As in many of the “intense” Castle episodes like “Knockdown” this year and the two-parter last season the entire show changes tone for these occasions. It’s not enough to bring in a high-stakes storyline if the rest of the production doesn’t match, as always Castle brings it all to the table.
From the beginning the show through us into the action with no context – fantastic way to setup (pun not intended) the rest of the episode. So much of this two-parter “Set Up “and “Countdown” is about terrifying uncertainty.
It’s amazing how quickly the squad room on Castle shifts from quippy teasing, to dead serious, the characters all truly care about each other, J – you captured the atmosphere in the room when going over the plan beautifully describing the looks shared between the team as they worried about their loved ones. This scene is a reminder that while the much of the time is spent solving murder and squad rooms Castle is not a police procedural , this is a drama which is primarily about the characters, the setting is secondary (though still incredibly important and awesome).
J – you discuss the amazing scene between Castle and Alexis, their relationship has been so well developed on this show. I can’t help but reiterate how touching their wordless exchange was as Castle sent his daughter off to the Serenity spa with her grandmother. It was nicely contrasted with another similar but far more upbeat exchange where Alexis silently begs her father to get her out of the crazy spa weekend earlier in the episode.
It’s no secret that I’m a total Firefly fangirl. There were several aspects of this episode aside from the Serenity reference that really reminded me of the show, specifically “Out of Gas”. The flashback sequence was beautifully done, and it was distinguished by colour (as well as text) as being out of time with the rest of the episode. The long hallways in the storage unit and the hazmat tent and even the inside of the freezer unit at the end of the episode felt reminiscent of something out of Firefly. Whether you saw the connection or not, the colouring in those scenes worked very well to communicate the feeling in the scenes.
Speaking of scenery and set design, the lighting in the hazmat tent during the tense conversation between Beckett and Castle was perfect, the beautiful dark silhouettes of their figures against the chilling blue background all alone in that hollow space was almost haunting. Facing such uncertainty after being exposed to what appeared to be dangerous levels of radiation and having such a personal conversation was beautifully set, it was also heartbreaking that even in that situation the pair couldn’t manage to finally admit their feelings to each other…well they may have if that hazmat guy hadn’t had such terrible timing interrupting the pair. [H felt it was important to note that if exposed to such dangerous levels of radiation they would have been rushed off to hospital, we decided to let that slide because it gave us such a great scene].
J, as for the actual conversation in the tent I did find it touching that Castle finally called Dr. Motorcycle Boy by his first name, Josh. I understand that Beckett just wants something to go her way, and that’s why she wanted so much for this relationship to work, I’m sure Dr. Motorcycle Boy is really a stand up guy not to mention he’s easy on the eyes. Castle’s face spoke volumes as she seemed to almost be reaching out to him while also pulling away. Fillion brilliantly pulled off the combination of grief that his love was expressing deep feelings for another man, probably a sense of relief that it wasn’t working out, and a desire to tell her how he feels but knowing this isn’t the right time but possibly the only time. Stana was of course (and as always) incredible staring into Castle’s and speaking about another man, I can’t help but think that the comments about having one foot in and one foot out the door also applied to the current state of their relationship.
Adrian Pasdar was brilliantly cast as Agent Fallon, I really loved him on Heroes (though mostly season one when the show was at its best) he plays the straight laced man in charge so well, he has the ability to seem absolutely terrifying without coming off as an over the top bad guy.
There was one thing that was nagging me through the entire episode, what is up with Ryan and Esposito. The pair are often joined at the hip hardly communicate throughout this episode. While they do share scenes they only share one exchange when Esposito asks Ryan “Could you be a terrorist without Jenny knowing?” – Ryan doesn’t even respond, the two don’t even look at each other. I may be reading too much into this, maybe they just couldn’t spare the screen time. I just love the pair together and found it odd. For example when Beckett excuses herself to take a call after interrogating the chop shop guy, Esposito and Castle are talking together, Esposito takes off and walks right by Ryan without so much as a glance. Ryan’s body language speaks volumes as he jumps out of the way and approaches Castle almost speechless figuring out what to say as if confused by the encounter with Esposito before getting to the point about the case.
Other Notes & Quotes:
“Ark of the Covenant Dr. Jones” When I was watching this episode for the first time with H we were both in immediate agreement that Indiana Jones should be remade with Fillion in the title role.
Beckett and Castle seem to get kicked off all the best cases, it does make for an adorable at-home squad room and murder board.
Hey hazmat guy, way to spoil a moment, you couldn’t have waited until she finished her sentence?
Did you just call him baby? –Oh Lanie, we love you.
Such an intense episode broken up by a Firefly reference by Martha, almost makes me want to join her
on at Serenity!
I loved the exchange between Ryan and Castle about cracking the code followed by an off-screen call from Beckett “Castle” and watching Fillion’s ears perk up shouting “Coming” as he hurried off.
I loved watching Beckett & Castle go it alone and locate the bomb; too bad they lacked the back-up. We’ve spent the week imagining Beckett and Castle snuggling to survive, and scenarios in which the pair escape. Now that was a cliffhanger!
Only a few more hours to “Countdown”!