6x01-6x02: thoroughly summarized here and here. I maintain that, proposal and medical/panic scenes aside, this is the worst torture since that slog near the end of season 4. Even Beckett's hair and wardrobe were sad and dull.
6x03, Need to Know: Adorable wake-up scene (via phone screen, but I'm sure Tumblr has already spiffed and giffed it up, I just can't find where). It was also super cute to see them working the case together from different departments. Their smiles lit up the room like kids from different grades getting to go on a school field trip together. I also applaud the creativity of getting them to work together.
And in non-Caskett news, I loved Ryan's fanboying over the terrible, terrible 90s show almost as much as I loved Esposito ribbing him about it. ("You know what I don't get?" / "You're wearing that hat. There's a lot you don't get.") I also like poor hapless Sully -- p.s. from the future, whatever happened to him?! -- and loved them trying to "turn" Castle to prove he was more loyal to the precinct than lady loins.
SIDE NOTE: in addition to a hilarious extended scene from the terrible 90s show, they have somehow found a way to do "character commentary" on this episode from Ryan and Esposito. I don't know how they are pulling this off, even as I listen to it, and I don't care. CHARACTER TIDBITS!!! Such as, for example, cracking wise about where Sully went. "He didn't get transferred, he's still around... they moved his desk. I think he's taking a lot of sick days." I love how much in-character stuff they do with these two. The only other show I've seen where actors are this attached to their characters is Glee, and by "Glee" I mean "Darren Criss."
But holy hell, as if to cement how terrible this arc was, I hate that the FBI fired her. I wanted her to decide on her own that the constraints of the job were limiting and stupid. I would even have allowed two or three more episodes with the promise of a D.C. apartment. Alexis deserves to lose her father's proximity for at least twice as long as she makes him deal with Piebrain.
6x04, Number One Fan: EXCELLENT MORNING SCENE.
Beckett: What am I going to do, just sleep in every morning and screw around until the phone rings? What kind of life is that?
Castle: I just mean that, you're with me now. You don't have to work. (Danger, Will Robinson!)
Beckett: "I don't need to WORK?" Does that mean you're my...sugar daddy?
Castle: Oh...hold on, that didn't come out the...actually, I'm still sleep talking. I can't really be held responsible for what I say.
AND ALSO, THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE APARTMENT BARGING INTO THE BEDROOM TO DISCUSS VARIOUS MORNING EVENTS. Almost worth suffering through Piebrain's existence, but not quite. Also, Alexis is super pretty in her fitted red top and matching patterned skirt and dual-layer necklace and perfect hair and bracelet and rings.
I continue to find it adorable how sweet and supportive Gates has been of Beckett's every move so far, including pulling strings to let her help on the case, Castle-style, until she can unsubtly nudge people into getting her re-hired. Gates is the best. Plus, how cute was the entire precinct clapping for her return at the end? SO CUTE.
...then I think there was something about a crazy fan holding people hostage until she could get Castle himself to come talk to her/prove she was being framed. I am constantly forgetting that part, even though I liked it.
6x05, Time Will Tell: I love the rare sighting of Castle's "mad at Alexis" face, but I have to tell you I'm approaching aneurism levels of fury at Alexis's continued stupidity. "I have to find out for myself" is the worst excuse to be a dumb young adult ever and anyone who says it deserves to be slapped very hard across the face. No one should do anything ever if the outcome is not certain and it carries risk! It's a good thing Castle is not as vindictive as me, because I would have readily risked being cut out of her life forever to tell her she's free to go find out what happens, but she can't come back to her old room when they break up. And p.s. good luck paying for college next year.
Otherwise, holy hell did I love the completely plausible story of the time-traveler and the fact that they let it stay completely plausible, especially in light of the tidbits about Caskett's future. I appreciate that they offered one explanation, but that the evidence was circumstantial and undermined by the ending. (HOW GREAT WAS HER SPILLING HER COFFEE ON THE LETTER, SERIOUSLY) I mean, not that I'm excited for the Energy Wars, but the rest... JUST SO GREAT. I even found a way to not hate that actor's face!
6x06, Get a Clue: for the LOVE OF GOD please tell me his daughter and Pi break up before the end of season 6; I don't know how much more of this I can handle and it's making want to go back to the Alexis-gets-kidnapped episode and envision an alternate ending in which she dies. I would legit rather have that than continue to suffer through her intolerable stupidity. I actually had to walk away from the show/computer at least 5 times during these episodes before I went on ill-advised blog rants about listening to your parents and how not to choose an idiot boyfriend and why there should be a probationary/trial period for adulthood before you unlock full privileges.
