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Castle – Reckoning – Review:“And The Player Gets Played.”

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The 3XK saga continues in this week’s “Reckoning,” as Castle gets a glimpse of the ordeal Beckett went through during the two months he went missing. In an episode that has to be one of the most beautifully crafted episodes of the series, Castle explores the lengths he is willing to take in order to protect the people he loves, while the darker sides of his personality are unleashed.

Tyson had the perfect escape plane, the perfect vanishing act, but Castle came along and ruined it. For the years following the event, the motel showdown, Jerry Tyson made sure the gang at the 12th precinct recognized he was smarter than them, smarter than Castle. It was never about Beckett for Tyson, (Neiman’s another story, though!) it was about Castle, always was about Castle.

“Where is she?” -Castle

Richard Castle is quirky; he’s funny and loveable, and that’s what we’ve seen of him for most of the past seven seasons. But not in “Hunt,” and not in “Reckoning,” not when the people he loves are in danger. Richard Castle will do anything and everything for the people he loves. The angst, the darkness and the urgency of this race against the watch was balanced out by the love story behind every action, every tremor, every tear. In one of the darker moments we’ve seen of Castle, he goes after Tyson, he’s merciless and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get his wife back, even killing. The possibility of losing her consumed him, and Nathan Fillion’s portrayal of a vengeful Castle, with nothing to lose, was done beautifully.

In “Resurrection” the triple killer proved he was still ahead of them, could still play them like mice in a maze. They had Beckett captured, while showing off their perfect alibis. The trend continued in “Reckoning,” as Kelly Neiman and Jerry Tyson continue to toy with the NYPD, with Castle, letting him believe, making him hope. As a proof they’d been preparing for months, they doctored a telephone call from Beckett, a mash-up of pieces of interviews and conversations, sending the team on a wild goose chase in New York City.

Then, to further prove his superiority, to prove he can get to him whenever he pleases, Tyson calls Castle's cellphone from his own home line, making Castle fear for Alexis and Martha’s safety, and sending them to Europe. Side note: Alexis’ “Dad? What the hell?” really made me chuckle. Maybe this line was purposefully placed in there as to relieve a bit of the tension building up inside our chests, and it definitely worked. (For me!)

“When I first got here, I couldn’t figure out what Beckett saw in you, but you know what she said? He sees the story. I see the evidence, where it leads, but, he sees the story. That man got inside your head and you let him. You want to help her; you got to get inside his. What’s his story? What’s his next move going to be? Now you figure this out, we’ll find her.” – Gates

All the secondary characters seemed perfectly utilised in this episode of Castle, whether it be Esposito, Ryan or Tori, but it was Captain Gates that shone for me. She’s been mostly absent in last few episodes, but in “Reckoning” she was the hope, the shoulder Castle leaned on without even realising it. She’s the one that managed to keep her wits. She pushed him in the right direction, reminded him of what’s important, of what he’s good at. I can hardly remember the time, way back when, in season 4, where Gates openly despised the writer. The animosity was all but gone in this episode, as she brought him a coffee, in booking.

Ryan and Castle also had a nice heart to heart. In "Castle", the characters use their last names when referring to one another so much, it makes powerful when they decide to use their first names. Ryan feels guilty, as much guilt as Castle for letting 3XK slip through their fingers that faithful night in the motel. Apologizing for not reacting quicker, but Castle lets him know it’s not his fault, it’s not Castle’s fault’s, it’s nobody’s fault, except for Tyson’s, and it was about letting Ryan off the hook as much as it was Castle letting himself off the hook.

In the most heart-breaking scene of the episode, moments after finally letting himself off the hook for letting Tyson get away the first time, Castle, along with Ryan and Esposito watch as Beckett gets shot and killed. They’re too late, Beckett is dead, and even though I knew they wouldn’t kill off their female lead, my heart was beating out my chest, because it's what they thought to be true. My eyes were watering, through Nathan Fillion’s solid performance. I could definitely feel the pain as he apologised to Kate, the clench in my heart. Though the acting, in this scene, as well as the rest of the episode, does take the center stage, what truly make the scene impeccable was the musical score and the camera angles and cuts, glimpses and of heart broken Ryan and Esposito.

