Episode Title: "Rise"
Writer: Andrew W. Marlowe
Director: Rob Bowman
Previously on "Castle":
After following up leads about the murder of her mother years before, Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) relentlessly pursued clues alongside her unofficial partner, novelist, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion). But as the threats to Beckett's life mounted, Castle heeded the advice of her father and he attempted to get her to back down. In response, Beckett told Castle to leave and broke off their partnership. Soon enough, she discovered that her precinct's beloved Captain, Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) was one of the three cops whose murder and abduction of mob figures eventually led to the death of Beckett's mother.
Montgomery met with Beckett in a secluded airfield and he confirmed the truth and his desire to protect her. Montgomery arranged for Castle to be there as well and he had Castle restrain her when the assassin, Hal Lockwood (Max Martini) arrived with his men. In the ensuing shoot out, Lockwood and Montgomery were both killed. Later, Castle and Beckett made a pact with Detectives Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Ryan (Seamus Dever) to protect Montgomery's legacy from this scandal. But at Montgomery's funeral, Castle noticed a sniper aiming at Beckett and he dove to save her… just a few moments too late. As she lie bleeding on the ground, Castle told Beckett that he loved her and he begged her to hold on to her life.
At the hospital, paramedics rush Beckett into surgery as Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones) and Castle watch helplessly. In the operating room, Josh Davidson (Victor Webster) is shocked to find that it's his girlfriend on the table and he openly wonders who could have shot Beckett at a funeral. Josh also disregards the other doctors and he begins operating on Kate when the replacement doctor takes too long to get there. Once the replacement doc arrives, Josh reluctantly leaves her to his care. Outside of the operating room, Josh physically confronts Castle and he blames him for pushing Beckett to reopen her mother's case.
At a later time when Beckett is stabilized, Castle visits her in the hospital and he awkwardly passes by Josh as he leaves. Beckett tells Castle that she doesn't remember being shot (and he notes to himself that his declaration of love also went unheard). Beckett then tells him that she needs time to heal and to process what happened. Castle agrees to give her some space and he leaves. Three months later Beckett returns to the precinct and she reveals to Ryan and Esposito that she didn't reach out to Castle at all during her recovery. They tell her that Castle worked her case with them every day until he was thrown out by the new captain, Victoria Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald).
The so-called "Iron Gates" is a former Internal Affairs investigator and she is very by the book. She won't even give Beckett her weapon back until she recertifies. Realizing that Castle is the only one with any leads on her case, Beckett approaches him at a book signing for his third "Nikki Heat" book. He is initially angry at her for shutting him out of her life, but he softens when she mentions that she broke up with Josh because there's something inside of her that won't have a real relationship until she solves her mother's case. Castle then reveals that he could have gotten back into the precinct at any time, he just didn't have a reason to.
Soon enough, Castle has the mayor of New York chew out Gates over the phone until she allows his return. She then snaps at Beckett and warns her not to humiliate her like that again. Castle's lead was a money trail that went cold when the bank's records were destroyed in a warehouse fire. At the same time, a mystery man receives a package of files from Captain Montgomery that were meant as insurance to protect Beckett's life. The mystery man then places a call to a congressional office in Washington. Back at the precinct, Beckett is roped into the murder of Sonya Gilbert that Ryan and Esposito are investigating. And when she corners Sonya's boyfriend, Dale, Beckett freezes when he points a gun at her.
Dale eventually surrenders, but Castle noticed Beckett's hesitation and her shaking hands. Later, they speak to Ron Halstead, the investigator who handled the warehouse fire that destroyed the bank records. When Ron claims that there was no arson or anything suspicious, Beckett accuses him of being bought off until Castle escorts her out. That night, Castle gets a call from the mystery man who explains that he was a friend of Montgomery's and that Beckett will be safe as long as she drops the investigation. At home, Castle's daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn) tells him to grow up and stop pretending that he's a cop.
Finally, Castle goes to Beckett and he convinces her to regroup on her mother's case. He argues that because they have no leads at the moment, they should bid their time. In the interim, he suggests that they solve Sonya's murder. Very quickly, Castle and Beckett figure out that Sonya was killed by Dale's jealous bandmate who wanted Sonya for himself. And this time, Beckett doesn't flinch when she gets a gun pulled on her. Castle asks Beckett if that was enough for her and shes that it is… for now. At home, Alexis asks Castle if Beckett makes him happy. He says that she does and he's willing to settle for their professional partnership… for now.
But in his private room, we see that Castle hasn't dropped the investigation of the attempt on Beckett's life. And in therapy, Beckett admits that she remembers everything about the day she was shot. EVERYTHING.
To anyone who was disappointed that Castle and Beckett didn't instantly get together after his declaration of love, I ask "What did you expect?" The producers on this series probably want it to run seven years or longer, so they may not be in a hurry to bring their two leads together. It's a common phobia among TV writers. The thinking is that the fans will go away if they ever resolve romantic tension early in a series.
That said, I really enjoyed the more serious tone of the episode. I understand that the comedic side of "Castle" is part of its winning formula, but these are the episodes that make "Castle" seem like more than just another featherweight cop show. Of the two endings, I'm much more intrigued by Castle's determination to pursue the investigation solo than by Becektt's admission. Castle isn't just doing this to get Beckett in bed or as a prelude to a conquest. His feelings for her are real and it seems like he took the attempt on her life personally. The question is: how far can he take the investigation on his own? And how is Beckett going to react when she finds out?
As for Beckett, her complete memory means that she heard Castle tell her that he loved her… and she still pushed him away. It's been clear for a long time that both characters were in love with each other and there is some genuine anticipation from the audience to see them finally get together. Although if "Castle" is going to follow the traditional TV relationship trope, then they will get together for a season, break up and eventually get back together however many times the writers can repeat that cycle before the end of the show.
Regarding the mystery man with Montgomery's files, did anyone else notice that the critical delivery meant to save Beckett's life took over three months? Does this mean that Beckett wouldn't have been shot if Montgomery had sprung for overnight delivery? Let this be a lesson for you: never trust the post office with anything important!
I also have the nagging suspicion that the murder of Beckett's mother is going to hang over this series until the very end of the show. It's an enjoyable storyline, but I'm ready for it to be over. Three seasons and change seems like more than enough time to put it to rest.
Thus far, the new captain, "Iron Gates" is a little disappointing. It's obvious that she was brought in to bring more conflict to the precinct and to challenge Castle's presence on the show. However, Captain Gates just didn't have much life to her in her initial appearance. Penny Johnson Jerald was terrific on the early seasons of "24," so she just needs to right scripts to flesh out Gates into an interesting character. She isn't there yet.
Overall, this was a very good episode of "Castle" and an intriguing way to kick off the season.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.