Castle Season 6 Review “Valkyrie”

Castle Season 6 Episode 1 Valkyrie (3)

Picking up exactly where we left off last season, “Castle” fans got the answer to the question they’d been waiting all summer for, and it was a positive one, as Beckett did indeed accept Castle’s marriage proposal. However, it was not without complications, as Beckett had no intentions on passing up on her big break to join- or at least train to join- the FBI in Washington DC. Thankfully, neither did Castle have any intentions of stopping her, promising her he’d do whatever it took to make it work, even if it meant doing a lot of the long-distance thing.

And therein lies the problem this season as a whole faces. How to propel Beckett’s well-earned big break storyline forward while maintaining some semblance of the show fans have come to love. The premiere episode, “Valkyrie,” worked overtime to make the new plotline work as well, not always successfully- hence the fact that this turned out to be the first half of a two-parter. There was a whole lot going on here on the whole: new characters introduced, a complicated case, jumping back and forth between NYC & DC throughout the episode- no wonder they needed two parts to get it all in.

The question is, was it successful? Not entirely, if I’m being honest. The bits with Ryan and Esposito in particular felt a bit shoe-horned in, as if the show inherently knew fans would be disappointed if they didn’t make at least an appearance. Other characters flitted through, as if in a rush to get somewhere else, such as Castle’s mother and daughter, who barely registered at all.

I felt like we got more time with Alexis’ new annoying “fruitarian” BF, Pi (Myko Oliver) than Alexis herself, for instance, and that will not do, as I love me some Molly Quinn. I also have trouble buying a smart girl like her would date such a slacker doofus, but I’m going to give her (and the writers) the benefit of the doubt for now, as we didn’t get a lot of info in that department.

Instead, most of the episode was devoted to the main case at hand, Beckett’s first big one as a burgeoning FBI agent. We got a fairly nifty fake-out early on in the episode, as Beckett failed a bit of on-site training miserably, getting “shot” in the process. Then we moved into the real case, a theft at a place called Cyber Tech, where a classified military module used to control some of our satellite defenses was stolen and it was up to Beckett and her new team to figure out who did it and why.

The good news was that one member of that team was none other than former “House”-star Lisa Edelstein, as a gruff but slightly forgiving agent in charge of mentoring Beckett. Also cropping up was Yancey Arias, who just so happened to be on an episode of “Bones” earlier that evening. Hmm…if it weren’t a show on another network, I’d wonder if something was afoot there, but I guess he’s just got a good agent.

There was any other number of new faces as well at Beckett’s new FBI home, which was part of the problem. Are we meant to get attached to these new faces, or is it only a temporary situation? I certainly don’t dislike Edelstein under normal circumstances, but if this is what the show is going to be from here on out, that could be a big issue moving forward. I can’t imagine fans of the show would want their usual cast of characters brushed off to the sidelines, nor would I want to see them forced into storylines in a way that doesn’t really make sense.

Here, it sort of did, as Castle, longing to do the Castle thing with Beckett, snuck off behind her back and investigated the case she was working on, going to Ryan and Esposito for assistance on the down low. But you can imagine that whole approach getting old fast. What, is Castle going to keep nosing into Beckett’s cases every week, and calling them for assistance every time? That seems a bit dubious. And the back-and-forth between DC and NYC could also get stale quickly.

That said, there were things I did like. We got Castle and Beckett’s full names, a bit of amusement with a stand-up Castle cardboard cut-out, Castle getting arrested (twice!), a decent cliffhanger (even if it’s not fooling anyone), and one great line, spoken by Castle the second time he was arrested to Beckett: “Are you going to water board me? Because that would seriously affect our relationship.” (Points off for not saying that would seriously put a damper on our relationship, but still…)

So, here’s what we’re going to do. On the plus side, Castle/Beckett Shippers got their dream fulfilled by the two getting engaged. That’s all fine and dandy. I’ve got no problem with that, as the whole “will they or won’t they” thing can also get stale if you string people along too much. However, the other stuff going on here better sort itself out quick or I predict fans are not going to be happy and they are going to bail in droves. As happy as I’m sure many were to see Castle and Beckett get engaged, they could not have been happy about all this other stuff, as it completely shifted the dynamic of the show and not in a good way…so far, at least.

If, on the other hand, the show has a method to their madness- and I’m inclined to think they do- then I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Maybe it’s just going to take a few episodes to sort everything out and once they do, it’ll all go back to being the show we fans all know and love.

Until then, we’ve got a problem, because this Frankenstein-like hybrid show is weird and scary, and I can’t imagine most fans liking that at all. Fans can be fickle, after all. They giveth and they taketh away. Hopefully, “Castle” can get it together and fast…otherwise, there may not be a show for much longer. (Can you say “jump the shark”?)

What did you think of the premiere? Did you like the direction the show seems to be headed in, or can it not change back faster for your tastes? (Hey, if you liked it, that’s just fine- I’m perfectly willing to hear an alternative viewpoint.) What did you think of all the new characters? How about the way the show used the core cast? Negative or positive, by all means sound off below and let me know what you think in the comments section!