction Castle and Beckett had. As has been the norm for the last couple of seasons, the Castle writers, and creator, deem it necessary to focus on a secondary character every second or third episode – this time it is Alexis.
Actually this is the third episode in a row Alexis has either been the “B” story or like this one the “A” story. I am just hoping this arch is complete and Alexis has gotten over her poutiness for Castle not telling her himself after his engagement to Beckett, and we can move on from her. I feel, however, the viewers will not be that lucky.
In regards to Castle and Alexis’ road trip, Castle spends the whole episode redeeming himself in Alexis’ eyes. For what, besides finding true happiness with his soul-mate, I don’t know. But he does.
During the course of this, the audience sees just how good Castle is at putting the story together and finding out when a puzzle piece of the story doesn’t fit.
It was nice to see the almost always confident – on the outside at least – Castle doubt himself when he is talking to Beckett on the phone. That was a true growth moment in the Castle and Beckett relationship – just how easily both can show their fears to each other. And Beckett was amazing, soothing him and telling him to just do his best, because she knows he is great, and he will figure it out if he can.
Solving a 15-year-old cold case murder was quite a challenge for Castle. Alexis also proved she might have the chops to be a detective like Beckett, or even a prosecuting attorney, as she held her own with her mystery writing, crime-solving father.
Beckett got some extra screen time when she questioned the supposed killer’s brother and his story about the night’s events had more holes then a slice of Swiss cheese. It even seemed like Frank Henson believed his brother, John, murdered the young girl too and was going to take the fall for his brother, but wait – not so fast.
Following the clues, it came down to the astute eye of Castle – as it should. The murderer, which turned out to be a student the murder victim tutored turned policeman, was the culprit. Caught after Castle spied a charm, in crime scene photos, that didn’t belong to the victim’s charm bracelet. But it was hanging around the neck of the real murderer in a swim meet photo from high school.
Alexis dragged in almost all the 12th precinct to initially help her with the case. She asked Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito help her, she got her dad involved and Castle brought in Beckett. Later, Beckett brought in Lanie to help get some evidence analyzed, but Alexis didn’t once ask for Beckett’s help.
That is what troubled Beckett and she even voiced her concern to Lanie – here she and Castle were set to build a family but how does she fit into the family Castle already has?
The Castle writers really missed a huge chance to flip this from typical blending of family fodder and make it more interesting. In season three, when Castle was dating his ex-wife Gina again, Gina stated Castle never really let her into Alexis’ life. I think it would have been interesting to see Alexis really bond with Beckett, and this time have Castle look around and wonder where he fits in – with Alexis growing to a young woman and needing a woman’s advice.
Think about it, Alexis is 19 – the same age Beckett was when she her mother was murdered. Beckett’s 20’s were spent without a mother, and the way Alexis’ mother is, she basically is too. Now, the two women truly bonding would have been a nice twist.
In the end, however, the audience kind of gets cheated. Alexis states she and Castle need to head home, when Frank Henson is exonerated, because she has someone else to thank for their help in the case – Beckett. The end scene shows Beckett and Alexis talking with Castle looking on, but no dialogue. Then, the two women hug and the camera pans on Castle who smiles.
I am sure Castle is glad the two most important women in his life have hashed out some of the drama. As an audience, I am sure we are too. Can we move on now and focus on Castle and Beckett instead of a spoiled little rich girl who isn’t getting Daddy’s full attention anymore?