Castle Season 6 Review “Like Father, Like Daughter”

Castle Season 6 Episode 7 Like Father, Like Daughter (4)

You know, there are times it feels like “Castle” is course-correcting in real time, according to the fans’ whims. Of course, that’s impossible, as shows are made well in advance of their air time, with only perhaps something like “South Park” being made anywhere close to its actual air date, and as an animated show, they are the exception, not the rule. One could make the argument that the show-runners on “Castle” anticipated every complaint people might have before they had it and planned everything in such a way that nothing would happen plot-wise that wouldn’t overstay its welcome, but that seems a bit hard to believe and incongruous at best.

And yet, if you go back and look at the various comments people have made here on this site and elsewhere, it’s kind of uncanny. Sure, the DC thing went on a bit longer than it should have, but it was addressed and jettisoned pretty quick, all things considered. No sooner did that get dealt with than the show started taking steps to get everyone back where they belonged, with everyone in the main cast back working together and all the proper ducks in a row, exactly where they should be. I guess that means Pi isn’t long for the show, then, for which we can all be grateful. (Or let’s hope that is the case.)

Whatever the case may be, the final piece of the puzzle was the oddly fractured current relationship between Castle and his daughter, which has seemed off-kilter all season. Tonight’s episode, “Like Father, Like Daughter” thankfully addressed and took care of that, and though a bit predictable and heavy-handed at times, it was a welcome development on the whole. Here was the Alexis we all know and love: smart, headstrong, firm in her beliefs, and determined to set things right at all costs.

The case itself was a bit of a no-brainer to a certain degree. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the main suspect on death row was innocent, and even when they threw the curveball of his brother being potentially guilty, I still had a feeling I knew who the real culprit was all along. It’s kind of crime procedural 101: if the show takes the time to introduce a character under slightly off circumstances, they were probably in on it. Such was the case with that cop that approached Alexis in the restaurant- I knew immediately, cop or not, they probably had something to do with it somehow, and I wasn’t wrong.

That said, when you get down to it, really it was just an excuse to get father and daughter bonding again after the unnecessary falling out they had over the Pi situation, which, let’s face it, was really just a father being protective of his little girl. Some have speculated that all teens rebel in some form or fashion, and that’s absolutely true, but this was always a bit contrived as far as I was concerned. Under the circumstances, considering that Alexis just sprung Pi on her father out of nowhere, I thought, if anything, he was exceptionally understanding. As for his wisecracks, Alexis should know by now that it’s just her father’s way- it’s nothing personal.

Besides, I’m not even sure Pi noticed, which is exactly the problem. There’s rebellion and there’s out of character, and Pi just seems like a bad match for Alexis, plain and simple. I think that’s why Castle is reacting the way he is, but really, it just doesn’t make sense overall, which is more of a writer problem. I thought from the preview last week that this was going to be behind us this week, but Pi wasn’t even in this episode, and oddly, never even brought up, which you would think would be the case since it was the point of contention between them in the first place.

Once again, that’s a writing issue. The show has just been off its game all season, and though some of the more recent episodes have been fun, it’s more of a plotting issue than anything. I get that the writers want to shake things up a little bit and play with the characters, and that makes perfect sense for a show that’s been on as long as this one. If you don’t move forward, you get stagnant, and no one wants that to happen to a show they like.

At the same time, you don’t want to shake things up too much or you risk losing viewers, and I’m afraid “Castle” may have already done that this season, which is too bad, because I still want to like the show, and still do like the characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not implying that it’s all Pi’s fault. One sucky character isn’t necessarily enough to sink a show- although it has certainly been known to happen: witness the habit some shows (i.e. “The Cosby Show”) have of inserting a younger character to “mix things up”- that rarely works, and usually just ticks people off.

Instead, I think it really comes down to a gambit that just didn’t work from the jump. People have long since wanted Castle and Beckett to get together, yet what should have been a key moment on the show was tossed off in a cavalier manner that really upset longtime fans, then the show proceeded to completely upend what everyone liked about it, seemingly from top to bottom.

I’m all for trying something different, but it just didn’t work, and the fact that the show has gone back to “normal” shows it for the failed experiment it was. The really unfortunate thing is that it might be too late to go back to normal after all this- the “off” nature of more recent episodes makes it seem like “Castle” has forgotten how to be “Castle” anymore, which is too bad.

I’m glad Castle and Alexis have mended fences, and I’m glad that she reached out to Beckett the way she did, but the way the show handled it all was more than a little heavy-handed, and, as with the Beckett proposal, we were denied the scene many wanted to see played out in a certain way: Alexis and Beckett bonding wasn’t even really shown. That’s really unfortunate, because it could have been a memorable scene.

I’m going to give this one a pass overall, because at least it took care of yet another piece of the puzzle that needed fixing. But that doesn’t change the fact that all of this could have been avoided in the first place if the show hadn’t gone so far off the rails. Hopefully, now that most of this is behind us, “Castle” can get back to some semblance of normality. If anyone is still watching, that is.