Castle 3.13 “Knockdown” Review

Castle 3.13 “Knockdown” Review

Castle 3.13 “Knockdown” ReviewLast night’s episode, ‘Knockdown’, aired in a very delicate situation. The expectation surrounding this episode was so incredibly high that it wouldn’t have been a surprise if it had disappointed some people. I admit I was terrified that this episode was not going to live up to my expectations after a month and a half of rumors, spoilers and endless speculation. After all, it isn’t unusual to be disappointed with the real thing when you have spent week after week debating exhaustingly about what was going to go down during a pivotal episode.

That said, I am very, very pleased (and relieved!) to say that ‘Knockdown’did not disappoint. In fact, it was so much better than I expected and, trust me, my expectations were sky high. I am very confident when I say that this was, bar none, the very best Castle episode to date.

There was so much going on and things were so intense through the entire hour that I don’t even know where to start. We revisited Beckett’s mom’s murder storyline and, as we got more information on what led to Johanna Beckett’s murder, the more intense the episode became. The conspiracy surrounding her death is so much bigger and more complex than we all expected, which only raised more questions. It felt a little like Lost — answering part of a mystery and creating an even bigger one from it — which I was very happy about because what would be the fun in solving one of the core issues of the show once and for all?

If you think you saw Detective Kate Beckett at her most vulnerable in last season’s ‘Sucker Punch’, you are in for one hell of a ride with ‘Knockdown’. When she is confronted with a possible suspect of ordering the hit on her mother, Kate completely loses that cool, calm demeanor and it was heartbreaking to watch.

Castle 3.13 “Knockdown” ReviewAs she is pulled off the case by Captain Montgomery, Ryan and Esposito are ordered to take the lead on this week’s case — the detective that investigated Johanna Beckett’s murder was killed when he was about to reveal new information to Kate — and they vow to Beckett and themselves to do their very best. They refuse to let their partner down and it was one of my favorite aspects of the episode. We know they are all friends and get along well enough, but this showed that they are truly loyal to one another and will do anything to protect their own. The scene where they refuse to talk to the bad guys and are tortured because of it was a testament to that loyalty and friendship.

As with any other Castle episode, the case they were working on served to shed light on the relationships between the characters. Ryan and Esposito were just the tip of the iceberg. Before we delve into the main relationship of Castle and Beckett, let’s talk for a moment about Castle’s relationship with his mother.

For the past 46 episodes, Martha Rodgers was presented to us as Castle’s eccentric mother. Their family dynamic was more than a little unorthodox, where Alexis mothered Castle and Castle mothered his own mom most of the time. In last night’s episode, however, we finally got to see Martha in a more serious role as a mother. When she questions him, scared for his life, why he keeps coming back to shadow Beckett when he’s got more than enough material to write his books, Castle sheds some light on his true feelings for Beckett. Of course that was great to see and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but what really struck me was that Martha was finally presented as a serious, concerned parent and I really hope we get to see more of that side of hers.

That said, let’s move on to Castle and Beckett.

Castle 3.13 “Knockdown” ReviewThere was so much going on with those two during this episode that it’s hard to choose which points to analyze first. I think the most important thing that was established during ‘Knockdown’is that Kate Beckett trusts Castle. And I mean, really trusts him, which is such a huge progress from season 1 and even from the season 2 finale. As we all know, Beckett was seriously hurt when Castle left for the summer with his ex-wife in tow, and to have her openly admit that he is someone she trusts was a huge step in the right direction for her.

His unwavering support throughout the episode — even after she told him this wasn’t his fight — proved how much the character has grown over the last three seasons. ‘Knockdown’was a prime example of what character development is really all about and The Powers That Be have done an incredible job of showing their progress. There were so many nuances and different layers of their relationship revealed last night, that the most anticipated scene — their first kiss — turned out to be just one amidst many great moments during the episode. In fact, it wasn’t even the best moment in my opinion.

Castle 3.13 “Knockdown” ReviewThe kiss the fans were anxiously waiting to see turned out to be part of a decoy to distract one of the bad guys. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I got the impression that the kiss was not in their plan at all. It looked like Castle caught her off guard and — while they carried it out as part of the plan — it was obvious that they were shaken by it. The second kiss was a lot more intense and, even though it served as a distraction to knock out the guard, it also served to plant that little seed of doubt in Beckett’s mind. Undercover or not, she did kiss him back and with a lot more passion than strictly necessary. Castle’s comment afterwards seems to illustrates exactly what she was feeling, even if he corrects himself and says that what was amazing was the way she took the other guy down.

When he saves her life at the end of the episode and beats up the villain to a bloody pulp, there is so much passion in his actions and that will hardly go amiss in Beckett’s mind. Right there, she got the proof that he is there for her and will do anything to protect her, even if that means risking his own life. That last scene in the ambulance when she is adjusting his bandages was by far the best scene in the episode. In that short moment, they were able to convey such a raw acceptance of each other that will certainly come to play and advance their relationship in future episodes. I don’t know how soon we will get to see some real development in their romantic relationship, but after everything they went through during this episode, I am willing to bet that Kate will start questioning her relationship with Dr. Motorcycle Boy, who was conveniently in Africa saving the world, giving his rival ample opportunity to comfort her. Castle already knows what he wants, but it looks like he is going to be a big boy about it and won’t pressure her. Maybe it’s just my wishful thinking, but I think we are really close to witnessing Beckett’s epiphany about her feelings for her partner.

Now, to conclude this monster of a review, can we please take a moment to talk about how ridiculously awesome Stana Katic was in this episode?

Nathan Fillion is a brilliant actor and the rest of the cast is equally amazing, but what really makes the show tick is Katic’s performance for me. In ‘Knockdown’she was given an amazing opportunity to show her abilities and it wouldn’t surprise me if she received a nomination for her performance. The problem is that not many people seem to recognize that. Like many other actresses in procedural shows, she is sinfully underrated. While there are many talented actresses out there, Stana is in a different league altogether. What I really love about her acting is how subtle she is and that was perfectly showcased in this episode during the interrogation scene. When she shows the suspect the picture of her dead mother and hears the guy taunting her, it is a little hard to watch her reaction. It’s hard because it is so real.

Here is hoping that she will finally get her way overdue recognition.

I wish there was a grade higher than A+ because ‘Knockdown’truly deserves it.

Kudos to the cast and crew. You have made me so proud.

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