Castle Season 6 Review “Dreamworld”

Castle Season 6 Episode 2 Dreamworld (8)

I was a bit skeptical going into the second part of last week’s “Castle,” after the let-down that was the premiere episode, but I’m happy to say that this was a marked improvement overall, if still not quite the show we signed up for just yet. Yes, I know, in order for a show to continue unabated it needs to grow and flourish and all that, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose what made a show popular in the first place, and the premiere decidedly lost sight of that. In those terms, the second episode wasn’t much better, if I’m being honest, but it was at least a better installment of “Castle 2.0,” as it were.

In “Dreamworld,” we picked up where we left off, with Castle still in dire straits, with only a day and some change to live, after being exposed to some nasty- and deadly- toxic chemicals. Of course, it was a given that they’d find a cure by the end of the episode, or we wouldn’t have a show, as the show is called “Castle” and all. So, in terms of tension, it was only mildly suspenseful, but I will allow that the central mystery was pretty clever, and I didn’t see the twists coming.

Just when it seemed all but guaranteed that the culprit was the Secretary of Defense trying to cover his butt after an operation went south in a very specific way, resulting in the death of an undercover agent, it zigzagged to another suspect, the reporter whose article said SOD quashed in an attempt to cover up his actions. It turned out that that operative was the reporter’s fiancé, and he recognized that his beloved hadn’t been killed by an IED as he was told, but by something else, which he eventually realized was an op gone wrong, as a former military man himself.

I liked that twist, and the way it dovetailed with the fact that Beckett’s own fiancée was likewise in danger, albeit by complete mistake, as he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In other words, by trying to avenge his own late love, he almost took out someone else’s, which had a nice, if tragic, symmetry to it. The reporter’s fake-outs were also clever, as he stole one thing to cover up another, setting up one of the guys he held responsible in the process, and sealing his fate by unleashing the chemical weapon on him. Ditto the fake-out with the SOD and his wife, which everyone also fell for until Castle essentially saved his own life by realizing that the reporter would be more likely to attack the wife, not the SOD.

That said, this was still an “away game,” if you know what I mean, and that meant that, as in the previous episode, our main cast was mostly relegated to the sidelines. We got a few brief scenes with Castle’s fam and Ryan and Esposito, but they were pretty circumstantial and non-essential, save maybe a cute “Wizard of Oz” reference at the end. Although, as with the previous episode, there was a missed joke opportunity, when Castle saw Pi, and was, like: “And you were there, too” in the dream he’d been having. I thought it would have been funnier if he were like: “But you were nowhere to be found, Pi…send me back, for the love of God!” or something like that.

Which is kind of the problem. With this new set-up, the show seems hopelessly off its game. Yes, the main case was intriguing, at least in the second half, but the humor was definitely nonexistent, even more so than in the premiere. I mean, I get that Castle was in danger of dying, but doesn’t seem like it would be pure Castle to wisecrack his way right into the grave? I’m just saying…

The preview for next week’s episode looked much more promising, as it showed the old gang and the new gang colliding, but this time back on home turf, not DC. It will be interesting to see how Beckett’s old co-workers feel about her and the Feds stepping in to highjack their case. My guess is not too happy about it, which should help to bring back some of the chemistry we know and love about the show, in a new way that actually might reap some dividends this time around.

To be honest, I thought for a hot minute that DC was going to fire Beckett when she went after the SOD and he complained, but then she turned that into an advantage when she showed she was only trying to smoke him out as the culprit, which was smart, if a bit career-suicidal. Having her lose her DC job would obviously go a long way towards rectifying the situation, but it would also be a bit sad for Beckett, so maybe they can figure out a way to make it work somehow that I’m not seeing yet. I don’t think they can continue to come up with cases that require the FBI’s involvement in NYC every week. That seems a bit of a stretch.

Anyway, fingers crossed that the old magic will return for next week, and that they find a solution to the DC issue sooner than later. I certainly haven’t given up on the show yet, but I am curious as to how they’re going to resolve everything that’s wrong with it so far in this season. We shall see, I guess.

What did you think of the second episode of “Castle”? Did you like the main mystery? Did you also find the twists pretty clever? How do you think they’re going to take care of the whole long-distance relationship thing between Beckett and Castle, or the fact that there’s essentially two casts working at the same time now? Sound off below in the comments section, and I’ll see you next week!