‘Castle’ 4.01 Recap: “You’re a Writer, Not a Cop. Stop Pretending.”

‘Castle’ returned for its fourth season last week. I’d be a lot more excited about that if the show hadn’t written itself into a corner with last season’s finale. As I’ve said a few times before, this series works best when it stays light and breezy, and sticks to its case-of-the-week formula. The heavy “mythology” episodes just don’t work, even though the writers insist on building up that storyline. Considering the way that the last season ended, of course the new premiere episode has to pick up right from that point.

So, Captain Montgomery is dead, and Beckett was shot by a sniper at his funeral. Obviously, she lives. Duh. There’s no suspense in this. Apparently, the sniper missed her heart, which would make him a pretty lousy sniper, I guess. Beckett flatlines in surgery, but the doctors revive her. After laying up for three months, she returns to duty fully-fit and ready to go. Just like in real life, right? I bet she’s even ready to hit the beach in a bikini, with no pesky scars from where the surgeons cracked her chest completely open. Sigh. Whatever, it’s TV.

Naturally, Beckett wants to jump right in and help with the investigation into the shooter. However, new by-the-book Captain Victoria “Iron” Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald, famous as the notorious Sheri Palmer in ’24’) orders her to stand down. With no leads for the past three months, the case has been sidelined, and Gates wouldn’t let Beckett touch it even if it was still active. Obviously, that’s not going to stop her.

The other thing Gates did was boot Castle out of the police department. She wants none of his shenanigans. He also hasn’t had any contact with Beckett for a few months. After reviving, she told him that she didn’t remember anything about the shooting (such as the bit where he told her that he loves her). She asked him for space, and now there’s some weirdness between them. By the end of the episode, she’ll admit to her therapist (Michael Dorn from ‘Star Trek’) that she in fact does remember everything.

Eventually, Beckett and Castle make up, and Castle uses his sway with the mayor to get back into the police department (which makes Gates very cranky). For her first new case, Beckett has to investigate the murder of a socialite. All signs point to the girl’s rocker boyfriend, but it was really one of his bandmates. The details of the case are inconsequential, except that Beckett freezes and loses her nerve when a gun is pointed at her. Later, she faces the same situation and Castle helps her reclaim control.

Overall, meh. The episode does what it needs to do, which is pick up the pieces from the mess of this storyline and put them back where they started. Beyond that, I have trouble caring. Fortunately, the preview for the next episode looks like the show will try to get back to being fun again.

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