Casualties of War & Bad Timing – S on Castle 3×17 “Countdown”

J covered a lot of the back and forth of Castle & Beckett’s relationship in her review (here!) so I will try not to linger on that too long, and hopefully bring something new to the conversation. “Set Up” was fantastic (read what I thought here) but would have been nothing without this action heavy second half.  There are major developments in the Castle/Beckett saga as well as the major developments in the terror storyline plus a resolution for Fallon.

We don’t see Castle delve into “issues” too often, which made “Countdown” particularly interesting to me. Often when we have a very strong relationship episode, the case of the week isn’t as dominant as it was in “Countdown”.  In this story arc Castle took a very strong relationship story and matched it with a high-stakes terror plot. Stories about soldiers, terrorism and the war in the Middle East have been done countless times since 9/11 and war stories have been on television long before that. Castle took this disillusioned soldier plotting a terror attack on their own country made it their own. It’s a powerful story here, as it was when I saw a similar plot outline on Law & Order years ago.  I don’t often comment on the one off characters, but I do want to mention Monica Keena who did a beautiful job as Charlene McCann, the real Kevin McCann’s sister.

[An interesting point related to this military veteran storyline is that while Javier Esposito is a military vet, so is Jon Huertas who plays him on TV.]

As for relationship issues, Castle and Beckett both know that they are into each other and that they have a very special connection.  I can imagine that it would be terrifying, at least for Beckett. I imagine all the things running through her head, “What if when we get together the spark disappears and I’ve given up Josh. “Josh is good, what if it was just the heat of the moment, the fear, the adrenaline”. “What if we get together and it’s a disaster and I lose him as my best friend”.  On the other side, Castle knows how sensitive Beckett can be with boundaries, he doesn’t want to push too hard and end up pushing her away for good.  When I imagine these things, I get it.

Castle and Beckett are stumbling around their bad timing and fear. They made this episode with their “I love you’s” both silent and aloud but it was clouded by the events surrounding. It’s always bad timing: the guy interrupting in the hazmat tent, Gina last season, and Dr. Motorcycle Boy who just doesn’t know when to get on a damn airplane. I know J is frustrated by the lack of progress so far, and it does seem to be inching along but in “Countdown” there was a lot going on. Reading Beckett’s face as Castle walked away, Josh’s arms were around her but she was with Castle, she knew that his words were what she had been waiting for and she was ready.

J, don’t get down on Castle for being the bigger man, it’s so far out of the realm of his character to throw a big dramatic “I love you Beckett” in front of her boyfriend and the whole squad room. Josh just cut him off at that point but it’s not going to stop him for long. And if Josh really is sticking around it’s not going to take him very long to suss out the kind of feelings that exist between his girlfriend and Castle. I’m giving them until the end of this season to get it together, at that point J – I’m with you on the get together right now PLEASE boat.

Now onto the non-shippy but still excellent aspects of Countdown:

J wrote that the scene where Castle and Beckett were left alone to diffuse the bomb is a cautionary tale on our reliance of technology, a statement to which I strongly disagree. I saw marvels of technology, you’re right J – Fallon didn’t get there in time, and his phone was just seconds too late, however can you imagine if they didn’t have such advanced (read: normal) phones? It’s unrealistic that every law enforcement officer will have bomb squad training let alone an average citizen. But to see how much information can be passed and how quickly to the expert who does have the knowledge to solve a problem in a crisis was an illustration of one of the many uses of our advances in technology. [Hey J – do you have a mobile yet?]

Fallon was a brilliant character to bring into Castle, and kudos to Adrian Pasdar for bringing so much to that character that I felt so invested in him immediately. As much as I’d love to have him back on occasion – I really liked the dynamic he brought to the squad room as the outsider making observations and shaking up the order of things – I don’t think that Castle could repeat an episode like this, anytime soon at least. I liked that there was resolution to the mini-story that was Fallon. He wasn’t a one-dimensional agent like in “Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind” in season 3; he was a person with a really hard job, and a tough story behind his motivation to continue in such a difficult position.

[Side Note: If this were a different show I would have liked to explore the dynamic between Esposito and Fallon. They are two tough as nails law enforcement professionals – Esposito seemed to have an understanding of Fallon]

Other points:

  • Everyone knowing that Castle and Beckett would obviously be together, except Josh, who must be catching on to this theme. Castle’s stupidity is predictable, and so is his connection with Beckett.
  • Alexis must have Ryan and Esposito on speed dial just in case, like we just said – predictable.
  • The colour tones – I loved the contrast in the opening scenes between the cold blue of the freezer with Castle & Beckett freezing in each other’s arms against the warm oranges and yellows of Casa de Castle when Alexis and Martha return home and sense that something is up. Also notable – when Alexis walks behind the projection screen the silhouette is very similar to the effect in the hazmat tent in Set Up and the colour scheme is similar to the freezer.
  • The closing shot of Castle riding down the elevator alone eerily mirrored the sweet finish to “Poof, You’re Dead” where Castle and Beckett ride together and she hands him a bouquet of fake flowers.
  • J – I love how you got the “I love you” “I know” Star Wars out of their silent moment, I completely agree, and I’ve always thought of Nathan Fillion’s other role (Captain Mal) as my other Han Solo. Fun note: Han Solo made an appearance in almost every episode of Firefly click here for screen caps

You know I love Fallon (and Adrian Pasdar), do you think Castle could handle another episode with Fallon? When has the dance gone on long enough – what’s going to be your breaking point for Castle and Beckett to get together, or has it passed? And what will become of Dr. Motorcycle boy? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Until next time (which will be too long – no Castle this Monday!)

– S


7 thoughts on “Casualties of War & Bad Timing – S on Castle 3×17 “Countdown”

  1. This is another great review! I totally agree with you about Josh catching on soon enough to the dynamic between Castle and Beckett- especially now that he is apparently “back” and all. I think we got a glimpse of that in the ambulance scene, when Esposito smirks and says “We figured you were with Beckett” (clearly implying that something is going on) before quickly realizing who he is with and adding “…before Josh called.” There is this tiny little look between Castle and Josh; with Josh just the tad bit suspicious. It lasts barely a second, but it’s there, and I bet we might get more moments like that soon.

    Loved the comments on the projector screen- I hadn’t even picked up on that. Gosh, I love the writers/producers/directors/everyone of this show and their attention to detail 😉

    Great review!!

    • Laura, I love that you pointed out Esposito’s line in the ambulance, it was one of my favourite moments of the episode (it was so uncomfortable!). I talked about it with J after the episode but I couldn’t find space to include it in my review, so I’m glad you brought it up. Everyone else knows something is up with Castle/Beckett, even Fallon. Josh will get it soon.

      I’m glad you liked the detail about the projector, the contrast in colours really popped out at me. I talked more about colour in my review of “Set Up”, check it out here . It’s the details that make show just that much more interesting.

      – S

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