Season 8, Episode 1
Air Date: Monday, September 21, 2015 at 10/9c on ABC
Now in its eighth season, Castle comes thundering back, beginning part one of the two part season premiere with “Kings,” a hypnotic tune by Tribe Society. The writers have infused a more mature approach to this season opener and by the end, you’ll be saying, “This ain’t your mama’s Castle.” “XY” encompasses a mixed bag of everything fans love about a Castle episode – intrigue, humor, and heart – but the dramatic aspect of this episode really captivated, or dare I say, surprised me. I had no idea what to expect coming into season eight but if this is the new direction of Castle, I like it…a lot!
Last season, fans were hanging on the edge of their seats waiting to find out whether Castle had been renewed. Even series creator/executive producer Andrew W. Marlowe wasn’t sure and planned a season finale that could double as a series finale. Thankfully, the powers that be decided to give Castle’s fans at least one more season; let’s just hope it’s not the last. But with any long running series, there will come a point when we must say goodbye. Shh…don’t talk about it.
The drama is ramped up big time in “XY,” and the action is pulse pounding. Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) are called to a triple homicide and when they are unable to get a hold of their new captain, Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), they call Castle (Nathan Fillion). Things take a strange turn when Castle finds the beautiful diamond bracelet he gave Beckett earlier that morning now drenched in blood at the crime scene; Castle knows something is terribly wrong. Where is Beckett?
There is more running, bullets flying, and door kicking than you can shake a stick at. I absolutely love the way the camera follows Ryan and Esposito as they run into an apartment to look for a potential suspect. The plot thickens as Castle begins to uncover more clues as to Beckett’s whereabouts and what she may be up to. As I mentioned in my review of last season’s finale “Hollander’s Woods,” the murder of Beckett’s mother and disgraced former Senator Bracken (Jack Coleman) plot points could be revisited in season eight. Let’s just say, I was on the right track.
There is also a new player in “XY,” though it’s not clear if Hayley (Toks Olagundoye), a beautiful former British police officer, will stick around longer than the two part season premiere. So far, I’m totally digging her character and would love to see her stay. And she seems to know a bit about what’s happening with the homicide case involving Beckett.
Similar to what Beckett went through with Castle’s disappearance last season, the tables are now turned in “XY” as Beckett is the one who’s got something to hide. Without giving too much away, Beckett keeps Castle in the dark about what she’s doing, but as more people come after her, she needs to figure out her next move before someone else gets killed.
Aside from the mystery surrounding Beckett, Castle’s P.I. agency gets a new look and a new associate in the form of his lovely daughter Alexis (Molly C. Quinn). I’m thrilled that the writers have given Alexis something meaningful to do. She’s been a part of her father’s involvement with the NYPD for so long and even worked with medical examiner Lanie (Tamala Jones), so it’s no surprise Alexis has a penchant for detective work. She’s quite good too. As an aside, I must say the remodel of Castle’s office is outstanding, very modern with a few secret twists.
I think Castle may need to get self-defense lessons this season. He keeps getting his ass handed to him by women. But Castle holds his own and in one scene where, after being tortured with spiders, he does his best tackle and bulldozes a mysterious assassin named Susan (Daisy Betts) and her male cohort Brooks (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) in one fell swoop. This scene with the bag full of spiders gave me the heebie-jeebies. Fillion does an amazing job of displaying disgust, panic, and fear during this scene. His frustration and anxiety fuel his attempts to free himself from the zip-ties his wrists are bound with. After all the years of working with the NYPD, you would think he’d have picked up some moves or at least learned to look behind him as he tries to escape.
I’m excited for this season of Castle. If the writers and directors keep this dramatic momentum, it will be an intriguing season to say the least. I love the humor and sarcasm of Castle but it’s time to ramp up the drama and this is a great start! I’m beyond anxious to see what happens next week in part two. Who is the mystery man with Beckett? Why is she on the run? And who does Hayley really work for?
What did you think of “XY?” Leave me a comment below and/or tweet me @judybopp.
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Photos ©2015 American Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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