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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Castle "Kill Shot": AKA: Castle's "Emmy Episode"

Every so often an established show does what I like to call "the Emmy Episode", the episode where you just know the writers/director thought, "This is the episode that will get [insert actor here] nominated for their Emmy."

You notice it most in Law & Order: SVU. Next time you are watching one of the inevitable SVU marathons think about that while either a Stabler or Benson-centric episode is on. My personal favorite is the one where Olivia goes undercover in the woman's prison and almost gets raped by one of the guards, but I digress.

Last night was, from what I can remember at least, Castle's first "Emmy Episode." The tone was drastically different from the usually lighthearted flair Castle puts forth. That's not to say that was a bad thing, "Kill Shot" was a powerful, and beautifully done episode.

 Kate was finally forced to deal with the trauma of her shooting when the gang comes up against a sniper. Now, Castle's writers could have taken the easier route and glossed over Kate's trauma in the first episode or two, but thankfully they didn't. Instead they brought Kate back, seemingly fine until she gets knocked off kilter by being up against the same type of killer who attempted to end her life. The result was a powerful and meaningful hour of television.

The entire episode was shot differently than any other episode, and the overall effects of this were gut wrenching and stunning at the same time. The shots showing Beckett's heightened senses and the complete chaos going through her due to her PTSD, were the perfect, terrifying glimpse into what she was experiencing. The scene where she freaked out while home alone in her apartment and ends up accidentally cutting herself and ending up a terrified ball in the corner, gun drawn, was electrifying. In those short moments, we saw Beckett show more fear than in the entire almost four seasons, thus far.

It's important to remember that despite being called Castle, the show is just as much Beckett's story as it is Richard's. So it was nice to, at least for this pivotal episode, get a good hard glimpse at the other half of this great dynamic duo.  It was all about Beckett and Stana Katic definitely rose to the occasion. She played the fear, the madness, the fight for control beautifully. It was almost painful to watch her Kate slowly slipping in to madness, clinging so desperately to the idea that she could do this on her own. Which is probably made her scene with Esposito, where he forces her to confront her fears with the actual gun that shot her, all the more powerful. As a former sniper, Esposito was the perfect choice to be the person to help Beckett deal with her situation. Points to Jon Huertas for playing the scene with a powerful, brotherly tough love.

Last night's episode was a complete 180 from the "normal" feel of Castle, which is not a bad thing. It proved that the show has really come into it's own. Not only can it have the episodes like "Heartbreak Hotel" full of hijinks and shenanigans, but also bring on the hard hitting emotions, and both formats are amazingly well done. It was a great and important episode, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to more of the usual banter between this amazing cast...

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