Castle "The Human Factor" Review: Government Interference

Castle S05E23: "The Human Factor"

Castle is, first and foremost, a mystery series. As much as we might love the characters and personalities tasked with solving its mysteries, the actual investigation of murders and other major crimes is ostensibly why we ended up hooked on this show in the first place. It's something that I sometimes wonder if the show's writers have begun to care about less and less as the seasons have worn on. After all, in the early seasons, we barely knew Castle, Beckett, Esposito, Ryan, or the rest. So in absence of familiarity, the cases often carried the weight. Now, we're more familiar with all these characters, and more apt to just sit back and watch them interact with one another, while the mysteries essentially fade into the background.

That's been especially true this season, which has presented the fewest memorable murder cases of any season of Castle to date, despite still being pretty solid largely on the merits of character interactions. So color me thrilled that last night's episode, "The Human Factor," was one of the few this season that managed to keep me engaged both through the rapport between the characters, and a surprisingly intriguing mystery.

Granted, it's relatively easy to build by momentum by kicking off an episode with a huge explosion followed by a shadowy cover-up. In this case, a man walking the streets of downtown Manhattan got into his parked car and was greeted by a fiery ball of death. When Castle and Beckett arrived on the scene, they found the vehicle already being impounded, and their fellow detectives stonewalled by government agents. Nobody would talk to them, and the lead agent effectively told them to buzz off. Our heroes being who they are, they of course did nothing of the sort.

All the detectives had to go on was the ID of the victim, a sort of Julian Assange-lite activist who'd dedicated his life to exposing corporate and government misdeeds via the internet. His wife and son recounted his exploits in a way that showed their weariness with the man's lifestyle of paranoia and misdirection. He'd even taken to hiding out in their rental apartment in Queens in recent weeks, only spending time with a young woman (who he'd apparently been having a brief affair with) and his assistant, a college student who helped him set up his website and maintain it.

There was one other piece of evidence too, in the form of explosive residue taken from the crime scene before the feds could sweep things clean. The bomb was no ordinary bomb, you see. It was a missile, launched from an unmanned government drone. Was the government spying on our victim? Did they have him "taken out"? No one would say one way or the other, but when Beckett and Castle paid a visit to a nearby military base, they were effectively shown the door just seconds after their accusation that a drone had been used in the murder. In fact, by the time they were back in their car on the way to the city, they learned that the military had raided the CSU labs and taken all pertinent information relating to the drone.

As much as the unmanned drone story has dominated the news cycle of late, I'll give "The Human Factor" credit for not sensationalizing it too much. Castle got to go off on one of his typical tangents, but rather than accusing the government of malfeasance, he suggested that this might lead to the inevitable rise of the machines, Skynet-style. While that kind of nonsense theorizing can occasionally feel overwrought on this show, here it was a nice, lightening touch to keep the episode from getting too heavy. Additionally, it became pretty clear relatively early in the episode that the government wasn't so much trying to slide the whole thing under the rug as they were trying to figure out just what the hell happened, which removed a bit of the big brother-stink from the whole thing.

Most of those details came out when Beckett arrested a sketchy man who appeared not only at the crime scene, but during their meeting at the military base AND as a tail while Beckett was trying to interview the victim's assistant. The man looked like he could have wandered out of the Smoking Man's team on The X-Files, all grimace and suit, with no identifiable personality up front. But then, as Beckett attempted to interrogate him, a call from the Attorney General's office (the one in Washington D.C.) assured her that this new suspect would go free. However, Beckett turned the tables a bit, agreeing to let him go with no argument on the condition that the AG would allow the man to divulge some details of the investigation.

I don't know exactly why that worked. I mean, the AG could've pretty easily just told Beckett to go to hell, right? Well, he didn't, and our mystery man revealed his identity as a secret investigator for the Attorney General's office. He revealed that a drone, which had been flying a test run over Long Island, had been hacked and controlled by some unseen force. He showed Castle and Beckett footage of the drone striking our victim, as the helpless pilot screamed that he had no idea what's happening. And before you ask, no, it wasn't the machines rising up to destroy humanity. 

The investigator mentioned a man named Warburg, who'd previously worked for the government designing drone software but had gone off the grid. Of course, he didn't tell them why Warburg might be a suspect or where he might be, but the hint was enough for the team to get their investigative juices flowing and lo and behold, they found him hiding out in Woodstock—with his own private drone security system, I might add.

