The balancing act of having characters that grow and evolve, while maintaining the magic chemistry seems to be the trouble for many shows. While certain aspects of season 6, such as Beckett, a talented detective more forward in her career, seem necessary, even temporarily. There’s the case of Alexis’s boyfriend Pi – a strange insertion that throws off the balance more significantly than I realized at first glance.
When a show hits the sixth season, it’s often exhausted a lot of the dramatic possibilities available. Now I’m not really knocking the show – and I’m not saying the show is less interesting because Kate & Castle finally got together, because I’m fairly certain there was nothing to be done that would have kept those two apart any longer that I would have been happy with. On the other hand, Castle’s strength as a show is the group dynamics, and playing with the chemistry of all its characters in the precinct and in the Castle residence.
Having Kate, clearly an exceptional detective, recruited by the FBI was a legitimate conflict both for the show’s central couple to deal with, and for Beckett to handle internally as she questions if this is in fact the right career path for her. It makes sense that someone at the top of her field is struggling with the learning curve in a new job. Kate is a perfectionist in many ways and not immediately mastering new skills is clearly causing a lot of stress for her, this is also compounded by the isolation from her friends and fiance who are back in NYC.
Even when Kate Beckett was away from the group and things at the precinct felt a little skewed because really, who cares about Sully? Things were really off at the Castle home.
One of the absolute highlights of the show for all of us at The Viewing Party is the closeness of the Castle family. Rick, Martha and Alexis have continued to display such a wonderful love and caring for another, and most often in an incredibly genuine and caring way. Alexis has generally always been a good kid, Rick has been a loving, supportive and sometimes overprotective Dad, and Martha, while flitting about with her own concerns always has her hawk eye out for the brood and swoops in to give advice when it’s needed.
The show has demonstrated Rick Castle as goofy, often immature, and someone who doesn’t always make the best decisions. Something he has always, never failed to be, is a responsible, caring parent. And as many liberties the show takes with reality, the characters’ actions are always true to characters themselves and the show always stays true to its internal logic – that why it has continued to work.
This situation with Pi has taken the goofy, immature, but always responsible parent that Rick Castle is, and taken that away. In the first few episodes, when it comes to Alexis he isn’t present. He comes off as annoyed, and compared to his hoovering, overprotective former self – he appears neglectful in favour of worrying about his fiance in DC. This is inconsistent with any previous characterization of Castle we’ve seen – and it’s really hurting my enjoyment of the show.
There is no reason Castle should feel obligated to allow his daughter’s boyfriend, especially one neither of them know very well, live indefinitely in their apartment. There was hardly an argument or discussion to be had, Pi just came and never left. Rick just shrugged and watched it happen – and so did Martha.
I began working this out before having seen the most recent episode, “Time Will Tell” where this issue was finally addressed, but by this point – weeks had passed without the issue being broached, and Castle continuing to fail to address the Pi in the room. This is a significant breach of the way the show has taught us this family behaves. This is a family that is close, and talks these kinds of things out.
I understand that Castle has felt anxiety over loosing his daughter when she went off to college. I understand that he wants to keep her close now that she’s returned and doesn’t want her upset with him. This is all really interesting conflict to explore, particularly since the will they/wont they so central to the show has been resolved. But allowing his daughter’s boyfriend to take up residence on his couch and in his kitchen doesn’t make sense and as a viewer, I don’t understand how Castle and Martha have let this carry on for so long.
Castle has said no to his daughter before. This is his home and he’s behaving as if he has no control. When did he stop being a parent and start being a character on a sitcom with the door unlocked who lets the whole neighbourhood traipse through his home at will?
I’m feeling more confident now that the show has actually put Castle and Alexis in a room confronting the issue. This type of father-daughter conflict has played so well in the past. Castle is by no means a perfect parent but is always well intentioned while Alexis tests the boundaries as she grows up.
Castle has taken a while to adjust to her daughter *gasp* dating – but this is a bridge too far. She is growing up and we have watched them both adjust in their relationship accordingly, but she’s still a teenager and he’s still her father. Watching the show forget this during the season’s first four episodes has been completely distracting, and difficult to reconcile with the type of character that has seen built over the five previous seasons.
The honest discussion between Alexis and Castle about her living situation in “Time Will Tell” was far more in line with the kind of behaviour we’ve come to expect from our characters, as was the always keen insight into the situation from Beckett. This has me feeling more optimistic about the season going forward (especially judging from the family oriented preview from tonight’s episode, “Get a Clue”. With Martha and Alexis now out of the house, I still hope to see lots more Castle-Family (now with Kate) to come!
Have you enjoyed the sixth season so far? Are you still having fun now that Kate & Castle are together? Do you think Castle took too long to talk to Alexis about Pi?