As previously mentioned in the season premiere review, Castle chose to start season 6 in a unique way by taking the two leads and plopping them down in the middle of a brand new environment. Beckett (Stana Katic) was assigned a new partner, a new boss, and had new tech people working for her. Castle (Nathan Fillion) followed her around like a little lost puppy dog the first week and avoided mortal peril the second.
"Need to Know" is the final part of the 3-story arc. As everyone knows, Kate will eventually end up back in New York solving murders with Castle, so it only seems fitting to return to her old stomping grounds and watch her two worlds collide. The questions to be answered are: What will happen to bring Beckett back to the force? Will she be forced to compromise something valuable along the way?
One of the recurring themes so far this season is perspective, and this episode delves deeper into that than its predecessors. In the premiere, Castle and Beckett were working on their own relationship even as Beckett learned the new rules that came with her new job. Then last week hinted that Beckett's dream job might not have been all that it was cracked up to be when the compromises made left a bitter taste in her mouth.
Here at the end of the arc we see Beckett throughout the episode wrestling with the black and white world she's used to at the local precinct and the gray area that the feds live and breathe in. The battle lines are drawn with Castle and the rest of the gang on one side, McCord (Lisa Edlestein) and the CIA's Ethan Wright (James Patrick Stuart) on the other, and Beckett with one foot in both realms.
For the first half of the episode, it almost seems like Beckett is going to side with her new friends in D.C. She's not as cold and curt as McCord, but she doesn't fight the system either. Even Castle's charms and lattes fail to persuade. Then, in the second half, she decides to slip Castle the jump drive and phones in an anonymous tip to foil the CIA's plans. McCord's knock on the door seals her fate with the feds - she's fired - but does it matter?
At the end of last season, Kate thinks that D.C. is where her dream job awaits, but now she's learned what Mr. Spock taught us years ago: "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
Also, perhaps she's learned that what she really wanted, she had all along: A boss who will stand up for the victim. Loyal friends who never give up, even when they are told to. A man willing to leave his home to make a new one for her.
This is the big picture that Kate Beckett gets a glimpse of thanks to her brief stint in D.C. Let the rest of the season commence!
Castle will return next Monday with "Number One Fan" @10pm on ABC.