I am very confused by the Castle season finale, not gonna lie.
And by "confused" I mean: sort of blindsided, sort of underwhelmed, but not quite invested enough for any sort of extreme emotional reaction.
I mean really, what was that?
"A Deadly Game" was certainly not up to the high standard I was expecting from a major Castle episode. I mean, yeah, the case was pretty cool. Really cool. And one of those situations that Castle can get away with that no other show would be able to touch because of the sheer ridiculousness. We think we're getting a spy thriller and we end up with a pretend spy thriller? Fully awesome, I will admit.
The downside to having that excellent revelation mid-show, though, is that the latter half of the episode seemed totally lackluster in comparison. A letdown, if you will.
To clarify, I am definitely not talking about how Castle and Beckett didn't do the whole Feelings Sharing Thing. Because, while that is sad-making, it is a of the Are-They-Aren't-They-Relationship-A-La-Moonlighting process. Hate to burst your bubble, fanatic shipper kiddies, but it would just not be okay for them to actually make that much emotional progress by the end of the second season. Not if we're expecting Castle to last at least four or five, anyway (which I definitely am). I'm not complaining about the lack of progress in that area...although I will say, those last moments were intensely depressing.
What I am talking about when I say the second half (and really all of the episode not focused on either Alexis or the case) was totally lacking is how everything seemed so excessively cheesy and brooding. There was only a minute amount of plot matter, if you think about it, but all the hemming and hawing and sidelong glances took the whole episode. Think about how long that shot of Castle's empty chair by Beckett's desk was. In a forty minute show, there should not be enough excess time to spend thirty or forty seconds zooming in on an empty chair. The emotional content came across as diluted to me.
For example, Beckett's tiny moments and eventual break-up with Demming? Didn't feel a thing. I like Demming and I liked that relationship so I'm really disappointed it's conclusion didn't get more time (which there certainly was enough of). I'm even more disappointed by the fact that there seemed to be such a lack of emotion on both sides. Maybe the actors were tired, or maybe I just wasn't far enough into the fourth-wall-empathy-zone, but something was missing and its absence was felt in the worst way.
Don't even get me started on Castle and Beckett - no, really. My favorite thing about them as a pair has always been that they're a totally fresh take on this relationship type and that they don't do a whole lot of sighing and brooding. They did it all and then some in this episode and I am sorely disappointed.
The revelation from Castle's writer poker game, that they were focusing too much on the spy game and not on the victim, who was really the important part, is a concept I think can be easily applied to the episode as a whole. "A Deadly Game" focused too much on the case to be an episode about the emotional storyline, and the emotional storyline focused too much on Castle's moping even though the real focus of the episode was What's Beckett Gonna Do? There was too much attention to the things that didn't matter, and not enough on the things that should have - like, for instance, guest stars Mitch Pileggi and Michael Trucco, who were both painfully underused. The latter would have been a phenomenal addition to the emotional plot if he'd had more than thirty cumulative seconds of screen time, and...well, I just really like Mitch Pileggi. But he was a major comedic point in this episode and there was a distinct and uncharacteristic lack of comedy.
Depressed as I already was that Castle is ending for the summer, I am now even more so in light of the second season's finale. Even discounting the sad-making conclusion, it was a real letdown in a lot of ways.
So now I just want new episodes sooner than they'll come to keep my reaction to this one episode from totally polluting my love of the show as a whole.
(This review also posted on my blog at http://meltedbrain.wordpress.com.)