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Castle - PhDead - Review: "S*cks to be you, Rick"

It really does suck to be you, Rick. Your wife left you without telling you why, she stepped out, and you’re still the one trying to win her back. You’ve done enough of that already, no? Let her do the chasing for a bit. I was going into this episode with one question in mind: “How were they going to salvage the ending of last week’s episode?” when Kate decided her new obsession was worth blowing up her marriage, and she packed her bags leaving Castle to wonder what had gone wrong. I was going into this episode with one foot hovering over the brake pedal, but my initial reticence and annoyance somewhat subsided over the course of the 40 minute episode.

Don’t get me wrong, some things still annoy me, like everyone seemingly understanding Beckett’s need for space, and rooting for her, and Kate, in general, but overall, I think the writers made this episode work, and the storyline work. Am I wearing pink glasses or was “PhDead” a pretty good episode? It wasn’t too drama heavy, and there were many cute and funny moments. The eighth season, or at least the first part of it, seems to be going to split its time between NYPD/PI business, and the CIA bad guy hunt. One part of the storyline I love, but, for now at least, I can’t get behind Kate’s new obsession and the character I used to deeply care for is starting to annoy the hell out of me.

“If this takes any longer, than Castle’s going to find out what we’re doing. And if he does, he’s going to step in, and he’s going to put himself in danger.” - Beckett

We got to witness the inner turmoil that haunts her, her hesitation in going head on, but seeing her struggles only urges me to need a better explanation as to why she can’t let go than she simply wasn’t built that way. Throughout the episode, Beckett kept battling with the urge to back down, given ample opportunities to do so, and at every turn, I kept screaming, “Do it! Just do it!” Yes, you can hear this in the voice of Shia Leboeuf. Ultimately, she doesn’t back down, and I hope at one point in the foreseeable future I can get behind her in her quest for justice, and root for her.

What I love about Beckett’s storyline was that Kate understands the urgency, understands that the longer she takes the more time Castle has to discover what is going on, and he’s going to. She understands that walking out on her marriage would have been for nothing if he discovers what she’s up to, that if she doesn’t take care of it soon, she won’t be protecting him, but putting him in the line of fire. With that in mind, the storyline is evolving at a pretty quick pace, and I’m confident it won’t drag on for another 8 seasons, if the show can survive this long. Beckett gets a lead, from the man that keeps on giving, Micheal Smith. If we had to give the new showrunners only one thing, it’s that they’re really good with continuity. We’ve got to see more links in the past three episodes than in the past few seasons combined. They’re not leaving storylines untouched for episodes at a time as though it didn’t affect the characters, like forgetting about an 8 week disappearance for half a season.

The man came out of the shadows, came back from the dead to help out Beckett, but doesn’t want to get involved. Smith gives her a lead, and her first step in her mission, is to pick up the Vulkin’s “Drug Stamp” and follow its trail. The narcotic’s aspect of this leads makes me confident Detective Slaughter will make his comeback.

“I didn’t Houdini. I was Houdini-ed.” – Castle

In this week’s episode, Castle gets relationship advice from a robot companion, I have no idea what the hell that was?, and decides that the way back to his wife’s heart is through his detective skills. He convinced himself that solving a few cases together is going to be enough to show her that they’re magic together. I thought Castle not being angry with Beckett, was going to make me angry, but it surprisingly doesn’t. Is that weird? Everyone seems to be good with Beckett needing some space. Lanie, Ryan and Esposito. I think it kind of works, how they set it up, how they put everything into perspective, from the secondary character’s point of view and downplayed the fact that they’re “on a break.” Their split only indicating that they’ve just hit a rough patch.

As for Castle, I kind of understand why he’s not angry, yet, but when he finds on why she walked out on him, I hope he reacts differently, and so does everyone else. One thing I hate, though, is that they keep bringing up Caslte’s disappearance, like it’s a get out of jail free card for Beckett. It’s not.

“PhDead” is back with the normal set up of Castle, with Fall’s TV Season’s first Halloween Episode, in the beginning of October. Is Halloween really a one month event in the States? Am I in the wrong country? The PI, on a quest to win his wife back, weasels his way into the investigation, not unlike in the baby seasons of the crime drama. The murder of a college student in a prison jumpsuit, punctured by a tree branch in the park brings Castle to guest professor at Hudson U, to Beckett’s annoyance. The bow-tie pulling captain was a poor substitute to the ear pulling detective, but I still felt the nostalgia. With his secret weapon, a blond, and hot, Alexis, he gets to incorporate the student lifestyle for a while, with classes, parties, and of course Beer Pong and hangovers.

“Ew!” -Synchronised Alexis and Castle

After their 23 Jump Street experiment failed, and after being told by their Captain, who weirdly enough, happens to be on the field quite a lot, Ryan and Esposito unofficially team up with Castle and Alexis. I absolutely adore all the father/daughter investigation, and the bigger role they gave her this season. Her character was just getting lost in the background of Caskett for the past two seasons, becoming smaller and smaller. It was either go big or have her move on, and I’m happy with their choice to incorporate her into the main storyline. Their back and forth is hilarious, and they balance each other really well, in the same way Kate and Castle do, without the relationship drama, and with a very different, equally enjoyable, dynamic.

The pair also deeply cares for each other, and that part of their amazing father daughter relationship is put to the front in the beginning of the episode with Alexis’ “Castle Depression Rescue Kit.” How freakin’ adorable was that? Plus, puppies at your doorstep in 20 minutes or less. Please tell me this is a real thing! My favorite Little and Big Castle Moment, though, had to be their synchronised “Ew!” when Frankenstein’s Monster, hinted they could hook up. They’re simply delightful to watch.

“You’re indoors, it’s dark. Just take off the sunglasses, you look stupid.” -Castle

The non-gun carrying Castle and his red-headed daughter, walk into a remake of the Stanford Prison Experiment, where the victim had escaped from the night he was murdered, a psychological experiment funded by the US Army. With daily interrogations and psychological torture, the experiment messes with the prisoners’, students in the need of money who volunteered, heads. After being locked inside one of the prison cells, with no cellphone reception, by Castle’s doings, Beckett and Castle, together, figure out that the person who killed their victim came back to their cell. The way Castle boosted her up made me reminisce “Demons” without the “I said legs, Castle.”

When the murderer pleaded it wasn’t of her doing, that she had become another person, I had flashbacks to “Das Experiment” a movie that traumatized me when I was 10. (But it’s a great movie! If you haven’t watched it, and you’re not 10, watch it.)

Ultimately, I thought this episode was pretty good. It wasn’t amazing, but it had the “Castle” feel and enough fun moments to make up for the unnecessary drama in my opinion. Maybe, I'm choosing to let them off easy, but I don't really care, at the end of the day, I enjoyed the episode.

On the upside, cigar-blowing-bubbles and 50 year old Scotch is, in fact, is an awesome way to finish a tiresome day.

Sorry for the lateness of this review, but fellow university students should understand my dispair. Midterms, yeah?