‘Castle’ Season 6 Premiere Review: For Better or Worse

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Castle Season 6 episode 1 Beckett Castle Castle Season 6 Premiere Review: For Better or Worse

As Castle decided to defy convention at the end of last May by having Castle (Nathan Fillion) pop the big question to Beckett (Stana Katic) – which provided a more “fluffy” finale than previous seasons – it only makes sense that the Season 6 premiere feels more like the sort of cliffhanger one might expect midseaon or in a finale. That’s not to say that it’s a bad episode (it’s not), but it does feel different.

Then again, that might be the point, because while “Valkyrie” may pick up mere seconds after the finale left off, a paradigm shift of epic proportions is about to unfold. Shift number one is announced by a bumbling Beckett who was expecting a breakup speech and got a marriage proposal instead. The banter between the two is pitch perfect, building to the crescendo where she spills the beans about her intentions to take the job in D.C., followed by his reassurance that he’s not going to stand in her way, but by her side.

The whole “willing to work things out with you for the rest of our lives speech” is super sappy and the comment about her fingers being remarkably small is a bit odd, but after all’s said and done, shift number two has taken place and they’re engaged. This is also where the episode ceases to feel like a season opener, because all of a sudden we’re dropped two months into the future where Becket is  adjusting to being low agent on the totem pole and Castle is back in New York after a West Coast book tour. She’s floundering in the training exercises, while he flounders with Alexis’ (Molly Quinn) early return from Costa Rica and the boy she brought back with her.

Castle Season 6 episode 1 Beckett McCord Castle Season 6 Premiere Review: For Better or Worse

One of the other factors that makes this feel like a different sort of episode is how little the main cast is in it. Oh, sure, the plot still centers on Castle and Beckett and they get plenty of screen time, but there is a distance between them that we’re meant to feel. Back at home in New York, the new boyfriend gets more time with Castle than Alexis or Martha (Susan Sullivan) and both Lanie (Tamala Jones) and Captain Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) get a bye week. Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) do get a few scenes, but they feel more like cameos than anything else.

Instead of the old familiar faces, the audience gets a crash course in all of the key people Beckett has been interacting with in DC over the past two months. Gates has been replaced with boss Carl Villante (Yancey Arias). Ryan and Espo are melded into one Agent Hendrix (Jocko Sims). And Richmond (Peter James Smith) is the token computer genius, whose main job is to uncover key plot points and move things forward.

The only new kid on the block who feels like something more substantive than Castle’s cardboard standee is Beckett’s new partner, Rachel McCord, embodied by the lovely and talented Lisa Edelstein. Known best for her role alongside Hugh Laurie in Fox’s House, Edelstein slips into the role of female government agent like a hand in a glove. She and Katic play well off one another, as do she and Fillion. She offers one of the few strong arguments for Beckett to stay and play with her new friends in DC for just a little longer.

Castle Season 6 episode 1 Explosion Castle Season 6 Premiere Review: For Better or Worse

On the other hand, though the faces are all new and fairly bland, the case that Castle and Beckett are swept up into is anything but. Government secrets and intrigue and the bad guys sneaking out of sewer pipes seem to be favorite beats of Andrew Marlowe’s, but that doesn’t preclude them from being well-written time after time. The opening action sequence feels real and full of tension, so much so that even though you know Beckett isn’t dead, it isn’t blatantly obvious that you are viewing a training exercise. Castle’s abduction and the car crash pictured above are also well-written and executed.

And the main case plot is equally riveting. Nowhere until the end is it hinted that the whole case they’re building is a set-up, meant to conceal something larger and more sinister beneath. In fact, the closing seconds reveal that the episode itself is little more than a set-up.

The two words that Castle’s abductor whispers to him (“Valkyrie” and “Dreamworld”) are the titles to this episode and next week’s, while the phrase “Need To Know” – which Castle and Beckett use extensively – will set up episode 3. Add that to the reveal that Castle has only 24 hours to live and there should be more than enough to entice anyone back for more with the hope that all of this will eventually set the tone and trajectory for the rest of the season as well.