“You know the part I like best? The pain in your eyes, the suffering and all that fear now I have her.” –Tyson

It’s not her, it’s not Beckett. Tyson only wanted to watch Castle loose the love of his life. He finds a pleasure in watching him suffer. With that, Castle knows that Beckett is still alive, that she’ll stay alive until Tyson is done with him, and that gives him a new piece of the Jerry Tyson puzzle.

The award for the Most Satisfying Moment of the episode has to be Castle revealing, in a jaw-dropping moment, he was the one who had played Tyson, that he was the one who had him to where he wanted him to be. With the NYPD chasing their tails trying to catch Tyson, Castle going at it alone was the predictable thing to do. Just like Tyson, I had assumed he’d been played, because of his pain, his inability to see anything but the possibility of saving Beckett. I assumed he had once again played in Tyson’s game. I was caught completely off guard, when Castle explained that Ryan and Esposito were in on it, that he wasn’t alone, that he wasn’t predictable. Once again, the musical score accompanying the flashbacks was exquisite, enhancing the climax of the shocking revelation. I like to think that he didn’t go about it alone, because he wasn’t alone in this, wasn't alone to suffer the kidnapping of Beckett. Ryan and Esposito are hurting too, not in the same capacity as Castle, but they’re partners, they’re friends, and they love each other.

“The truth is, I lured you here, so I could watch, you die. Are we clear?” –Castle

"Reckoning" proved the end of Jerry Tyson, really the end. I was somehow expecting the last seconds of the episodes being Tyson opening his eyes, he’s just unkillable, omnipotent, but it was his insatiable God Complex that brought him down. You just don’t come back from a sniper shot, you just don’t, not even him, who survived being shot and falling off a bridge in a river. Tyson made for a great villain during these years, a creepy psychopath and he will be missed. Does his death give place to the new evil in Castle’s life the one they mentioned in passing at the end of this episode, the people responsible for his disappearance? Let’s hope!

The episode definitely focused more on the relationship between Tyson and Castle, but while Castle dealt with his psychopath, Beckett dealt with hers. Dr. Neiman showed a creepy interest in Beckett and her features, a fascination with her face. The unhealthy obsession was only emphasized in this week’s episode, as her use for Beckett was revealed.

With all the media and police attention, Kelly Neiman will be in need of new face, and what better face than the one of the woman she admires so. I was wondering last week, if it was possible for the character to get even creepier, and turns out it does. She wants to look like Beckett, but looking like her isn’t enough. She wants her face, and by her face, she means: her face. Although I am pretty sure that it isn’t how it works, how plastic surgery works, that you can’t really cut someone’s face and paste it on top of yours so that you’d look like them, the scene was all sorts of disturbing. Watching the doctor virtually cut Beckett’s skin, to reveal the muscles and tendons underneath, and watching Beckett as she watched helplessly, tied to the table, made the hair on my arms stick up. I can't praise Annie Wersching's portrayal of Kelly Neiman enough.

"Reckoning" proved the end of not one, but two psychopaths. Kill together, die together. Neiman realises something is wrong when Tyson doesn’t call her back and decides it's the end for Beckett. But, even tied up Beckett is still kind of badass, and she managed to get herself free, slaying her captor with only a scalpel as weapon. When they find her, Neiman is dead, in a pool of her own blood, with Beckett, towering over her.

The first time I watched the episode I felt the episode ended a little too abrubptly for my liking, but the second time I watched it, I found the ending to be pure perfection, blissfull happiness, contrasting after an emotionally straining episode. Castle gets unbanned from the precinct, sentenced to 1000 hours of community service shadowing Beckett, and the P.I. venture was fun while it lasted, but seems over, for now. The emotion emating from the round of hugs, to Gates, to Beckett, was pure, raw happiness, and makes me smile just thinking about it. I don’t’t know if that easy, simple moment wasn’t my favorite moment of the episode.

“Mr. Castle, welcome back.”

“Reckoning” was an episode that had it all, tension, angst, suspense, romance, bromance, surprise, and happiness. It’s one of these episodes that will surely become one of my all time favorites. Even though I've already watched it three times, I will undoubtedly, soon be coming back for more. How about you guys?

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