First of all, let me say that I have always been a supporter of Ryan and Esposito. They’re loveable sidekicks of Beckett and Castle, but they’re also complex characters that have developed over the course of the past three seasons. “Kick the Ballistics” demonstrates that, even though Rick and Kate are at the centre of almost every episode, Castle is so much more than a two-person drama. Castle’s family at home and the boys at the 12th precinct (including the late Captain Montgomery) round out the show, and this week’s episode was Detective Ryan’s time to shine.
In 2×21 “Den of Thieves” we got a great Esposito storyline, and Jon Huertas skilfully showed us some of the depth, strength, and vulnerability of his character. After that, it was only a matter of time before Ryan became the focus of an episode. And after a couple of somewhat lacklustre episodes, at least in my opinion (read our reviews here and here), a Ryan-centric narrative was just the ticket! “Kick the Ballistics” sets the stage for an exploration of Ryan’s identity as a cop when his gun, which had been taken from him by the Triple Killer, is used in a homicide. He can’t forgive himself for allowing 3XK to steal his weapon and badge (even though it clearly wasn’t his fault) and launches into an emotionally-charged investigation to find the killer.