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Castle - The Last Seduction - Review: "Happy Anniversary?"

This week’s anniversary episode found itself focusing a lot more on Ryan and Esposito’s relationship than on Castle and Beckett’s, and the weird thing about it, is how fine I was with it. “The Last Seduction” was an okay episode. It had its share of funny moments, a couple of cute moments, but not much more than that. I was honestly expecting something more… satisfying. Maybe I simply had my expectations a tad too high for that one.

The fact that I can’t get behind Castle and Beckett’s relationship, no matter how cute and understanding Castle is and no matter how straight forward about her intentions Beckett is, did nothing to help with my appreciation of this week’s episode. The writers and actors tried to make it work, they really did, but somehow I still felt it fell flat of what it could have been.

“From what I am seeing, I’m sorry but I am going to recommend that the two of you split up as partners.” -Therapist

Ordered to therapy by Captain Beckett at the end of “The Nose,” Ryan and Esposito have had little progress since, and are still at odds and battling it, in this week’s session. Ryan is hurt and jealous that Esposito passed the Sergeant’s exam when he didn’t, and Esposito is mad his partner was unsupportive when he told him the news and is still mad about the bullet he got in the ass. It’s a difficult shift in power in their relationship, made more difficult by Ryan’s actions, if you ask me. He’s making a slightly uncomfortable situation and magnifying by a thousand when taking absolutely everything Esposito says like a personal attack. Just chill, bro.

Jealousy between friends is a common issue, it’s a relatable one. Trust is too. Their woes were relatable, but the caricatural nature of the character interactions made it hard to get behind their fight. Their actions simply felt just a little too over the top, and I feel like by toning it down a notch it would have made their storyline a bit less ridiculous, and slightly more understandable. I’m still Team Esposito, though. Ryan was acting like an annoying baby. Anyone else?

Their spatter in therapy leads the therapist to the conclusion that it’s time for them to switch partners, but at the time, they don’t think they’re there yet and they’re willing to try something else. There was still hope for them; they were not ready to give up so the therapist gives them one last idea. Ryan and Esposito need to find themselves a buffer at work. When Castle shows up needing their help with his anniversary surprise and they instantly stop fighting, the partners mandate Castle for the job. It wasn’t really about Castle, as much as they weren’t talking about work, but whatever.

The murder of the episode was of an unemployed actor, stabbed 9 times with a kitchen knife, who seduced married woman, had sex with them, and kept proof of it. If the case seemed familiar, like it did with me, it’s because they already solved one fairly similar in “Nikki Heat,” only the genders were reversed. Even though Castle’s not there about the case, that he only needs the guys to gain access to Beckett’s office in order to set up his surprise, his new role as buffer gives him access to both the case, and the precinct, so he uses it.

“Castle this is very sweet, this is very you, but I don’t think that would be a good idea.” -Beckett

The guys, without much tact, keep Beckett out of her office long enough for Castle to set up. The fact that Operation Boo-ya failed only made his anniversary surprise an incredibly sweeter moment. He should now by know that Kate Beckett isn’t really an over the top person. Castle is, like always, a really thoughtful, cute and understanding person, and it doesn’t change in this week’s episode. It’s a quality I once loved about him, but which now makes me uncomfortable. It saddens me to see him work so hard, when it’s so clearly one sided. I’m not doubting Kate’s feelings for him, I’m not, but she’s not working for it, and she doesn’t deserve all his thoughtfulness right now. She should have let it go.

The first anniversary being paper, Castle asks Beckett to have dinner with him. It’s small: one balloon flying up, and Kate’s reaction was simply precious. One thing I have to give Kate Beckett is how very clear she was on her intentions, though I still think a “time in” is a little bit of a mixed signal. Let’s keep that for later, okay? She’s worried, at first, that accepting his invitation would be unfair to him, and she voices her concern. When Castle seems to understand her intentions, she accepts. She misses him, we can see that, but it’s hard to root for her as she created that whole mess. She accepts and Castle’s smile in response, light up, and just for that smile, accepting seemed worth it. He deserves it more than she does.

Yes Vikram, she knows the risks. Now shut up. Vikram annoyed me in this one, it simply his battle to fight. Mind your own business, will you? For quite some time, I was under the impression, Kate was trying to protect Rick from the people she’s chasing by cutting off her ties with him, that she was keeping her distances so they wouldn’t try to hurt him, or his family, when shit obviously hits the fan. What I got from “The Last Seduction” was quite different. She’s keeping Castle away so he won’t figure out what she’s working on. It makes sense, and it doesn’t all at the same time. Keeping him away will only give him more incentive to try to figure out what’s bothering her. How could she not see that?