Which is a shame, because the plot of this episode was amazing! Once you push past the awful boyfriend nonsense, it's a super-engaging Da Vinci Code mystery. And then there was a bonus swordfight, which can best be described by my instant favorite new reviewer/recapper, theopratt at tv.com:
As it turns out, Castle is a master swordsman, and he straight up dueled the steel out of that nameless guy. It was awesome. I don't know about you, but I can't wait until the pirate episode that they have to make now, in which Castle wakes up on a ship in the middle of the ocean and has to swash-buckle his way out of there. Make it happen, Castle.
The Indiana Jones style secret entrance to the treasure tomb -- got a heady dose of Sleepy Hollow in there too, it looks like -- was especially epic. What a great episode!
Except then the last scene happened and it had me spitting pure tacks, not least because I don't want to hear that Alexis found out he was engaged via phone call from Grandma (what is wrong with you, Rick), but also why is it such a bone of contention with her that Beckett and Castle are together?! Alexis is already moving out. She's known Beckett for years. She knows how close they are. All prior evidence indicates that she and Beckett have been friendly throughout the series. She's survived much more terrible girlfriends and at least one dumb stepmom. Why wouldn't she be happy that they're together? Why wouldn't you write it that way? WHAT ARE YOU DOING.
Besides, I have checked the internet, okay, and literally every person in the universe was a united force against Pi. At one point he was voted the Most Hated Character on TV. I don't think it's even possible to screw up worse without introducing cheating. I'm trying to at least appreciate Alexis' darling taste in interior decorating and how much I would love this sort of set tour if it were her first apartment alone or with a roommate, but it's just not working.
6x07, Like Father, Like Daughter: Another very excellent episode. I still needed a huge cool-down period to watch because I didn't want to see them like this, and it mightily hurt my heart to have Alexis snarking about this not being a road trip (awww, daughter!), but the cold case itself was fascinating. It was wonderful to see Alexis as a mature young woman with a passionate drive for justice. I liked Castle trying to delicately balance the line between supporting her and trying to cushion a probable truth she doesn't want to hear. I also really liked him approacing the house with a tire iron, ready to bash heads if she doesn't come out in the next 2 minutes. Plus it's always fun when they butt heads with the locally incompetent police departments.
And while it's not enough, I appreciated Beckett worrying that Alexis has come to everyone but her for help (seriously, show, why are you squandering the duo with potentially the third most chemistry, and I'm eclipsing Ryan/Esposito here), and the ending hug. Yay? I wish we could have heard their dialogue. Look how happy Kate looks! P.S. NO PIEBRAIN. AND they briefly talked about the wedding. Adorably.
Beckett: If you don't want to look at wedding venues this weekend, then just say so.
Castle: I don't want to look at wedding venues this weekend.
Beckett: Too bad.
6x08, A Murder is Forever: The main plotline was neat, but I really enjoyed the battle lines over the lion picture. Which tbh I only noticed thanks to the set tour on the season 5 DVDs, but now that I've been informed I am all NO YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY. Beckett, it's a lion. And he's named it. If your fiance is using animal decor in any manner that isn't hides/heads, that's a gift!
Beckett: There's been a murder.
Castle: Yeah, of Linus' feelings.
But I actually liked their conversations about it, especially Kate cheerfully thwarting Castle's attempt to prove a point with her white desk elephants. Not to mention that I always welcome Kate's casual sleepwear. And the ending compromise was very sweet, even if the framed shells are hella uglier than Linus.
6x09, Disciple: HOLY COW WAY TO BRING 3XK BACK INTO THE FOLD IN THE CREEPIEST/MOST CHILLING WAY. Also, because I am terrible, it took two bodies before I realized I had seen work like this before, and it took Castle spelling it out for me to think "3XK." But it took zero seconds for my jaw to drop in delight and be hooked on this ride from start to finish. (The fake Javier body was especially creepy. It's going to take a lot of months before I stop seeing those clouded eyes.) Sometimes being unspoiled/not even reading episodes synopse works in your favor.
- Beckett and Castle arguing about where to honeymoon, due to the former's apparently ambitious desire to go somewhere he hasn't previously honeymooned, vacationed with, or married an ex-wife. Albania and Finland! Wait, I thought New Zealand was on that list...
- Lanie's tattoo and how we used it to shine some light on her quasi-non-exclusive hookup arrangement with Esposito
- Ryan insisting on the Partners Sharing Feelings hour
- I like Annie Wersching most days, but she really knocked it out of the park with this character. I want 8 more episodes.
- The slow, scary-masterful reveal of just how far Dr. Nieman is involved (prison doctoring!), including the gut-punching part where not only have all the files and tissue samples from 3XK cases been stolen, files in 26 other active cases are gone too. Wow. Just wow.