Warburg, as played by veteran character actor Eric Lange, made for a pretty good OCD weirdo, but he wasn't the killer. In fact, he was out to prevent the further proliferation of drone strikes, especially against U.S. citizens. He'd been working with the victim to possibly leak the software for controlling drones, but the victim was worried that the information might be too dangerous to post in a public forum. Which then presented the question of who had access to the thumb drive with the software on it?

Initially, suspicion shifted to Omar, the assistant. But after our investigator friend had a plane headed to Lebanon rerouted to put Omar back on U.S. soil, Omar made it clear he had nothing to do with the murder, and that, in fact, someone else had access to the drive. That someone? The victim's son, a college kid who deeply resented his father both for his alienating line of work, and for betraying his mother with the affair. The son managed to use the software to hack into the drone, and to launch the missile at his father. While I'll grant that this sounds patently ridiculous, the writing of "The Human Factor" was strong enough to at least keep me guessing up to that point, and the kid was a good-enough actor to sell his anger toward his father. Crazy? Sure, but a reasonably satisfying conclusion, nonetheless.

Unfortunately, "The Human Factor" didn't quite stick the overall landing. While I loved the self-contained mystery, the true purpose of the episode revealed itself right toward the end, when the investigator, having been deeply impressed with Beckett's investigative prowess, offered her an interview for a job with his agency. This job would take her to Washington D.C. full time, and would clearly have grave consequences on her relationship with Castle.

Then again, would it? This dangling job offer was presented as a potentially relationship-destroying event that will have to be dealt with in next week's finale, but isn't Castle a super-wealthy man of means who could potentially just pick up and go anywhere Beckett does? Yes, Alexis and Martha are in NYC, but D.C. isn't exactly an insurmountable distance from New York—hell, it's just a three-hour Acela ride away. Unless the job includes some kind of "no relationships" clause, I'm not entirely sure I see what the huge, world-destroying issue is here. I'm sure we'll understand better in next week's season finale, which, if the promo is any indication, will be very heavily focused on this immediate, life-changing event that has just about nothing to do with any of the other ongoing storylines from this season (at least on the surface). 



NOTES

– Not to harp on this too much, but I'm disappointed that of all turns this season could have taken, this is where it's seemingly about to end up. Unless there's some strange connection to Senator Bracken in all of this, I feel like the promise of that story, as seen in the season opener and "Recoil," is being somewhat abandoned. Nobody's expecting a bombshell finale like last season's, but if all next week's episode turns out to be is an extended "maybe they're going to break up!" plot, I'm going to be a little bummed.

– One of the peculiar, but awesome details to emerge from the Castle/Beckett coupling is that Beckett is apparently a master of pranks. Between her elaborately staged birthday mystery in "The Lives of Others" and her expert use of Castle's various remote-controlled vehicles to send him into a Skynet-fueled panic this week, I'm genuinely impressed at her skill and dedication with regard to screwing with Castle's head. It's maybe a bit terrifying just how good she is at it, but it's a character trait I can certainly get behind.


What'd you think of "The Human Factor"?

Comments (71)
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"The man looked like he could have wandered out of the Smoking Man's team on The X-Files, all grimace and suit"

Wow Alex. You don't know who the guy is! That's Tony Almeida from 24!! Come on dude!

And overwrought is one thing Castle, the show, never is. I love this show because of the absurdity of Castle and how it is balanced by the rational Beckett. The episode was one of the strongest this season.
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Why did a drone on a training mission carry live munition?
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I think the problem is less about the distance than the fact that Castle wouldn't work with her anymore (nor would he with the NYPD anymore, most likely)
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My immediate thought regarding the job offer to Beckett was, that is will be appealing to her, because she thinks with that kind of position she could go after the Senator in a meaningful way.
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Of course, once she had made her position--and her power--known to the Senator, she essentially quit pursuing him...that may be one reason for her to NOT take the new job...hmm...interesting either way!!
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There needs to be an episode dedicated just to Castle and Beckett playing more and more outrageous pranks on each other kind of in the vein of The Lives of Others.
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While the distance is short enough to let Castle and Beckett stay in a relationship, it's highly doubtful that her new job would allow Castle to remain her partner, which is a major bedrock of their relationship. Castles not the stay at home type, while Becket would becomre more like Dana Delaney in season 2.
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Of course, once complaint would be that the "evidence" that led them to the killer was, well, nonsense. If you have a thumb drive, there's no way to tell if it was copied or not, much less how many times and to exactly what kind of device(s).
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Unless there was software on the thumb drive to do exactly that,
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Mr Navarro! I couldn't possibly put into words how much I completely disagree with your assessment of Castle, I love Castle for everything it is, the characters, the stories and I really don't mind which is focused on. I really enjoyed this episode and I do agree with you on a couple of things however, Beckett's pranking skill = epic! And yes Washington is not far away and shouldn't mean the end of Caskett, but we'll see it is the finale after all.
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I was waiting for them to call Lyle Lovett. Or have him just show up.
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Excellent point!
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Well, the job may be based in DC but as we saw the job could take Beckett anywhere in the country. And perhaps the job would require that she NOT take her boyfriend along with her.

