Some thoughts on Castle

I’m a fan of the TV show Castle, but the last three episodes have really destroyed a lot of my interest in it. There are two big beefs I have: Castle’s motivation, and Beckett’s character development.

For the first six seasons, the overarching plot revolved around the murder of Beckett’s mother and bringing the killer to justice. It is emphasized over and over and over again that this event is what motivates Beckett to become a detective: to catch the one that “got away”. Keep that in mind: six seasons. 128 episodes.

Wouldn’t you expect that we would get the same sort of treatment for Castle’s motivation? Why did he decide to become a mystery writer? What compelled him to do that? You’d think that the writers would do the same for him that they did for Beckett, right?

You’d be wrong. Instead of six seasons to flesh out Castle’s backstory, we get 43 minutes. That’s it! 43 minutes to totally explain why Castle became a writer: it turns out he witnessed a murder as a child and was spared by the murderer. This revelation comes in the final episode of season 7, 150 episodes after we first meet him. Why on earth did this take so long, and why does his story get washed over? The only allusion we have to this event is a single reference earlier in season 7 to “Hollander’s Woods”, the mention of which appears to freak Castle out.

I’m highly annoyed that Castle (who is just as interesting a character as Beckett) gets such a poor treatment when compared to his partner. It would’ve been easy to have the mysterious killer strike again and again over the course of several seasons, each time producing red herring after red herring that freaks out Castle more and more, until he finally gets the chance to confront the killer. So easy. And they just threw that all away for a single, cheap-shot episode.

My other beef comes as I’ve just finished watching the second episode of season 8. For six seasons, we saw Beckett struggle with trying to find her mother’s killer on her own, then accepting Castle’s help, then together finding more leads, and then finally bringing the killer to justice. We saw her grow past that terrible event and appear to put it fully behind her. In season 7, we saw her dealing with the aftermath of Castle’s mysterious disappearance, culminating in their (delayed) nuptials. Yay!

So, with season 8 upon us, what would you expect? You would expect that we’d continue to see this character mature and deal with problems, right?

I’m imagining a scene several months ago in the room where the Castle writers work and a conversation going something like this:

“So, guys… Castle and Beckett are pretty happy, right? Everything’s going good. What sorts of things are we going to throw at them this season?”
“I dunno, what do you think?”
“I’m out of ideas.”
“Yeah, seriously, where do you go from here?”
“Well, we could always bring back Beckett’s angst about her mother’s death!”
“Hey yeah, that’s a great idea! And to top it off, we can destroy pretty much all character development we’ve done for her over the past SIX YEARS by having her leave Castle to pursue this case on her own!”

Because honestly, I can’t think of any other reason why the writers would willingly choose to reset a character back to zero. This move makes me so mad that after these last three episodes I’m seriously considering giving up on the show.