Back to the case, the boys investigated the victim’s second, more luxurious apartment, and found some compromising pictures still in the printer’s memory. In order to identify the women with the dragonfly tattoo, Beckett and Hayley go undercover at a spa. The fact that Haley and Beckett went on a simile sting annoyed me more than it should. Does the 12th Precinct have so little women detectives that they would need to send their Captain and a non NYPD employed security consultant? I get that it’s a TV show, but really? That choice made very little sense to me. A towel clad chase out of the steam room later, Haley and Beckett found their suspect, who didn’t remain a suspect for very long. After the spa chase, Beckett seemed to fall back into her old detective ways, because she took point on all the interrogations therein after. Missing the job, Beckett?

“And that is the root of your problem isn’t it? She’s so focused on work she doesn’t have anything left for you.” –Lindsay Trent

The trail of clues leads them to the divorce attorney for the rich and famous and Castle becomes the main asset tin the boy’s sting. The initial plan was to keep Beckett in the dark about Castle’s involvement, so she could remain in the dark and maintain plausible deniability, but that doesn’t work and she ends up watching the live feed as her husband poses as a possible client, on their wedding anniversary, in order to get a glimpse at the lawyer’s client log. The attorney seemed to have more insight on their relationship than Beckett and Castle do. The problem though isn’t so much as her focus on work, but her unquenchable thirst for justice, and revenge over the people that were part of the plot to that had her mother killed her mother. The attorney’s words seemed to resonate with both Castle and Beckett who was watching the live feed, and I hope the words will fester in their minds long after the attorney said them.

When Castle gets made by the lawyer, it’s Alexis’ turn to jump in. It was totally unexpected, and that’s what I loved about it, it had the real “con movie vibe” to it. I loved how effortlessly she blended, and how the editing, the camera angles, and the acting of the scene made that possible. Alexis’ involvement in the episode, and the past few, decreased considerably from the first few episodes, but I love how they keep using her, just a bit in every episode, to show she’s there. It’s a huge step up from the previous seasons in respect to her character, where she’d be missing for huge chunks of time.

With the client log in hand, courtesy of the red head, everything seems to be on the right track for them. They have a lead on the case, suspects, and Castle and Beckett are going out for their anniversary dinner. But things never go so well for the couple and dinner gets postponed when things explode further between Ryan and Esposito, to a point of seemingly no return, over something pretty trivial, once again.

Beckett and Castle take them separately to talk with them and try to mend their broken relationship. Because they’re such experts at it. Kate states that a strong relationship can survive anything, and I truly believe that she believes that, but I also believe that she’s wrong, there is a point of no return in all relationships. Let’s hope she doesn’t get there. Castle’s take on relationships it that no relationship can survive secrets, or lies, and I have to wonder if he’ll see Kate’s actions as such when he’ll figure them out. We’ll have to wait and see. Their speeches do nothing to relieve the relationship of all the tension, and Ryan and Esposito state there is nothing more to do, that they need new partners. As they stated there was nothing left to do, the Caskett dramatic sound score played in the background and I can’t be the only one to have found that to be weird. Find your own sound, guys!

More evidence leads the team to the divorce attorney as their murder suspect and Ryan and Esposito, still partners, are mandated to her office to bring her in. When Lindsey learns she is under arrest, she draws her gun at Esposito. In a moment of pure altruism, Ryan jumps in front of the bullet and saves Esposito’s life, with his notepad saving his. With that moment, with that proof of true friendship, all is repaired between the two of them.

I found that to be a pretty easy fix for their relationship. The arguments they kept having don’t seem resolved at all, like how they are dealing with Esposito’s new Sergeant status, but at least they love each other again. The caption above has to be from my favorite scene of the episode. I simply loved the scene between Ryan, Esposito and Beckett. It was so full of smiles and so happy, it made me smile. Having them fighting all the time put a dent in the mood of the episode; I want them to be light and happy, just like in that scene.

With everything going well between her boys, Beckett leaves and goes to the loft with Remy’s take-Out in hand. This leads to a time out in the time out for Beckett and Castle, and once again Beckett is clear on her intentions, but is she really? What is Castle supposed to think of that? She’s going back and forth and putting myself in his shoes he must be really confused. I honestly can’t imagine what’s going on in his head. What does he think is going on? How is he justifying this?

Honestly their bedroom scene couldn’t have been cuter, and it was so them, but then again, how much sense does it make? It makes me mad that this is what they could be, full-time, or almost, and we have to see them so drama filled instead. I was hoping Castle was going to follow Slaughter’s advice and try and understand the why of Kate’s need for space. We didn’t get to see that part of Castle yet, and that’s seriously lacking. If seeing that text doesn’t make him investigate, nothing will.

Side note: I was under the impression that the resolution to their conflict was supposed to be for the winter finale, seeing the promos, I doubt it.

“Kate, I have never given up hope. Not since the day we met. And that will never change until you tell me it should.” –Castle

I was hard on all my shows this week. Some weeks are just like that. Too hard?