And while Castle is definitely wealthy, I don't believe he's super-wealthy. During the Alexis abduction thing, he pretty much revealed how much he has in liquid assets. I think it was only a few million. While I'd classify that as rich, it's not at the "super wealthy" stage. Most of his "reach" comes from the fact that he's famous and important people (like the Mayor) like his books.
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I thought it was a charming episode, Castle being awesome as always. I do hope something takes a change in next season so Becket had better take the new job.
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I thought it was awesome seeing Beckett pulling that prank with Castle and his toys was really hilarious!
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Carlos Bernard needs his own show.
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I LOVED this episode. To correct the review, I want to point out that this drone WAS manned: the person who developed the hacker software did so in order to show how easily it could be hacked into even on a manned drone, to square with one person's (or organization's) agenda.
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While it's become common to refer to them as drones they are really UAV's. Might want to go look up what the U stands for.
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Yes, but they played back the pilot's panicked response whent the controls were taken over and he saw the explosion. UAV applies only to the UNmanned version. The one in the show (accurately or not as a drone) was proven to have been MANNED by the recording from the cockpit.
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The pilot was sitting in the base. The drone (like all drones) was remote controlled.
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They should do a Celebrity Death Match with Beckett and NCIS's Gibbs, with them staring at each other like they do in interrogations until one implodes.
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When Beckett goes Wolfhound, everything melts..I know I do :)
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Love the ep! Love that there was a little more mystery, and coverup, but i also love the relationships of the characters.

Beckett is my kind of woman though, i love the fact that she still plays these pranks on Castle even though there together. Things like that help keep a relationship alive, as its keeps mystery, keeps fun!
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What is it with North by Northwest this week (and drones for that matter) Person of intrest had mister Thornhill (gary Grant), a machine impersonating as a person and drone attack that vaguely resembled the crop duster attack. On Castle the crop duster attack is more fateful including a couple of notes from the North by Northwest theme.
Is there a N by NW anniversary or something?
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I think the implication is that Beckett will have to travel all over the country doing fieldwork, not that she'll be based in Washington DC?
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Something about the whole drone story that didn't sit right, if it was just a training flight then the drone wouldn't have been armed, if it was doing a live fire exercise they generally don't happen near populated areas. And if you're going to do the whole government cover-up angle, the CIA has it own UAV fleet that been used all over the world. Also it's not like we haven't see Castle's links to the CIA before, nice idea but the writers kinda blew it.

Sort of in keeping with the rise of the machines, I swear the first time the AG's man said Warburg's name it sounded more like Wopper, which would have been a really nice Wargames reference if it had been true.
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This was a good episode but I agree they are not going to break up, if anything Kate will turn down the job. Considering that this show basically revolves around those two.

Kate's revenge for castle spying on her was hilarious.
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Does it have to be a plotline to split Castle and Beckett - couldn't she just be conflicted about leaving the 12th? About abandoning her life, her friends and her revenge against Bracken. Castle might be the ONLY thing she could take with her to DC and even that relationship would be on different terms.

That being said, I agree that there should have been more strong episodes this season. The season started out strong and then dwindled. My faves: After the storm, Cloudy w a chance of murder, Murder he wrote, probable cause, The final frontier, significant others, Recoil, Target & Hunt, the lives of others = 10 out of 23 that I really enjoyed. Maybe another 3 or so that where ok, then the rest kind of dissapointing.... It's definitly not the moonlighting curse, cause they are a nice couple, but the Castle caracther is getting too silly and the mysteries need more work. I agree the cases aren't memoriable anymore...
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sorry about the spelling :P
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wouldn't an edit option be nice?
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NO!
Stick by your opinions and dont be so wishy washy
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If there was an edit option you could put an apostrophe between the "n' and "t" in your neologism "dont"---dang, you had to X out the autocorrect to have the made up word--is it some foreign slang? Learn American Bozo;-)
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Great episode, The Beckett moments were the best: 1) lingerie scene, 2) revenge scene, 3) the straight face look when offered a new job.
Stana Katic once again showed what a great actress she is.