Castle returns next Monday with “Dreamworld” @10pm on ABC.

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  1. Nope. I’m Not Watching Castle Next week OR the Week After. Last Night’s episode was garbage. If I wanted a Show about the FBI, I’d watch BONES.(which I do, Actually) I don’t like PI or McCord. I took INSTANT dislike to both characters right away. I’m not saying I’m never watching Castle again, Just not going to watch the BORING D.C. episodes is all.

  2. I loved it. I wish Kate would stay in DC longer. I think McCord is a great addition. Her scenes with Beckett were the best part of the episode.

  3. I’m a big Castle fan, but was disappointed with last nights episode. I love that Kate said “yes”, but after that, not so much. It felt like a different writer with less of the brilliant banter I’m used to. Espo and Ryan had like, token roles or something, and I don’t find the whole Pi scenario believable based on what we’ve come to know about Alexis’ character. Really feels like a completely different show that I’m not sure I want to watch. Bummer

    • I think Alexis’ story arc has been headed that direction for the past two seasons, just on a much longer, slower curve. She doesn’t really serve a purpose anymore, unfortunately, and the writers seem at odds with what to do with the character given she’s an obvious staple in Castle’s life yet not necessary to the show since Castle and Beckett became a couple.

  4. While I didn’t find the episode “riveting” it was still fun. The shift to a new city with a new supporting cast wasn’t so far removed from the pilot episode. The show has always been about the Castle/Beckett dynamic, we’ve just been allowed to watch the ensemble grow for five seasons. With the exception of Susan Sullivan (a scene-stealer) every supporting player in the pilot was just as flat as the DC cast was in this episode.

    The proposal scene was well done but it was disappointing to then watch Castle ignore/disrespect Beckett’s multiple requests for him to not get involved in the case she was working for fear that it could endanger her career. His tendencies for selfish and immature behavior make it frustrating to see him turn around and criticize Beckett’s decisions as though she’s the one who’s going to jeopardize the relationship. If nothing else, the episode showed that Beckett’s grown (by moving away) and Castle is still a big kid (for better or worse). That said, I still look forward to seeing where this season goes and hope we’ll get to see the return of some of the series’ former government agent guest stars while Beckett’s in DC.

    • but castle admitted to espo/ryan that he didnt exactly know why he did those things and also maybe he did them bcz it would make him feel to be “them” again.

      • He has the capacity to not do it and has shown that side of him several times. It’s a shame when the writers revert him back to “Big Rick” status.

  5. I was not very impressed with last nights episode. I think it was a big mistake to move the show from NY to the DC context. I’m no longer as interested after all the changes. The writers need to back up and take a long look as I predict this will be the last season of the show if it is going in the direction it appears to be going in.

  6. Most underwhelmed by Castle’s Fall 2013 first episode. Understand there are new writers to the team, but change for the sake of change and shock value is a rookie move and misplaced on an outstanding show and cast. Suggest the writers review the touch, tone, content and quality of writing that built Castle and align themselves accordingly. Stick with the cornerstone quality actors and character(s) that have been developed, valued and watched for five years. The FBI added cast lacked gravitas to carry the roles and add value.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve said elsewhere that the writers need to rewatch seasons 1&2 to see the Castle character we loved. He was not a bumbling buffoon, but an intelligent, insightful man, just lacking some restraint. And talk about rookie moves, the whole DOA 24 hours to live cliche? There’s also the lack of coherent storytelling. A chemical weapon the military deemed too dangerous to use, but it takes more than a day to kill someone? I’m pretty sure the military has ways of killing people more quickly than that. The whole idea is just another artificial attempt to generate angst, just like the frankly silly job in DC detour.

  7. I don think the FBI thing lasts more than 3 episodes .
    As for this being the last season ,
    A lot of people said that last year .
    I like last nights episode but, I look forward to the team being back together .

