Stana Katic, talking about the end of this week’s episode “Pandora”, joked that the creators of Castle are forcing Rick and Kate to face each of the elements to see if they survive. So far we’ve had fire (in 2×17/2×18 when Kate’s apartment blows up), ice (3×16/3×17 when they get locked in a freezer) and now water as their car plunges down toward Davy Jones’s Locker at the end of 4×15. And of course, in true cliff-hanger form, that’s how the episode ends. I can only imagine that next season’s two-parter will involve them being buried underground but narrowly escaping (as they always do).
Actually, in a lot of ways “Pandora” reminded me of the previous Castle two-parters, and not just because it concluded with the same nerve-wracking “to be continued” ending. Plot-wise, I sort of saw it as a combination of the double episodes of season 2 and season 3 as well. There’s definitely a Jordan Shaw-esque quality to Sophia Turner, the bedroom-voiced CIA agent who has a history with Castle. Beckett’s jealousy over Castle bonding with Jordan and being impressed with her cool gadgets in “Tick Tick Tick” and “Boom” is definitely reflected again here: she’s just oozing with jealousy! And the broader themes of terrorism and national security in “Pandora” bring to mind last year’s two-parter in which a dirty bomb threatens the city of New York. However I also found that I wasn’t quite as invested in the plotline as I was during either of those two stories.
This might have something to do with the fact that we still don’t know exactly what Pandora is, who is involved, and how the rogue madman/ex-CIA agent Thomas Gage can be stopped. I was following along peacefully (and not really on the edge of my seat) until, toward the end of the episode, Castle and Beckett’s chess-playing informant Blakely gets out of the car and promptly gets shot in the head. Definitely not expecting that! The tension levels ratchet up as Castle and Beckett are rear-ended by another car and plowed into the river. I have no idea how they’ll escape from this one, but now I can’t wait to find out!
The elements that I took away from this episode were mostly character or relationship driven. The precise kind of jealousy Beckett has for Sophia is one we haven’t seen before. Although she’s displayed a range of resentment and suspicion when it comes to other women invading her Castle-territory (think Jordan, Kyra Blaine, Serena Kaye), Sophia threatens her on both romantic and professional grounds. She’s got the attraction-factor, the history-factor, and the seniority-factor, all of which make it pretty tough for Beckett to feel valued as Castle’s muse. Of course we all know he only has eyes for her, but that doesn’t stop our favourite detective from accusing him of a more-than-friendly relationship with Sophia.
It’s funny that the one time Castle doesn’t guess that the CIA is involved, guess what? It’s the CIA! There were some funny gags with Castle and Beckett being forced to put bags over their heads to prevent them seeing anything classified on the way to the CIA headquarters. I also enjoyed their attempts to escape from the trunk of a car…any time they’re in close physical proximity is alright by me. And I have a feeling that their conversation while playing chess in the park is going to be continued; I can’t see Beckett letting it rest not knowing exactly how close Castle and Sophia were.
One of the moments that really threw me off (and Beckett too) was when she gets disarmed by Gage in the garage. Seeing that he’s not even carrying a weapon, Beckett turns around with some substantial swagger and tells him to put his hands in the air. In a split second, Gage has seized her gun and pointed it at both of them. But…but…Beckett can’t get disarmed, it just doesn’t happen! She’s playing in the big leagues now, and we see her facing a foe that actually matches or exceeds her own skills. This is also demonstrated when they arrest him at the beginning of the episode (he nonchalantly continues to eat a sandwich) and when he steals a body from the morgue and walks out of the precinct in a police uniform with information from their database. I certainly look forward to seeing how Beckett and Castle thwart him next week.
- Martha calls Beckett Castle’s better half!
- I love that Alexis is interning with Lanie, and they have a really nice rapport. It creates a great dynamic, and lets us see the gossip mill in action: news about Castle and Beckett spending some time apart goes from Beckett to Lanie to Alexis to Martha and back to Castle.
- Gates’s wrath is scary. That is all.
- Beckett: “I don’t like keeping secrets from my own people.” Oh, honey, if only you could hear yourself!
What did you think of “Pandora”? How did it rank in comparison to the first halves of the other Castle two-parters? And what do you think next week will have in store for Castle and Beckett? (I just want to know how they’re going to get out of a sinking car.) We’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings!