If you want to grab the attention of your audience, start with a suspicious man running down an alley then turning to fire a big ass gun as a van speeding at him only to be hit – then cut to our main characters. This is an episode that pulls us again to what makes Castle work, tense situation, interesting mystery, and character interaction that works for the serious and the humor that show is know for mixing.
There’s a formula for crime drama. You have to have the crime, or what you think is a crime only to have clues lead you to the real crime. For the most part they have to be procedural, which is often said with a bit of criticism and that never made sense to me. Cop show or detective series, it involves investigation and you can’t do that without procedure.
The most important element is members of the circle of characters will all get into trouble at some point, and the rest of the characters have to get them out of said trouble. Some crime dramas do it by the book, keep it tight, in with the crime out with the solution, and please buy our better cable package commercials in between. Others do it with flair. Castle has mostly fallen on flair, which is one of the reasons the show has lasted so long.
The name of the episode is called “Target.” Let’s not say that the show is ripping off a popular movie that had a sequel about a man with special skills that make him a nightmare for certain kinds of people. That would be a spoiler worthy of hateful comments. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Castle went all Liam Neeson on Eastern European psycho pimps. They’re doing that part on the next episode. But the similarities flare out at you like the battle scenes of JJ Abram’s Star Trek movie.
To recap: An obviously Arab guy gets hit by a van while shooting at it, Beckett and Castle finds out someone at Alexis’ collage put a harassment complaint of the dead Arab, which leads them to finding out the dead Arab was stalking one of the students, who they find out is the daughter of a uber rich Egyptian and that she was kidnapped while attending an event with Alexis – who also got kidnapped because so far Alexis hasn’t been in trouble yet (and because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.) This leads us to the search for Alexis for the rest of the show. Meanwhile Alexis and rich daughter wake up in a prison room built for two.
Castle isn’t a show that likes to do things small so it’s not surprise it went a little balls to the wall in places. We get some interesting new takes on our favorite characters, a kidnapping that doesn’t quite make any sense, and the twist ending. And, if the previews mean anything we might be adding on to the Castle cast and mythos.
However, just the idea presented swells the running boundaries of “contrived” and “melodrama” to soap opera proportions. In other words, another typical season of Castle. One of the good things about the show is they don’t make Castle a super detective, or Alexis as street wise tough girl whose ready for anything. What makes this episode work is the emotions on everyone’s face, even the tough as nails Captain, and moments of genuine fear that the daughter/sister/girl-next-door member of the show was in real danger and even with all the resources available the cast felt hampered, worried but determined.
It’s no secret that Nathan Fillion fans desire nothing more than to have him back on the bug ship putting Adam Baldwin in his place and trying to stop Summer Glau from killed the band of space orphans or whatever. Those days are long gone. While Castle hasn’t quite hit the top ten in rating for a minute it’s still a very popular show.
There is no disagreement that this episode leads us right to the path of stealing from a highly popular and successful movie (or franchise, if a third comes out.) This is not a nit-pick either; I did not see the full connection until the end of the episode and the previews. (Don’t have a heart attack, Castle fans. This is Alexis, they aren’t going to have her on display at a hooker for sale S&M club. They’re holding that one for sweeps.)
The episode had the usual strong performances, nice pacing and while not original neither is the popular movie. (For real, I can name three other places the “kill everyone to get my family back” was done.) The dark turn in Richard throw me for a loop and it could be that some secrets got revealed at a time where repercussion would not be appropriate. All in all Castle is always a fun ride and this episode was no exception. It’s a better show then most on television and get me watching before bedtime every week. Not to mention, I’m a sucker for the cliffhanger. Castle does do good cliffhanger.