- ARRIVING AT THE EMPTY MEDICAL BUILDING TO FIND A TAUNTING NOTE AND A CONDESCENDING PEN
- THAT LAST SCENE WITH A CREEPY TAUNTING SONG ON A HIDDEN FLASH DRIVE
The direction and cinematography in this episode was fantastic. I loved the cool tones at the precinct, highlighted with spots of red. In the beginning, the blue and green fogs of the dock, with hints of red in the distance. The precincts blue and gray tones, contrasted with Castle and Beckett’s matching red outfits. Even at Doctor Nieman’s office, there is a neutral white/tan/gray/black tonal quality to her office, but she has red hair. Really great visual choices that helped me connect even more with an already great episode.I actually watched this a second time in between finding the above and finishing this review, and without even looking for it I noticed that too -- there were scenes where it was almost like a hand-colored black and white photo, where only certain parts were colored in.
Castle: Seriously, amazing "potential?"
Dr. Nieman: And I would love to help you realize it.
Castle: Seems like just yesterday this was a thriving medical practice. Oh wait - that was yesterday.
Esposito: Dude. We're having a moment.
6x10, The Good, The Bad, and the Baby: Oh! Now I get why "Cosmo" showed up in the latest Castle book. That said, new rule, next year I don't read the new book until after I finish the season. It's a lot more fun to pick up references in text than it is to spot them in reverse. Plot-wise, I thought they telegraphed the lottery angle a little too hard. And by "a little" I mean "throwing lottery balls at the screen would have been more subtle." (although I did laugh super ridiculously hard at Ryan slowly, thoughtfully choosing numbers while Esposito zooms past the window in pursuit of their suspect in the background) But that's okay, because the real plot in this episode was the live-action baby!fic.
And it was fantastic. Or, well, mostly fantastic. I am a stubborn old curmudgeon who will fight the idea of them having their own kids with my dying breath, so I was appropriately mudgeonly about how freely they were talking about "when we have one of our own" like they'd either already discussed it or both just automatically assume it's a future step for them. BUT, I also found it super hard to fight Richard Castle, Baby Whisperer. His attractiveness went up at least 8 clicks every time he smiled at that thing.
And Kate, I'm just throwing it out there, if a man like that is willing and able to assume he'll have to do most of the actual baby-caring, EXPLOIT THAT. Don't say silly things about how there is "no way" you will let him take care of your baby on his own when the time comes; that is the silliest thing I've ever heard; who would say such a thing? Do not make me drum up post-partum depression fic to setlle my nerves, because I'll do it. I'll do it reeeeeal good. (actually I will do it terribly, but it's not an empty threat)
BUT, before all that, that 2-minute scene at home with the baby was amazing -- everything from Kate's casual magazing-reading indifference to the crying child to her laughing at his ruined shirt to her "I would rather be holding a grenade" expression while holding him at arm's length to her hiding behind Castle while he deals with gross body fluids and looking very pleased with herself for helping, i.e. handing him things. I also quite enjoyed the "Not on the rug. Not on the chair. Hold him or he'll roll off." (her panicked look at that point was pure gold) And let's face it, having just witnessed such expert baby handling, I too would be so flooded with love hormones that I would temporarily forget my aversion to babies and cuddle one that happened to be in my arms, feeling kind of like a puppy.
I also laughed at Alexis coming back home with "How long have I been gone?", and super-duper loved their matching zombie expressions as they stagger into the precinct the next morning ("Coffee's not even helping"), and Ryan's attempt to mock them quickly shut down with "You see this face? This is your future."
I did not love the extreme embarrassment of her showing up in costume at episode's end. Fool, show up dressed to the nines and bring a spare costume to change into if it turns out to be true. Making Castle wear a pilgrim outfit was not enough to make up for the humiliation of being on the receiving end of Martha's expression. It was nice to see them have a Thanksgiving episode*, I just wanted it to be a little better. I even would have taken a "things you're thankful for" speech.
*especially when I inadvertently watched this episode for the second time on Thanksgiving!
Other Things I Liked
-Esposito's pep talk on Ryan being ready: no one's ready, but he cares, and that already makes him a hundred times better than Esposito Sr. Aww.
-Castle's "don't look at her, come on," urging to the cop who's throwing his hands up in the air while Castle drags him off to buy baby supplies. I applaud that extra's non-verbal acting skills.
-Gates getting all gushy over the baby
-Lainie updating them on the case in person so she has an excuse to gush over the baby. Namely, delivering the case updates in baby talk with her attention focused on Lil' Cosmo. Speaking of which, the spae-themed outfit Castle bought for him was super-cute.
-The way Castle's face lit up upon the prospect of taking Cosmo home for the night, begging Beckett for permission.
-I want to mention Beckett casually ignoring the crying baby again, because that was so fantastic/after my own heart it deserves two mentions. Which reminds me, she lives a sheltered life if she thinks no one "hates" babies. Many people hate babies, in the way that they hate slugs and hornets.
Castle, to Cosmo: That is a grown-up lying. Get used to it.
Castle: I can't believe you don't want to hold the baby. Everyone wants to hold the baby!
Esposito: I don't wanna hold that baby.
Castle: Do you also hate rainbows?