Now we wait until Castle finds out about the job offer. I'm curious of his response. Will think of her and her carreer, probably move along with her? Will she only accept if they take him too? Will Castle just never find out?
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Holy Castlemania!

This was one hell of an episode.
I don't know where to begin...
- The symbolic airplane flying into the victim in the very first scene.
- Becketts amazing wardrobe
- Castles sandbox in the living room just to steer a tank around (I want to be Castle..)
- A great murder mystery
- Castle doing his skynet theory and once again Ryan being the one that looks to be thinking "maybe..."

- Becketts revenge of the machines.

Ya, I think I'll stick to Holy Castlemania!

One of the best of the season for sure.
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Oh!!
And ducos to Castle to being the first non government show to adress Drones!!!

Let's hope they don't get a mystery cancelation....*conspiracy helmet off*
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*picks up conspiracy helmet*......or will they!
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I take it you didn't get the secret message
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i knew it
You're one of THEM!
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lostcause78 you're actually a really cool person (even if you are wrong--LOL) so just ignore the clown below:-)
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lostcause78, you don't have to worry - in a battle of wits, Vicky is unarmed
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don't need arms in a battle of wits

in case you didn't notice, he gets grumpy when you call him a "clown"
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did you mean kudos?

this site needs an edit button for comments
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I meant kudos yeah, but no edit button and I already did a double post so I gave it up haha.
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Thank you for appreciating MY edit button suggestion.
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double post--such a waste of valuable space;-)

I vote for an edit option shaped like a drone
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I think he meant dodo or doo doo~~whatever implies poo poo~~sarcasm because it is OBVIOUSLY not the first "non government" show to address drones and it's not even a "non government" show. Did the NYPD rise up against NYC and the USA?

I love your consistency;-)
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What sort of SICK mind would think he meant doo doo. What an ILL conceived argument.
Why are you being so negative and trying to MONOpolize the thread. We should not listen to the ramblings from such a DISEASED mind

( PS - hope you feel better soon ;-) )
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@lostcause78
I'm really not sure the difference between dodo and doo doo except dodo may refer to type of bird:-)
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If you can't tell the difference, that's really your loss.

This kind of sillyness about TVshows and their government affiliations is rather strawman material.
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so POI is a government show? huh?
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Yeah I'm lost in which post I can reply to now...but nuh uh I'm right! And indeed the Dodo is a bird that went extinct due to...well social ignorace I suppose :D Agree to disagree :)
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not only do we need an edit option but a way to reply without getting "lost"--I know what you mean.

I will agree to disagree and will excuse your social ignorance;-)

one last thing:
you started it--> "This kind of sillyness about TVshows and their government affiliations is rather strawman material." You brought up the silliness but I like silliness so all is good here;-)

EDIT OPTION REALLY NEEDED
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Well they are a show about an ex-cia agent and a secret computer AI, It's tons easier to introduce drones and other similar things in that, than in a "normal" NYPD show.
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I don't think flagging posts do anything--at least they don't with the spam.

I don't see a point in arguing since I am obviously right;-)
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what the heck...I flagged the post below when I wanted to reply. And I can't deflag, grrr!

I on the contrary feel Castle has grown as a show, and gone beyond the moonlighting curse.
As for the drone-in a normal procedual show, I still maintain that Castle is much more mainstream vs POI and especially 24s special agent agenda. And that with the recent Obama/drone controversy it's the first time we see it in a regular cop show.
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"normal" show were one of the lead characters thinks the culprits are big foot, zombies, ghost, cursed/possess dvds.... POI & 24 have had drones whereas the "normal" show, which also has CIA involvement like Castle father, tries to bring in the supernatural via Castle's regressive musings....

I've been a fan of Castle but this season has been going downhill rapidly and now they are going to play up the whole job vs relationship bit.....this is why shows dies when the characters get together: Moonlighing, which I never saw, and Bones, like Castle, has steadily gone downhill. Castle has not grown and has not stagnated but has regressed as a character and as a show.

I tried to say only nice things, hence my prior post of:
Positive: Carlos Bernard (TONY!!) because I didn't have anything else nice to say about it (well, maybe that Kate has awesome clothing for an NYPD detective) but to imply that POI is a "government" show when it's main characters often act against the "government" in order to help people. Castle is based around a government agency (state government)--NYDP and they don't kill government agents and actively work for the government.