    • +1

  8. castle is back just waiting for the British release of last season as its something me and the wife love watching together

  9. I guess I’m in the minority here, I loved the episode. i feel this show needed the change of pace, and by breaking up the team for a few episodes adds a certain element for the rest of the season, no it wasn’t a typical castle episode but again that’s why i liked it. keeps things fresh. I will say parts of it were too much most notably, why does every TV show make every federal agency the CIA. i’m tired of seeing face recognition, smart boards, and dudes with glasses typing away, its a cheap ploy in my mind.

    • You are not thé only one it is a very good épisode and I Can tell You That thé French people who had thé opportunity to Watch it thé Walkyrie episode found it fun caskett and looking for next week

    • It was a great season opener! I think this season may focus on crime and villians, but also explore some pretty important emotional space with all the characters. But none more important then Caskett. Ryan’s babies birth is going to open up a conversation between Beckett and Castle… will Castle’s dad influence what Beckett discovers is important would be an interesting exploration by Marlowe’s writing team and Marlowe.

    • I love the episode also… but the beginning was a little emotionally weak. Yet, it was a great start to season 6.

  10. Great episode! I can’t believe how many people were irked by the change of scenery. Relax! It’s just a field trip to enjoy until the gang is back together.

    • Amen!

  11. The wait is over! Hello… season 6! Well, we have been saying for sometime that Castle needs to take one for the home team. Will he get the anadope and be in a coma or will it be a here’s the magic bullet that saves his life, without pulling out Beckett’s emotional core? It would be good to see her emotional space open up.

  12. It certainly was a game changing episode which left more questions than answers. Except for the obvious recovery for Castle the Washington crew didn’t have that spark it was more of a flicker so I can understand some of the Caskett fans being upset. The only time the episode had any pop was when Castle and Beckett had their exchanges and then it showed the chemistry between them that made Caskett spark. Will see where episode 2 leads us and hopefully we will have a better idea which direction the dynamic duo is headed.

  13. Well…. I have been a fan from the very first episode, but the start of Season 6 was like drinking two day old soda left on the kitchen counter. It was sharp when it came to their classic interaction, and over kill (too much) in the over arching st oryline. The interplay with the proposal was magic that great Tracy and Hepburn rthym that Marlowe and his team are great at; event Castle visit to Kate in D.C. struggled to find it true passion… thank Good-natured Stana and Nathan are magical on screen in their romantic and emotional interplay. I am a loyal fan, but may bring back some of the woman producers and writers would help. I love this show, but… Kate is still running in away and while Castle is coming off lead-in like the boy who never wants to grow-up… something is missing- like the 12th. Change is good, but things appear a little muddy.

    Castle Season 6

  14. I always enjoy the witty and romantic banter between Kate and Castle, and the opening season in season 6 was wonderful, pour magic. Someone that I read referenced Tracy and Hepburn! I don’t know what Marlowe has planned in part 2 of this 2 part episode; but it would be wonderful to see more emotional ventrabilty from Kate… as Castle faces death. It would certainly make up for the hit and near misses in part 1.
    I hope Stana keeps the lighter hair color from season 5, it was sexy and brighten her face up with her hair as long as it is
    … great start to what I have read will be a very romantic season! P.S. Nathan could stand to lose about 10 lbs.

  15. Let’s keep Castle #1 in its time slot… TVs best Monday night show ever!
    I would have loved to know if Castle called Kate’s dad before the proposal… see Kate share with Lena and then the DC piece.



  16. Here’s a thought… We all want the Senator to be the reason Kate returns to the 12th, but suppose Kate ends up pregnant and is faced with the choice of letting Castle raise their child; but Castle’s dad talk to Kate about choices and all that he lost because of his career choices, being with Castle’s mother and watching his son grow up. Now, this would fit the motif of the show… even Stana in brief interview this summer hinted at more complex choices for Beckett; and pregnancy would without question do that… on number of levels.:

  17. It is always interesting to hear what the actors of a great show have to say…Stana is no exception. She wants to see Kate pregnant. Granted that this is not the first time, which leads me to believe its on the current story broad of ideas. Professional women find themselves faced with numerous choices that they have to make… I think its a real, about unexpected events and what works and doesn’t – I really would like to see this one worked into an episode as an underlining story, even if its a false alarm-its a real piece of life… so is the birth of Jenny and Ryan’s baby. This would make this a unexpected parallel against the back drop of their baby being born.

