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Murderboard: An Author's Perspective on Castle - Episode 4.07


One of the best episodes of the series. Tense, dramatic and brilliantly acted.

• The opening sequence: Castle and Beckett chatting on the phone, as the robbers enter the bank one by one. A kinetic and efficient way to jump right into the story.
• The tension inside and outside the bank: flashing lights, SWAT team, etc.
• Beckett dealing with the hostage situation: powering through it - and powerless at the same time. You can feel that dichotomy throughout most of the episode. Really well done.
• Castle and Martha: "I love you mother" / "Right back at you kiddo". Touching mother-and-son moment.
• The blast and the rescue scenes. More on that later.
• Beckett looking tenderly at the Castle family hug. Nice beat.

• Castle looking embarrassed and bored while Martha talks to their banker.
• "You are nothing but a well-dressed loan-shark" - Martha to the banker.
• Esposito et Ryan about to break into the old lady's apartment: "Help! Police!". -- The way Jon Huertas delivers that line is just plain hilarious.
• "Castle Junior" and "Super Cop". Great comic relief... inches away from the decomposing body of an elderly woman. Not something every show can pull off!

 Close-up of Beckett's hands as she awaits for news in the SWAT van -- One simple frame that says so much... and happens to be beautifully shot (texture, blue light and slightly out of focus background).
• The blast. -- The decision to show Beckett's reaction, before the blast itself, was both inspired and gripping. The timing (sudden, without any "build up"). Beckett freezing. Stana Katic's face. Lots of great choices there. -- The sound of the explosion and the "blast wave" effect were also extremely realistic (see author's notes).
• The blast site. -- Very X-Filish with the smoke, the flashlights, the SWAT team and Beckett filmed as back-lit silhouettes. 
• The two "family" scenes at the end: in the precinct and at Castle's loft. Warm tones and atmosphere, in stark contrast with the steel blue of the bank robbery scenes.

• "I don't look. I hunt". Brilliant line and brilliant delivery from Stana Katic - with just enough conviction and emphasis, without being over the top. Totally sells and sets Beckett's frame of mind for the rest of the episode. Wow. 
 "If you pull that trigger, I will walk through those doors and personally put a bullet through your skull." - See above! Again, amazing line delivery. Also really liked the hostage negotiator's reaction right after it: "Well, that's one way to negotiate..." Makes that character so much more than a simple by-the-book-SWAT-guy.

 Stana Katic's acting. She totally owns that episode with several outstanding moments:
1) Beckett freaking out when asked to talk to the hostage takers. For me, one of the main strengths of Beckett, as a character, has always been that blend of sheer determination and underlying vulnerability, and it's brilliantly portrayed in this episode. 
2) Bada** Beckett threatening the bank robber over the phone, sarcastic with the hostage negotiator, ready to risk her own life... Fierce in order to protect others. Powerful. 
3) Beckett freezing when she hears the blast. Again, so much said without a single word.
4) Beckett's voice - broken, desperate - as she screams "Castle" while searching the blast scene, and her physicality as she moves through the smoke-filled space. Very convincing.
5) Beckett's smile and the way she touches Castle's shirt in the vault.
• The sweet subplot between Martha and the bank manager. I always love seeing 'older' actors on TV (like Walter and Nina in Fringe) and do love Susan Sullivan's work on the show. Once more, her presence illustrates how much more interesting TV would be if more actors from her generation were cast in meaty roles.

Lots of great moments and progression in this episode:
• The relaxed banter over the phone at the start.
• The looks they exchange when Beckett is posing as a paramedic.
• Beckett's sheer relief when she finds Castle in the vault: one of the very few times you see her fully opening up. -- Literally: "a smile is worth a thousand words".
• The last scene. I know some people wanted more (a hug, "the talk"), but I actually enjoyed the family setting and the interaction between the characters. Just enough, not too much. Again, for me: "less is (often) more"!

..NOT SO SURE.....
• "Tell me you need me" -- Loved the exchange but could have done without the soapy music. Stana Katic totally nailed Beckett's reaction - voice, facial expressions, body language. The music felt like added subtitles, just in case we didn't get the subtext. Not needed. 
• The Morse Code: felt a bit contrived and easy (even though, I know, somehow necessary plot-wise).
• Beckett squeezing Castle's hand after entering the bank as a paramedic. Really liked the gesture, and the whispered speech, but thought too much was at stake at that very moment for Beckett to risk her cover being blown - unlike later on, when her focus is entirely on Castle in the vault: worked really well since the danger had passed.
• Alexis and her boyfriend. Not sure them breaking up should have been in this episode. Thought Alexis screen-time could have been better spent dealing with the trauma of that day: fear for her family, anger towards Beckett, etc.

..TOP 3..
If I had to choose...
#01: "I don't look. I hunt." -- The line itself, and the way it was delivered.
#02: The blast / Beckett's reaction to it.
#03: Beckett's smile when she finds Castle in the vault. So many emotions conveyed by Stana Katic there. Great.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments below!

CAROLINE is the author of a series of thrillers set in Vancouver [ www.seriecsu.com ]. She also writes for a TV magazine: articles, interviews and BTS reports. She currently enjoys CASTLE, FRINGE & THE KILLING.
Author's notes - I started watching Castle for two main reasons: Beckett was in many ways like the main character I had created for my series (a strong, guarded and caring female cop, dealing with a traumatic past... who also happened to be called Kate); Castle was a writer with an overactive imagination (something I could personally relate to!). Over the course of the seasons, I have liked some episodes way more than others, but the show has never failed to deliver some special moments for me - touching, moving, funny... -- The aim of this blog is to share some of my thoughts on the show, via a series of reviews and features. On a more personal note: I live in Belfast (Northern Ireland) where I have witnessed acts of violence such as shootings and explosions - something that has shaped me as a person and as an author. My comments on certain aspects of the show (like the blast in "Cops & Robbers" or Kate's PTSD) do stem from personal experience. 
@murderboard on twitter

 Other posts:
Episode 4.09: "Kill Shot" / BEST OF  
• Episode 4.07: "Cops & Robbers" / BEST OF  
Episode 4.01: "Rise" / BEST OF 

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