NYPD not being government...WTF?
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Castle's wild theories can be funny, silly...or just plain stupid. This one was the stupid. Worse, even he didn't believe it while he was pontificating. He was just contributing his theory of the week. Sad. It feels like his character is actually regressing.
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I really like this episode and I think that this is the best season of Castle so far but I thought the end was a bit stupid *SPOILER ALERT* when it's actually the son that bombed his father.
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I liked this episode a lot better than most of the episodes this season. First of all, for the first half of the episode Castle's crazy theories were actually somewhat believable, something that even he was surprised to find. Because, especially with the involvement of a drone, it seemed almost certain that the perpetrator had some sort of high-up military connection. Of course, I knew that a Castle who puts forth only believable theories would be too good to be true, so I wasn't surprised when at the midpoint he suddenly launched upon his "rise of the machines" theory. Still, even though the man who actually assists in catching and interrogating suspected killers spent much of this episode worried that drones (not one of the computers that scientists are trying to program with artificial intelligence, or even a supercomputer, but drones) were going to suddenly start thinking for themselves and destroy the human race, at least it was only him this episode that harbored these wild, borderline supernatural theories.

Thankfully, neither Ryan, Esposito, nor anyone else got dragged aboard the "computers are trying to kill us" train. Now, it is disturbing to think that no one else even considered the possibility of this theory--which is actually one of the most likely crazy theories that Castle has ever come up with, since it involves something (AI) which could actually be a thing one day--when just a little while ago Castle, Esposito, and Ryan all were worried that watching a videotape would kill them, even though the source material for this belief is a fictional movie, which was based on another fictional movie, which was again based on a fictional comic book, with the plot of the comic book being considerably different from the movie that Castle based his fears on. But still, when Castle is the only one in the office who is worried about machines taking over the world, zombies rising to eat human brains, ghosts, vampires, and werewolves, you know that everyone else will thankfully get down to doing some good detective work.

And, as this article mentioned, this weeks mystery was actually very well laid out. Because while the eventual murder did stand out from the beginning as the most likely suspect ("What officer? No, I realize that you're really here to question my mother, but I'm going to just stick around whenever you stop by, just so that I get some screen time and that you remember who I am. But at no point will you actually suspect that I could have had anything to do with this terrible crime."), it still wasn't clear, until around the end, how this government-hater could actually take control of an unmanned drone and use it to blow up a car in New York. So even if you were able to instantly pick out the murderer, this episode did a great job of being a howhedunit, even if it fell short of being a good whodunit.

As the season finale looms ever-closer, however (it's next week...yeah), I am still very worried about this show as a whole. In a season of 24 episodes, we have only seen Senator Bracken (apparently the all-new big bad) in two episodes, and he may have been mentioned up to two more. At the beginning of this season, I thought for sure that trying to bring Bracken to justice was going to be a major season arc, and for good reason. But that really hasn't been the case, which makes almost no sense, especially considering the last two seasons. Starting with Season 3, Castle showed us that it can give us a great season arc when it wants too, and that it can set itself apart from other shows which are little more than cases-of-the-week with a few cross-episode stories thrown in during premieres and finales for good measure. But this season we've had barely any cross-episode arcs, with the only actual season-long arc of note being Castle and Beckett's relationship, and whether or not they can stay together. And with this arc we've mostly seen tensions thrown into the mix for the sake of tension. I mean, the big deal right now is that Beckett just lied to Castle about being given the opportunity to have a new job in D.C., and according to next week's blurb this is going to be a big deal. But that literally just came up, for the first time, in this episode.

Throwing in season-arc-like issues at the very end of a season, and trying to make it suddenly become a big issue for the series as a whole, is a rookie move that the writers of Castle should have stopped using long ago. Sure, this season has dealt with Castle and Beckett's relationship a lot, certainly more than anything else, and there has been a lot of hinting that Beckett is worried that Castle is holding too much of himself back from her (though the reasons she thinks this are really lame, considering that this stemmed from something that Castle's ex-wife said about what their relationship was like, even though the Caskett phenomenon is a whole different animal altogether). So I can see how this new job offer is merely the catalyst for something that has been building all season.