  18. Two days after the second episode…

    Emotionally, the ending scene with Beckett describing the poison and “24 hours to live”, cliched or otherwise, seemed rather off. It seemed like how a doctor would tell a patient that they had 24 hours to live. Matter of fact, empathatic etc. Beckett = strong, focused, determined, I get that but it really came across as clinical. Dunno…

    A bit of role blending (and remains to be seen how this works or not) Beckett was the streetwise, savvy, connect the dots quickly, “show me the proof” type. Castle is/was the storyteller, smart mouthed, out of the box, with deep psychological insight. That interplay apppears to be missing.

    • You’re right, but could it have been her not breaking to the reality of Castle facing death… that would make her seem clinical indeed.

  19. I haven’t done one of these in a while…

    The Secrets

    Episode 6×5: “Time Will Tell” introduces us to the character: Simon Doyle an anthropologist from 20 years in the future. The conversation that ensued with Castle at the closed down plant open some interesting door to the world of Kate Beckett; we know that she will become Senator Beckett, and that she and Castle have three children, which garnered and interesting reaction from Kate – who clearly unplugged from the conversation between Castle and Simon Doyle. The interesting piece about their conversation is that the anthropologist from the future wants to know why Castle married her at all, and stopped just short of say what Kate did – that may have created a serious rift between our two crime fighters, even more than Kate not sharing with Castle about the D.C. job interview. We all know that Kate is secretive, but what if there is a secret – one that could change everything, at least for a while between our crimes fighting dual. And could our anthropologist from the future come back to help Castle solve the most important case of Castle life?
    Somewhere hopefully and maybe this season –

    It’s one week before Kate and Castle wedding and everything is crazy, Lanie Parish, Martha, and Alexis are doing everything to keep Kate from going over the edge [we get to meet some of Kate’s family that we haven’t seen]. Kate gets a phone call – it is Dr. Josh Davison, Kate can meet me? Kate first says no, and then agrees to meet him. Josh tells her he is near the Old Hunt, and Kate reluctantly agrees to meet him there. In the meantime, Castle has just picked up all the legal stuff for the wedding, as he and Javier, stop by the Old Hunt for a beer or two. Castle and Javier seated at the bar – as Ryan joins them, when Castle hears a familiar voice, coming from a booth – at first, he tells himself that it is not Kate. Why would she be here with Josh? Only a week from their wedding day – Josh, I do not want Castle to know about this… you promise to send the papers back when you were in Brazil. I was hoping you had or at least would reconsider our marriage again, until it reached me that you were marrying Rick Castle. By this time, Castle is now sure that it is Kate with Josh and walks over to the booth. Hey… Kate! What’s going on? [Kate] Castle, what are you doing here? Kate, I should ask you that same question – and why are you here with Josh? Castle, it is not what you think! Well, it seems as though it is… So, this is the real reason after your shooting you did not call me?! Because you had married Josh, right!?! { Castle} Kate, how could you lie to me about this? Kate, I made a mistake and I didn’t want it to come between us, Castle. So, you just kept it a secret right!? Much like you did with the D.C. interview, or how you really felt about me, for so long. I see, I am the fool in this relationship, no – it is not a relationship anymore – the wedding is off Kate! And we are done as partners forever! {Castle} Get your things out of the apartment – Kate. Castle turns back towards the bar as Ryan and Javier, tell him – that he really doesn’t want to break it off with Kate, and that she made a mistake. Castle, you guys can stay! I am out of here! (Kate runs after Castle) Castle can’t we talk about this? Kate – what could we possibly have to talk about- Kate? No, Kate we can’t – I think it’s clear. First Meredith cheating and infidelity, and now you and your secrets, I can’t catch a break – can I?! (Kate) Castle I love you, please let me explain? He (Castle) walks away, leaving Kate standing there on the street with tear running down her cheeks. Javier and Ryan are behind them, they reach Kate. {Javier} Kate what were you thinking?

