Castle fans have been holding their breath all summer, waiting to find out what Beckett’s answer to Castle’s proposal would be and whether or not the detective would take the job in D.C., effectively ending their professional partnership. Tonight, the season six premiere “Valkyrie” answered both those questions right off the bat before jumping ahead two months and ending with a much less appealing cliffhanger.
Beckett was pretty shocked Castle was proposing and didn’t know if he was being serious. Once he confirmed that he was, she said ‘no’, but quickly cleared up that she didn’t mean her answer was ‘no’. Instead, she told him that she’d been offered the job in D.C. and Castle made it clear that he was not proposing because he wanted to stop her from going; he just wanted to marry her (pauses to allow time for screaming and swooning). Beckett said ‘yes’, Castle put the ring on her ‘tiny’ finger and as the two kissed, all was right with the world (especially the fangirl world).
Two Months Later
In New York, Castle arrives home from his book tour with a cardboard cutout of himself and Alexis is back from Costa Rica…with a boyfriend named Pi, who she has invited to stay with them. Castle is less than thrilled and Martha teases him that he’s going to have to have a talk with Alexis.
We first see Agent Beckett in D.C. chasing a man through the streets, who is holding a woman at gunpoint. Beckett gets the upper hand and handcuffs him, but when she turns to ask if the woman is okay, the woman shoots her in the chest. As far as TV fake-out moments go, this one was weak. Did anyone out there actually believe Beckett was shot? (Of course not, because for one thing, there was no dramatic music playing in the background). This was an FBI training exercise and Beckett failed.
Rachel McCord (Lisa Edelstein) is Beckett’s new partner and she reminds Beckett that this is a whole different world and she needs to rely on her instincts and not just what she thinks she’s sees (the hostage never cried out for help because she didn’t want to give her accent away). After the training, the two are given a big case, which forces Beckett to cancel her weekend plans with Castle.
Castle and ‘Following Directions’ Don’t Mix
Castle shows up in D.C. to surprise Beckett and the two have a night alone, but that’s all Beckett can give him due to her new case. Castle wants to help, but Beckett reminds him that it’s classified and even though she admits that she misses working together, it’s not possible anymore. Rachel shows up to collect Beckett for work and after they leave, Castle discovers an evidence photo that fell out of Beckett’s classified folder. Since he’s Castle, he has to look at it and decides to try and help in his own way.
We get to see Ryan and Esposito for the first time in the episode, both at the station in NY where Ryan is practicing swaddling a doll. Castle gives them a hypothetical scenario to try and figure out the meaning of the photo. The two aren’t interested in helping until Castle offers them Knicks tickets. They get an IT person involved and discover the answer to where the picture came from and they realize it’s part of a real case. But Castle pretends the phone is cutting out and ignores their demands for answers.
Meanwhile, Beckett and McCord have also figured out a lead and they head to a golf course to talk to ask questions. But the person quickly tells them the same thing he told ‘the other guy’, he wasn’t working the night in question. Beckett and McCord turn to see Castle cruising by in a golf cart (hilarious). He tries to talk his way out of it, but McCord warns Beckett that this is her only warning. Later, McCord admits that she made a mistake once too and it’s just part of the job, but not to do it again (her character is pretty awesome and has a great rapport with Beckett).
Castle promises that he won’t get involved any further, but the suspect spotted him with the federal agents and proceeds to kidnap him at gunpoint and asks what the feds know about ‘Valkyrie’. Castle knows nothing and tells him that, but the man suddenly dies and the car crashes. Castle is fine, but he is immediately arrested and taken to an interrogation room. The feds know he wasn’t involved, but they want all the information. Beckett is visibly uncomfortable by the tactics (curious if that will be part of the reason she decides to return to NY because we all know that will happen eventually).
Less than a Day…
Having learned his lesson, Castle returns to New York and has a conversation with Ryan and Esposito about feeling left out of Kate’s life now that everything she does is classified. As they’re talking, he fills them in on the case and Esposito mentions that it’s connected to a highly classified military operation that few people know exist.
Back in D.C., McCord and Beckett are tracking down the suspect’s girlfriend and when they bring her in for questioning, she insists that her boyfriend was being set up and that was why they both ran. McCord doesn’t buy her story, but Beckett does. The two women talk it out and discover that the theft was actually a diversion and something else was stolen from the building as well.
Castle is still researching on his end and federal agents show up in his apartment and insist that he go with them. Castle tells Martha and Alexis to call his lawyer and Beckett and then he’s in the D.C. holding room again. Beckett arrives and Castle wants to know what’s going on and why they took his blood and he tells Beckett that if she’s going to water board him, it’s going to affect their relationship (ha!).
But Beckett calmly explains the Castle that what was stolen from the building was a chemical agent that was being developed for the military. The chemicals had been put in the suspect’s car and that was why he’d died and Castle had been exposed to it. Realization sinks in and Castle asks Beckett if he was exposed. Beckett tells him that based on the amount found in his blood, he has less than a day to live…to be continued.
This was a solid episode, but it makes me a little wary that they went for something so heavy right out of the gate. I’ve always said that I enjoy Castle when it doesn’t take itself too seriously and there is a lot of humor injected into the episodes.
That being said, I do enjoy Agent McCord and I’m glad she’ll be around for a few more episodes. Maybe they’ll even find a way to bring her back from time to time if there’s a case in New York that calls for her attention (by the way, these are not spoilers, just assumptions. I don’t think the entire premise of the show is being permanently changed).
I’m not too worried that the lead character is going to be killed off in the next episode, but it was still a good, unexpected cliffhanger. It was also a smart way to keep Castle tied to D.C. without having him get arrested every five minutes for interfering with the investigation.
CASTLE AND BECKETT ARE ENGAGED!!!!!!! It just needed to be said again.
What do you guys think? Was the proposal everything you hoped for? Do you think D.C. is a good fit for Beckett? Were you sad Ryan and Esposito got so little screen time? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us!