However, there is a lot of cheating going on here on the writers' part, since you know that a lot of the oncoming storm of an argument will be Castle's not liking the fact that Beckett lied to him about the job offer. And that didn't happen a while back; it happened just now. And other than this one lie, the only other unresolved tension in their relationship is this feeling that Beckett has about Castle holding back, this feeling that has been annoyingly nurtured within her by a few choice words from other people who shouldn't be giving out any relationship advice in any way, shape, or form. So if the big thing about this finale ends up being the possible break-up of Caskett, which will have been over a few misunderstandings, a recent lie, and a seeming inability to communicate with each other some of the time, then I won't be happy at all. However, if this finale focuses mostly on Senator Bracken, and the writers are somehow able to tie in a lot of the things that happened this season (such as bringing back Castle's dad and Erik Vaughn [the billionaire guy from last episode] as valuable allies in the war against the powerful U.S. Senator), then this season will at least have been salvaged.
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Positives: Carlos Benard (TONY!!)
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Totally agree wwith everything you said, the episode was entertaining, mystery was good, no eye rolling needed. Felt like one of the two part story arc, which are usually my favorite episodes of the season.
I, too, expect a more interesting finally than just Beckett might be going to DC and than would leave no room for Castle although it makes no sense. A little Bracken would be nice.
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This show started out pretty good but has really gotten better over its 5 seasons to be one of network TV's stalwarts - and to think it was once a bubble show...
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Really? No mention that Carlos Benard was a veteran of 24 and played the stalwart straight man Tony Almadea, to Southerland's habitual rule breaker, Jack Bower. I thought we might get some beyond the grave cross over with a shady counterintel agent and wasn't too far from the mark.
As to the earth shattering opportunity for Becket to pull up stakes, I had the thought that at the very least this could provide an entirely fresh reboot/opportunity to change up the procedrual element of the show while maintaining the relationships. As mentioned DC isn't far from New York in this day and age and Castle with his wealth could really follow her anyware. And if she has autonomy she could concievably work cases with Castle and not have to answer to anyone about his assitance. This change could also provide her with the ability to take down the Senator and close that chapter of her life. I would agree that if the writers are thinking that this could be a relationship ending decision and was introduced soley for this purpose, they are decidedly ignorant of the intellegence of the viewers. Hopefully they are smarter than we are giving them credit for.
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Um, no, that mystery was crap in a hat. The team entirely muffs follow-up on the mistress lead, they don't look at the guy's household for more than a second, they don't hold onto the one outside witness who was closest to the victim. This wasn't an investigation, it was yet another (pardon the pun) flight of fancy for Richard Castle to get his rocks off while being 100% wrong at every turn, once again leading one to wonder why the hell he's still here. These aren't the characters this show built up with, these are shallow, hollow reflections of them.

"Light" is exactly what this episode was, we got the same interactions from Ryan and Espo as usual, except Espo didn't bother running his "the military would never do that, bro!" noise, and even though the last time Castle went on an entirely stupid tangent Beckett came down on him hard, this time she's giggling and laughing and dancing in her underwear and even teasing him with his toys - that RC tank she taunted him into bashing probably wasn't cheap either. Did her behavior change after last week's bomb incident? It didn't really feel like it, it never came up in conversation.

The Attorney General's office shouldn't have been calling Beckett at all, not only did Beckett not have the authority to sweep it under the rug as she wasn't the captain or a higher-up in the police department, but she wasn't the District Attorney who would ultimately deal with that sort of thing.

And just to nitpick a little more, I didn't buy the drone designer's guard dog drone getting felled by small arms fire.

As for "not sticking the landing", I fully agree that this didn't feel like a relationship-breaker unless Castle was so selfish that he couldn't let Beckett move forward in her career, which up until the trailer for next week didn't seem like it could possibly happen.

This was a "light" episode, it was on par for what most of this season has been, but I didn't really notice how much it annoyed me until I read your review. I think Castle might be coming off my DVR list at the end of this season, and that's too bad, but its quality has slipped horribly.
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I think there has to be something else that happens in the finale besides the possible end to Beckett and Castle's relationship. If it is just that I'll be a little disappointed. I also agree with you in that I hope the storyline with Senator Bracken isn't in the crap shoot.
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I liked it. But I feel, like you state that this is all going to lead up to a will they break up episode. Which is silly. Mostly because Castle can write anywhere, DC is only I believe a 4 hour drive to NYC and flights are relatively inexpensive. So I think it will be a lot of huff for really nothing. Plus I doubt she is going to break up the squad.

However, if they are going to do it, it is better to get it out of the way and they can then just focus on good plots, a decent big bad and a better over arcing plot for next season.
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