    Ryan’s phone rings they have a murder and it looks like 3XK is back from the description of the crime scene. Should we call Castle, Kate? No, he said we’re done… even as partners. They reach the crime scene – this matches the other three crimes of the last month. {Kate} Javier he’s back! And we have no idea what he looks like – he could have changed his identity completely. {Javier} Kate the last time on the bridge he came after Castle and you. Do you want us to put a team on your place? Kate, no – 3XK’s not coming after me, he wants Castle. We have to warn him – Javier calls him… {Kate} Castle not answering my calls. (Javier) Castle 3XK is back! (Castle) are you sure Javier? Yes! Everything points to it being him…Castle. (Castle) Javier where is Kate? Javier, I thought you were done with Kate, Castle. [There is silence] Javier, I love Kate, but if she can’t trust me enough to be honest with me… (Javier) Castle, she made a mistake out of fear, but we need you! If we’re going to nail 3XK, for good! [Castle calls Kate’s apartment] There is no answer, so he heads over and finds her apartment door ajar and the place clearly shows a struggle has ensued, as he calls out for Kate. (Castle) Kate, Kate, Kate, are you hear! (Castle) calls Javier – Javier 3XK has Kate… Castle finds a video playing in a nearby room, it’s from 3XK – Castle, I got your girl, and you have 72 hrs. to find her before she’s dies. {3XK} Kate or me… Castle, who will you, chose!?

  20. Run Away Kate…

    Doyle (Anthropologist from the future) hinted in episode 6 x 5, that there was something Kate did that was obviously pretty bad, and yet Castle still marries Kate. Here is one possible scenario… Kate after all of this time may still not be clear about where she is emotionally. Oh, there’s no doubt that she loves Castle, but Kate’s still afraid. We occasional catch Kate’s looks of fear and emotional uncertainty in some episodes… so, this could happen indeed, and appear as a possible brief hiccup.

    It’s the night before the biggest day of Kate’s life. This is the day Kate becomes, Kate Beckett Castle. (The telephone rings, it’s Castle calling…) Hey, Kate – want some company? {Kate} No… Castle, you know its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. {Castle} Okay, okay, Kate (Castle is laughing) – see you at the altar! {Kate} How is the hotel, are you and Javier… behaving yourselves? I do have a gun, you know! (Kate…laughs) I love you. {Castle} I love you too. Kate ends the call… but instead of Kate getting ready for her big day. Kate is questioning everything that she has said at the 9th hour, not her love for Castle, but marrying Castle. (Kate speaking a loud…) Am I really marrying Richard Castle? Oh, my God! I am marrying Castle! Certainly not the words of confidence one would expect from the blushing bride to be! Kate finally settles downs and gets into bed, still wondering if what she’s doing is going to lead to happiness or disaster, as she closes her eyes?

