“Castle” returns from its holiday hiatus this Monday on ABC. Nine episodes have aired so far this season and while that is a little shy of being the true midpoint, we’re going to go ahead and ignore the mathematical semantics and provide our midseason review for Season 5.
Before we start, let’s go back for a moment and talk about last season. The end of Season 4 gave “Caskett” fans the moment they’d been waiting for since the pilot: Castle and Beckett finally kissed for real and not as part of a cover or a dream sequence and they were clearly on their way to more graphic things when the screen faded to black, closing the door on what was for me, a rocky, disappointing season.
Season 5 began with the morning after and less than five minutes into the premiere, I was already hooked on the new season and it had nothing to do with the fact that Castle and Beckett were being super cute in their new relationship state (it didn’t hurt though). One of my biggest problems with the fourth season was that the show had started to take itself too seriously. The humor was missing from the show and it had lost that special something that made it stand out from the rest of the detective procedural shows out there.
But thankfully, this season (so far) has done away with the long arc mystery and has gone back to cases of the week, while still telling the story of Castle and Beckett’s relationship as well as what has been going on with the supporting characters. It’s been fun watching them try to hide their new status while one by one, their friends and families started to discover that things had evolved between them. My favorite reaction was Martha’s, when she told her stunned son that she’d known right away that Beckett had been hiding in the closet when she’d come into his room that morning.
The cases in general have been hit and miss, but that seems to be the norm for procedural shows. Sometimes, they’re just not interesting and that’s why “Castle” always had an advantage in my book thanks to the humor and chemistry between the cast. Speaking of, I am relieved that the tension between Ryan and Esposito was resolved fairly quickly and not dragged out too long because their bromance is one of my favorites. I also enjoy Captain Gates and the little glimpses we get at her softer side (How much fun was the storage wars episode where she was captivated by the doll?). Of course, it also never stops being fun to see her give Castle a hard time when she seems bothered by his mere existence.
While Castle and Beckett have had little tiffs, there hasn’t been too much tension between them as they bask in the “honeymoon” phase of their relationship so anyone who has ever watched TV before knows that’s probably going to change sooner, rather than later. I’ll be fine with that, especially if it doesn’t take too long to get past it. Castle and Beckett work best as a team and while it’s normal and expected for them to have their relationship ups and downs, at the end of the day, the show works because of them and their chemistry and there’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken.
Overall, I’d give the first half of the season a solid ‘B’ rating, maybe even a ‘B+’ since my only real complaint is that some of the cases have been a little too boring and/or predictable. My least favorite was actually from the last episode when “Santa” was murdered. It was the perfect case for the show to have fun with and instead, they went a convoluted route filled with twists and turns that weren’t particularly riveting. I immediately forgot everything about the case the second the episode ended or really, about forty minutes into it when I stopped paying attention and just wanted to know whether or not Beckett would end up spending Christmas Eve with Castle (She totally did! And you know that no gift thing is totally going to come back to bite him).
“Castle” returns Monday, Jan. 7 on ABC.