in Television

‘Castle’ Season 8 Premiere Recap: “XY”

castle season 8 premiere

Castle returned for its eighth season with a few changes and shake ups for the aging series. There are new showrunners in Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter as well a new captain. Yes, Kate Beckett’s (Stana Katic) career path, which she struggled with at the end of season seven, has led her to lead the 12th precinct.

Former Captain Victoria Gates has moved to One Police Plaza as Deputy Chief and Kate has slid into the role as Captain.

This role change has shaken up the Beckett and Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) dynamic as well. With her taking on a more administrative role, they have decided he won’t be coming to the precinct with her.

When Beckett laments she wished Castle was going with her, on her first day as Captain, he tells her what would he do just come and fetch her coffee – adding the endearment “sweetie” which is truly the first time Castle has used a “pet name” for Beckett.

Castle also has a little congratulatory gift for Beckett on her first day as Captain – a diamond encrusted bracelet, with their word “always” engraved inside. It is a beautiful gift but later I saw it for what it is – a gimmick gift that will serve as the catalyst for the “where is Beckett?” storyline.

As for Castle, he has moved back to his Castle, PI storyline – which is ridiculous. Richard Castle is a writer, who started following around Kate Beckett using her as his muse for his Nikki Heat books. This storyline of him opening and maintaining a private investigation business is just ridiculous.

What makes this PI storyline being revisited even worse is adding Castle’s daughter, Alexis, into the mix. She comes over to help redecorate the PI office and starts taking on cases. I’m sorry, but didn’t they make a huge deal about Castle taking an online course to get his PI license? I guess Alexis is so smart that she doesn’t need a license. It is another instance where the writers are trying to shoehorn Molly Quinn, who plays Alexis, in o the series when her character should have been shipped off to Europe to finish off her education.

Oh, but the story thickens when Castle finds out that Beckett is missing when he takes a call to help Esposito and Ryan at a murder scene. There, he finds Beckett’s bracelet, the one he just gave her, at the scene. He also finds out she did not have a meeting at One Police Plaza that morning, though she told him she did. Could the mysterious phone call she received, stating it was a telemarketer, have something to do with her disappearance?

And I am sorry, but didn’t the audience just go through this “Beckett is missing” storyline?

In the course of trying to find Beckett, Castle, Esposito, and Ryan happen upon Hayley Shipton, whom the audience knows is the new character addition for season eight. I really can’t stand her know-it-all attitude.

To make it worse, Shipton bonds with Alexis when later Shipton shows up at Castle’s PI office after he pleads with Shipton to help find Beckett, when Castle believes he might know something. This is when Shipton tutors Alexis to use her feminine wiles to get information out of men. That is just an “ew” moment.

When Castle states Shipton might be able to help find Beckett, this time Alexis expresses concern for her missing stepmother.

In another “ew” moment with Alexis, she uses her feminine manipulation to talk an ambulance driver into looking at his security camera. It was discovered Beckett might have been in the area. This is where Alexis sees Beckett break into the ambulance, supposedly for insulin when they find out her companion, the FBI analyst, is diabetic.

Through the course of the search for Beckett, Castle finds some disturbing news:

  1. Beckett was not kidnapped, she is on the run and is also working with a low-level analyst who was working in the same federal task force she used to work at – though they weren’t working there at the same time.
  2. Numerous members of the group Beckett worked with in Washington have been killed, including Rachel McCord – whom Beckett worked with in her FBI stint in season six.
  3. Beckett was shot while running for her life and sewed up her own wound.
  4. Castle goes to see Bracken in prison after discovering Beckett paid him a visit. Bracken puts a seed of doubt in Castle, saying did he really believe she would be happy being Castle’s visit.

Castle gets kidnapped himself near the end of the episode and is tortured by a man and a woman. The audience met the woman at the start of the episode when she killed a man, who turned out to be one of the men Beckett worked with in DC, as she stabbed him to death in a club.

Anyone who fears spiders probably cringed when the man began torturing Castle and then started placing spiders on his face asking him where Beckett was.

As the torture continued, Castle managed to break free of his bonds and started to fight his way out. Gunshots ring out and the man Castle is fighting with is shot. Running for his life, Castle holds up in a barricade of pallets and is shocked to see his wife, Kate Beckett, coming toward him. She tells him she is sorry and she loves him and then leaves.

The woman who was torturing Castle is apprehended as Esposito and Ryan burst in just as Beckett leaves. The woman escapes custody as she is being led down holding and starts a shootout. She is killed in the process.

When Castle laments that Beckett lied to him and is leaving him out of the loop of what is going on with her, seemingly hurt, I have to give a small prop to Alexis. She states that Beckett had her reasons and she has a way different skill-set to handle these things – as opposed to Castle whom she reminds is just a writer.

The episode ends with another team assembling, hell-bent on finding and killing Kate Beckett. As they regroup outside a building, the camera pans to Beckett looking out the window.

The conclusion of the episode two-parter, next week, is from Kate Beckett’s point-of-view.

Bonus: Richard Castle telling Hayley Shipton he loves Kate Beckett like a house on fire.

Observation: I am not sold on this new dynamic: Beckett as Captain, Ryan and Esposito contemplating their future, Castle back to the PI business, this Shipton character is a waste of airtime, and I’m totally against Alexis playing PI.

I will leave with this – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”