    The next morning: (Lanie) knocks at the door. {Lanie} Hey, girl… you ready to become Mrs. Rick Castle! (Kate nods cautiously…) {Lanie} Kate what’s wrong you should be crazy happy, this is what you have always wanted. Castle’s the man of your dreams. So, why are you questioning things now, especially after all of this time? {Kate} Lanie… suppose it doesn’t work out. {Lanie} Kate, what is this really about, after all this time, it can’t be about Castle. This is about you… come on what’s up! (Kate… nervously replies) it is just wedding jitters – I am okay Lanie. {Lanie} Then let’s head to the church and get you ready girl. (Kate) smiles back at Lanie, as they both head for the door. It is now just minutes before Kate makes her debut, as the blissful bride on her way to her love… Castle. {Alexis} Kate are you ready. {Kate} I think so… give me a minute alone… okay. {Alexis smiles…} Okay, Kate. {Lanie} (Enters the room to find Kate gone) {Lanie} Alexis where is Kate? I don’t know she said she needed a minute alone! {Lanie} Kate has flown the coup and she is not answering her phone! {Alexis} What! {Lanie} Where’s your dad? {Alexis} This is going to break his heart! {Lanie} Javier you need to get Castle… now, it’s important. {Javier} I’ll get him. (Javier walks to the waiting area where Ryan and Castle are waiting) {Javier} Castle, I need to speak to you, now. {Castle} What’s up Javier? Kate left this for you…. (As Javier, hand him the note from Kate) {Castle} She did what! (Castle slowly sits down and reads the note): Ryan to Castle – {Ryan} Castle are you okay? {Castle} No. Excuse me, I have to tell our guess, that there will be no wedding today. {Javier} No! Castle, let me take care of it. [Lanie, Maratha, Alexis come into the room with Ryan and Castle]: {Alexis} Dad are you okay. {Castle} No. I am not Alexis (In the background, you can hear the guess leaving the church). (Castle to Lanie) {Castle} If Kate wasn’t ready, why won’t she tell me Lanie? {Lanie} Castle… I don’t know. Castle have you tried to call her. {Castle} No. {Lanie} Castle call her, if you can. I know you are hurt, but she does love you Castle. I’m sure of that! {Castle} It seems her love doesn’t include marriage.

    It is later that same night… Castle phone rings – it is Kate! {Kate} Castle it’s me, please don’t hung-up, please. {Castle} Kate, why would you do this, why? {Kate} I don’t know all the people, the planning was just too much, and I panic … Castle. {Castle} Kate do you love me at all? Why couldn’t you talk with me about how you felt? {Kate} I don’t know Castle. I want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. {Castle} Okay, Kate…what do you want? How do we fix this? {Kate} You still want to marry me Castle, even after what I did. {Castle} Yes, Kate I do! When I told you that I couldn’t see my life without you… Kate, it hasn’t changed, it won’t change. {Kate} Can we meet? {Castle} Yes… How about our favorite place? {Kate} Yes, I’ll see you there. (Castle arrives and finds Kate sitting in the swing where he proposed to her): {Castle} Hi, Kate. {Kate} Hi, Castle. I‘m sorry. It seems I am always saying that to you. For this or that – because of my insecurities, my fears. {Castle} Kate just talk to me, I’ll listen, – I’m here Kate. I will always be here Kate. Always!

  21. “Dad’s Little Girl” Episode 6 X 6
    Castle finds himself faced with the hardest reality of all… that Alexis is now, a woman and that she has her own mind. Dad learns that ice cream is no longer the magical ingredient for healing their falling-outs, and this in itself is a painful reality for Castle to face. An interesting box open with this episodes conclusion – a reflective lens that focuses in on Kate Beckett as viewed by Alexis… “I don’t know if it’s a good idea, or if she’s the one.” “I accept it because she makes you happy,” and this in itself is very grown up statement from a 19 year old. While, we will see father and daughter in a case together in episode 6 x 7, this does not resolve the conflict between them, at least not completely – let us hope that Beckett becomes the healing balm between the two. Nevertheless, Alexi’s statement opens the door to a question about how she feels about Kate, long term and what that means for their relationship. I hope that the writers and Marlowe – get that in some episode before the end of Season 6 that fans need to understand the origins of Alexis concerns about Kate and her dad. Actually – there needs to be a real conversation between Alexis and Kate, none of this 60” sec. stuff, but a genuine and authentic conversation about roles and commitments. Just guessing, Alexis has been with Lanie for a while now in the lab, and Beckett and Lanie’s’ as best buds, and Alexis may have overheard conversation that left Alexis feeling that Kate may not be a suitable choice for her dad. I would like to see however, a health resolution of whatever the silent discourse of concern is… we have enough brat behavior in the news, and on TV shows. Kate may not act like it or want the role of step-mom because of their ages, but that is the reality that she’s stepping into like it or not – let us have at least a healthy friendship between the two women.

  22. Love Castle.